Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Flight

Helicopters over Lake Michigan

I was strolling by the lake a couple of weeks ago when I heard a sound, or rather felt it, as of heavy machinery. It was a bit like the feeling when a large freight train passes nearby but a slightly different frequency of sound/vibration and there were no train tracks near me. After a minute or so I spied these three helicopters heading my way. They appeared military with their size, noise and formation. Perhaps there was an airshow they were headed to or perhaps top secret maneuvers somewhere over the lake.

In Flight

I'm kidding about the latter but since the era of the Patriot Act, I vaguely wondered if I'd get in some kind of trouble for taking a picture of these choppers. After all, nowadays one can get in trouble for taking pictures of airports and the elevated trains. Shades of my trip to Leningrad as a young adult when the KGB might descend for taking photos of a train station with my little Kodak Instamatic.
The helicopters reminded me of another scene from my life. Back in the late 70's, early 80's, there was a fruit fly infestation in California and there were rounds of aerial spraying. The powers that be insisted that there was no risk to people from the Malathion that was being sprayed but I remember one day seeing low-flying helicopters heading my way and running for cover. My attitude is if it will kill an insect it can't be good for people. I just remembered the name of the fly--it was called the Med fly. I wonder whatever happened to that one?
Well, thanks again to Wikipedia for furthering my and your education. The year was 1981, the fly was Ceratitis capitata. Apparently the heavy spraying succeeded in California although the flies have reappeared and remain a threat to crops.
We all have the movie Apocalypse Now for forever changing our relationship with helicopters and the Flight of the Valkyrie. Of course, ultimately it was the Vietnam War which makes us all cringe and think of napalm when helicopters fly overhead. Not that I'm totally clear whether it was helicopters or airplanes that sprayed the napalm.
On that happy note, TTFN.


Jud said...

You saw CH53s in flight.


Jennifer and Steve said...

Thanks for your comments! Hope you have a fantastic summer. :) jennifer & steve

Jud said...

I think napalm was more of an airplane delivered device.

The use of helicopters for the "vertical insertion" of troops changed the face of the modern battlefield, giving commanders new tactical options.

But yes, I agree, if there is a symbol of the war in Vietnam it would be a Huey, at least in my opinion.

These are nice photos, too. Sometimes I get lost in my own little world.

A Free Man said...

They used to spray Malathion for mosquitos in my neighborhood in Florida. They sprayed it out of trucks. Whenever we saw the trucks coming we chased them down the street - getting sprayed with lovely sulfurous pesticide all the while.

The EPA now says that Malathion has “suggestive evidence of carcinogenicity but not sufficient to assess human carcinogenic potential.”

In other words, oops, probably shouldn't have approved that one.