More fun flying The Predator.

Kevin_Richey

Yamaha gyro...Oregon, USA
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
Messages
2,141
Location
Oregon, USA
Aircraft
Sport Copter gyroplane
Total Flight Time
300+ gyroplane, 11 airplane, 1.5 PPC, AND... a ZILLION hours of flying in my dreams!
Did "Auto-Correct" change "Temporary" to "Temporate" for TFRs?
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
Did "Auto-Correct" change "Temporary" to "Temporate" for TFRs?
No Kevin, I did that myself.

It is one of the symptoms of my traumatic brain injury and my aphasia.

I don’t like to use acronyms without explaining what they mean; it is fixed now so no one else will be misled.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
My father; also Vance Breese was a well-known test pilot and aviation pioneer. His life revolved around aviation. He lost his medical when he was 56 because of a heart attack. He passed away at 69. That is thirteen years of not flying as pilot in command which oddly enough is just about how long I have been flying.

I am a gyroplane flight instructor and my life revolves around aviation. I love sharing my love of flying with clients. The aircraft I fly is too heavy to qualify as light sport although I can train a light sport pilot in it.

At seventy years of age I feel like I am on borrowed time and don’t want to miss any flying time that is available to me.

My Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) retired so I needed to put my aviation life in the hands of a stranger.

Overcoming great trepidation I worked on filling out the form for a week making certain every detail was correct. I had trouble remembering things like when I saw my doctor to get my ears cleaned out. It is a federal form and lying on it is a felony. I took a deep breath and pushed the “file” button.

I worked up my courage and called our newest AME, Dr. Christian, his office is right across from the Santa Maria Airport.

After reading a copy of my form Industrial Medical Group worked me in the next day.

I feared my trepidation would raise my blood pressure and was careful not to eat anything that might throw off my blood sugar.

I felt like Dr. Christian understood how important my medical was to me and worked hard to make everything work. I walked out an hour later with my medical in my hand. It is the first time he had to use a statement of demonstrated ability and feels he needs to charge more for that next time.

I am good for another two years, YYYIIIPPPEEE!!!
 

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DavePA11

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
366
Location
Northborough
Congrats! How many students have you trained now Vance? Must be hard to figure out which ones will be good pilots and which should not be flying.... I have only encountered one person who truly should not have been flying solo....
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
Thank you Dave. I have been fortunate with my health.

I have lost count of the number of clients; more than I ever expected would want to learn to fly a gyroplane.

I worry a lot about signing off each one.

I can’t let go of the memory of the times I needed to say; “MY AIRCRAFT!"

I love to teach people to fly.
 

kolibri282

Active Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
2,822
Location
Duesseldorf
Hi Vance,

great to hear that we can look forward to more exciting stories about flying the predator. I came about your father's name several times eg. when reading the history of the B-25, one truly iconic WWII aircraft and the Vultee Vengeance, a plane that is, in my opinion, underrated. Obviously he passed the aircraft gene on to you. Hope you'll have (at least) another two years of great flying and great fun!
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
A part of what I love about aviation is aviators.

I have a lot of cancelations for flight instruction around the holidays because life gets in the way.

Sunday was forecast to be very windy so it was just as well I didn’t have a low time client coming.

EAA chapter 170 had their meeting at the San Luis Obispo airport (SBP) so it seemed like a good way to combine my love of flying with my love of aviators.

I checked the weather and the terminal aerodrome forecast showing the wind becoming two four zero degrees at seventeen knots gusting to twenty seven knots at my estimated time of arrival. There were multiple pilot reports of moderate turbulence and one of severe turbulence near SBP.

I departed from Santa Maria (SMX) with winds three zero zero degrees at thirteen knots; the Automatic Terminal Information System (ATIS) at SBP had winds at three one zero degrees at 12kts.

The cool air combined with the head wind made for a very short takeoff roll and steep climb out.

I ran her up to seventy knots of indicated air speed and was showing forty eight knots of ground speed flying over Nipomo at one thousand three hundred feet mean sea level.

I caught a lot of lift near the foothills indicating to me that the wind had changed since the ATIS at SBP was issued forty five minutes ago.

Being solo gave me time to enjoy the magic of low and slow flight in an open aircraft. The air was crisp and clean and the ocean was a deep azure blue.

