Aviation Art Attack – How To Make A Russian Tachometer Interesting

By me
All photos me too, copyrighted

While this doesn’t really fit the bill of a proper Achtung, Skyhawk! topic, the interlude between my last post here and the next Rare Aircraft series (currently “in production” 🙂 ) was becoming a bit longer than I had originally anticipated (my ATPL exams and IFR flight sim are taking up quite a lot more time than I had expected). So, the break the monotony – and add a splash of color – I though I might just as well post my latest bout of aviation artsyness :D.

Namely, a few days ago at the field I had come across – completely by chance – an old Soviet/Russian tachometer, which I had initially presumed to be from our old Yakovlev Yak-52, 9A-BUG. A quick counter through my photos of the said aircraft later revealed that this might not be the case, but I still found this little instrument interesting – and before consigning it to the role of an attractive paper weight, I thought I might as well see if it was a worthy photo subject…

Reminiscent of old tachometers on early jet aircraft - with the main dial showing 100s of RPM and the smaller hand 1000s - this one could theoretically go up to 10,000 RPM... though no aviation piston engine even goes near even a third of that. The lettering on the instrument face denoting what it measures is here written in three languanges - OB/MIN (Russian Cyrillic), R.P.M. (English) and TR/MIN (Tours/Minute, French) - which was/is quite common on light Russian aerobatic aircraft. It's small size for such an important instrument - conforming to the 2ATI specification, that is two inches across - is puzzling though, with such instruments normally being at least an inch wider, leading me to believe this could have possibly been a backup instrument in the rear cockpit...
Having noticed - again by accident 😀 - that the dials and numbers are florescent, I though I'd try and bring that out with some backlighting, provided by my orange-filtered night flying torch 🙂
This is more like it, almost like a true Russian cockpit :D. Though green cockpit lighting is not used often in normal circumstances, it is becoming increasingly common in combat aircraft - especially helicopters and transporters - where it was found to be compatible with cockpit night vision systems
A more common cockpit lighting color, though still a bit too bright for an actual cockpit. To get both this and the previous green light, I resorted to shining my orange lamp through a pair of old 3D glasses :D. Finally found a use for those...
And finally, a golden tachometer - proof that some of the most interesting photos often come about unintentionally! 😀 Except the first one, all of these shots had been taken in a completely darkened room, requiring long exposures, usually of 25 or 30 seconds... for this shot, I had set the orange torch to shine directly into the instrument face and activated the camera... however, at one point, maybe 10 seconds into the exposure, I had accidently knocked the torch onto the floor. Scrubbing the shot, I turned on the room lights to find it, and waited for the exposure to finish. But what I got in the end was awesome - the room lights had completely overexposed the shot, but the camera had registered enough of the orange light to make the tach visible. And voila - 0% Photoshop! 😀

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