Frequently Asked Questions

 

Any questions not found here can be directed via email or social media.

 

Website Related

Airshow Related

Q:  What happened to Steve's Airshow World and stevesairshow.com?

A:  On December 31, 2012, Steve's Airshow World and stevesairshow.com was rebranded as Zinger Aviation Media, located at zingeraviation.com.  Zinger Aviation Media continues on the tradition of providing the same quality photos, video, and information that you all grew accustomed to on Steve's Airshow World, but all in a new location and under a new banner.

The idea to rebrand Steve's Airshow World came about because more and more non-airshow material made its way to Steve's Airshow World and there had to be a way to differentiate all of the material and Zinger Aviation Media does that and so much more.

Information about Zinger Aviation Media and its services can be found by clicking on the links above.

Q:   Are airshows safe for spectators?

A:   YES.  This is a sensitive topic following the tragic 2011 season, which featured too many incidents highlighted by the media as well as a freak accident at the Reno Air Races that killed a handful of spectators.  Know that there are a lot of rules that emphasize safety for the pilots and the spectators at every airshow and are strictly enforced by the FAA and other federal aviation outlets, depending on the country the show is held.  This also includes any and all security restrictions employed at the show site.

Did you know that the last time a spectator was killed at an airshow in North America was in the 1950s?  That alone should tell you how safe it is to attend an airshow.  The most dangerous part of any airshow, regardless of if held at an airport, beach, or military installation, is the drive to and from the show site.

Q:  Can you explain why in the 2017 and 2018 schedules you have "No Show" listed for several weekends where the Blue Angels could be flying?

A:  The "No Show" weekends listed for the Blue Angels are the direct result of an accident investigation board recommendation that the Blue Angels have one week off about every eight weeks for rest.  This is the direct result of the findings of the tragic crash on June 2, 2016 that sadly claimed the life of USMC Captain Jeff Kuss.

Q:   What happened to a lot of the videos?

A:   Since Zinger Aviation Media utilizes YouTube to host all of the videos, YouTube had started cracking down in 2013 on videos that contained copyrighted material (best example is music in the background).  It is a huge disappointment that this is the case because with airshow videos, Zinger Aviation Media has absolutely zero control over music being broadcasted over public address systems.  As a result, YouTube makes many videos unplayable on certain devices, unplayable in certain countries (sadly most of the Zinger Aviation Media audience falls in this bracket), or even the entire audio in the video gets muted.

Zinger Aviation Media values your feedback regarding this and how this could possibly be rectified so that EVERYONE can enjoy these videos equally and without any prohibition because of content.

Q:   Are any of the foreign jet teams touring North America in 2017?

A:   The Patrouille de France will be visiting the United States in April 2017!

Q:  Will the United States Armed Forces participate in airshows in 2017?

A:  Yes.  Please visit the Jet Team Schedules section and scroll to the 2017 page for information on participation.

Q:  Why can't some videos be played on mobile devices?

A:  For a while I couldn't figure out why, but I do believe this has to do with either the length of the video and/or the fact that major record labels have their music playing in the background.  It is likely that these reasons will prevent you from watching any of the videos on any mobile device (which includes, and is not limited to iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch, Blackberry, and Android devices).  Some videos will also be unavailable to play on the Apple TV and similar devices with YouTube apps as well as on smart televisions.

Having said that, I highly recommend using a computer to watch the videos.

Q:   What song is played during the Heritage Flights and where can I download it?  Also, what is the status of the Heritage Flight program?

A:   The song is called "We Remember" by Dwayne O'Brien.  I recommend that you purchase the album it is on because it contains an album full of great aviation songs written and performed by Mr. O'Brien.  You can purchase it by clicking here.  As of December 22, 2011, it is not available on iTunes.  And no, I don't have a place for you to download just the song.  Expect USAF Heritage Flights at most 2017 shows where an F-16 or F-22 demonstration will appear.

Q:  Can I download any of your videos to my computer?

A:  No.  Don't even think about uploading elsewhere because it will cost you a LOT of money (unless you are very willing to pay me enough to retire on my own!!).

