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Luke Aikins planning new stunt.

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(edited)
8 hours ago, JoeWeber said:

I agree that the field shouldn't be limited to DZO's. In fact I'd agree that DZO's are best left off the ballot and I'd include all family members. That said, vested interests will prevail so that's just reality.

The main reason most directors are either DZOs or some other industry insider is that no one else is willing to do the job. It is not a plum position, the main reward is social interaction with peers and some self satisfaction for contributing. It is almost all boring tedious administrative chores. And taking criticism. All that said I guess Luke screwed up enough that yes, he should resign.

Edited by gowlerk
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8 hours ago, JoeWeber said:

I respect your perceptions. But please understand that there are other views that might be borne of more history: personal history that spans decades. 

I really do respect your lived experience, Joe. And the only thing we can change is the present and the future. So, if Luke is still on the board when the next election rolls around, and he runs again, and memories are long enough, that would give another candidate the best opportunity to unseat him, if enough people care about it. 

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1 hour ago, Pat007 said:

I really do respect your lived experience, Joe. And the only thing we can change is the present and the future. So, if Luke is still on the board when the next election rolls around, and he runs again, and memories are long enough, that would give another candidate the best opportunity to unseat him, if enough people care about it. 

Pat, you clearly care. Let's give you the job. Seriously.

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4 minutes ago, Pat007 said:

Hah, hah! I'm old and retired. It's a job for a younger person. But thanks.

OK, so let's collaborate and find some poor, miserable, unaware, but cheery and excited victim and set them on the path to greatness.

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9 hours ago, JoeWeber said:

OK, so let's collaborate and find some poor, miserable, unaware, but cheery and excited victim and set them on the path to greatness.

To find the aggressively social person — it’ll come quite naturally to them. One of the things that conference members like is feeling recognized, so being the person who makes sure that milestones are recognized, who starts a bonfire culture again (and makes it stick), who has a traveling canopy class, coach course, newbie organizing day — that’s who will both enjoy it and very possibly win. Because people will recognize the name.

Wendy P. 

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My life has been really crazy the last couple months and I'm late to the party, but I have some pretty strong unpopular opinions on this I'd like to share. I've thought carefully about this so if you choose to respond, please do so in kind. I watched the stream live from beginning to end.

Luke asked for permission to do the stunt, they were denied permission, and they did it anyway, obviously breaking the law.

This is inaccurate. "Permission to do the stunt" was never required or requested or a thing of any kind. They requested an exemption to one specific reg, 91.105, which was denied. They did the stunt, and now the FAA says they violated 91.105. That's the situation.

Well, Luke must have understood they were about to break 91.105 or otherwise they wouldn't have asked for the exemption.

This is a logical leap. It's entirely plausible that Luke believes he did not violate 91.105 and has already had a compelling argument prepared for some time. Asking for the exemption implies Luke felt there was some risk that the FAA would accuse him of violating 91.105 (doesn't make it true), and that he'd prefer to avoid the conflict all-together if possible. Legally he should be no worse off than if he had never asked for the exemption or worked with the FAA at all.

Just read 91.105, it's obviously an air-tight open and shut case, duh

91.105(a), which determines whether or not (1) and (2) below it apply, is not clear at all.

Quote

§ 91.105 Flight crewmembers at stations.
(a) During takeoff and landing, and while en route, each required flight crewmember shall -

(1) Be at the crewmember station unless the absence is necessary to perform duties in connection with the operation of the aircraft or in connection with physiological needs; and

(2) Keep the safety belt fastened while at the crewmember station.

I'll split (a) into two parts because I have two completely independent arguments:

Quote

During takeoff and landing, and while en route

What does this mean? Surely if it was intended to mean "in flight", they would have just said that instead. Is an aircraft in a nosedive straight toward the ground "en route" by any meaningful sense of the phrase? By any legal definition? I haven't seen any argument for this beyond you can clearly tell by the way it is and you're an idiot for even asking. Maybe this platform can do better than Facebook and Reddit.

