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Tradition Matters!

Traditions represent an important element of our Airborne Sensor Operator professional culture. They reinforce the structure and foundation of our skill-set and our vocation. Tradition reminds us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are presently and who we are likely to become in the future. Once we disregard the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our professional identity. The backbone of why traditions matter to Airborne Sensor Operators is:

• Tradition reinforces values such as integrity, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless.
• Tradition provides a medium to provide positive role models and highlight the standards that matter.
• Tradition validates the contribution the profession provides to society and unites members of the profession.
• Tradition contributes a sense of professional belonging. It brings individuals together and enables people to work together at a common level or perspective.

As ASOs, we must strive to utilize every opportunity available to us to reinforce the professional values and standards that we see are the core of our profession. The alternative is professional mediocre. As a famous writer once said,

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Marcus Garvey

What are your thoughts...Does tradition matter for our profession?

ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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A Professional ASO knows More!

If you call yourself a professional ASO, are you able to identify what-is-what 70 to 80% of the time while collecting information real-time? Based on your industry sector (commercial, public safety or defense), can you identify, describe, and predict the actions of the primary objects in your view be it from an active or passive sensor?

An ASO is“Top-Gun” material if he or she can go beyond saying “I see something interesting” to “I see X and Y together and if this continues Z will happen,” i.e., real-time airborne Sherlock Holmes skills.

The reason I’m posting this blog is based on a note from a fellow ASOGer Grant Reid highlighting a skill-set area that defines an ASO. Here’s part of his message that got me thinking about this post. (Also, strip out the defense aspect of his message and replace it with your specific target sets, e.g., agricultural targets/surroundings, urban area structures/surroundings/human behavior patterns, etc. when you read his point):

“Note for ASO is ship, aircraft and weapon system recognition. I know my old boss will read this and agree that although your primary job is to be an integral part of the flight crew, you aren’t worth a hill of beans if you can’t pick out the differences between Russian and Chinese systems. I remember when going thru training in Comox, that my wife knew ships, aircraft and weapon systems just as well as I did (she ran the slide deck for the guys on my course at night - she was very unforgiving).

Modern non-military ASO deal with the same in that they must know every type of vehicle identifiable from the air.

The point is to know your job and do it to the best of your ability.”

I agree with Grant, there is more to the ASO job than just operating systems, checking-off the target deck and making sure that each mission lands safely. It consists of knowing your collection operating environment, i.e., in some ways being an airborne analyst. An ASO should develop a sense of knowing what is important, what ‘matters,’ and it comes from knowing your environment intimately.

What do you think?


ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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Another ASOGer at EURONAVAL 2018

George Beaumont (L in the picture) wanted the group to know he’s at EURONAVAL this week. Go by and say Hi as a fellow ASOGer.

"DIADÈS MARINE is at EURONAVAL 2018 on the GICAN stand (E10/F17) introducing the industry to our advanced, high performance radar solutions. Feel free to come by the stand to talk detection, surveillance and radar or to see our latest airborne solution the C-RANGER-100 in action!"

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Dowe Gallagher Airborne Data Group (DGADG) just sent this new job requirement to us. The point-of-contact is Grant Gadway ( ). If you’re interested, review the job description below and contact Grant accordingly:

Airborne Sensor Operator/Technician DGADG – Sarasota, FL

Major Responsibilities:

• Operate and monitor LiDAR, optical, and GPS systems/instruments for accurate image quality capture while working with pilot to safely and efficiently complete each mission
• Assist PIC in tailored mission/flight planning and execution to include aircrew resource management and safety, pre-flight and post-flight safety and systems checks, contingency planning, reviewing job specifications, weather interpretation, ground support, onsite project and client coordination, briefing, debriefing, and detailed flight line planning
• Assist PIC in complying with all governing regulations including service guidance, company procedures and Federal Aviation Administration Regulations
• Monitor, review, interpret, transfer, analyze, and conduct QA/QC of acquired imagery, make backups and ship/disseminate data to clients in a timely fashion
• Conduct sensor maintenance, upkeep, troubleshooting, installation and removal from the aircraft • Assist with LiDAR calibration, cleaning, classification, and final product generation
• Prepare and submit logs, reports, expense reports and other materials as required


• Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) in Geography, GIS, Engineering, Geology, Photography or related field, preferred
• 2-5 years of experience in Aerial Survey, GIS/Remote Sensing, or Land Surveying, preferred
• Experience with airborne and terrestrial remote sensing instruments
• Proficiency in flight planning and software applications used for processing survey data
• Understanding of geospatial concepts and GPS survey methods
• Have strong proven technical and computer skills through previous GIS and/or Photography experience
• Capable of learning and operating advanced software program
• Experience with and working knowledge of LiDAR calibration, cleaning, and final product generation


• Ability to demonstrate crew discipline and knowledge of aviation requirements
• Adhere to standardized procedures; checklists, safety and security considerations
• Hold a valid driver’s license and ability to obtain passport
• Ability to work a flexible schedule during early mornings, late evenings, weekends and possibly holidays
• Able to climb a 6’ stepladder
• Have the ability to lift 75 pounds
• Sit for long periods of time in a small aircraft
• Fly missions for approximately 6 continuous hours, twice daily with an hour rest between
• Outside flight operations, exposure to the cold and heat, elements of the seasons
• Be willing to fly/travel in 7 to 30-day time spans in inclement weather and/or un-cleared and rough terrain
• Work successfully both independently and in a team setting
• Possess strong prioritization, organization, decision making, problem-solving, and communication skills
• Have desire and flexibility to work in a dynamic work environment
• Adhere to a strict work schedule, complete tasks both individually and as a team • Ensure safe and secure use of company equipment and instrumentation
• Practice good judgment and discretion during travel and at work site

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JOB ANNOUNCEMENT - Geo-Location Operator

Phillip sent this job requirement to us. If you're interested, please contact Phillip. His contact info and the job requirements are below:

Phillip Yergin
Intel Recruiting Team Lead

Mission Essential
6525 West Campus Oval, Suite 101
New Albany, OH 43054

+1 614 750 1955 direct
+1 614 371 8945 mobile
+1 614 750 2055 fax

JOB DESCRIPTION: The candidate will produce geo-location data to support the development of various intelligence reports. The qualified candidate must possess the skills and knowledge to manage and facilitate the prosecution of collection data files. Additionally, the candidate will conduct general and directed radio frequency searches on targets of interest. This is a 24hour operation and shift work is required.

REQUIREMENTS: t TS/SCI FS Poly (CI Poly is acceptable but must be able to pass a Full Scope Polygraph) t Experience with communications intelligence collection equipment is required. t Experience with ground, airborne, and/or national geolocation systems is preferred. t Previous experience with processing collection data files.

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[REQUEST] Call for Feedback

ASOG Members,

Just-in-case you didn’t receive the “Call for Feedback” e-mail, a message went out to all members requesting feedback on efforts to date and recommendations for the future. The group has been running for about a year. Since we’re a global and virtual group, it’s hard to get a low-altitude view of the community’s specific needs/wants. With that, I would like to get a pulse-check on the ASOG effort.

You can answer all the questions or consolidate your thoughts, inputs or recommendations into one response…we’re all busy folks, and I want to keep it simple but effective.

The call for feedback will run for two weeks (02 Oct to 16 Oct 2018). Please send your feedback or thoughts to me NLT 16 Oct. I’ll follow up with everyone on the results. If you have any questions, just let me know.

Thanks, Everyone,

Cheers Mates!


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“Sensor-1 to Pilot, How Copy Over!!!”

OK…let’s be honest…how many ASO’s (non-rated-pilots) have wondered what would happen if their fellow crewmember the pilot “all of a sudden” was incapacitated...I would say many. Here’s one program that was developed over 35 years ago by AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) called the “Pinch-Hitter” course to help with this situation. According to AOPA, the course is:

“Designed to help non-pilot flying companions learn how to safely land an aircraft in the unlikely event of pilot incapacitation. It includes an introduction to the principles of flight, a basic overview of instruments and radio communications, and a scenario-based training guide.

Participants are encouraged to first take the free Pinch Hitter™ online course from the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI), and then use this training syllabus to further guide instruction. ASI recommends using a certificated flight instructor (CFI) or an experienced, proficient pilot for the ground and flight instruction portions of the syllabus.
While pilot incapacitation is extremely rare in general aviation (GA), completing this syllabus will help non-pilots be more knowledgeable and better prepared in the event of an actual emergency— they may even decide to pursue additional flight training.”


Besides the primary purpose of this course, I think it’s also a great program for any small and medium size aerial work firm that uses or participate with part-time (non-rated-pilot) Sensor Operators or Secondary ASO Professionals (Photographers, Non-TFO police officers, Research Scientist, etc.) to improve the level of airmanship of each crewmember. The course is not time consuming or expensive compared to other safety or flight orientation training programs, but it’s methodical, economical and effective for small operations and freelance professionals.

Bottomline and just my two-cents, if I were an Aerial Work Business Owner, Aerial Work Pilot or a new ASO or Secondary ASO professional, I would encourage this program for all my crewmembers and fellow ASOs. If you know of other programs like this, let the group know.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Benjamin Franklin

ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

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Thank you Richard Glyn-Jones for highlighting this White Paper. BREAK, BREAK If you have any questions, just reachout to can find him in the members area.


Technology brings high-end SAR to the civil world
Smaller, lighter advanced SAR equipment is putting high-end capability in the hands of civil operators.

(Source -

Nowhere has the relentless march of technology and development been more prevalent than in the field of airborne search and rescue.
Advances in sensors, cameras, data transmission technology, navigation systems and airframe design, to say nothing of the rise of unmanned aerial systems, have transformed a task that by sheer cost and logistics was originally the preserve of government and military agencies alone.

Freed from the belt-and-braces survivability requirements of military users, civil electro-optical and infrared sensors, radars and communications products have become lighter, smaller and easier to integrate. Interface and usability advances mean a single operator can perform roles that previously required several, and single and twin-engine aircraft and helicopters now have capability previously only found in large, heavy and complex military platforms.

Such is the availability of these technologies on the civil market that defence forces around the world are relinquishing their civil search and rescue roles to contracted civil operators. These operators are often proving they can do it more cheaply and in some cases better, with a culture and concept of operations geared directly to the civil surveillance and rescue tasks that make up the bulk of any national program.

In many cases advances have been aimed at improving performance of traditional systems such as radar and infrared. But some innovators have turned traditional doctrine on its head, repurposing existing technologies in ground breaking new roles.

Australia’s Sentient Vision Systems has turned airframe mounted digital cameras in to “optical radar”, offering the “track while scan”, wide area surveillance capability and interrogation functions of traditional radar from an optical system that emits no energy, minimises data transmission requirements to ground stations and uses a simple graphical interface that also allows users to slave an aircraft’s primary sensor to any desired contact with the click of a mouse.
ViDAR uses airframe-mounted single or multiple 9-megapixel cameras, which scan the ocean’s surface in a 180-degree arc from any UAS, helicopter or aircraft, imaging a swathe of ocean up to 20 nautical miles wide. Its onboard software autonomously detects any object on the surface of the ocean, flags it on the sensor operator’s screen, and captures and displays a digital still image.

Operators simply watch the passing ant trail of images across their screen to see what the aircraft is detecting in its assigned surveillance area. With a mouse click they can cross-cue the aircraft’s primary sensor, such as an infra-red or daylight TV camera turret, to investigate the contact. ViDAR’s onboard processing system ensures only detected targets are transmitted for analysis, dramatically reducing bandwidth requirements.