Q:  How many and which airshows will you be attending this season?

A:  The answer to both questions can be found by clicking here.  Of course that list is dependent on MANY factors including budget, gas prices, time off requests (Zinger Aviation Media is not a full time gig), and other family events.

Q:  What browser and resolution should I use to view Zinger Aviation Media properly?

A:  Zinger Aviation Media is best viewed on a computer or tablet using the web browser of your choice.  There are no issues with surfing through Zinger Aviation Media on a smart phone except the way the site was designed, it is slightly harder to navigate.

Q:   What if it rains?  What about the wind?

A:   A rainy day doesn't mean that there won't be an airshow... if it's pouring out, then yeah - probably nobody will fly, but if it's a drizzle, there will still be airplanes in the air (of course, ceiling and visibility permitted).  Regardless of location, I will be at the show site if it rains.  However, if it's a beach show, I may decide to stay home.  I've had to cancel plans because of a hurricane (the airshow did cancel because of said hurricane) and almost nearly had plans wiped away due to Hurricane Sandy but we lucked out big time with Sandy.

If it's supposed to be a windy day, well, I will be there.  The video may not turn out as well as I would like, but at least I'll have some video...

Q:  Why do the photos in the photo galleries appear small?

A:  It's a theft deterrent.   Online photo theft is a huge issue and the way that is combated on Zinger Aviation Media is to provide photos that are one-tenth of the original photo size.

Q:  What equipment do you use?

A:   For all of the videos prior to 2006, I used a Hitachi camera that recorded onto 8mm tapes.

From 2006 to the present various Sony Handycam models have been used.  Beginning in 2006 and to the middle of summer 2008, I used a Sony model TRV480.  For the remainder of 2008, I used a Sony model HC52.  For 2009 and onward (and some exceptions), I have used different Sony cameras but because of liability issues I cannot reveal which ones other than that one of them is a CX110.

Photography has been provided by Konica Minolta (2005-2007) and various Canon Powershot (2007-2012) and Nikon (2012-2015) point & shoot cameras.

Sony videos cameras and Nikon DSLR cameras will be utilized from 2016 onward.

Q:  What are the frequencies that the Airboss, the jet teams, the demonstration pilots, and the ground control use?

A:  This information will not, ever, appear on Zinger Aviation Media out of the interest of safety.  If for some reason those frequencies got into the wrong hands, someone could easily transmit on that frequency and jeopardize not only the pilots' safety but also the safety of everyone on the ground.

I have been approached by many whether or not my scanner equipment transmits - it does not.

Q:  How soon will you have the videos up from an airshow you covered?

A:  Videos will be uploaded within two weeks, sometimes sooner, and it is all dependent on my work schedule.

Q:  What happens if there is an incident at an airshow involving aircraft and it was filmed?

A:  Zinger Aviation Media has a responsibility that, should any incident occur at an airshow and regardless if it is fatal or not, a copy of the video will be turned over to the proper authorities to aid in the investigation.

This is a rather touchy subject, as it depends on the severity of the incident.  First and foremost, should the authorities and any other media outlets request video of the incident for news stories and/or investigations, I am required to provide the video (though I will keep the master copy) to the said authorities and outlets.  These outlets MUST provide the source of the video (zingeraviation.com preferred).

Should the incident result in fatalities, serious injuries to any pilots/aircrew/participating individuals, and/or severe damage to the aircraft, I will not share the video online.  This is out of respect to the affected parties of the incident.

If there are no injuries to any individuals but a lot of damage to the aircraft, I may share the video, but only after consulting with several different airshow professionals for their opinions on whether or not it is appropriate to share the video.  Should the incident result in little to no injuries to pilots/aircrew/participating individuals, and/or little damage to the aircraft, I may share the video.

Q:  Why are all of the videos on YouTube?

A:  Two reasons - to draw the YouTube audience to Zinger Aviation Media, and to save server space on my host.  If you have signed up for a YouTube account, it gives you the chance to comment on the videos as well as to subscribe to my channel, which will enable you to see when I upload any new videos.  It is recommended that you use a computer to watch the videos (see below).