Quote

each required flight crewmember shall

I've not been able to find an applicable definition for "required flight crewmember" nor have I seen an argument that the number of required flight crewmembers can't ever be zero for any flight. (Again, beyond the usual you can clearly tell by the way it is and you're an idiot for even asking).

I had the pleasure of being called naive and stupid by Paul Bertorelli on Facebook for posing these arguments, so that's cool. Of course, he made no actual attempt to refute them. He claimed he did later and I had to remind him no Paul, all you did was call me naive and stupid. I think he may be getting senile.

Let's talk about the spirit of 91.105 in the context of the rest of the FARs

I think this audience understands perfectly well that you can (for example) drop a car from an airplane without breaking any FARs, without any exemptions, and without any "permission" from the FAA. The only thing that makes this stunt special is the fact that the object happens to be an airplane which brings in 91.105. From a safety perspective, this does make sense: a car will more or less fall straight down, while an airplane could glide off into the sunset and crash into who knows what. But, that can be mitigated pretty easily. First, they designed the aerodynamics and autopilot to keep the plane travelling straight down. But, obviously that's pretty complicated and even though they tested it many times with a safety pilot, something unexpected could happen. So, as a failsafe they added the BRS.

But the BRS failed--clearly they had no idea what they were doing!

Everyone seems to be assuming that the BRS was intended to save the airframe and I think that's really silly.

First, if you look at BRS on production aircraft, they are generally not intended to save the airframe, they are meant to save people. The Cirrus for example, which seems to be entirely designed and marketed around the BRS, is not expected to be reusable after a deployment.

Now you look at this one-off experimental 182 with a giant airbrake hanging off the belly and you somehow imagine that the BRS was put there to save the airframe? This requires a bit of inference and speculation on my part, but to me it's pretty obvious that the real reason for the BRS was that in the event something went so wrong that the empty aircraft entered some sort of stable flight regime that threatened to take it outside the safe zone, they could remotely deploy the BRS which would very reliably turn it back into a falling object.

This mitigation essentially makes the stunt no more dangerous to nonparticipants than dropping an object, therefore the exemption to 91.105 should have been granted. Period. Yes, lots of other precautions needed to be taken for this to be done safely and legally, just like dropping a car. These are covered by other FARs that were not part of the exemption request. The FAA's job here was not to analyze the stunt as a whole and give a red or green light. IMO the FAA denied the request simply because they wanted to so they made up a reason. There's nothing Luke could have done to change that outcome.

People handwringing about this being a bad look for the USPA are being overly dramatic. This is an ultra-partime unpaid elected position on the board of a parachute club and I think the FAA is smart enough to be able to tell when he's representing us and when he isn't. If you're more worried about this than the Noonan incident, I think you're crazy.

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52 minutes ago, nwt said:

My life has been really crazy the last couple months and I'm late to the party, but I have some pretty strong unpopular opinions on this I'd like to share. I've thought carefully about this so if you choose to respond, please do so in kind. I watched the stream live from beginning to end.

Luke asked for permission to do the stunt, they were denied permission, and they did it anyway, obviously breaking the law.

This is inaccurate. "Permission to do the stunt" was never required or requested or a thing of any kind. They requested an exemption to one specific reg, 91.105, which was denied. They did the stunt, and now the FAA says they violated 91.105. That's the situation.

Well, Luke must have understood they were about to break 91.105 or otherwise they wouldn't have asked for the exemption.

This is a logical leap. It's entirely plausible that Luke believes he did not violate 91.105 and has already had a compelling argument prepared for some time. Asking for the exemption implies Luke felt there was some risk that the FAA would accuse him of violating 91.105 (doesn't make it true), and that he'd prefer to avoid the conflict all-together if possible. Legally he should be no worse off than if he had never asked for the exemption or worked with the FAA at all.

Just read 91.105, it's obviously an air-tight open and shut case, duh

91.105(a), which determines whether or not (1) and (2) below it apply, is not clear at all.

