I’m betting there’s gonna be a parade

Yes, it’s finally arrived! I know you’ve been anticipating this holiday just as much as I have, and I could barely sleep last night. So get your flashlights, unlock that one door in the basement (you know the one,) go check out that particular narrow alley on the bad side of town, and have a happy Find Something Hidden In The Shadows Day!

To get in the spirit of things, I present to you a photo from six weeks ago, when I was out at the airport. Another frame from the sequence was featured in a post back then, but as I was skimming the folder I noticed something.

AS-350 against clouds
I said at the time that I was pretty sure this was WTVD’s “Chopper 11,” and it certainly fits the configuration. But as I went past it again, I realized there was the faintest hint of details that could be seen in the versions that were against almost solid clouds, the medium-tone of the background keeping the exposure from going too dark (as opposed to those against a sunnier portion of sky, where the exposure meter adjusted for the greater amount of light and used that as its middle-tone, which made the helicopter commensurately darker.) Anyway, I popped the frame into the editing program and bent them Curves around a bit to bring out that shadow detail, and produced this result from it:

AS-350 registration N36CC
That’s… not Chopper 11, which has a big “11” on the side of the fuselage. But since the registration number could be seen now, I ran that through the ol’ webbernets, the place to go for useless trivia. Turns out it’s registered to Helicopters, Inc out of Cahokia, Illinois. As they tend to say around here, “You a long ways from home, boah.”

So what, exactly, do these Illini, these sand-hillers, think they’re photographing around here, hmmm? I’d recommend paying close attention to the skies if you live here, because I can’t imagine any valid reason why a midwestern eggbeater-jockey should be cruising our skies with cameras on their French-made puddle-jumper. Just be warned.

Okay, it was likely just a loaner aircraft while one of the local owners, possibly WTVD itself, was having their own aircraft serviced – it happens often enough. But still…