You will also see ALL of my videos on YouTube because of copyright problems and infringement.  IF YOU SEE ANY VIDEOS on YouTube that are mine and were not uploaded by me, please send that user a message to take down the video.  A "cease and desist" message should do the trick.

Q:  Will there be a Zinger Aviation Media Store?  What about DVDs?

A:  This idea has been floated around since the rebrand from Steve's Airshow World to Zinger Aviation Media but it simply has not materialized as of yet.

The question about DVDs has come up a lot since the rebranding, and unfortunately, there will no longer be DVDs sold due to a lack of time to fulfill any and all orders and due to the recent issues with music being played at airshows.  The original hard master copies were lost in a move and the files themselves were lost in a hard drive crash.

Q:  Why does the video from several 2009 shows (and other later 2009 and early 2010 videos) have pink vertical bars and color distortion?

A:  The primary video camera I was using had some internal issues that I believe is the result of being out in wet conditions and transporting the camera (in its bag) on a cart rather than carrying it on my shoulder.  For the 2010 season, I no longer used that camera for video (it will serve a role for playback for when I'm at home) and got another camera of the same type, which produced the results you saw from April through mid-June 2009.

Q:  How do you handle bad links?  What about links to other sites?

A:  If I don't catch them and you do, e-mail me.  I am always looking for more links for the links page.  I am trying to have the most comprehensive list of performer links anywhere on the web, as well as links to other photographer's work.

Keep in mind that a LOT of the links on the Links Page might be bad.  If you find them, let me know.  If you are able to provide an updated address, I would really appreciate it!

Q:  Why are there black bars around the older videos (2000-2005 in particular)?  What about their quality?

A:  These videos were originally recorded onto 8mm media, which is analog, and have been re-encoded using the new digital video camera, which, of course, is digital.  There's nothing I can do about it, but the video is still viewable.  The quality stems from the fact that they are analog videos and have had their quality reduced greatly so that I can upload them onto YouTube.

Q:  What happened to a lot of the older videos, especially those of the fighter demonstrations?

A:   Those that used to have clickable links, but are no longer clickable, signify that the said video appeared on the original DVDs that were previously sold before the rebranding.  If time allows, these may be re-uploaded.

Q:  Why does video from 2011 onward have quick black or white blips in the video?

A:  The primary video camera saves its data onto memory cards and after a while I've come to the conclusion that the blips are caused by frames being dropped or missing from the video.  High definition video is usually saved in 30 fps or 60 fps (frames per second) and video shot for Zinger Aviation Media is normally saved with 30 fps, which is usually the standard.

Q:  Why are there no videos from the 2005 Thunder Over the Boardwalk Airshow?

A:  The 2005 Thunder Over the Boardwalk Airshow presented me with (at the time) the worst situation for shooting video at an airshow.  The day of the show started out very windy, with the wind blowing from the ocean, which kicked up spray from the ocean onshore, which required me to clean the lens off practically every minute.  The wind also kicked up sand everywhere, making the situation a lot worse, and in turn, you can't hear the airplanes and the public address system over the wind.  It just wasn't worth my time to encode and upload anything from that show.

There are also a couple airshows that don't have any videos uploaded (mainly from 2003 and 2004) because of bad audio tracking on the original tapes.

Q:  Why does video from 2013-2016 have portions that seem to shake the image violently and/or appears to be very unsteady?

A:  This is a sensor and stabilizer issue with the primary video camera.  Video from August 2016 onward was shot using a different camera.

Q:  Are you affiliated with any airshows or in the airshow industry?

A:  No.  I do, however, send out some of my work to performers for usage in their promos, website, etc. either by their request or by volunteering my work to them at no charge, as a token of appreciation for their friendship and for what they do.

Q:  How are you able to upload videos longer than ten minutes onto YouTube?