I'll split (a) into two parts because I have two completely independent arguments:

What does this mean? Surely if it was intended to mean "in flight", they would have just said that instead. Is an aircraft in a nosedive straight toward the ground "en route" by any meaningful sense of the phrase? By any legal definition? I haven't seen any argument for this beyond you can clearly tell by the way it is and you're an idiot for even asking. Maybe this platform can do better than Facebook and Reddit.

I've not been able to find an applicable definition for "required flight crewmember" nor have I seen an argument that the number of required flight crewmembers can't ever be zero for any flight. (Again, beyond the usual you can clearly tell by the way it is and you're an idiot for even asking).

I had the pleasure of being called naive and stupid by Paul Bertorelli on Facebook for posing these arguments, so that's cool. Of course, he made no actual attempt to refute them. He claimed he did later and I had to remind him no Paul, all you did was call me naive and stupid. I think he may be getting senile.

Let's talk about the spirit of 91.105 in the context of the rest of the FARs

I think this audience understands perfectly well that you can (for example) drop a car from an airplane without breaking any FARs, without any exemptions, and without any "permission" from the FAA. The only thing that makes this stunt special is the fact that the object happens to be an airplane which brings in 91.105. From a safety perspective, this does make sense: a car will more or less fall straight down, while an airplane could glide off into the sunset and crash into who knows what. But, that can be mitigated pretty easily. First, they designed the aerodynamics and autopilot to keep the plane travelling straight down. But, obviously that's pretty complicated and even though they tested it many times with a safety pilot, something unexpected could happen. So, as a failsafe they added the BRS.

But the BRS failed--clearly they had no idea what they were doing!

Everyone seems to be assuming that the BRS was intended to save the airframe and I think that's really silly.

First, if you look at BRS on production aircraft, they are generally not intended to save the airframe, they are meant to save people. The Cirrus for example, which seems to be entirely designed and marketed around the BRS, is not expected to be reusable after a deployment.

Now you look at this one-off experimental 182 with a giant airbrake hanging off the belly and you somehow imagine that the BRS was put there to save the airframe? This requires a bit of inference and speculation on my part, but to me it's pretty obvious that the real reason for the BRS was that in the event something went so wrong that the empty aircraft entered some sort of stable flight regime that threatened to take it outside the safe zone, they could remotely deploy the BRS which would very reliably turn it back into a falling object.

This mitigation essentially makes the stunt no more dangerous to nonparticipants than dropping an object, therefore the exemption to 91.105 should have been granted. Period. Yes, lots of other precautions needed to be taken for this to be done safely and legally, just like dropping a car. These are covered by other FARs that were not part of the exemption request. The FAA's job here was not to analyze the stunt as a whole and give a red or green light. IMO the FAA denied the request simply because they wanted to so they made up a reason. There's nothing Luke could have done to change that outcome.

People handwringing about this being a bad look for the USPA are being overly dramatic. This is an ultra-partime unpaid elected position on the board of a parachute club and I think the FAA is smart enough to be able to tell when he's representing us and when he isn't. If you're more worried about this than the Noonan incident, I think you're crazy.

By being certain the optics of this are awful means not that I judge it relative to the Noonan incident. We Skydivers and Dropzone operators, are a small group. The FAA allows us and assists us to be self governing. We need look no further to be offended. I operate a decent size DZ, often as not the highest volume DZ, in Lukes region. His family owns Kapowsin, a DZ that has already had some black marks from the FAA laid on it in the NW Region. Unless you have your regions FAA  inspectors personal cell phone numbers and are contacted for information and advice on things they hear then you cannot know just how bad this stupidity is. Pressure will happen. That's a certainty. I'm good but I'm not the only other DZ in our region. They were being selfish and indifferent to all skydivers and, in particular to those jumpers, instructors etc.who make their money skydiving, and for that reason alone Luke should resign. 

