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tetranz
04-07-2009, 07:55 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/07/stolen.plane.pilot/index.html

What would have happened if he had crossed back across the border? Would the US Airforce have followed him into Canadian airspace? Police in Canada presumably would have wanted to arrest him for stealing the plane but Canada may not have bothered sending out their airforce.

friedo
04-07-2009, 08:04 AM
NORAD is a joint US-Canadian command, and can probably (I'm guessing) pursue a stolen aircraft across the border.

Northern Piper
04-07-2009, 11:02 AM
Police in Canada presumably would have wanted to arrest him for stealing the plane but Canada may not have bothered sending out their airforce.
Why not? Canada has the same concerns about international terrorism, plus has very close relations and cooperation with the US on security, such as NORAD.

Waffle Decider
04-07-2009, 11:04 AM
I must be painful for an F16 to follow a C172 for hours, considering their speed difference. Wouldn't a fast helicopter be more suited to the job?

Tom Tildrum
04-07-2009, 11:12 AM
I must be painful for an F16 to follow a C172 for hours, considering their speed difference. Wouldn't a fast helicopter be more suited to the job?

I picture it circling and circling the slower plane.

Really Not All That Bright
04-07-2009, 11:24 AM
I must be painful for an F16 to follow a C172 for hours, considering their speed difference. Wouldn't a fast helicopter be more suited to the job?
Helicopters don't have the range for sustained pursuit. Most won't go 1,000 miles without stopping for fuel.

Muffin
04-07-2009, 12:04 PM
He now says that he wanted to be shot down. He is a college student in the aviation program here in Thunder Bay who has been having emotional difficulties recently.

I wonder if he will get extra credit for having more flight hours?

ralph124c
04-07-2009, 12:23 PM
This fool is damn lucky he wasn't shot down. I am quite sure that , had he mad any suspicious moves (like flying toward acity), the F-16 pilot would have pushed a button, and this guy would have been vaporized

friedo
04-07-2009, 12:38 PM
I dunno about that, Ralph. How much damage can one realistically cause in a Cessna 172?

I remember a few years ago, some joker deliberately crashed one into an office building and broke a few windows. Seems like it would be a lot more dangerous to blow it up.

Elendil's Heir
04-07-2009, 01:04 PM
I dunno about that, Ralph. How much damage can one realistically cause in a Cessna 172?....

I certainly wouldn't be complacent. It depends on where it crashes... and what it's carrying: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/09/13/us/crash-white-house-overview-unimpeded-intruder-crashes-plane-into-white-house.html?pagewanted=1

Really Not All That Bright
04-07-2009, 01:13 PM
I remember a few years ago, some joker deliberately crashed one into an office building and broke a few windows. Seems like it would be a lot more dangerous to blow it up.
If you're talking about this crash (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_New_York_City_plane_crash), there's no evidence that the plane was crashed on purpose... and it was a residential building, not office building.

KevRev
04-07-2009, 01:28 PM
If you're talking about this crash (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_New_York_City_plane_crash), there's no evidence that the plane was crashed on purpose... and it was a residential building, not office building.

He is more likely referencing the crash is Tampa FL (www.cnn.com/2002/US/01/06/tampa.crash/index.html) when a 15-year-old committed suicide by crashing into an office building.

friedo
04-07-2009, 06:14 PM
He is more likely referencing the crash is Tampa FL (www.cnn.com/2002/US/01/06/tampa.crash/index.html) when a 15-year-old committed suicide by crashing into an office building.

That was the one.

friedo
04-07-2009, 06:19 PM
There was also the time when a guy crashed into the White House during Clinton's term. Was that also a 172? It barely dented the wall.

Northern Piper
04-07-2009, 06:57 PM
cited by Elendil's Heir in post #10.

Broomstick
04-07-2009, 07:55 PM
What would have happened if he had crossed back across the border? Would the US Airforce have followed him into Canadian airspace? Police in Canada presumably would have wanted to arrest him for stealing the plane but Canada may not have bothered sending out their airforce
Canada has its own airforce and presumably they would have taken over pursuit if he had recrossed the border. Canadian pilots are just as capable as American pilots, and its inconceivable that they would be incapable of dealing with the situation. Canada does not need US help to deal with a runaway Cessna within its airspace.

