Free to Fly

How will the new approach to aviation touch down in Hood River?

As lives settle in again, neighbors and friends hear more and more reports about Sept. 11 and the days that follow.

We are in an era where -- on one corporate radio network's playlist -- "Leaving On A Jet Plane" is a banned song.

One Hood River woman was flying out of Florida on Sept. 11. Passengers on the plane were told of nationwide flight cancellations, as they were flown back to their place of departure. She spent the next four days waiting for a flight home.

The airways, once a symbol of our fast and mobile existence, are now the most uncertain of zones. Airliners fly all but empty, airports have stricter controls, and "fear of flying" has a grave new meaning for many people.

It all happens when airline service had already rendered air travel a running joke. Before the tragedy, flying had become more frustrating than fearsome. The term jet-set, reflecting our heightened perception of the mode of travel, may never have the same appeal.

Air travel restrictions in late 2001 have found ever new dimensions. A Pendleton casino announced its Oct. 19 hot-air balloon show might be cancelled -- pending FFA approval. Air travel was born on lighter-than-airs, but even they are not immune to modern security needs.

The annual poster contest conducted by Oregon Air Pilots Association will take off as usual, but it comes with its own grounded caveat. The contest theme, ironically, is "The Freedom to Fly." Kids 8-16 can enter their artwork and win a $100 savings bond and a private flight.

It ought to be a completely creative and well, free, activity, but the association saw fit to add a "special note" to parents and teachers in its press release on the contest:

"As we look on in disbelief, we cannot ignore the fact that airplanes were used as tools of destruction and only minutes later airplanes were protecting our president and deployed in countless other missions to defend our country.

"As the recovery efforts get underway, aviation will be a vital part of the mobilization of rescue workers and vital supplies to assist victims and their families.

"We acknowledge that some people may develop a fear of aviation and the associated safety and security issues. We also know others will be moved to seek out advanced knowledge of aviation and its many positive contributions to our lives."

That's sound thinking. Seeking out aviation's positive contributions is also something that has already happened in Hood River. Just three days before the Sept. 11 tragedy, hundreds of people flocked to the newly-renamed Ken Jernstedt Airfield for the annual fly-in. That day, everyone looked at planes differently than they might now.

The airfield is named for a man who defended his country in the Asian theater during World War II. Now, as the U.S. embarks on a "new war," it's a good time to look at the other side of the coin in naming our airfield for a man who fought bravely in one war.

What is the role, and what is the security status, of the Ken Jernstedt Airfield in the next war?

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners