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Cranes, Trains, and Football Games


Witch
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Another horrific flight into the unknown.

 

I've been wanting to fly to Portland for some time now, and I finally got around to it. The weather was calling for high clouds with lower clouds moving in around 11 pm and winds at 3000 were about 5 kts.

 

The fun begins after flying over the Mormon temple and trying to see I-5 in the city lights. Oh, the terrain bulges upward to the left of us and the river is that black ribbon to the right. Time to decend to 1000'. Remember that blade slap profile? I'm doing 70 with a descent rate of about 200fpm. No matter what I try, them blades won't stop-a-poppin'. I finally gave up and went to work looking for the helipad 61J.

 

We stayed on the west side of the river as to stay out of the class C of PDX. If you ever get the chance to listen to the PDX ATIS, do it. It sounds like Stephen Hawking. Anyway, I was looking for the helipad lights and staying close to the west shore.

 

Then it happens.

 

As I look forward, Mike knocks the cyclic to the left just before I see the UNLIGHTED dark steel bridge about 100' to the right. It got my eyes opened up big in a hurry. We cleared it by about 300' laterally. I'm wondering why that bridge didn't have lights on top like the others? But onto the task at hand.

 

We find the helipad and set up for a steep landing. The only eventful thing here was trying to find something to look at while setting down. That monorail train that went by wasn't any help. I think it made matters worse because I started diong the PIO thing. Dang it's hot in here, I'm sweating. Well, know wonder, the temp says 29*Centigrade. That's like 49 decimeters, or 65 euros, or 85 farenheits, or 97 chunnels, or $6.83 Canadien. It was a bit hot. We took our jackets off.

 

Ok, now to take off and land again. I pick up and start to move forward into ETL. HOLY CRAP!! The building is no longer beneath us and another train goes by. This is becoming rather disorienting. We get some altitude and airspeed when fate throws us another blow.

 

Cranes. Lots of cranes. Ok I think I can fly between them and get some more altitude as we turn to the left and set up for another landing. But wait! another crane right in front of us. "Nach zu rechts" I say to myself as I find us going towards a building. This is like an obstacle course to say the least. Wait, theres more. "Nach zu links" to avoid that building, and low and behold, another crane. It must be mating season.

 

We finally get to the south end of town and turn for what might be considered final for the helipad. This time I know the ghost bridge is out there and I ain't gettin' nowhere near it. We find the pad and land rather well this time. There goes another train.

 

Mike figures that we ought to do a southern departure. No problemo. We lift off, turn around, and then it hits me; the two windsocks are pointing at each other. This is not good as I surmise that the wind is coming from the center of the pad. This means that no matter from which direction I go, I'll have a tailwind. Rats. Ok, forget that, lets take off. The cyclic goes forward, and that windsock comes right at me. To the left. CRAP! The building ain't beneath us anymore. Climb with ETL and get a little more airspeed while looking for that invisable bridge. We fly the river to I-405 and turn north to dodge more buildings and cranes. I noticed that there're a couple of football fields with people playing, or practicing, down there. This would make for an excellect place to land in an auto. The only other places to land are on the streets between the buildings, or that parking lot by the hotel. Now comes time to dodge cranes again. We run the gauntlet sucessfully only to find that the pad isn't where we left it. This is wierd because it looks just like the pad but no lights. FRAK! Oh, there's the pad on the other side of the PARKING GARAGE! The setup for a steep approach is great and ...oh, another train. Where do they come from? Anyway, we land, and that windsock taunts me. I've had enough for the night and it's going on 9 O'clock-past my bedtime.

 

We take off and the building disappearing beneath us doesn't phase me as much this time, but it is wierd. I'm finally getting to enjoy flying past the tall buildings. It seems like in the movies, like in Blue Thunder when they were flying in L.A. at night and the lights were bouncing everywhere? Yeah, kinda like that but in 3-D. Also got to look at some river traffic.

 

As we flew back to Corvallis, we saw some lightning in the distance in the mountains. Salem was reminding me of those night shots like you see on "Cops". I said that to MIke and he starts with the "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do" thing. I can't stop him. We did set up to land at SLE, and coming to the pad, we got hit with a crosswind that took me by suprise. Oh yeah, the wind was blowing at about 12 kts? We left.

 

The flight back home was uneventful and so ended our adventure. Next time I'm going in the daytime with my brother. Maybe we'll park there and go to the market and cause mischief. Astronaut Barbie?

 

Later

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Witch...

 

Great story...I'm glad you made it back to tell it...

 

Thanks for the pics...justfly

 

I did a search for bridges on the Columbia River (assuming that's the river Witch is talking about)...I found too many to even guess.

 

It was nice to put a picture to the story though...Witch I'd be interested in seeing that bridge if you know which one it is. I'll find it if you name it...

 

Later...

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the ol down town helipad. thats a great flight. go on saturday and buzz the market. portland's street kids and hippies hate helicopters. so does the guy that plays the guitar with his half arm that has the plastic spoon taped to it.post-4390-1176134339_thumb.jpg

Edited by coanda
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I did a search for bridges on the Columbia River (assuming that's the river Witch is talking about)...I found too many to even guess.

 

It was nice to put a picture to the story though...Witch I'd be interested in seeing that bridge if you know which one it is. I'll find it if you name it...

It's the Willamette River (pronounced wil-LAM-met, with the accent on the second syllable), a tributary of the Columbia River. If you look in this picture you can see 9 bridges. The heliport is on the right bank (the picture is looking south upriver) midway between the third (Steel Bridge) and fourth (Burnside) bridges up from the bottom of the picture. The 270' lift towers on the double-deck lift Steel Bridge can seem a *little* close sometimes! :blink: Witch also may have encountered the 165' lift towers of the Hawthorne Bridge further south (sixth up).

 

(But you'd have figured this out by zooming out the aerial photo and switching to Map or Hybrid mode, and Witch did give you the name, descriptively ;) )

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haha wow man that was a RIVETING story! awesome.

 

"Cranes. Lots of cranes. Ok I think I can fly between them and get some more altitude as we turn to the left and set up for another landing. But wait! another crane right in front of us. "Nach zu rechts" I say to myself as I find us going towards a building. This is like an obstacle course to say the least. Wait, theres more. "Nach zu links" to avoid that building, and low and behold, another crane. It must be mating season."

 

Still crackin up over that one^

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witch,

 

great descriptive story, very riviting, catches the readers attention and brings them into the story,

 

have you considered writing?? maybe if the heli things doesn't work out, write a good novel about the ups and downs of flight training???

 

 

good story...

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Thanks all. Ya'll really made me feel better after a hard day of building coaches with only half of the parts. Ya'll made my day, Thanks.

 

I found out it is the Hawthorne bridge. Funny thing, I keep seeing it in my head as if I were there. Interesting, to say the least.

 

Writing isn't my forte. It took about an hour to write that and about three hours to re-write and edit. I was so frazzled I started talking like Truman Capote.

 

Once again, Thanks.

 

Later

 

P.S. I was looking at the Hawthorne bridge photo and the thing that gets me is that, as I remember it, the bridge was totally dark. No lights whatsoever. I remember also that Steel bridge did have red lights on top of the towers.

Edited by Witch
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(But you'd have figured this out by zooming out the aerial photo and switching to Map or Hybrid mode, and Witch did give you the name, descriptively ;) )

 

I'm not familiar with the area...I guess I didn't look hard enough...thanks for the investigational help!

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