I must be painful for an F16 to follow a C172 for hours, considering their speed difference. Wouldn't a fast helicopter be more suited to the job?
As noted, most helicopters do not have the long-range capability to follow a fully fueled Cessna for that length of time. Although difficult, the guys who fly F16's are arguably some of our best pilots and hey, they're paid to do things like this.

I wonder if he will get extra credit for having more flight hours?
LOL :D

This fool is damn lucky he wasn't shot down. I am quite sure that , had he mad any suspicious moves (like flying toward acity), the F-16 pilot would have pushed a button, and this guy would have been vaporized
I doubt very much the airforce is trigger happy. Shooting an airplane down leaves the problem of where the wreckage will fall. It's a last resort, because it carries an inherent hazard to whoever may be on the ground beneath.

However, an F-16 wouldn't need to shoot a Cessna 172 to cause it to crash - the wake from an F-16 flying at high speed passing in close proximity to small airplane can be enough to not only cause the pilot to lose control, but also sufficient to literally tear the smaller airplane apart. There are accidents on record of this sort of thing happening unintentionally (usually when one of the two planes strays into airspace it should have stayed out of).

I dunno about that, Ralph. How much damage can one realistically cause in a Cessna 172?
Well, you can certainly destroy the Cessna...

Realistically, based on the accident record, a fully-fueled Cessna crashing into a typical building is going to cause some structural damage and maybe a fire (though not always a fire). Anyone at the precise point of impact stands a good chance of being killed, as does anyone aboard the airplane. That's the worst case scenario. Based on the accident record, smashing into a skyscraper isn't going to cause a 9/11 style building collapse/fire/mass carnage event.

(Note this does not include doing something like carrying a bomb on a Cessna, or some such other weapon-aided event, about which I'd prefer not to speculate too much on in public, other than to say the payload on a Cessna 172 is limited due to physics as well as regulation so even then the damage is limited compared to larger, faster airplanes.)

There was also the time when a guy crashed into the White House during Clinton's term. Was that also a 172? It barely dented the wall.
It was a Cessna 150, which is smaller and lighter than a Cessna 172

Muffin
04-07-2009, 08:31 PM
I just turned on the TV, only to see a commercial from the fellow's flight school from which he stole the plane: "There are exciting things happening at Confederation College."

Who said there isn't truth in advertising.

Muffin
04-07-2009, 09:02 PM
Canada has its own airforce and presumably they would have taken over pursuit if he had recrossed the border. Canadian pilots are just as capable as American pilots, and its inconceivable that they would be incapable of dealing with the situation. Canada does not need US help to deal with a runaway Cessna within its airspace.Yes.

It was NORAD that controlled the situation (NORAD has been fully integrated between Canada and the USA for about fifty years), so NORAD would simply have passed off the task to Canadian planes (out of Winnipeg), just as it did when it passed off between planes from the Minnesota and Wisconsin Air National Guards, and was prepared to pass off to a Louisiana Air National Guard that it had also scrambled.

http://www.public-action.com/911/norad/[NORAD's]Canadian Air Division is the military organization responsible for providing combat-ready air forces to meet Canada's commitments to the defence of North America and to maintain the sovereignty of Canadian airspace.

Xema
04-07-2009, 09:03 PM
Although difficult, the guys who fly F16's are arguably some of our best pilots and hey, they're paid to do things like this.
Hard to see why it's difficult for an F-16 pilot to track a 172.


Shooting an airplane down leaves the problem of where the wreckage will fall.
In any 783-mile trip, there's going to be plenty of opportunities over pastures, woods and other minimally populated areas.


an F-16 wouldn't need to shoot a Cessna 172 to cause it to crash - the wake from an F-16 flying at high speed passing in close proximity to small airplane can be enough to not only cause the pilot to lose control, but also sufficient to literally tear the smaller airplane apart.

I seriously question the practicality of this, and whether F-16 pilots are trained for it. (And I'll note that wake turbulence is greatest at low speed, and least at high speed.)

The M61 20mm cannon would do the job well, with minimal risk to anything but the 172.

Muffin
04-07-2009, 09:09 PM
Except that there was no reason to kill the fellow.

The pros made the right call.

