Reflecting on the 36th Anniversary of Mount Saint Helens Eruption

Observing the 33rd anniversary of Mount Saint Helens

Observing the 33rd anniversary of the Mount Saint Helens eruption, which had occurred on Sunday 18th of May 1980 at 8:32 a.m. on a clear sunny morning.

 

Photo essay by: David A Johanson © All Rights

Flying off from Seattle to see family in San Francisco, I peered out my window to catch a sunrise falling on the north face of Mt. Saint Helens. In the photograph, a fresh plume of ash is seen spewing near the center of the crater after some renewed volcanic activity. Spirit Lake, partially frozen in the foreground sits at the base of an active volcano. I’m humbled every time I see this famous stratovolcano, because of a close encounter I nearly had with it on the weekend it violently erupted.

After graduating from college, I received a job offer from KING Broadcasting’s KREM TV, in Spokane. While working at the station, Mount Saint Helens dramatically awoke, focusing the world’s media attention on her mysterious activity. The volcano’s rumblings increased sharply over a few weeks and was building momentum, just before I was planning a weekend visit to Seattle to stay with friends. Having access to the station’s motion picture cameras, I made preparations to use part of the weekend for filming Spirit Lake, which sat under the shadow of the volcano. A feisty character, named Harry R. Truman, operated a lodge on the lake and I imagined it would be a great human-interest story to interview him in regards to all the Mountain’s activity.

The art director at the TV station, Bob Takeshita, was a good friend, so we made plans to work on the project together. The weekend arrived for going to Seattle, and the weather had cleared, making it ideal for filming at Spirit Lake. To my disappointment, the art director informed me his wife didn’t want him to go that weekend. Since the plan was for us to work as a team, I let him know, I wasn’t going to hall all the camera gear up the mountain by myself—so we would have to postpone the shoot for another time.

Arriving back in Seattle, I was still disheartened by not going to film at Spirit Lake with such ideal weather. That night, I had this strange dream of being back in Spokane, where I was at my favorite lookout point, getting ready to take some photographic panoramas of the skyline. As I put the camera on the tripod, a clear spring sky turned suddenly dark. It was all vivid and so strange, but what made it even more surreal is… it began snowing gray powder flakes in the warm air as the ground disappeared underneath deposits of gray powder dust. Waking up in the morning I though how odd that dream was from the night before, but soon forgot about it as I had a busy day ahead of me.

As fate would have it, the following morning on May 18, 1980, Mt. Saint Helen’s, erupted with the force of several atomic bombs… burying my intended interviewee, Harry Truman and his lodge under hundreds of feet of volcanic debris. And the dream I had, was a premonition of ash from the eruption, which did make it to Spokane and deposited a blanket of ash, just as I had seen. Interestingly, no geologist or scientist had predicted if an eruption did occur, the result would be…a massive cloud of ash, blanketing hundreds of square miles in gray ash.  It was several days before I could get back to KREM TV, because the mountain passes were closed due to hazardous driving conditions caused from falling ash, which deposited ash on 11 states and parts of western Canada.

I never got a chance to thank my friend’s wife for not allowing him to go with me on that fateful weekend. If I get over to the Spokane area again, I’m going to look my friend up and bring his wife a belated bouquet of flowers for inadvertently saving our lives. ~

Video of Mount St. Helens Eruption

usda Forest Services Video

Interviews with Harry Truman at Spirit Lake

Computer animated video of Mount St. Helens Eruption

Click on the link bellow to view the largest volcanic eruption recorded in history

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ARBjmoHAII

Kradatoa – the largest volcanic eruption recorded in history,

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A Full Throttle Multimedia Video of Seattle From the R22 Beta II Helicopter – Part 1 of 2.

Multimedia essay by: David Johanson Vasquez  © All Rights 

The Robinson R22 helicopter is often described as a sports car version of helicopters — ultra light in weight, it takes off quickly and is so responsive it will literally make your head spin.  Weighing in at only 1200 pounds fully fueled, it often feels like you’re wearing the helicopter like a “jet-pack” rather than riding in it. As a thrilling life experience, helicopter flights are at the top of the list, however, it requires the highest level of professionalism to safely fly and be involved with helicopter operations.

Video by: David Johanson © All Rights

The Initial Reason for the Project                                                                                        As a multimedia specialist who produces stories supported by photography and video content, I’ve used a variety of helicopters for an image capture platform. Everything from the compact, high – performance Huey 500D up to the large tandem rotor Kawasaki KV 107 (a licensed version of  the Boeing Vertol BV107 “Chinook” helicopter.)                                                                                                                                                       

The Robinson R22 Beta II Helicopter was arranged for me to use  as part of a six-month photography contract with the Port of Seattle. In between  locations  photographed for the Port, I shot video content for multimedia educational applications.

Multimedia Enhancements For Greater Learning                                                            This multimedia video includes Ξ graphic overlays, lower third titles and an integrated color key, which indicate: Θ Seattle historic architecture (Smith Tower), municipal, transportation and infrastructure information along with the R22’s performance ratings.    The style of writing for this multimedia essay structures information using bold and italicized text to optimize key content for quick scanning by readers. For assessing your recall and comprehension a quiz is included at the end of this essay. You’re also invited to explore provided web links related to essay content. Your opinions and insights on how to enrich this multimedia experience is valued, so a comment section is provided for suggestions.

                                                                           

Advantages & Challenges For Image Capture From Helicopters

The advantages of using a helicopter over an urban setting are many, including: multiple low angle views, which are unavailable when using fixed winged aircraft, hovering over specific areas, an efficiency in reaching desired altitudes for a variety of perspective views.