In US Coastguard trials ViDAR identified small boats at a range of 17.7 nautical miles, a life raft at 3.7 nautical miles and a mannequin representing a person in the water at 1.5 nautical miles. In trials on small unmanned aerial systems, ViDAR demonstrated that it could search an area 80 times the size of a standard UAS in a single sortie.
ViDAR is already in service aboard the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s four highly modified Challenger 604 search and rescue aircraft, and with the Royal Australian Navy on Boeing’s Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial system and has been demonstrated with the US Coast Guard, EMSA and the UK Unmanned Warrior exercise.
For Simon Olsen, Sentient Vision’s Director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships, ViDAR has the power to ease the workload of search and rescue operators, mitigate sensor operator fatigue on long sorties, and give operators a greater choice of airframes capable of performing the task at hand.

“At the tactical level ViDAR reduces the workload for search and rescue operators and increases the probability of a successful contact, particularly on long and intense sorties,” he said. “Its ability to detect and display objects in the water that may not be readily visible to the human eye reduces a sensor operator’s workload, allowing them more mental acuity to manage the mission and maintain situational awareness.

“But at the strategic level ViDAR has the power to change acquisition decisions in hardware and aircraft, to change capability mixes,” he said. “Offshore patrol vessels previously dependent on shore-based aerial surveillance can now deploy their own. What could previously only be accomplished with a manned aircraft can now be accomplished with a tactical unmanned aerial system, and missions that previously needed large aircraft can now be accomplished with smaller, more cost-effective airframes or helicopters.

“ViDAR brings wide area maritime surveillance and detection within the reach of operators for whom this type of capability was previously outside the realms of technical possibility. It combines the most effective capabilities of both radar and optical sensors, without the limitations of either.”

Sentient Vision Systems
Stewart Day
General Manager
T +61 3 9646 3331

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Besides Law Enforcement aircrews flying over major urbans areas, here’s another group doing almost the same thing but with a different focal point. This article from Rotorcraft Pro and written by Larry K. Clark is a very good and informative post on the aerial news & broadcasting profession.

Life of a News Helicopter Pilot

ASOG Desk Editor

(Image: Wikimedia commons - Peter Clarke)

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Yes, I’ve thought of it many times, but, I never really drilled down to some of the details related to this topic. If you’re interested, read this white paper from the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA). Maybe its just me, but the key words “Airlines” and “Pilots” can be interchanged with “Aerial Work” and “Aircrew”…..cybersecurity has no borders or discriminate between crew positions in an aircraft or on an RPA crew…we’re all pretty much working with some kind of remote and connected Gizmo! ...What do you think?  ASOG Desk Editor (Patrick)

Aircraft Cybersecurity: The Pilot’s Perspective

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Are you ready to fly? Are you and your fellow crewmembers fit to fly? Is everyone on the crew current on their training? What is the status of your aircraft and mission systems? How is the weather? Etc.

If you’re a new Airborne Sensor Operator or an ASO as a secondary profession (scientist, photopgrapher, forester, etc.) and have not been exposed to some of the aviation safety tools out there, Part 1, 2 and 3 videos will help you get started, i.e., hopefully get you, your crewmembers and flight organization ready to fly! Also, if you feel like you’re Just-Winging-It when it comes to the flight environment you participate in (organization, crewmembers, etc.), take extra notes!

O’, I don’t want to be over dramatic, but flying can get out-of-hand quickly. This video makes that point, especially at low-level. Think Safety!

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Good Macro Reference

I thought I would share this reference for those members who plan and integrate sensor systems and/or who are just professionally interested, I was doing research for one of my clients and I came across this Wikipedia article: “List of Sensors” 

Maybe its just me, I found this macro view and quick access to basic information regarding the different sensors in our world very useful. Some of these sensors are applicable to aviation/aerial remote-sensing and some are not, but, having a broad understanding of the world of sensors can’t hurt.

