Film vi­ral but filmer se­cret

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS -

The mys­tery of who ‘‘TheWil­lyBalls’’ is may never be re­vealed, avi­a­tion in­dus­try in­sid­ers say. The pi­lot’s spec­tac­u­lar footage of a plane com­ing in to land at Queen­stown Air­port above a win­ter moun­tain­scape in late Oc­to­ber last year went vi­ral, with more than 861,000 YouTube views and 20,000 plus Face­Book shares. TheWil­lyBalls ap­pears to be a com­mer­cial pi­lot, and last week posted a video of another large plane land­ing through thick fog in Auck­land. Both clips look to have been shot with a cock­pit­mounted Go-Pro cam­era. Af­ter pub­lish­ing a story on the footage the Mir­ror re­ceived lots of tip-offs from avi­a­tion in­dus­try in­sid­ers. Many said the air­craft was likely an A320 pas­sen­ger plane equipped with Re­quired Nav­i­ga­tion Per­for­mance (RNP) soft­ware. Many in­sid­ers also said it was un­likely that TheWil­lyBalls would be able to be iden­ti­fied, as a com­mer­cial pi­lot film­ing from the cock­pit of a pas­sen­ger flight was likely to be frowned upon by his em­ployer. The Mir­ror re­ceived two emails from a man called Will, who said that he posted the video: ‘‘. . . for ob­vi­ous rea­sons I de-iden­ti­fied the video be­cause it’s a bit of a touchy sub­ject re­gard­ing film­ing at work. Ad­mit­tedly I have moved on to big­ger and bet­ter things since that video. But there still is an el­e­ment of con­cern,’’ he said. How­ever, the Queen­stown clip has achieved such wide­spread views that the in­ven­tor of the RNP sys­tem, Alaskan pi­lot Steve Ful­ton com­mented on the footage. ‘‘First of all, it’s an amaz­ing video. I got all jazzed about it . . . Prior to 2004 [be­fore RNP], flights to or from Queen­stown would not have been pos­si­ble in th­ese con­di­tions.’’

Eye sky spy: The iden­tity of ’’TheWil­lyBalls’’ who posted footage of a large, pos­si­bly com­mer­cial flight ap­proach­ing Queen­stown Air­port through a layer of in­ver­sion cloud late last year, may never be re­vealed. Photo: SUP­PLIED

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