Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Shut Up and Listen to the Otter

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The wonderful thing about having a podcast is that you’re often producer, host, editor, engineer, and janitor. It also means that you can put any darned thing you want in the feed.

I normally record flights by plugging the MP3 recorder into a headset jack. There are only two in the Otter that I flew with Dave Schwartz of Skydive Chicago at Midwest Freefall at Kunstman Field in Ray, Michigan on Sunday, so I normally use a “Y” adapter to split the signal with one lead going to my headset and the other going to the MP3 recorder. I didn’t have the right adapter for the flight on Sunday, so I though that, rather than getting no audio at all, I’d plug in the microphone, set the sensitivity as low as it would go, and just get the ambient sounds of the cockpit.

What I got was about 24 minutes of noise, but it’s my favorite kind of noise. On the chance that it’s the kind of noise that you like, too, I thought that I’d just post the audio here in the feed. If you like it, that’s great. If not, just tune in to the next episode or download some back episodes to tide you over.

I’m flying from about 1,000 AGL to downwind abeam with the exception of the very end of the jump run and the start of the descent, when I was taking pictures that you can see on the website.

I’ve posted a rough time-indexed description of what’s going on the website at and it’ll be a part of the notes in the RSS feed so you can probably pick it up right there on the screen of your MP3 player, too.

The sound levels were just below maximum for the takeoff, climb, and jump run, so the audio is pretty good. Things get a little noisy and max out the recorder when the door opens in back and then it’s cacophonous during the descent (which, by the way, happens with an initial pitch down of 30 degrees and roll to 60 degrees of bank and then a descent at 160 KIAS, which is Vne for the Otter. So it’s noisy as heck and maybe even a little unpleasant to listen to during the descent.

But, overall, I think it’s a cool little piece of audio in the tradition of last year’s episode “Shut Up and Listen to the Airplanes.” (

This one’s for London Area Control Centre air traffic controller Andy Amor and for anyone else who loves the Twin Otter and/or airplane noise.

3:30 Startup

6:30 Takeoff

7:30 Throttle back

9:30 Synching the props

18:45 Door opens

20:15 Begin descent

24:30 Level-off downwind

25:15 Landing

26:00 Taxi (right engine shutdown and taxi on left engine)

27:00 Shutdown

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