I called San Luis Obispo tower from twelve miles to the south west and got what I suspect was the new guy. He cleared me to land from eight miles out despite my ground speed of less than fifty knots being displayed on his radar. He had to modify the clearance four times and had me stay a mile south of the centerline eventually making a left base entry for runway two nine. He gave me a gratuitous wind check of two one zero degrees at sixteen knots gusting to twenty seven knots. I requested a long landing to taxiway Whisky and it was approved.

I knew people from the meeting would be watching my landing and was relieved when it worked out as nice as could be despite the turbulence.

As I turned off at Whisky one of the two WACOs for the meeting piloted by a friend (Dave) was nose to nose with me and I left on my anti-collision light to help him spot me and know he could proceed because I wanted my rotor under control before getting near people at the meeting. You can’t see much over the nose of that big radial. We often share the air around SBP and seeing his WACO always gives me a thrill.

I have been seventy years old for a while and am always looking for signs that I am winding down and there are lots of them.

Barry, our speaker is an eighty year old that has restored two WACOs and is in the process of restoring a third. That is his blue and cream 1931 WACO QCF in the picture.

Barry is an encyclopedia of WACO information and has many of the original blue prints in his hanger.

He has been known to lead air tours for antique airplanes and often camps out. Barry typically flies and plans with paper charts and loves to fly a thousand feet above the ground.

His response to my quire about trusting his 1931 engine at low altitude was; “you can land them about anywhere and they are built rugged so you probably won’t get killed if things don’t work out.”

Barry’s response to my quire about navigation was; “I follow the terrain, roads and railroad tracks.”

I loved his passion for aviation and willingness to share it with others.

Barry is an inspiration to me.

I had a thirty knot tail wind on the way home and waved at my wife and granddaughter over Nipomo.

As I basked in the afterglow of the flight my head was filled with the allure of my next decade flying, having aviation adventures and gyroplanes.

I hope to give a talk to an EAA chapter in ten years and inspire some youngster.
 

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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
I love being a gyroplane flight instructor.

Mike is an affable, articulate enthusiastic pilot that wanted to learn about flying a gyroplane. He lives three hundred seventy miles south east of Santa Maria. We decided the best thing was my all day introductory deal and in a subsequent call we agreed to meet at the Santa Maria Public airport at 9:00 Saturday, December 20. He let me know he was seventy wondering if that would be a problem. I too was born in 1949.

Mike is a flight instructors dream. He arrived early; he had read the gyroplane portion of The Rotorcraft Flying Handbook and had multiple good questions. Mike listened well and I didn’t have to repeat anything. I gave him a choice and he chose to have me teach him about the preflight inspection rather than just hurry up and fly. I had done most of the inspection the night before.

He understood why I called flight service for weather even though our proposed flight to San Luis Obispo was only twenty two nautical miles direct with light winds and blue skies. He was very patient with me during the two and a half hours of ground instruction. I have found this protracted ground instruction makes a big difference on how a first flight goes.

Mike is rated fixed wing single engine land and glider. Most of his powered pilot in command time was from forty years ago. As I went through his log book it told a story of a pilot who loves to fly but doesn’t fly a lot of cross country and most of his recent time is in gliders.

As we went over our proposed route on a sectional chart we got into a lively discussion on classes of airspace, restricted airspace, and things like the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes wildlife preservation area. He even knew what a snowy plover was. Most pilots look at a sectional chart and completely miss the many wildlife conservation areas and are sketchy about the boundaries and requirements of our national airspace system.

We were ready to launch at 11:30 with blue skies and calm winds.

I talked Mike through the check lists and the takeoff and gave him all the flight controls about 300 feet above the ground. After some minor pitch excursions Mike got a feel for the controls and flew well beyond practical test standards.



I took the controls briefly and demonstrated steep turns, a pedal turn, slow flight and a power off vertical descent before I gave him back the controls. He was cautious about descending to six hundred feet along the shoreline. His ground reference control along the curved shoreline was exceptional and he halved the practical test standards.

After checking the local weather (ATIS) I contacted San Luis Obispo tower over Shell Beach and air traffic control instructed us to make left traffic for runway two niner.

Mike did a great job of managing the somewhat tricky pattern entry so I let him fly all the way to turning base when I took over the controls to land. Based on our afternoon of flying; in retrospect I suspect I could have talked him through the landing.

As we secured the gyroplane we had a gang of five come by to see the unusual aircraft and exchange pleasantries. I explained that it was Mike’s first flight and he had such a big smile I gave one of the pilot’s out of Santa Barbara my card.

For me this is part of the fun of flying a gyroplane.