Broomstick
04-07-2009, 09:16 PM
Hard to see why it's difficult for an F-16 pilot to track a 172.
Tracking isn't the problem. Flying slow enough not to outrun it, while simultaneously avoiding a stall, is the tricky part. I note in my reference materials about "what you as a private pilot in a small airplane should do if intercepted" that the intercepting airplane may use slowflight, have flaps and gear down, and engage in S-turns in order to maintain flight speed while intercepting an object that moves slower than a fighter jet. I'm sure all of these maneuvers are trivial for F-16 pilots (they're pretty trivial for me, come to think of it, and I don't pretend to be some sort of extraordinary pilot), but they aren't normal flight either.

In any 783-mile trip, there's going to be plenty of opportunities over pastures, woods and other minimally populated areas.
Yes, but I fail to see any merit in summary execution of wayward airplanes. Especially wayward airplanes that can't pose much threat. Or don't you think it better if in the end no one gets hurt? Shooting an airplane down should very much be a last resort, not a first one.

I seriously question the practicality of this, and whether F-16 pilots are trained for it. (And I'll note that wake turbulence is greatest at low speed, and least at high speed.)
Yes, bullets have much in their favor as anti-aircraft devices. My point was that an F-16 does not need to be armed to be dangerous. In fact, prior to 9/11 intercepts of civilian aircraft were routinely done with unarmed aircraft. Clearly, the military doesn't seen Cessna as much of a threat.

The M61 20mm cannon would do the job well, with minimal risk to anything but the 172.
What about people the airplane might fall on? Even in rural areas there are people. I just don't see any merit in unnecessary destruction.

Muffin
04-07-2009, 09:31 PM
Come to think of it, when 9/11 took place, Canadian LGen Eric Findley was in the command chair at NORAD headquarters: http://www.norad.mil/News/2008/060308.html .

Let the conspiracy nuts run with this for a while.

Xema
04-07-2009, 09:44 PM
Flying slow enough not to outrun it, while simultaneously avoiding a stall, is the tricky part.
But except when trying to make eye contact with the 172 pilot, there's no reason for the F-16 to fly as slowly as the 172, and indeed good reason not to: the F-16's fuel consumption and thus flight duration will be much worse at very low speed. Instead, just fly around at efficient speeds, keeping track of the 172 (which does not need an F-16 within 200 yards to be prevented from escaping).


I fail to see any merit in summary execution of wayward airplanes.
There is no merit in it, nor did I propose any. My point was that, should an F-16 pilot wish to do so, in a 783-mile flight there's no challenge in finding a safe place to shoot down a light plane. Other than by following busy highways, I think it would be tough to find a 783-mile route anywhere in the US along more than 20% of which a crashing 172 would have a decent chance of causing injury.


My point was that an F-16 does not need to be armed to be dangerous.
True. But what you're proposing sounds likely to be relatively ineffective, potentially dangerous to the F-16, and well outside normal training. The cannon looks to be much better in every way.

HorseloverFat
04-07-2009, 09:49 PM
Fun fact: A cessna crashed on the whitehouse lawn when Clinton was in office. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Eugene_Corder)

The amount of damage that can be done is pretty small, but as a terror tool it can be successful. Just hit one grade school and it will make press, probably kill a few people, and start a fire.

Seconding, he's lucky he wasnt shot down or forced down.

carnivorousplant
04-07-2009, 10:03 PM
I wish policemen in traffic pursuit were as responsible as F-16 pilots. :)

Duckster
04-07-2009, 10:10 PM
I dunno about that, Ralph. How much damage can one realistically cause in a Cessna 172?

Well, let's see. What if he had explosives on board, it was mid July and the Brewers were playing to a sold out crowd at Miller Field? That little Cessna crashing into a stadium filled with 41,000 souls could do quite a bit of damage. After all, it passed over the Wisconsin Capitol and the F-16s did nothing. Whose to say by the time folks realized what was occurring, it would already be too late.

Now, allow me to adjust my tinfoil hat. He's a sleeper. His job was to probe air defenses crossing from Canada across the border into the US. What was learned? It's possible it can be done, you will be watched, but nothing will be done about it. Seems to me that the next time this happens, the ultimate result will not be landing on a county road, popping into a local store and waiting to be caught.

