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CESSNA 210J – N3311S

It’s just an old 210. Well, not in the case of N3311S. This Cessna 210J is known as “Photo 1” and it is the EAA photo plane. This aircraft is the vehicle used to take the beautiful air-to-air photographs that grace the pages of EAA’s publications.

Piloted by Bruce Moore and carrying EAA’s Chief Photographer, Jim Koepnick, the 210 maneuvers in the sky above Sun ‘n Fun at Lakeland, FL and in the early morning light over Lake Winnebago during AirVenture. The resulting photography is spectacular.

The aircraft has been slightly modified to accommodate air-to-air photography. The center side windows on both sides have been replaced with photo windows that open. During shoots, the rear seats and the baggage door on the left rear side are removed. This provides the photographer with the best angle to the rear and left side without obstructions. The photographer can also shoot to the side and forward through the photo windows and the pilot’s side window without wing struts to interrupt the view.

For Bruce and Jim, safety comes first. Before air-to-air shoots, pilot briefings are conducted. Everyone needs to know what is expected during the shoot. Information packets are given out that explain photo procedures. Bruce explains communications and the various angles the subject plane will need to be in during the shoot.

The C-210 is an especially good aircraft for aerial photography because it has good airflow properties, good performance and an excellent speed range. With the door and windows open, the airflow around the aircraft does not buffet the photographer allowing the use of slower shutter speeds. The speed range of the 210 allows the EAA staff to photograph subjects form light planes to jets. The aircraft has been flown at less than 60 mph to shoot Piper Cubs and at more than 180 mph to shoot the F-4 Phantom. The cabin provides enough room for a still photographer and videographer to shoot at the same time.

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