Here’s a cut and paste of the list:

Acoustic, sound, vibration
Lace Sensor a guitar pickup
Sound locator

Automotive Sensors
Air flow meter
Air–fuel ratio meter
AFR sensor
Blind spot monitor
Crankshaft position sensor
Engine coolant temperature sensor
Hall effect sensor
Wheel speed sensor
Airbag sensors
Automatic transmission speed sensor
Brake fluid pressure sensor
Camshaft position sensor
Crankshaft position sensor
Engine crankcase pressure sensor
Exhaust gas temperature sensor
Fuel level sensor
Fuel pressure sensor
Knock sensor/Light sensor
MAP sensor
Mass airflow sensor
Oil level sensor
Oil pressure sensor
Oxygen sensor (o2)
Parking sensor
Radar sensor
Speed sensor
Throttle position sensor
Tire pressure sensor
Torque sensor
Transmission fluid temperature sensor
Turbine speed sensor
Variable reluctance sensor
Vehicle speed sensor
Water-in-fuel sensor
Wheel speed sensor

Carbon dioxide sensor
Carbon monoxide detector
Catalytic bead sensor
Chemical field-effect transistor
Electrochemical gas sensor
Electronic nose
Electrolyte–insulator–semiconductor sensor
Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy
Fluorescent chloride sensors
Holographic sensor
Hydrocarbon dew point analyzer
Hydrogen sensor
Hydrogen sulfide sensor
Infrared point sensor
Ion-selective electrode
Nondispersive infrared sensor
Microwave chemistry sensor
Nitrogen oxide sensor
Oxygen sensor
Ozone monitor
pH glass electrode
Potentiometric sensor
Redox electrode
Smoke detector
Zinc oxide nanorod sensor

Electric current, electric potential, magnetic, radio
Current sensor
Daly detector
Electron multiplier
Faraday cup
Hall effect sensor
Hall probe
Magnetic anomaly detector
MEMS magnetic field sensor
Metal detector
Planar Hall sensor
Radio direction finder
Voltage detector

Environment, weather, moisture, humidity
Air pollution sensor
Bedwetting alarm
Dew warning
Electrochemical gas sensor
Fish counter
Frequency domain sensor
Gas detector
Hook gauge evaporimeter
Leaf sensor
Rain gauge
Rain sensor
Snow gauge
Soil moisture sensor
Stream gauge
Tide gauge

Flow, fluid velocity
Air flow meter
Flow sensor
Gas meter
Mass flow sensor
Water meter

Ionizing radiation, subatomic particles
Cloud chamber
Geiger counter
Geiger-Muller tube
Ionisation chamber
Neutron detection
Proportional counter
Scintillation counter
Semiconductor detector
Thermoluminescent dosimeter

Navigation instruments
Air speed indicator
Attitude indicator
Depth gauge
Fluxgate compass
Inertial navigation system
Inertial reference unit
Magnetic compass
MHD sensor
Ring laser gyroscope
Turn coordinator
Vibrating structure gyroscope
Yaw rate sensor

Position, angle, displacement, distance, speed, acceleration
Capacitive displacement sensor
Capacitive sensing
Flex sensor
Free fall sensor
Gyroscopic sensor
Impact sensor
Integrated circuit piezoelectric sensor
Laser rangefinder
Laser surface velocimeter
Linear encoder
Linear variable differential transformer (LVDT)
Liquid capacitive inclinometers
Photoelectric sensor
Piezoelectric accelerometer
Position sensor
Position sensitive device
Angular rate sensor
Rotary encoder
Rotary variable differential transformer
Shock detector
Shock data logger
Tilt sensor
Ultrasonic thickness gauge
Ultra-wideband radar
Variable reluctance sensor
Velocity receiver
Optical, light, imaging, photon[edit]
Charge-coupled device
CMOS sensor
Contact image sensor
Electro-optical sensor
Flame detector
Infra-red sensor
Kinetic inductance detector
LED as light sensor
Light-addressable potentiometric sensor
Nichols radiometer
Fiber optic sensors
Optical position sensor
Thermopile laser sensors
Photomultiplier tubes
Photoelectric sensor
Photoionization detector
Single-photon avalanche diode
Superconducting nanowire single-photon detector
Transition edge sensor
Visible light photon counter
Wavefront sensor
Boost gauge
Bourdon gauge
Hot filament ionization gauge
Ionization gauge
McLeod gauge
Oscillating U-tube
Permanent Downhole Gauge
Pirani gauge
Pressure sensor
Pressure gauge
Tactile sensor
Time pressure gauge