Of course, the next time it happens, pick the border crossing with Washington, Idaho or northwest Montana. Stay below the ridge lines and one can penetrate deep into America before being caught. The drug planes do it all the time.

Muffin
04-07-2009, 10:15 PM
But Ralph, remember that he stole the plane that was in for refuelling at the flight school. That indicates that it wasn't packed with explosives.

Besides, crossing the border triggered a reaction from NORAD. If he really wanted to crash into something, he simply would have heisted a small plane from near his target.

Elendil's Heir
04-07-2009, 10:21 PM
Fun fact: A cessna crashed on the whitehouse lawn when Clinton was in office. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Eugene_Corder)....

Pssst. See posts 10 and 14.

Muffin
04-07-2009, 10:25 PM
cited by Elendil's Heir in post #10.

Pssst. See posts 10 and 14.Well, it's official, Elendil's Heir, you're invisible to Doper radar.

mlees
04-08-2009, 12:12 AM
(Note this does not include doing something like carrying a bomb on a Cessna, or some such other weapon-aided event, about which I'd prefer not to speculate too much on in public, other than to say the payload on a Cessna 172 is limited due to physics as well as regulation so even then the damage is limited compared to larger, faster airplanes.)

Umm.. if the guy wants to commit mass murder, I dont think a regulation is going to stop him from trying to overload his plane. Maybe common sense will, but not a regulation. :)

Raguleader
04-08-2009, 12:34 AM
Umm.. if the guy wants to commit mass murder, I dont think a regulation is going to stop him from trying to overload his plane. Maybe common sense will, but not a regulation. :)

Beyond a certain point, the laws of physics will stop him from overloading his plane and doing anything productive with it. Any given airplane will be able to lift X amount of weight. This includes crew, passengers, fuel, payload, and the airplane itself. If you carry more payload (more explosives), you have to carry less fuel if you want the plane to get airborne, which limits your range and choice of targets. You could strap a Cessna 172 to a Fat Boy bomb, but it won't get very far with it.

Magiver
04-08-2009, 12:46 AM
However, an F-16 wouldn't need to shoot a Cessna 172 to cause it to crash - the wake from an F-16 flying at high speed passing in close proximity to small airplane can be enough to not only cause the pilot to lose control, but also sufficient to literally tear the smaller airplane apart. There are accidents on record of this sort of thing happening unintentionally (usually when one of the two planes strays into airspace it should have stayed out of).
I've seen a video of a military jet passing a Tri-Pacer head-on and it did nothing.

Magiver
04-08-2009, 01:24 AM
A 172 could haul 500 lbs of explosives plus full fuel so that would be a serious threat.

A Turkish immigrant changes his name and attends a flight school prior to stealing a plane. My first thought was that it was a test to see the reaction of NORAD.

Raguleader
04-08-2009, 01:36 AM
A 172 could haul 500 lbs of explosives plus full fuel so that would be a serious threat.

A Turkish immigrant changes his name and attends a flight school prior to stealing a plane. My first thought was that it was a test to see the reaction of NORAD.

Well, true, but then the hard part would be casually loading 500 pounds of explosives onto a plane that doesn't belong to you without being noticed. Well, assuming that getting 500 pounds of explosives isn't the hard part, I really don't know. Would 500 pounds of those little cap gun cap rings do anything other than blow your thumbnail off?

Hail Ants
04-08-2009, 04:02 AM
The protocol may have changed, but I seem to remember a while back when a Lear Jet with a famous golfer was found to be unresponsive to ATC (turned out the environmental system had failed and all aboard were unconscious/dead) and it too was trailed by fighters to be potentially shot down to avoid crashing into a populated area, it was stated that the President himself has to give the final ok for this (was Clinton at the time).

BTW, they didn't shoot it down, it ran out of fuel and thankfully crashed in an uninhabited area.

Muffin
04-08-2009, 07:46 AM
Well, true, but then the hard part would be casually loading 500 pounds of explosives onto a plane that doesn't belong to you without being noticed.Particularly since immediatly prior to its being refuelled it was in use by other students who were still present nearby.