We had a nice relaxed debrief over lunch at The Spirit of San Luis and Mike decided he would like to learn how to land and take off so we briefed for turns around a point and S turns over a road in preparation for his first landing. This air work typically takes around forty minutes as there is a lot to learn and this combined with the 42 minute flight back to Santa Maria makes for a long lesson. Sunset was at 4:54 and night adds a very different sight picture so I had to watch the time.

Mike did very well in the ground reference maneuvers and knocked about twenty minutes off the ground reference maneuvers.

I have only demonstrated the one landing at San Luis Obispo and I typically demonstrate the first landing at Santa Maria. Mike was doing so well I took the throttle and pedals and had him land. Mike’s first landing was a thing of beauty, slow, smooth touch down on the centerline.

I took the controls briefly for the takeoff and gave them back to Mike.

We did a few more patterns and I had Mike make the last takeoff before we stopped for fuel and to debrief. Balancing on the mains eluded him and 160 horsepower pulled us into the air at very low indicated airspeed on a mildly divergent path. I was reminded that attempting to lift off at 25kts indicated airspeed in the fixed wings I have flown would not go well where as in a gyroplane I just told Mike to lower the nose.

After a debrief and filling up on our third mission Mike made all but the first takeoff and continually improved. I gave him the pedals and he had a period of adjustment.

We were working toward an engine at idle landing when we ran out of daylight.

Those that have flown with me know I have a low fear threshold and surprisingly I never said “MY AIRCRAFT” with Mike at the controls.

We pretty much covered everything Mike will need for a Sport Pilot, Gyroplane add on rating.

I love introducing pilots to gyroplane flight and carried that warm glow into the evening and relive it as I write this.
 

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StanFoster

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
Messages
16,895
Location
Paxton, Il
Aircraft
Helicycle N360SF
Total Flight Time
1250
Vance...Its great to revisit this forum after a few years and find you better than ever. Take care and keep enjoying life to the fullest!

Stan
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
Vance...Its great to revisit this forum after a few years and find you better than ever. Take care and keep enjoying life to the fullest!

Stan
Thank you Stan, I miss you my friend.

The Rotary Wing Forum is diminished by your absence.

I love being a flight instructor and I still love sharing the fun of flying gyroplanes.

I continue to learn and improve so it holds my interest.
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
Worth the effort!

I am always working at becoming a better flight instructor and recently I have been working on getting a GoPro camera to help with training ever since a client had mounted a camera on my rear altimeter and I could read the instruments as well as see the pitch of the aircraft. I had seen other video set ups and they did not have the impact of this view.

Keeping eyes outside and not getting focused on the flight instruments is one of my primary focuses in flight training and I feel the video will reinforce this simple truth.

In a gyroplane things happen slowly and if I fly by the instruments I am always behind the aircraft and meeting the practical test standards becomes a challenge.

I felt the video demonstrated the relationship of pitch to airspeed, power for altitude and the inherent lag.

I found learning to make radio calls difficult and often wondered what I had said and what I had left out. I continue to work to improve my radio calls and still take a deep breath before pushing the push to talk button. There are things the tower must hear like reading back hold short instructions with the runway number and full call sign. I found it easy to leave some element the need out. I still tend to try to match the speed of the controller and at some point it becomes too garbled to understand.

I would have loved to hear my radio calls and practice read backs when I was not busy flying the aircraft. Some of my clients have disputed my assessment of their radio calls and most feel I am too picky about the content of radio calls.

I had heard that they had improved image stabilization on the GoPro Hero 8 so I purchased a GoPro Hero 8 and a chord to hook it up to my radio and intercom.

Each time I would try the latest setup I would fly three patterns and then find out how it came out, often in the late afternoon and I was often disappointed and had to wait till the next day to try the fix.

I cannot see the viewer when I am in the seat or what mode it is recording in.

I mounted it on top of my airspeed indicator where the client had and got a nice shot of the arm of my flight suit. I am taller, fatter and have broader shoulders than the client.

I moved the camera out to the side and still could not see the instruments for my sleeve so I next mounted it on my arm. The chord does not stay put well so I needed a way to secure it. That sort of worked except plugging, unplugging and securing things became a distraction.

I need to stay focused on my client and how he is flying so a distraction is problematic.

I tried it on my chest and felt the view of outside was not as good as it could be and plugging in the audio was still a distraction.

Sometime in the night it came to me that if I moved the camera forward it could do better job of shooting around my arm and capturing my instruments. When I arrived at the airport I discovered there was no place handy to mount it.

