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AV Today Staffer Provides Special Treatment to Cirrus Chute Deployment Footage

January 28, 2015 - When the United States Coast Guard released dramatic video this week showing the parachute deployment by a fuel-starved Cirrus SR22 near Hawaii, Fred Johnsen of Nampa, Idaho, sprang into action and quickly transformed the soundless footage into a produced video that in a few short days garnered thousands of views for his “Airailimages” YouTube channel. Johnsen is a longtime warbirds reporter for EAA’s AirVenture Today daily newspaper during the annual Oshkosh convention and fly-in. 

“When I saw the Coast Guard B-roll video, I was impressed with the completeness of coverage,” Johnsen said. “I raced to edit and upload the piece, and someone told me I beat at least one of the TV networks in getting it online.”

Johnsen took the soundless video shot from a USCG HC-130 Hercules, added some background music and titles at the beginning and the end. “I know some online video-watchers do not like music if it intrudes over good ambient sound, but in this case, there was no audio to go with several minutes of gripping video,” Johnsen explained. “I cut a few seconds of video here and there without deleting any significant action, and then I went to my royalty-free audio sources to find music that was not too far over the top, but seemed to go with the drama of the unfolding situation.”

The video shows the plane flying before, during, and after deploying the chute, deployment, descent, splashdown into the Pacific 250 miles from Maui, and rescue of the pilot by crew from the cruise ship Veendam.

According to multiple sources, the flight originated in Tracy, California, and was destined for Kahului, Maui. The airplane went down due to a fuel valve failure on one of the auxiliary ferry tanks. The pilot, Lue Morton, was not injured.

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