Xema
04-08-2009, 08:50 AM
Beyond a certain point, the laws of physics will stop him from overloading his plane and doing anything productive with it. Any given airplane will be able to lift X amount of weight.
Regulations impose a hard limit; physics not so much. On a cool day with a long enough runway, most aircraft can get airborne while seriously overloaded. Maximum achievable altitude will be lower and safety will be compromised in various ways.

Northern Piper
04-08-2009, 12:16 PM
The protocol may have changed, but I seem to remember a while back when a Lear Jet with a famous golfer was found to be unresponsive to ATC (turned out the environmental system had failed and all aboard were unconscious/dead) and it too was trailed by fighters to be potentially shot down to avoid crashing into a populated area, it was stated that the President himself has to give the final ok for this (was Clinton at the time).

BTW, they didn't shoot it down, it ran out of fuel and thankfully crashed in an uninhabited area.
Payne Stewart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payne_Stewart#Death) - the plane travelled on auto-pilot from Orlando to South Dakota, where it crashed.

However, the Pentagon denied that there were any plans to shoot it down: There was some speculation that military jets were prepared to shoot down the Lear if it threatened to crash in a heavily populated area. Officials at the Pentagon strongly denied that possibility. "Shooting down the plane was never an option," Air Force spokesman Capt. Joe Della Vedova said. "I don't know where that came from."

Broomstick
04-08-2009, 12:18 PM
Regulations impose a hard limit; physics not so much. On a cool day with a long enough runway, most aircraft can get airborne while seriously overloaded. Maximum achievable altitude will be lower and safety will be compromised in various ways.
If he was able to get up to 14,000 feet the airplane did NOT have 500 lbs of anything on board!

Sure, you can stuff a lot of nasty stuff into a Cessna 172, but doing so, aside from not getting caught, will change how the airplane flies. And there's only so much you can load inside before it simply won't get off the ground at all. In the hypothetical scenario where some Bad Guy loads 500 lbs of explosive, full fuel (also a couple hundred pounds), and himself (let's say 200 lbs of person) into the airplane that thing is going to be wallowing through the air. That's assuming it doesn't throw the weight and balance into an unstable situation that makes the airplane difficult or impossible to control.

Could a Cessna 172 cause some serious damage? Yes, potentially it could. But your average car bomb can carry more explosives and, with a straight-away, can go almost as fast into the side of a building. That's one reason carbombs are more common than airplanebombs (there are others, of course). Personally, I worry a lot more about someone stealing one of those tanker-trucks full of gasoline than I worry about small Cessnas crashing into buildings. The tanker truck would do a hell of a lot more damage.

Elendil's Heir
04-08-2009, 02:39 PM
Well, it's official, Elendil's Heir, you're invisible to Doper radar.

Hmmm. Now the only question is, should I use my powers for good or evil...? :cool:

As to Payne Stewart, I seem to remember a Newsweek article shortly afterwards about President Clinton being notified in case the plane had to be shot down to protect people on the ground. Guess that was an erroneous report.

Vice President Cheney personally authorized the shooting down of United Flight 93 when it was inbound for Washington, before the hijackers were overcome and it crashed near Shanksville. The 9-11 Commission Report noted the controversy over exactly when Cheney spoke to the President that morning, and whether Bush only retroactively gave his approval.

Duckster
04-08-2009, 02:49 PM
Could a Cessna 172 cause some serious damage? Yes, potentially it could. But your average car bomb can carry more explosives and, with a straight-away, can go almost as fast into the side of a building. That's one reason carbombs are more common than airplanebombs (there are others, of course). Personally, I worry a lot more about someone stealing one of those tanker-trucks full of gasoline than I worry about small Cessnas crashing into buildings. The tanker truck would do a hell of a lot more damage.

It's not about the big bang. It's about fear and vulnerability. Once that manifests itself, the population will do their own damage to themselves far above and beyond some explosives in a small plane or a hijacked full tanker truck.

Xema
04-08-2009, 03:15 PM
If he was able to get up to 14,000 feet the airplane did NOT have 500 lbs of anything on board!
Right. I think the discussion of overloading an aircraft was hypothetical and not intended to imply that this 172 was.


... there's only so much you can load inside before it simply won't get off the ground at all.
But, given favorable takeoff conditions (cool day, long runway, decent headwind) that load may be considerable. Consider that a C-172 at max gross weight has no trouble doing a 40-degree banked turn, and that in such a turn the wings must generate lift equal to 130% of the plane's weight.