Using a piece of angle aluminum I fabricated a small shelf that bolts to the body and sticks out from the body and had a friend move the camera around until I got the view I wanted and then trimmed the shelf to make it look less obtrusive.

The patch chord for the audio doesn’t stay in the receptacle well so I needed to find a way to secure the chord.

My first flight with the shelf mounting I accidently had it on the fast motion setting where it looks completely crazy and does not record the sound.

By the time I found this out it was getting dark so I had to wait for another day.

One of the changes they made on the GoPro Hero 8 is the door that holds the battery in also covers the receptacle for the audio. The nice young man at Best Buy suggested I remove the door and felt the battery would stay in.

I found out on the next flight he was wrong so back to Best Buy for a GoPro Hero 7 which has a separate door for the battery and an opening where I can hook up the audio. I have since found a door for the Hero 8 that looks like it will work nicely.

The first client I tried it out on learned a lot from hearing his radio calls.

We had done recognition and recovery from low airspeed and a high rate of descent. It was a perfect demonstration of the lag from what the aircraft is doing to what the flight instruments say. It turned out that despite my admonishment to keep his eyes outside my client was using the altimeter and the vertical speed indicator (VSI) to recognize the beginning of the descent. We have a video where the horizon clearly shows the descent had begun when the VSI was still showing 600 feet per minute climb.

Reviewing the video after the lesson was a wonderful debrief tool and I hope to learn how to better utilize this teaching tool. We had two hours and eighteen minutes worth of video and he left with the video on a microchip.

I spent four hours analyzing the video the next day and found lots of good lessons.

Eventually I will learn to edit and post videos; today I spent more than an hour just learning to capture stills from the videos.

1. The latest iteration mount.

2. The perfect takeoff holding the nose just off the ground and lifting off at 50kts.

3. For recognition and recovery from low air speed and a high rate of descent he slowed to 25kts at cruise power and beginning the descent with the vertical speed indicator still showing 600 feet per minute climb.

3. Up the beach at 600 feet mean sea level and 50kts.

4. Coming into the Edna Valley with good airspeed (51kts) and altitude (720 feet).

5. Approach to runway two niner at San Luis Obispo with good airspeed (48kts) and good rate of descent at 1,400 engine rpm (800 feet per minute) with 20kt gusts from the left.
 

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Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
7,428
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
I have been seventy years old for a while and am always looking for signs that I am winding down and there are lots of them.
Vance we are still young.

 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
7,428
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Looking good Vance. :)
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
I had the good fortune to fly with Jon; an Airline Transport pilot with more than 18,000 hours of pilot in command time. He had also been an Air Force T38 instructor pilot in the Air Force.

He wanted to find out what it was like to fly a gyroplane despite claiming to not understand how they fly.

We briefed for about an hour and a half before taking to the air.

I managed the takeoff and climb out and gave him the controls.

He had listened well and even knew when he was not doing something correctly as he struggled to abandon his fixed wing habits.

We flew down California Highway One to my practice area at 1,300 feet MSL and I gave a brief demonstration of steep turns, a pedal turn and a power off vertical descent lowering the nose to recover.

I gave Jon back the controls and he did a clockwise and anticlockwise turn around a point and some S turns over a road before I told him to just do whatever he wanted as he was already flying to practical test standards.

He slowed to around 30kts indicated air speed and maneuvered around for a while managing his power and altitude well.

I asked him if he felt ready to do a landing and he said yes with what I felt was not much conviction.

The flight back was smoother than the flight out even though the wind and turbulence had picked up. Jon managed the entry to the pattern well. There was an occasional hint of over control and I asked Jon not to do that when we get near the ground.

At 800 feet MSL (550 feet above the ground) I took the throttle and pedals and Jon landed nicely with very little coaching. He responded definitively to what little coaching I gave him with a nice round out and gentle touchdown.

During our debrief he reminded me that it had been a very long time since he had done turns around a point or S turns over a road.

I felt he did great.

Jon said his biggest struggle was power for altitude and pitch for speed.

He was also a little cold.

It turns out Jon is a very high end motorcycle enthusiast and has quite a collection including two of my favorites, a Moto Guzzi V Sport and a Norton Commando. He had also been to the Isle of Mann so we had fun sharing motorcycle stories.

I am hoping he will be back for more flying and friendship.

