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Last Updated: Monday, 3 May, 2004, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Mini-airship's flight in Minster
The Skycell
A digital camera produces a clear view of windows
A digital camera attached to an indoor mini-airship is being used to create the most detailed record yet of stained glass windows at York Minster.

The radio-controlled Skycell rises into the nave and floats above the pews of the Gothic cathedral.

Using different forms of light, the images will show any damage to the windows that needs repairing.

The survey will also be used to create a database of the windows dating back hundreds of years.

Clear view

Six electric motors are supported by a carbon frame with the digital camera attached on the base.

It will be the closest look anyone has had at the condition of the windows in the building's history.

Louise Hampson from York Minster said the cameras will give a clear view of the ancient stained glass windows.

She said: "They take two kinds of pictures. One with light coming through in the way you would look at them now.

"The other is what is called reflected light with a flash. Although to an ordinary person they look strange and dark, these images show us the surface of the glass so we can see any corrosion or pitting."

Dan Huke, from Skycell, added: "We then have a photograph of each panel of glass which can be stitched together afterwards, so then we have one complete picture of the window in a high resolution."


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