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This June 9, 2024 CNN news video begins with an inset of video of what looks like an Israeli IDF "event". Looking down from a relatively static point in the air, another helicopter is seen and there is movement on the ground. It might be thermal infrared (the image is monochrome, the ground is white and the moving objects are black), then again it might not be. I don't see any evidence of a hot engine like I do in other footage after 00:30.

What's striking, or at least distracting, is the appearance of parallel blades. I've seen rolling shutter effects cause straight blades of propellors to appear curved, but I haven't seen an effect that can double them, at least yet.

Is there any chance there are two rotors and we're looking from an angle? Or does this helicopter have only one set of blades and this is some kind of photographic effect? Maybe it's not thermal infrared, and it's a shadow on the ground?

I'm stumped.

screen shot from a June 9, 2024 CNN news video https://youtu.be/hRxrebQrR4o

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  • $\begingroup$ It might be a composition of two frames or just the shadow $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Commented Jun 9 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ I vote "shadow." $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Commented Jun 9 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ I'm just seeing shadow on the ground. $\endgroup$
    – WPNSGuy
    Commented Jun 9 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ I vote @MichaelHall: the CH-53 is on the ground with people approaching from the back $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Commented Jun 9 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall Oh, those blades would be roughly 50 cm wide, and it potentially "seats" 50. OK I am getting the picture. Now about that ghost-like faint tail shadow... Aha! The moon landings were faked! (humor) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 9 at 16:29

1 Answer 1

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It appears to be a greatly zoomed in overhead view of some variant of the CH-53. (I haven't verified, but per another member, it's a S-65C-3 Export version of the CH-53D for the Israeli Air Force)

It is parked on the ground with people approaching the rear cargo entrance. The extra blades you see are simply shadows.

Evidence they are shadows is that the tips of the blades and their shadows are aligned with the sun angle. Double blades would be symmetrical radially.

Note too that the blade at 5:30 appears to cast almost no shadow because it is aligned with the sun and camera angle, making it look elongated rather than double.

Note: The image below is reversed, but gives some idea of shape and scale of the CH-53. (A still from the YouTube channel of "The Daily Aviation")

enter image description here

The brightness of the sun and its angle to the camera will play a big role in whether the actual blades appear dark like the shadow on the ground, (giving an appearance of double blades) or whether they will reflect more light back and appear lighter.

For example, consider the following photo of an SH-60 on the ramp at NAS North Island taken from Google earth where the shadows are distinct and dark, while the blades are very light colored.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I'd suggest that a loitering UAV (which they'd certainly want overhead to monitor everything going on, in any case) is a far more likely source of the images than a satellite. But otherwise, I entirely agree with the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jun 10 at 2:52
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    $\begingroup$ 3 windscreens, SH-60 right 👍 The CH-53 in the question must be a D version, or better an: "S-65C-3 Export version of the CH-53D for the Israeli Air Force." $\endgroup$
    – sophit
    Commented Jun 10 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall then I'll just say "Thanks for your answer! These images really helped me understand what's going on." $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 10 at 7:51
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    $\begingroup$ There's a lot of copy-paste in that video still - even the "23" aircraft is duplicated, as well as most of the figures. I hope that's not being presented as journalism... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ This is the NAS North Island source for the last photo: google.com/maps/@32.7045016,-117.2090529,232m/… Plenty to choose from. $\endgroup$
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 11 at 2:19

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