84. Jon in his first minutes flying a gyroplane

88. Jon turning into my practice area.

1. I took the controls and demonstrated a steep turn to the left.

2. A steep turn to the right.

3. A power off vertical descent showing less than 15kts indicated air speed flying into a 13kt headwind.

4. Nose down for recovery from a power off vertical descent showing more than fifteen hundred feet per minute descent and just getting to forty knots indicated air speed.

91. California Highway One back toward the Santa Maria Public Airport.

92. Jon with The Predator.
 

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Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
I learned a lot from Ted.

I flew up to San Luis Obispo (SBP) for our EAA meeting and had the good fortune to meet Ted; his badge read new guy so I engaged him in conversation to help him feel welcome.

He wants to be a Sport Pilot but has not yet begun flight instruction.

I found his enthusiasm for aviation delightful and together we engaged several fixed wing flight instructors.

He expressed interest in The Predator but no real enthusiasm for gyroplanes.

He specifically wanted tail dragger training.

After the meeting John, our chapter president offered to give Ted a ride back from Santa Maria if I would give Ted a flight.

It is a recipe for low plot performance to rush through a briefing and yet I wanted him to have as much stick time as practical and I was not night current so we did hurry. It had to be a record for me, a half hour preflight and a forty minute preflight briefing including seat belts, experimental aircraft and emergency procedures. This is typically a two and a half hour process for me.

Ted listened well and asked good questions. He seemed to retain what I was saying.

I did not get a weather briefing beyond ATIS which had us taking off on runway two niner with a tail wind.

There were five aircraft in the pattern when we lined up for departure and called the tower at SBP.

I am using the new GoPro to improve my radio calls and it is working. I slowed down enough to not garble my words asking for a left downwind departure to the east, south east with an early left cross.

I repeated the hold short instructions and waited watching the wind sock twitch around.

Left down wind was approved and my early cross wind was approved and we were off and flying.

I was told of an inbound Cessna at my twelve o’clock on a left base for runway two niner. I searched the skies in vain and reported negative contact.

I gave Ted the controls as we were over the hills at the edge of the Edna Valley and he managed the three step process perfectly.

It was clear from the first moments that Ted had listened well and had real talent.

At first he was a little late and overly cautious on the throttle; airspeed and heading were great; well within practical test standards.

He had very smooth control inputs and a nice sense of bank as we aimed first for the volcano and then the water tower.

I explained how to find the airport and to my amazement he found it from eight miles away with a somewhat hesitant “I think I have the airport in sight”.

His altitude control was getting better and I didn’t take the controls back till we were on a right downwind for runway three zero.

We were cleared to land and I talked him through the landing process as I performed each step. It was not as nice a landing as I would have liked.

We taxied to fuel and John was already waiting at my hangar.

Ted has skydived and flown hang gliders in some very challenging environments and yet he had great fun flying The Predator.

The particular thing that got him excited about flying The Predator was how engaging it was and for him that was fun. He remarked about how quickly things got off track with any lack of focus. Overall he had a very fun flight.

His enthusiasm and ability to articulate his thoughts and feelings reminded me what about flying holds my interest.

I need to be on my game to be a good pilot and flight instructor, the learning never stops.

4. Ted flying over Arroyo Grande in his first minutes of flight.

6. The pacific looked silvery in the afternoon overcast.

7. The hills off to our left from 1,300 feet.

8. Teds smile seems to be growing as we make out way south east along California 101.
 

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okikuma

Member
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
1,910
Location
Santa Clarita, CA
Happy New Year Vance,

As always, your eloquent description of your flying adventures is a joy to read.

Missed seeing you at Open Hanger Day at Santa Paula Airport, KSZP at the beginning of the month.

There was an all red Calidus flying around for a short while when I was visting with Pat at his hanger, however I was unable to view the "N" number to find out who the owner was.

Wayne
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
15,825
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2200+ in rotorcraft
Glad to have you along Wayne.
I do not have my ADS-B out yet due to a supplier holdup and I don't like to fly over the wilderness area.
At this time I don't have an expected resolution date.
 

lindandavid

Newbie
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
66
Location
Alto, NM
Aircraft
RAF2000
Total Flight Time
8000+
Thank you Leigh, that brightened my day.
Also 70, but I give thanks for every day that I can still do the things I love to do and see every day as a new adventure. Our recent conversation was enjoyable and informative. Looking forward to picking up the gyro. I haven't run an ad on the Mosquito but if you bump in to anyone looking for one, steer them my direction.
 
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