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Tracking the trackers

In order to fight fires in France, the Sécurité Civile has a big (but old) fleet of 26 airplanes. Among them the most known is the CL415 (popularly called “Canadair” which is in fact the manufacturer). Their callsign is Pelican followed by the number on the tail of the aircraft. During their mission there are usually 2 to 4 of them.

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3 pelicans low pass during and exercice near Cannes

But this article is about the Firecat Trackers who are less known but still effective against wild fires. Initially these aircraft were used on USA aircraft careers so they are very easy to manœuvre which is perfect to fight fires (especially in areas with mountains).

Unlike CL415 they cannot scoop on the water. They have to be refilled on the ground in places called Pelicandrome.

There is one in Cannes that can be seen on this chart :

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It is placed near the threshold of the runway 17 (used more than 90% of the time) so they can take off very quickly.

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Holding points A1 and A2 are used by “normal” aircraft and a Tracker at the Pelicandrome

Their callsign is Tracker followed by the number of their tail. There are 9 of them in the French fleet. They are now based in Nîmes Garons (South of France, roughly between Montpellier and Marseille). In order to gain time (every minute is precious with wild fires), 2 of them will be based in Cannes during this forthcoming summer.

They usually fly by two, in a relatively close formation. They have priority over other aircraft (which makes the situation complicated during heavy load of traffic in Cannes). Each one can carry 3000L of water (usually fire retardants).

They are getting old will be retired in 2020 (initially it was supposed to be 2008). We don’t know yet which one will replace them. But for the moment it is a pleasure to see the professional pilots using their skills in order to save lives !

More about this :

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Visiting the oceanographic museum of Monaco

I recently visited the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and it was a great experience (official website).

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The building itself is already beautiful

It was a very challenging experience in terms of photography because of the luminosity that was very different from one aquarium to an other. The white balance was different every time so I had to change my settings almost between every shots.

Here are my best shots (most of them were taken using my 50mm F1.8).

Spotting at Cannes #2

I’m starting to really like my new camera and understand how to use it properly. Here are some shots that I took at Cannes with it during last 3 months.

Most of the pictures were taken using the 55-250 mm STM, except this one :

Thunderstorm at Cannes

La pointe de l’aiguille under lightning

It was at night during a great thunderstorm in the sea that caused a lot of troubles in the air traffic from Nice to Toulon.

Cannes is also a place where there are a lot of interesting machines like this old Fouga (former plane used in the Patrouille de France before they switched to the Alpha Jet).

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There are also a lot helicopters (it represents almost half of the traffic during summer period with a top of 45% during august).

 

The biggest one is the first H175 used for VIP purposes as you can see on this article. The yellow and red EC145 is called Dragon as it is a rescue helicopter based in Cannes.

Video – tips with WS2818b

Hello everyone,

as promised here is the video explaining how I soldered my LED’s to create the display in my worldmap clock project.

As stated in the video, the module used is Ws2818B which are individual RGB leds individually controllable .

I bought them by 100 on Banggood for about 15€

http://www.banggood.com/100Pcs-DC-5V-3MM-x-10MM-WS2812B-SMD-LED-Board-Built-in-IC-WS2812-p-979463.html?p=W016111637439201505V

I found a lot of useful tips on how to power it and use it properly on Adafruit’s website (which also the provider of the library to control it) Adafruit Uberguide for Neopixel

 

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Wordmap clock

Inspired by some wordmaps made with nails found online, I decided to build my own with a little modification : it’s also a clock and of course a connected clock … I know what you are about to say, yet another connected clock ! And well … it’s true (first project, second project). But this one will be pretty !

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The “background” was made using painted 8mm thick MDF and the frame was made using fir wood.

LEDs are WS2818 which can be individually addressed in order to have results like this ! In this project there are 82 leds that needed to soldered (6 points per LED). It’s a lot of word, I’ll soon post a video explaining how I did it.

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I will add more behind the “background” to light the wall on which it will be hanging. And I still have to work on the Wifi connection using ESP8266 module and Arduino.