A:  When I joined YouTube, I applied for the Director Program, which allowed me to upload the longer videos.  They approved it, and I started uploading.  They changed that to where any new member who wants to apply as a Director, he/she cannot upload the longer videos.  Those who have done so in the past can continue to do so, and I am one of those.  It's a huge help for me, since I'd rather show a jet team's performance in one video, if at all possible.

Nowadays, more and more people have been able to upload longer videos and that is the result of being invited to the YouTube Partner Program.  You have to be invited to the program to be able to do so.

Q:  I see you're going to the same show I'm going to.  Are you going to offer any advice as to what to do for that show?

A:  The best advice I can give you is to go to the airshow's official Facebook Page and post your questions there.

Q:  Airshows back in the 1980s and 1990s used to let you bring any food and drink into the airshow area as well as coolers of any size.  That's now allowed anymore.  How come?

A:  I don't know the exact reason behind this other than MAYBE trying to drive up food concession sales.  Some show sites still allow you to bring in food and drink as long as it's not in a cooler.  In addition, I imagine with security restrictions in place (before and after 9/11/2001) it is tough to search a cooler full of food, drinks, and loose ice.

Q:  What happened to a lot of videos being blocked or muted?

A:  At various airshows, performers use music to accompany their demonstrations and this is played over a public address system.  In many cases, there are record labels that will not allow their songs be played or utilized on YouTube for any reason, and thus the video will either get muted because of (unintentional) copyright infringement, or worse, blocked entirely.  I have no control over music played over a public address system.

Q:  "You really should attend the (insert airshow)..."

A:  Remember that Zinger Aviation Media is not a full time job.  I just don't have the time or money to cover airshows full-time and at the same time, I don't think I would be able to physically cover airshows week after week after week for eight months!

Q:  How do I go about getting a ride in a jet fighter like you have?

A:  Your best bet is to join your country's armed forces and apply for a position as a pilot.  Go through the necessary courses and training (and pass all of the courses and training and medical details with flying colors, no pun intended) and you'll be in the cockpit of the plane you've always wanted to fly, and you'll be living your dream! Outside of that, it is incredibly difficult to get a ride in any military airplane unless you are in some way connected to media, Hollywood, or professional sports.

Q:  Can I meet up with you at an airshow?

A:  The short answer is no.  During any given airshow day I am very busy, either running around the static displays before flying starts or when flying has commenced I am filming.  Trust me - it's not worth trying to bother me at any time during the show.  I don't mean any disrespect, but understand I'm doing so many things and listening to other things at the same time and don't need someone talking to me or trying to get my attention.

Remember - the microphone on the camera hears everything.  If you have very good hearing and can hear something from afar, the camera's microphone will pick it up.



Aircraft Spotting

Q:  How can I track specific aircraft when I go spotting?

A:  This only applies to civilian aircraft as you cannot track any military aircraft for reasons of national security.  On the spotting pages for PHL, JFK, LGA, BWI, DCA, and IAD, I have included links which will take you to another spotting website that will list (with very good accuracy) exactly which aircraft are operating which flights into those airports.

Other websites I recommend include FlightAware, Plane Finder, and FlightRadar24.  All three have their own respective apps for the iPhone and iPad and I'm sure there are also Android based apps.  The apps are free to use but to get extra features, you would have to pay extra (this is highly recommended for FlightRadar24).

Q:  Is spotting illegal?

A:  No.  Aircraft spotting is a hobby, and the activities of which can be as little as just sitting somewhere and watching aircraft to taking pictures/video, logging registrations of aircraft the spotter had seen that day, to listening to operations.  None of the said activities are illegal (though law enforcement might want you to think otherwise) and in most cases, plane spotters are advantageous to people of authority.  They can act as an additional set of eyes for law enforcement, by helping spot unlawful activity and report incidents (large and small) to the authorities, and in some instances, aid in investigations.  For example, aircraft spotters in one country were able to spot an aircraft that was known to be used in smuggling illegal contraband by noting that its registration had been changed illegally.  The crew of the aircraft and everyone on board were arrested as a result.