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Quote

This is inaccurate. "Permission to do the stunt" was never required or requested or a thing of any kind. They requested an exemption to one specific reg, 91.105, which was denied. They did the stunt, and now the FAA says they violated 91.105. That's the situation.

Your approach is certainly a rules lawyering one (which can be fun!), and one that may have some debatable merit. Largely looking into whether 'apparent' violations of rules can squeeze into grey areas and not actually be violations of the rules. And thus the whole bit about them not technically asking for 'permission' but just for a waiver of one rule, just in case.   FAA rules can be interpreted in many ways!

Mind you, have Luke & Red Bull put forward that argument? Did they ever argue that they thought they were OK on the rules but asked the FAA to make it more clear? 

I don't think people here (with aviation experience) expected the BRS to save the airframe, but it doesn't seem like the plan would have been for the plane to thump in with a still partially reefed parachute.

Sounds like Luke and Andy should have drunk a liter of water an hour or two before the flight, then left a pee bottle with their own name on it in the other guy's plane. "Excuse me, I'll just set the plane on autopilot (in speed brake vertical dive mode), and now just gotta fly over to the other plane for a bio break, as allowed by the FAR's."

 

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19 hours ago, nwt said:

to me it's pretty obvious that the real reason for the BRS was that in the event something went so wrong that the empty aircraft entered some sort of stable flight regime that threatened to take it outside the safe zone, they could remotely deploy the BRS which would very reliably turn it back into a falling object.

Is there any evidence to suggest that? All I've heard about it is that the BRS was set up to be deployed by a cypres, which is not remote-controllable.

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3 hours ago, dudeman17 said:

Is there any evidence to suggest that? All I've heard about it is that the BRS was set up to be deployed by a cypres, which is not remote-controllable.

In other words, it was a pretense so that if they really were getting low the altitude trigger would have only been a problem after time had run out and then c'est la vie. You wouldn't want a Tandem setting on your AAD when a Swoop setting was on offer, not when destiny is knocking.

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(edited)
On 5/22/2022 at 11:52 PM, dudeman17 said:

Is there any evidence to suggest that? All I've heard about it is that the BRS was set up to be deployed by a cypres, which is not remote-controllable.

And more importantly, from the FAA's point of view, was this BRS tested prior to the stunt? If not it would have been grounds for rejecting the waiver, if nwt's argument was valid.

Edited by olofscience

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On 5/22/2022 at 5:52 PM, dudeman17 said:

Is there any evidence to suggest that? 

I seem to recall during the stream, someone on comms made a call to activate the BRS. Obviously that didn't happen and we can only either speculate why or ask the team. 

What I was trying to explain was: We can either assume (1) the engineering is completely incompetent and reckless (I won't rehash, please see my previous comment), or (2) they identified the main risk (which is completely obvious), and mitigated it in the most obvious and straightforward way, displaying an absolute minimal level of competence. The disparity between these choices is so drastic, I think it's really objectively incorrect and unfair to assume (1).

On 5/22/2022 at 5:52 PM, dudeman17 said:

All I've heard about it is that the BRS was set up to be deployed by a cypres, which is not remote-controllable.

This is a logical trap it seems many have fallen into. The statement lends *zero* implication that they did not have the ability to activate the BRS remotely and manually, either by a modified CYPRES or additional system.

On 5/24/2022 at 2:21 PM, olofscience said:

And more importantly, from the FAA's point of view, was this BRS tested prior to the stunt? If not it would have been grounds for rejecting the waiver, if nwt's argument was valid.

Are you presenting this as your opinion or as fact? Do you have any references?

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16 minutes ago, nwt said:

Are you presenting this as your opinion or as fact? Do you have any references?

I guess my opinion. But my logic is, you can't just tack on a feature whose main purpose is to ensure the aircraft's behaviour remains within the exemption you're applying for, and not testing it beforehand. How would the FAA know whether it works or not? The deployed parachute could be the size of a tennis ball and be completely useless. Or, they could have submitted calculations or simulations to the FAA to show that it should work by generating enough drag, etc.

