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Mysterious camera lens deposit - N of Sicily

Today I flew from Calabria LICR to Palermo LICP, at 1500ft, westbound along the northern coast of Sicily, and did my usual video with an externally mounted camera.

When I took the camera off I noticed a very obvious sticky sludge on the lens. The resulting video is not as bad as I expected but one can clearly see a degradation along the flight.

Does anyone have any idea what it might be? I didn’t notice it on the front window of the aircraft, but I didn’t really look.

Could it be volcanic ash?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

It would be very difficult to say, but its probably a mixture of several things including partially burnt jet fuel hanging in the air.
It happens a lot which is why external cameras are a problem during photo and film shoots.


Peter wrote:

Could it be volcanic ash?

I would not bet against that. VA makes one heck of a mess, particularly if there is some humidity involved.

However, currently there are no active Volcanic Ash advisories for the area.

LSZH, Switzerland

Had the same once flying to Catania, I blamed it on the volcanoes as I did orbit some craters for a beter look inside. There was a tan deposit on the leading edges of the flightsurfaces, never had that anywhere else.

EHTE, Netherlands

We’ve had very much Sarahan sand in the atmosphere this summer, it could be that. As we speak still floating over the med. Here’s a shot of today (Windy Aerosol), don’t know how it was when you flew.

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

This is early on the Sicily N coast flight

and this is near the end

Both above are from ~1400ft.

This is from final approach, done from 4000ft because that is the only way to avoid flying over the city, looks like this

It looks like thick haze.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Indeed resembles when we have fine airborne sand here. Should show up on the leading edges.

Last Edited by aart at 19 Sep 16:15
Private field, Mallorca, Spain

I got this reply from LICP on this topic:

About sticky sludge, it’s for sure volcanic ash. You have
flown close to Eolian volcanic islands and a combination of ash, wind
and humidity has soiled the lens.

I wonder what this does to air filters nd vacuum driven instruments. I had to overhaul a KI256 after ~100hrs after flying in the Icelandic volcanic ash business years ago. But there was never any visible deposit on the aircraft, so it may have been a coincidence; there are fake overhauls done on these instruments (just as there are done on engines).

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Curiously I don’t see significant dust on the front window – maybe due to the angle of it, whereas the camera faceplane was at 90 degrees. This is final for Boccadifalco 33 from ~4500ft over the hills, taken with a DSLR (1/80 to not show the prop).

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Say hi to Fabio of the aeroclub di Palermo on behalf of the EuroGA gang!

LESB, Spain
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