Kaleidoscope: The Upside

Russ Paddock remains awed by flying

MOUNT HOOD in foreground,Mount Adams above right, Mount Rainier at the wing tip and Mount St. Helens hiding behind the pitot tube (which measures outside air pressure, temperature and density).

Donna Davidson and Russ Paddock
MOUNT HOOD in foreground,Mount Adams above right, Mount Rainier at the wing tip and Mount St. Helens hiding behind the pitot tube (which measures outside air pressure, temperature and density).

Look skyward every July 4 night and, as the fireworks go off, Russ Paddock of Hood River is behind what’s aloft.

There is another skybound part of life for the leader of the Lions’ pyrotechnic crew: As a veteran pilot, he regularly takes people up in his Cessna 172 for scenic flights, and he especially enjoys taking youngsters up for “Young Eagle” flights, a piloting introduction program of the Experimental Aviation Association.

Here, Paddock writes of two such flights in 2013, one from July and another from March, under weather conditions that were similar (clear and bright) but different (cold and hot).

In both flights, Paddock’s love — no, awe — of flying comes through.

Fly-In at WAAAM Sept. 7-8

The Hood River Fly-In will return to Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum Sept. 7-8. The event will double as a birthday party for WAAAM, which is turning 6 years old.

There will be hundreds of antique and other aircraft, airplane and helicopter rides, food, author book signings and more.

Admission is free to museum members, $12 adults; $10 seniors and veterans; $6 ages 5-18 and free to ages 4 and under.

For more information visit waaamuseum.org.

Fly-In schedule

Saturday, Sept. 7

8 a.m. — Lions Club Pancake Breakfast (event admission required), featuring pancakes, sausage, eggs, OJ and coffee

9 a.m. — Museum and Fly-in open (until 5 p.m.)

All day — Take a flight in a 1928 biplane, an airplane or a helicopter; prices vary

All day — Aircraft arriving and departing

11 a.m. — Lunch served (until 4 p.m.)

11:30 a.m. — Beer Garden opens

1 p.m. — 1912 Parker-Curtiss Pusher Rollout, with meet-n-greet with members of the Parker Pusher Restoration Crew

2 p.m. — Book signing by author John Trudel (until 4 p.m.)

2 p.m. — Book signing by author Marc Paulsen (until 4 p.m.)

2 p.m. — Cutting the Birthday Cake: WAAAM is 6 years old!

3 p.m. — Airplane judging

6 p.m. — Awards dinner and silent auction: Tri-tip dinner tickets are $20 (Catering by the West Side Volunteer Fire Department)

9 p.m. — Movie

Sunday, Sept. 8

8 a.m. — Lions Club Pancake Breakfast starts (event admission required), featuring pancakes, sausage, eggs, OJ and coffee.

(Aircraft usually start departing after breakfast so don’t be late!)

9 a.m. — Museum opens (until 5 p.m.)

11 a.m. — Lunch served (until 4 p.m.)

11 a.m. — See WAAAM’s planes out and about (all day)

On March 23, the father of one of Paddock’s passengers, Curt, asked if they could fly over “the Castle” the rocky rise on the southeast slope of Mount Adams:

“I checked my fuel, checked the clock and said we can do it. There are a couple of mountaineering people who have died who have their ashes up on the Castle. One of them was the first husband of Curt’s wife.

So there we are climbing as we are getting closer to the mountain. I am being cautious because I have been in some of the downdrafts around it. But today is perfectly smooth so we get up-close and personal. Close enough that I am not comfortable trying to do a ‘360’ toward the mountain, but would make my 360s to the right to get more distance.

“We are now up to 8,500 feet and the Castle is still above us but we can see it clearly. We continue on toward the northeast, I do another 360, then a 180, and head back toward the southwest and home. I raise the right wing and kick in the rudder so Curt can get some pictures.

“Looking out the right side it looks like I am dragging a wing tip in the snow. Looking out my side there is at least 5,000 feet of free space under me. We really were not that close in, but it seemed like it. That mountain is so big, and we in our little Cessna were so small. It was mind-boggling, even to me.

“Flying at 8.500 feet, tilting the wing and still not being able to see the top. All you know is you are flying beside this big wall of ice, you can see the crevasses. If you are a pilot and have flown the mountains you know what I am talking about. If you are on the ground looking at the mountain and haven’t been up there in a small plane, you really don’t know what you are missing.

“Oh, the outside temperature dropped to 18 degrees and even the little heater in the Cessna couldn’t keep us warm. To think that one month ago today I was taking Young Eagle flights wearing shorts and a T-shirt, flying out of Thermal in California. Today I am wearing a parka in the cockpit to stay warm. What can I say? Life is great! I may never get another chance like we had today to fly in that close to the mountain.

“When we were back on the ground, I happened to turn around and look back to the north. And there was the mountain. I am in total awe! I was just there!”


On July 23, Paddock took two Lions Youth Exchange visitors, 17-year-old Leos Elisa from Italy and Lotto from Finland, who were here for six weeks. Russ writes:

“Weather was perfect. Plane was available so we took the Cessna 172 for a little journey. Did I mention it was sort of warm? After climbing about 45 minutes, we managed to clear the summit of Mount Hood, which is about 25 miles from 4S2, and has an elevation of 11,200 feet. Then it only took about 15 minutes to get back to the airport.

“I found some lift on the south side of the mountain. Was a couple-hundred pounds under gross.

“Was a great flight.”

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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