But if they did neither, then the FAA would probably reject the application, which they did.

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I'm not sure what your problem is, nwt. You seem to like being argumentative, and belligerent about it. Do you have that 'god complex' that they ascribe to some MD's?

I read your above post with an open mind. I am not a pilot, and, our previous discussion notwithstanding, I try not to pay much attention to FAA bureaucracy. (I have been a TI since '91, so I did hold a medical from whenever it was that they started requiring them until covid hit and I stopped doing them.)

My question was very specific and legitimate. You asserted that...

On 5/21/2022 at 8:29 PM, nwt said:

to me it's pretty obvious that the real reason for the BRS was that... they could remotely deploy (it).

 

All I had heard was that they had it hooked up to a cypres, so that intrigued me. Your statement...

 

23 hours ago, nwt said:

I seem to recall during the stream, someone on comms made a call to activate the BRS.

 

Would have sufficed as an answer. But...

 

23 hours ago, nwt said:

This is a logical trap it seems many have fallen into. The statement lends *zero* implication that they did not have the ability to activate the BRS remotely and manually

 

Really? I don't think that I've fallen into any 'trap'. I know how a cypres works. I've been an AFF-I since '90. While I have spent a lot of time with a radio in hand helping guide students down, I have never held a device that could fire their cypres if I thought they were about to go in.

So for the totality if your posts here, perhaps you should consider...

 

On 5/26/2022 at 4:14 PM, nwt said:

Are you presenting this as your opinion or as fact? Do you have any references?

 

...yourself.

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On 5/26/2022 at 6:14 PM, nwt said:

What I was trying to explain was: We can either assume (1) the engineering is completely incompetent and reckless (I won't rehash, please see my previous comment), or (2) they identified the main risk (which is completely obvious), and mitigated it in the most obvious and straightforward way, displaying an absolute minimal level of competence. The disparity between these choices is so drastic, I think it's really objectively incorrect and unfair to assume (1).

This is a logical trap it seems many have fallen into. The statement lends *zero* implication that they did not have the ability to activate the BRS remotely and manually, either by a modified CYPRES or additional system.

 

I have zero clue how much R&D went into the modifications for the plane.

I would love to know how much testing was done with that 'speed brake', especially spin testing. How many times did they spin the plane with it deployed?

Was there any FAA approval for it? I know that there's a process for that sort of modification. The "Supplemental Type Certificate". STCs are needed for most modifications. Simply changing the door and adding a step to make a 182 'jumpable' require one.
Was there an STC for that big flap hanging down?

I'm simply asking these questions. I have no idea how much (or how little) they tested. I would love to know the answers.

As far as a remote activator for the BRS, I sort of doubt it.
If it was in place, why wasn't it activated at a high enough altitude for the canopy to fully deploy? Once they knew the jumper wasn't going to make it back in, they should have fired it.

From the video, it appeared to be a typical CYPRES fire altitude. 

Also, you asked a while back about the applicability of the 'required crew'. And where it was specified.
Part 23 is the Airworthiness Standards, that define what an airplane must and must not do and have and all that. 
Advisory Circular AC-23-1523 covers minimum crew.
It says that the majority of certified planes are 'single pilot' (that includes the 182)
That would make the minimum crew 'one'. 

I don't think there are any part 23 certified planes that are approved as 'self driving' (flying) or remotely controlled. 
The 182 isn't, as far as I'm aware of.

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2 hours ago, wolfriverjoe said:

 

I have zero clue how much R&D went into the modifications for the plane.

I would love to know how much testing was done with that 'speed brake', especially spin testing. How many times did they spin the plane with it deployed?

Was there any FAA approval for it? I know that there's a process for that sort of modification. The "Supplemental Type Certificate". STCs are needed for most modifications. Simply changing the door and adding a step to make a 182 'jumpable' require one.
Was there an STC for that big flap hanging down?

