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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Uneasy aftermath

Neighbors of the Hillsboro airport say they're more than little concerned about the fatal crash of this helicopter near Forest Grove over the weekend. It was a training helicopter operated by Hillsboro Aviation, a private outfit that the neighbors say has had some safety issues recently -- including, reportedly, problems that resulted in a temporary grounding of most of its aircraft just about a year ago.

One neighbor writes:

Interestingly, I had occasion to call Jerry Gerspach at the Port [of Portland] noise office on two successive days prior to the crash, because HA had an R-22 up in the Alpha pattern over my house, the frequency of which appeared to violate the "verbal agreement" regarding use of the Alpha pattern. The R-22 that was up in the pattern was a red one. The only thing left of the helicopter that crashed and burned was a red tail. I can’t say it is the same heli, since I didn’t get a tail number, but I and others around the airport have long said that the possibility of a heli crash in the neighborhood was a real one. Which HA has dismissed as paranoia. As has the Port of Portland. Which says it can’t restrict anything its airport operators do.
The crash is a terrible tragedy, and it should be everyone's concern to see that it isn't repeated out there.

Comments (8)

HIO has been there since about 1928, and has had commercial traffic since the 40's. I am sick and tired of hearing neighbors of airports whine about noise and safety, as the airport was there long before they were living there and no one forced them to move there. We are lucky to have an airport like HIO as it helps the economy on the westside and provides a good place to fly in and out of for a private pilot like myself. Too many airports are being shut down nation wide because of politicians being bullied by NIMBY's.

Thanks for the rant. I don't think anyone is suggesting that the airport be closed down. What is being suggested is that Hillsboro Aviation has some safety problems. In case you haven't noticed, two people are dead.

I was on an Alaskan cruise two years ago and got an earful from a New Jersey woman who'd moved to Hillsboro and was outraged by the airport. I asked if she'd noticed itwhen she moved next to it.

My mom worked for Hillsboro Aviation in the early and mid-60s. The airshow featured Bob Hoover and a Czech name Mira Slovak among others. Swede Ralston was always pretty rackety as well as skilled. Made it that much more difficult to conceal the airport.

Over the years I've noticed quite a body count devloping on Cornell Road, too. That's a death toll that has increased with the nimby's moving in.

Ah hell, get the airport out, get Esco out of Northwest, and frankly those big truck drivers that drive the St. Johns Bridge are going to hurt a bicyclist someday - so re-route those trucks to I-5.

Larry, do you also write speeches for Moammar Qaddhafi?

I'm glad all you civil aviation types like Hillsboro and other small airports. How about paying for them yourselves?


Al, you know Mo?

The Hillsboro airport is a absolute and COMPLETE mess of non-enforced, inconsistent and/or nonexistent noise and traffic protocols. It's unfortunate that a couple of people crashed their aircraft and perished, but the REAL problem is related to the (obviously) REAL risk to all the citizens they flew their disaster over before crashing. The city of Hillsboro and the Port have allowed population increases near the airport. The airport cannot continue to expand without considering this in their policies and flight patterns. Hillsboro Aviation clearly has represented a HUGE portion of the noise and risk to the community and has taken a disproportionate benefit from the airport without providing any real benefit to the community (and please note their terrorist connection to 9/11, issue still NOT resolved in any manner to the public record). My condolences to the family members of the victims, but "Who are you going to kill next?" is my question to Hillsboro Aviation.

BTW, the Port of PDX "noise control" personnel do nothing other that write polite emails to the complaining citizens; they do nothing of value to control the flights... typical worthless bureaucracy.

I can understand some uneasiness about what's flying over head.
But at the same time, all the nimbys who built or bought out there, you chose that area and the airport was there loooong before you so adapt or migrate.
The same goes for the pearlies who plunk down big bucks to live in an industrial area and then complain that all the pre-existing commerce is too disruptive. Or the people who build a hundred feet from the railroad tracks and then complain when there is an actual train using said tracks.

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