... that thing is going to be wallowing through the air.
This can be avoided by flying faster. Compared to a correctly loaded airplane, the ratio of the airspeed necessary for the same amount of control will be the square root of the weight ratio.

This is, of course, the same ratio that will apply to stall, takeoff and landing speeds (IAS).

carnivorousplant
04-08-2009, 03:19 PM
Hmmm. Now the only question is, should I use my powers for good or evil...? :cool:



E-vile.

Remember, Evil is cool, and Good is dumb.

Muffin
04-08-2009, 06:54 PM
In Canada, psychiatric bills are covered though our socialized health care. To keep our taxes down, we have to find ways to offload medical costs. One way is to ship patients to the USA, as was done with this fellow. Confederation College gets lots of promotion for its aviation program and gets its plane back. Ontario reduces its ongoing medical costs now that the nut is safely locked up the the USA. NORAD and Air National Guards from three states get to flex their muscles. Everyone's happy. Well, except for the fellow who stole the plane.

carnivorousplant
04-08-2009, 07:29 PM
To keep our taxes down, we have to find ways to offload medical costs.

Logical.
Flawlessly logical.

Xema
04-08-2009, 08:21 PM
Everyone's happy. Well, except for the fellow who stole the plane.
Hey, he had his 15 minutes of fame.

Raguleader
04-09-2009, 01:06 AM
http://members.gocivilairpatrol.com/news/cap_news_online/index.cfm/wisconsin_wing_lowandslow_intercept_training_pays_off_5301

So, it turns out that the Air Force pilots involved were in fact trained for almost exactly this sort of situation. It seems that one of the services provided by the Civil Air Patrol (the US Air Force civilian auxiliary) is acting as teaching aids for training pilots in how to intercept slow, low flying civilian aircraft. The type of aircraft most typically used by the Civil Air Patrol is the Cessna 172.

Broomstick
04-09-2009, 10:20 AM
I've seen a video of a military jet passing a Tri-Pacer head-on and it did nothing.
I'm sure that in that case no one had any intention of causing harm. Also, the Tri-Pacer would have to cross the wake of the jet, and the wake is not some 360 forcefield.

When I see small/large airplane fly-bys the small plane usually (though not always) passes over the larger, which would allow it to completely avoid the wake even when flying in close proximity. The way extends behind and below the airplane and is of limited size, and thus is avoidable if you are aware of it.

Broomstick
04-09-2009, 10:28 AM
Well, let's see. What if he had explosives on board, it was mid July and the Brewers were playing to a sold out crowd at Miller Field? That little Cessna crashing into a stadium filled with 41,000 souls could do quite a bit of damage. After all, it passed over the Wisconsin Capitol and the F-16s did nothing.
The Wisconsin capital building had been evacuated and thus even if the airplane had crashed into and done anything more than flattened itself again the building and maybe scratched up the siding, there was no risk of any person coming to harm other than the pilot.

Now, allow me to adjust my tinfoil hat. He's a sleeper. His job was to probe air defenses crossing from Canada across the border into the US. What was learned? It's possible it can be done, you will be watched, but nothing will be done about it.
He's hardly the first to cross the border in a small airplane without permission. Student pilots near the border get lost every so often and wind up on the wrong side. Some idiot think he can cross it without being noticed. This has been happening for decades. Since the vast majority aren't criminals or terrorists - just lost or jerks - the first impulse is to follow them until they land and can be dealt with in a non-violent manner rather than simply shooting to kill.

Seems to me that the next time this happens, the ultimate result will not be landing on a county road, popping into a local store and waiting to be caught.
What do you think will happen? There just isn't that much a Cessna 172 can do to cause destruction.

An airliner crossing without permission will, I assure you, attract much more aggressive attention because a big Boeing or Airbus IS a threat, as we all now know.

Of course, the next time it happens, pick the border crossing with Washington, Idaho or northwest Montana. Stay below the ridge lines and one can penetrate deep into America before being caught. The drug planes do it all the time.
Yes, but mostly down by Mexico and they have beefed up border observation so it's a lot harder for them and they're switching to methods like homemade submarines.

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