Recording a 1980 Beech Baron 58P Airplane Part 2

Beech 58P 2011 Recording 2

Part Two: Interior Flight Recording and Mechanisms

This second part in the series details the process of capturing the sound inside the plane during flight and the other sounds the plane makes like the wing flaps, rudder, doors, etc.

Interior Flight Recording

After recording the engines and the plane flying around I tackled the interior during flight. The first flight had the D-50 inside and recorded the flying maneuvers from the rear cabin perspective but this time I wanted to record both the front cockpit as well as the cabin with two recorders. I held a Sony PCM-D1 up in the cockpit while the Sony D-50 remained in the back wedged between the rear facing passenger seats.

Holding the PCM-D1 during the flight proved a little tricky because the plane was bouncing around in the air and while on the ground the runway was not exactly smooth and airplane suspension systems are quite tight. I used the Rycote hand held recorder kit that is currently available the has a foam covered handle grip that attaches to a suspension and a furry wind screen. This worked out great during the flight. I was impressed with the furry wind screen as most of the flight the air conditioning ducts were blasting air at the recorder. The cabin is very small so moving the recorder to an area with no air conditioner blowing was a no go. I did shut one overhead valve down for a while but it can get quite warm inside the plane during a full sunshine flight like we had that day.

The flight went great and the sounds came out well. These recorders are perfect for this type of recording. It was tricky getting the recording levels correct but since I had two flights that I could record I used the first flight to get the levels in the ballpark. The plane is quite dynamic in terms of how loud the cabin gets and there was a significant range of volume between flying and taking off. ALl in al I’m happy with the results and when the tracks are played back in quad you really feel like your inside the airplane.

Beech 58P 2011 Photo

Session 2: The Other Sounds a Plane Can Make

I ran out or time during the first recording session so I had to go back a week later to record the other aspects of the plane I wanted. When I arrived the pilot moved the plane out of the hanger (I did record the hanger door BTW) and I set up my gear inside and outside the plane. For the interior I used a Sennheiser MKH-8040 placed dead center in the cabin of the plane pointed forward. I knew that some of the sounds were not going to be very loud so I wanted the quietest microphone I had to be there. For the exterior I hand held a Sennheiser MKH-416 so I could be mobile and gran the different perspectives with out much trouble. Both microphones were connected to a Sound Devices SD-702 recording to separate wav files.

Beech 58P 2011 Wing Photo

First on the list to record was a wing flap. I recorded the exterior flap from the top and underneath. This sounded cool because the servo motor was under the floor in the center of the plane and when mixed with the interior MKH-8040 you get the best of the wing body movement an the servo motor. After a few takes I then crawled under the body of the plane and recorded the servo motor from the outside.

Beech 58P 2011 Door Photo

Next up were getting some cabin and cockpit door open and closes. This plane is pressurized so the door is hefty, sealed and insulated. The latches sounded the best from both inside and outside mixed together with the inside MKH-8040 producing a great hefty cabin sound. After waiting for a very long train to pass by I moved over to the cabin door and recorded the same actions. After that I crawled under the plane once again and recorded the light beacon motor turning.

Beech 58P Airplane Part 2 by therecordist

The final sounds I recorded that day were the cockpit switches, dials, yoke pedestal movements and the rudder. Th Gyro powere unit also made a cool sound. I was out of time again and called it a day. There are other mundane sounds the plane makes but felt they are common so I didn’t record them.

That wraps up the series on recording the airplane. It was a lot of work for one recordist and well worth it. I learned a lot and will use that knowledge for my next airplane session I so much want to schedule: A Learjet. -Frank

Check out the forst part here: Recording a 1980 Beech Baron 58P Airplane Part-1

Recording a 1928 Stearman C3B Bi-Plane 2011

1928 Stearman C3B Engine Start Boomcam Perspective 2011

Here is a J5 Wright powered 1928 Stearman C3B starting its engine. The video was shot with a Flip HD (3rd Gen) mounted on my Sanken CSS-5 microphone boom pole. This is the complete video with the CSS-5 audio recorded at 24/96. This plane was not flying during the show but at the end of the day I was able to meet the owner and his friends (it takes more then one person to get these planes started). They were getting ready to fly home as I walked by after recording at the north end of the airport. I asked the pilot if I could record it and he said only if you give me the sound for my cell ringtone. “Deal” I told him. After they rolled it out and charged the starter she was running. He ran the engine at different RPMs until I gave him the thumbs up that I recorded enough for his ringtone. I then walked along side the plane while it headed for the runway. I was able to move down field and record the plane taking off and passing by.

1928 Stearman C3B Engine Flying Boomcam Perspective 2011

Here is the J5 Wright powered 1928 Stearman C3B starting its engine. The video was shot with a Flip HD (3rd Gen) mounted on my Sanken CSS-5 microphone boom pole. This is the video of the plane taking off and then passing by at the Sandpoint Idaho Airport with the CSS-5 audio recorded at 24/96.

1928 Stearman C3B Engine Start Far Perspective 2011

Here is the J5 Wright powered 1928 Stearman C3B starting its engine. The video was shot with a Fujifilm picture camera by my wife. This is the video of the plane starting and myself with the Sanken CSS-5 recording the sound.

The blog post from the Sandpoint Idaho Fly In 2011 is here

Prop Plane Recording August 14th 2010

August 14, 2010, Sandpoint, Idaho – Early Saturday morning I was out in the garden picking fresh raspberries and thinking about what I was going to do for the day when I heard this distant hum overhead. Then out of the blue, 3 bi-planes in formation flew very low over. I thought to myself “this is very strange way out here in the country” so I ran inside and searched the internet for any kind of air show event in North Idaho. I found The 6th annual Sandpoint Fly-In event was happening now.

With all that I had to do today the last thing I thought of doing was to gear up and go record. What the hell I thought, when you get the chance to record something cool, go get it. So, I packed up my CSS-5 and the 702 and headed for town.

When I got there dozens of prop planes were parked and flying around. There is always a band playing at these kind of events so I walked to the end of the runway where they start begin take-off. After a few minutes planes started pulling up and performing a quick engine run-up as they prepared for take off. Nobody really bothered me as I was standing in the scorching sun with a boom and a microphone. The airport security guys just waved as the drove by on ATV’s. Small town airports are great, you can wander around very close to the runway as long as you don’t step out on the runway.

I was able to get right up next to and behind the airplanes as they were getting ready for departure. I got some great recordings with minimal background destractions. Check them out below.

I really should have been painting the garage.

Prop plane engine starts, run-up’s and taxi by’s:

Vintage and stunt prop plane pass by’s:

Airplanes 2010

1941 Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 “Yellow Peril” (4417)

Airplanes 2010

1927 Curtiss Wright Travel Air 4000 (NC1499)

Airplanes 2010

1928 Boeing B-40C Mail plane. The only B-40-C flying & oldest Boeing flying

Airplanes 2010

1928 Boeing B-40C Mail plane. The only B-40-C flying & oldest Boeing flying

Airplanes 2010

1930 Laird model LC-1B-300 NC10402 engine running

Airplanes 2010

1930 Laird model LC-1B-300 NC10402 and Sanken CSS-5 Microphone

Images and sounds copyright 2010 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design. All Rights Reserved.