Force, density, level
Force gauge and Force Sensor
Level sensor
Load cell
Magnetic level gauge
Nuclear density gauge
Piezocapacitive pressure sensor
Piezoelectric sensor
Strain gauge
Torque sensor

Thermal, heat, temperature
Bimetallic strip
Exhaust gas temperature gauge
Flame detection
Gardon gauge
Golay cell
Heat flux sensor
Infrared thermometer
Microwave radiometer
Net radiometer
Quartz thermometer
Resistance thermometer
Silicon bandgap temperature sensor
Special sensor microwave/imager
Temperature gauge

Proximity, presence
Alarm sensor
Doppler radar
Motion detector
Occupancy sensor
Proximity sensor
Passive infrared sensor
Reed switch
Stud finder
Triangulation sensor
Touch switch
Wired glove

Sensor technology
Active pixel sensor
Back-illuminated sensor
Capacitance probe
Capacitance sensor
Catadioptric sensor
Carbon paste electrode
Digital sensors
Displacement receiver
Electromechanical film
Electro-optical sensor
Electrochemical fatigue crack sensor
Fabry–Pérot interferometer
Fisheries acoustics
Image sensor
Image sensor format
Inductive sensor
Intelligent sensor
Leaf sensor
Machine vision
Microelectromechanical systems
Quantum sensor
Radar Ground-penetrating radar
Synthetic aperture radar
Radar tracker
Stretch sensor
Sensor array
Sensor fusion
Sensor grid
Sensor node
Soft sensor
Staring array
Ultrasonic sensor
Video sensor
Visual sensor network
Wheatstone bridge
Wireless sensor network

Speed sensor
Speed sensors are machines used to detect the speed of an object, usually a transport vehicle. They include:
Wheel speed sensors
Pitometer logs
Pitot tubes
Airspeed indicators
Piezo sensors (e.g. in a road surface)
Ground speed radar
Doppler radar
ANPR (where vehicles are timed over a fixed distance)
Laser surface velocimeters for moving surfaces

Air pollution sensor
Analog image processing
Atomic force microscopy
Atomic Gravitational Wave Interferometric Sensor
Attitude control (spacecraft): Horizon sensor, Earth sensor, Sun sensor
Catadioptric sensor
Compressive sensing
Cryogenic particle detectors
Dew warning
Diffusion tensor imaging
Digital holography
Electronic tongue
Fine Guidance Sensor
Flat panel detector
Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Glass break detector
Heartbeat sensor
Hyperspectral sensors
IRIS (Biosensor), Interferometric Reflectance Imaging Sensor
Laser beam profiler
Littoral Airborne Sensor/Hyperspectral
Millimeter wave scanner
Magnetic resonance imaging
Moire deflectometry
Molecular sensor
Nano-tetherball Sensor
Omnidirectional camera
Organoleptic sensors
Optical coherence tomography
Phase unwrapping techniques
Polygraph Truth Detection
Positron emission tomography
Push broom scanner
Quantization (signal processing)
Range imaging
Scanning SQUID microscope
Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
SQUID, Superconducting quantum interference device
SSIES, Special Sensors-Ions, Electrons, and Scintillation thermal plasma analysis package
SSMIS, Special Sensor Microwave Imager / Sounder
Structured-light 3D scanner
Sun sensor, Attitude control (spacecraft)
Superconducting nanowire single-photon detector
Thin-film thickness monitor
Time-of-flight camera
TriDAR, Triangulation and LIDAR Automated Rendezvous and Docking
Unattended Ground Sensors


[Image Author: Wikicommons - Jacobst]

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