 Aerial photography and especially video are challenging to produce in a helicopter compared with using fixed winged aircraft. ↑ Two major issues, which can hamper imaging are: vibrations and noise caused from the engine next to the cab and rotor vibrations caused from elastic torsion deformations while flying. Aerospace companies such as Boeing and big budget feature film projects will occasionally use high-end aerial photography, which have specialized cameras mounted into their aircraft. This specialization can reduce some aerial photography vibration issues associated with hand held cameras, but it requires a large budget to justify the expense. The R22 helicopter is a very light aircraft, the summer afternoon, which was used to shoot these aerials, had strong turbulence, so some scenes will have unavoidable vibration and noise in them.

This is the first of two videos, which features aerial views of Seattle provided by  Helicopters Northwest out of Θ Boeing Field. The second video, soon to be posted, shows the return for refueling and includes initial mechanical issues getting the helicopter back in the air. In regards to refueling, it’s critical a helicopter has been properly grounded before operations begin. ↑ Helicopter rotor blades are capable of generating large amounts of static electricity — especially in dry, dusty environments, which can pose a serous threat to both flight and ground crews.                      

The Outcome From Rare Helicopter Accidents Are Usually Tragic… But There Are Exceptions

One of my first jobs after graduating from college was with KREM-TV (King Broadcasting) in Spokane. A few years after I moved on from working with the station a tragic accident occurred with its news helicopter. The helicopter had just picked up Gary Brown —an outstanding KREM videographer (who I remembered as always being upbeat, positive and friendly) — when its rotor blades suddenly struck guy wires supporting the station’s transmitter tower. Both the photographer and pilot were killed instantly.

I’ve included a link below, which has an article with an accident scene photo from the Spokane, Spokesman Review in a Tuesday, May 7, 1985 addition. The story has comments from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) official coordinating the accident’s investigation. Ironically on the same page is a syndicated, New York Times story of a larger helicopter accident, which occurred on the following day of May 6. That tragedy involved the loss of 17 Marines in a massive Sikorsky, CH-53 Sea Stallion off the southwestern coast of Japan. A joint operations helicopter reported witnessing the CH-53 suddenly lost power and dropped 500 feet into the sea.

About ten years ago a friend of mine survived a helicopter crash, with only a few scratches. He had bought a used helicopter from a sheriffs department to start his own flight service business. Over time, parts needed to be replaced with upgrades and he was sold a defective fuel-line, which failed while in flight. He was approximately 100 feet in the air with two clients when the helicopter’s engine shuttered to a stop. Fortunately he got his helicopter into ↑ auto rotation ( helicopter emergency procedure, which shifts rotor blade’s pitch to use stored kinetic energy to make a “soft landing”) and as they began descending, the helicopter’s skid caught the center of a tree and its branches helped them slow the descent even more.

Education and Training Is the Key to Helicopter Safety

Overall, if you consider how many hours and flights in a day helicopters perform flawlessly — they are safe and reliable. What these specialized aircraft can achieve in vertical maneuverability and performance is nothing short of marvelous and amazing. ↑ To ensure engines and structural frames are safely maintained the FAA certifies aviation mechanics using  two certifications. Helicopter mechanics are required to have: an air frame mechanic and or a powerplant mechanics certification. Most employers prefer their mechanics having both certifications, which requires 1,900 hours of coursework in order to pass oral and written exams that prove their skills.

Each video in this multimedia essay demonstrates the essential level of professionalism required for aviation operations during a high volume of jet and helicopters landings and takeoffs at Boeing Field.

Now, just sit back and take in the sights! ~                                                                        

Questions For Continuous Learning and to test your recall?

1.) What are the advantages and disadvantage of using a helicopter for aerial photography?

2.)Name one of the first skyscrapers, which also was the tallest building on the West Coast until 1962?

3.) What is the most important overall requirement for flying helicopters?  

4.) What is the name of the emergency procedure for when a helicopter’s engine fails inflight and what process takes place for a soft landing?

5.) Name the FAA requirements for being a helicopter mechanic and why are they necessary?

6.) Describe the multimedia enhancements on the video, which were used to promote greater learning.

Integrated Learning Color/Symbol Key for Career Technical Education:

↑ Navy Blue  Aerospace Engineering related including: aerodynamics, structural dynamics & avionics

Ξ Dark Green Multimedia & graphic design techniques used for Integrated learning

Θ Maroon Historical structures, locations and or districts

◊ Indigo Professional photography & video production

↔ Purple Civil engineering related

References: (Click on these sites to learn more on the subject)

The Kopp-Etchells Effect: Eerie Halo of a Helicopter’s Rotor Blades in a Dust Cloud – Neatorama

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=AD0282087

The Spokesman-Review – Google News Archive Search

Robinson Helicopter Co.

Helicopters Northwest – Boeing Field

Intersting facts about the historic Smith Tower

HistoryLink.org- the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History

Smith Tower – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walking Tours (Self-Guided) – Visiting Seattle – Seattle.gov

http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/about/Chronology.pdf

Downtown (Central Business District) guide, moving to Seattle | StreetAdvisor

Columbia Helicopters

CH-47JA Helicopter | Helicopters | Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. Aerospace Company

Boeing CH-47 Chinook

Boeing: History — Products – Boeing CH-47 Chinook Rotorcraft

MD Helicopters MD 500 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boeing: History — Products – Hughes OH-6 Cayuse/500 Military and Civilian Helicopter

Helicopter Safety | Flight Safety Foundation

http://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/1900/1/umi-umd-1880.pdf

King County International Airport/Boeing Field

Port of Seattle