Zinger Aviation Media, in conjunction with a handful of other websites, is dedicated to enhancing the public's awareness that aircraft spotting is a legal activity and that spotters are beneficial to the airport and its surrounding communities.

Q:  How can I track military aircraft?

A:  No comment.

Q:   Will I get arrested while spotting?

A:   As long as you respect law enforcement during a questioning, you should be fine.  If, when running your name for warrants, they find something outstanding, then yes, you will obviously be arrested.  If you do not comply with the orders of law enforcement, then you will obviously be arrested.  If there are VIP movements expected (i.e. heads of state) you will have a much higher chance of possibly being detained to make sure you aren't a threat.

Q:   Are there any responsibilities for me when I go spotting?

A:   ABSOLUTELY - you are an extra set of eyes.  Almost all experienced aircraft spotters will keep an eye out on his/her area(s) for almost anything out of the ordinary.  This includes, and is not limited to, reporting any and all crimes witnessed, illegal activities (drug deals, observing usage of an illegal substance, illegal dumping, etc.), fights, motor vehicle accidents, any form of reckless endangerment (on the ground, in the air, and on the water), medical emergencies, suspicious individuals, using fireworks, flying drones or model rockets, to name a few.

 

Q:  Will I draw suspicion from anyone else while spotting?

A:  Most likely.  In the post-9/11 world, people who see something they think is suspicious - even if it's the most innocent of activities - will say something and report it to the proper authorities.

Q:   When do you go out spotting?

A:   Normally this is not mentioned publicly for a matter of privacy.  I don't spot often because of time and money (think tolls and the price of gas).

Q:  By looking at a lot of material that is on Zinger Aviation Media, I've concluded that the photos were taken at McGuire AFB in New Jersey.  Can you really photograph aircraft there?

A:  Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which is still referred to as McGuire AFB, is a tough place to photograph airplanes due to the layout of the runways and due to the immense size of the entire base.  There is a spotting page for the base that's been published, but all I vouch for on that base is on that page.

Q:  Is it illegal or frowned upon to take photos of military aircraft at military bases?

A:  In most cases, no.  Security forces, especially at Air Force Bases, will say yes, and this should never be challenged.  Most aircraft that are based at that very military base and flying out of or arriving into their home base are usually okay.  Aircraft that aren't based there are usually okay to photograph as well.  Never photograph a military base's infrastructure, whether it be buildings, hangars, shacks, etc. as this will immediately warrant an arrest and possible terroristic related charges.  There will be times when you could be told by security forces that you can photograph certain aircraft but not others (that is covered below) and that also should never be challenged.  Remember that security forces are authorized to use force if they deem you to be a threat.

Q:  I was at a general aviation airport (or any airport or military base) and someone told me not to take photographs of a certain airplane at the airport.  Why?

A:  This is usually the case with Fixed-Based Operators (or FBOs) wanting to protect the individual or individuals that either own or utilize that aircraft for the sake of privacy.  There have been well-documented incidents in the past where photographers either knowingly or unknowingly photographed a certain aircraft and its occupants/passengers at locations, the photos and information becoming public knowledge and in some cases viral, and backfiring for all parties involved.  It is best to respect the wishes of the FBO, owners, and passengers in situations like this. 

There will be times where a specific airplane cannot be photographed at a specific location, but other times, the same airplane can be photographed without any problems.  Just know that privacy can be a huge issue.

With regards to military aircraft, it is usually due to an operations tempo or national security issue.  Other times, you will not be told a reason other than "no photography" and you MUST abide by that request or face being detained and arrested.

 

Miscellaneous

Q:  Where exactly is Zinger Aviation Media based?

A:  Zinger Aviation Media is situated just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia is used because I spend my time nearly equally on either side of the Delaware River.

Q:  I'm traveling to (insert airshow here).  Can you recommend any place to stay or other things to do?

A:  It all depends on how much you want to spend and how long you choose to stay in the vicinity of the show site.  I can't recommend anything other than looking at a map and checking online.

Q:  Is Zinger Aviation Media on social media?

A:  Use the links above to follow Zinger Aviation Media on social media.