I'm simply asking these questions. I have no idea how much (or how little) they tested. I would love to know the answers.

As far as a remote activator for the BRS, I sort of doubt it.
If it was in place, why wasn't it activated at a high enough altitude for the canopy to fully deploy? Once they knew the jumper wasn't going to make it back in, they should have fired it.

From the video, it appeared to be a typical CYPRES fire altitude. 

Also, you asked a while back about the applicability of the 'required crew'. And where it was specified.
Part 23 is the Airworthiness Standards, that define what an airplane must and must not do and have and all that. 
Advisory Circular AC-23-1523 covers minimum crew.
It says that the majority of certified planes are 'single pilot' (that includes the 182)
That would make the minimum crew 'one'. 

I don't think there are any part 23 certified planes that are approved as 'self driving' (flying) or remotely controlled. 
The 182 isn't, as far as I'm aware of.

Joe, 

This is all fine and good but please know there are work arounds be they approvals or explanations. It may have been as simple as going Experimental or some other thin justification. After watching the video's, and also knowing the players, I'm guessing that Andy, who has unbelievable skills, didn't jump out but simply appeared outside his aircraft and then was faced with a spinning aircraft which he was also way to smart to try to enter. I'm guessing that Luke, who is a much bigger and less agile guy set his aircraft on a death spiral on the way out in all of the excitement. 

On another note, I'm hearing that Andy is at Perris doing something. Surely not anything that requires his FAA ratings, right?

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On 3/17/2022 at 11:06 AM, chuckakers said:

It is skydiving. It is not parachute landing. lol

I know Luke very well. He's a brilliant stunt engineer and an amazingly talented guy. I have no doubt he and Andy will nail this one.

 

I guess we now know how this went. Will Luke try to get his certificate back after one year?

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45 minutes ago, av8rdav said:

I guess we now know how this went. Will Luke try to get his certificate back after one year?

Are you serious? Of course he will, who wouldn't? He and Andy have adjacent houses and share a runway for their personal planes, I'm informed. This mind bending, selfish fuck up not withstanding, they're both sharp guys and solid pilots. Once they've done their time they ought to be back flying.

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The silence from the BOD on this is deafening... At a minimum there should have at least been some kind of press release saying that we're looking into it, etc., ,etc. I understand the reasons for confidentiality of investigations and they are valid. We all have a right to protection from slander and due process. But in a high profile incident involving a board member there is also a fiduciary duty to the general membership that must be addressed. As an organization, we do not have adequate transparency on this. Someone needs to be a leader here.

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So the BOD had already approved a standing waiver for low pulls for the Red Bull Team through the 2024 season. But it was contingent on FAA approval. I assume that the FAA denial cancelled the waiver. 

Waiver Luke Aikins Red Bull Team.

Renew waiver

To allow the Red Bull Airforce Demo Team members (Luke Aikins, USPA #74853, Andy Farrington, USPA #112308, Jon Devore, USPA #182308, Mike Swanson, #USPA 67730, Jeff Provenzano, USPA #113923, Miles Daisher, #USPA 114553, Sean MacCormac, USPA #113484, and Charles Bryan, USPA #91708) to conduct demonstration jumps through the 2024 airshow season, contingent upon FAA provisional approval." Motion 50: FB: Passed by Unanimous Consent

Move to waive SIM Section 2-1.H.4. C- and D-license holders 2,500 feet AGL [S] (waiverable to a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet AGL) to allow members of the Red Bull Air force Demo Team listed below to deploy no lower than 1,000 feet AGL to conduct demonstration jumps through the 2024 airshow season contingent upon FAA or the foreign country’s approval. The following members will be participating in these jumps: Luke Aikins, USPA #74853, Andy Farrington, USPA #112308, Jon Devore, USPA #182308, Mike Swanson, #USPA 67730, Jeff Provenzano, USPA #113923, Miles Daisher, #USPA 114553, Sean MacCormac, USPA #113484, and Charles Bryan, USPA #91708.

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