Aerial filming of the Bahrain Formula One grand prix
We were recently asked to do the filming for the Formula 1 in Bahrain, an enormous honour as ours will be the only aircraft allowed to film there, and so the last few weeks have seen us busy with all the preparations that go into filming such a high profile event.
Captain Andy Nettleton is the pilot in charge of this and he will be doing the filming for the event. No stranger to aerial filming Andy has been involved with the F1 in Bahrain many times before and is well respected by the camera crews and F1 management.
The film pilot is a crucial member of the aerial filming team particularly with an event such as this when it goes out live to 600 million viewers and so there is only one chance to get it right. Good communication with the camera operator is vital.
In the lead up to the event we have had to contact the F1 management to get their approval on the aircraft we will be using which will be the AS350 AStar B3, also known as the Squirrel. This is one of three aircraft we use for filming and is a good platform for this type of work because of its built-in manoeuvrability and super visibility.
We have also had to get certification from the aviation authorities and the manufacturers for safety reasons and for weight and balance to allow this aircraft to be fitted and flown.
We will be fitting the Cineflex HiDEF for the event. This camera provides exceptional range-performance and unmatched stability and is ideal for aerial production.
Once all the documentation has been approved, which has to be done well in advance, this will always be specific to this aircraft.
F1 uses the same camera and the same cameraman who travels to each race. As soon as the race is finished all the equipment is packed up and shipped to the next race.
Other logistics include getting all the approvals to fly through the different air spaces required in order to get to Bahrain from Dubai. The flight plan filed follows the shoreline south from Dubai to transition through Abu Dhabi to the air force base near Sir Baniyas Island for the first refuel. From there we will fly north to Doha to stop again for fuel and from there on to Bahrain International Airport where we will reposition to the F1 track after clearing customs.
Part of the preparation work also involves liaison with Bahrain to ensure all the necessary permits are in place to allow us to fly into their airspace and to do the filming once we are there.
Captain Andy will be taking one engineer who will have essential tools and spares with him on board so he can maintain the aircraft once at the destination.
We will be posting daily updates from Captain Andy throughout the event so do stay tuned.