Truth be known, aside from being very busy in the lead-up to my vacation - I am posting this at the office, in fact - I also decided to start my break sooner than I planned because I am increasingly horrified at the situation down south (although I do read that there are now at least some National Guard troops arriving with food & potable water), writing about anything else just felt too inane, and I had nothing particularly useful to say about it (except exhortations to give generously).
However - I took a quick Paddling.net message board break today, and found the following posting, which came rather close to making me cry. The gentleman who posted it, who goes by beachAV8R, is a pilot and flew a jet down there to evacuate a couple of specific patients. It's a remarkable point of view - I felt very strange asking him if I might post it here - but in the end, I found that I really wanted to share this (and post the red cross banner again - I'd been thinking about giving more than I did originally, and this story convinced me that that would be a good thing to do). Chuck - thank you again for allowing me to link to this.
Just got back. It's terrible. Worse than it looks on the news. We flew to Birmingham to tanker up on fuel so that we wouldn't have to get fuel in New Orleans (MSY) besides which I couldn't get a hold of anyone on the ground there to see if fuel was even available.
On approach into MSY the sky was extremely hazy with smoke drifting into the air from the city. Apparently overnight the approach control got power because they did have radar coverage. The airport is still daytime VFR only though..no approaches and no runway lights so it is day-light only operations. There is also a Customs and Border Patrol P-3 Orion providing air traffic advisories in the area "Omaha-44".
I didn't think we'd get the visual approach but at about 5 miles just as they were going to start a GCA approach for us (something I've done about 1 time in the past 7 years) we spotted the airfield through the murk. At about 1000' above the ground the smell started to seep in through the bleed system...I can't describe it other than to say it smelled like decay.
Everywhere you looked there were helicopters scooting around the skies: Blackhawks, Coast Guard Dauphines, Hueys, news helicopters, EMS, etc...
Continue reading BeachAV8r's post at Paddling.net