Friday, April 30, 2010

Busy Busy

So I haven't posted in a while, but I have also been really busy, so I have an excuse.  In the last 7 days I have been in California, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virgina (technically), and Maryland.  Where in the world is Patrick San Diego?  Right now I am in Westminster Maryland.  Next week?  I have no idea.  I guess we will play it by ear.  I just uploaded my GPS data into Google Earth, it looks pretty impressive, keep in mind I have only been doing this for a month so far:

Here is a closeup of my journey up the east coast.

So I am getting a good tour of the east coast, so far I have not been able to go out and see a lot of the cities on the ground, but I have a great idea of what these places look like from the air.  I can't wait until we stay in some cities that I will get to explore.  I did take some pictures, but they mostly look the same to me, there is just green all around.  Here is a taste:

So that is what Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia looks like.

Here is a picture of some farms I thought kind of looked like a Thunderbird.

Can you see it?

By the way, in case you are wondering what exactly we are doing, I asked my photographer for some sample shots.  So there are sales teams located in all the cities we are shooting, and they take these framed pictures up to the front door and try to sell the picture of the house to the owner.

These actually aren't amazing examples, I have seen some really nice houses.  But this gives you an idea of what the product looks like, and it sure is getting me a lot of hours.  I flew 112 hours in April, and if everything works out, I will probably fly more in the coming months. 

Here is another hotel room (Athens GA):

Here is another me:

So I have been super busy, flying a lot, and missing everyone.  I hope the days will start to fly by soon, because I would love to see everyone again as soon as possible.  There will be August right?  Well, right now it seems far away.  Comment, call me, text me, stay in touch.  I will try and have a new post a little quicker than this last one.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


So, every once in a while we have to land in the middle of nowhere to sort out maps, or get a new pencil, etc.  Here are some pictures from on top of random mountains in California.

This is the photographer pissing on the mountain like he is the king of the world.

Snowy mountains in the background.

There was a huge motocross track all over this mountain.  Technically these are the California Badlands.

R22 king of the mountain

Me with the Black Pearl

Me again with the Black Pearl, this time on a mountain near Ramona California.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


So I haven't posted in a while, but a lot has been happening.  Not a lot of pictures though.  So we shot a ton of pictures in San Diego (nearly 3300 homes), and we also got some noise complaints.  Had to talk to an airport manager who said he talked to the FAA, but it turns out, he was just making sure we weren't doing anything illegal, and he was actually on our side.  By the time we were done talking to him, he asked us to take a picture of the airport for him.  Flew through wire country today.  We were south of Carlsbad, and a little north of San Diego, where there are tons of mountains and even more power lines.  I had to really watch out for wires crossing over valleys today, and even had to fly along next to some.  Some of you already know, but I am flying so much that I ended up developing a bruise on my backside.  I had to go to target and get my self an a** pillow. 

It has really helped a lot.

The other day we went way up into the mountains, up around 5500 feet (it was 20 C up there too, only lost RPM once).  It was extremely beautiful, we were flying down a canyon, looking for houses to shoot, then all of a sudden we came around a corner and it was a huge desert valley floor.  It was like looking into another country.  I wish I had my camera, but for now you are just going to have to use your imagination, but here is a google earth image of the area if you want to check it out for yourself.

Tmariani aka Tone Lowk aka Tbone aka T-rex came down to visit.  We had a blast.  I am not at liberty to divulge any more information, all I can say is that we had a good time in Carlsbad.

So here is an overview of some of the area we covered in Carlsbad. Keep in mind I had my GPS off for most of the time, so this is only a small portion of the ground that we covered in 9 days.

At the request of Kristina, here is a picture of my hotel room in Riverside.  It is a sweet jacuzzi suite.  Believe it.

So now I am in Riverside.  As far as I know, according to the locals, this is the world capital of nothing to do.   So....  We'll see if anything interesting happens in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Carlsbad? No, No.... Carlsgood

I am in Carlsbad, California, and it hits me today.  I need to go to the beach.  So I got a towel, my sunglasses, and my super white legs and went after work.  There is something strangely alluring about the place where water meets earth, I think I would like to live near the ocean one day.

This is some of what I did at work today.  Pretty extensive, huh? Lots of multimillion dollar homes underneath those blue lines.

Yes, my legs are actually getting some sunlight.

Burns....Patrick Burns.

A great way to end the day.

Can't get out of Victorville

So I had to wait around and waste an entire day because the weather decided not to cooperate.  Upside: I got to watch wall-to-wall coverage of Tiger Woods talking to the media for about 5 hours.  When conditions improved, I finally got to fly to San Diego, but I am glad I waited.  Wind was whipping hard, lots of turbulence, low clouds, etc.  It was a fun flight.

Clouds obscuring the mountains I need to get over

Clouds keep me from San Diego?  NEVER!

It was way worse than this earlier in the day.  I am glad I waited.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It's a dangerous job

Had a near miss earlier today.

Photo Credit: Puffy

Only left hand turns

Here is taste of some of the work we did today:

Here is a closeup

I am going to be really good at left hand turns by the end of the season.

Oh, here is a video I forgot to post yesterday.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lots of ground to cover

Day 2.  April 1st, 2010.

So today I had to cover over 600 nautical miles to get to my final destination, Victorville, CA.  The clouds were cooperating for the most part, but the wind was kicking.  I was bouncing around all day, and some of the mountain passes got a bit interesting.  I am really glad I have experience in the mountains, otherwise, today could have been pretty terrifying.  Rule of thumb: just let the heli bounce, and hold on for a great ride.  At least I got some good pics:

Some hills in California, probably where the happy cows come from.

Pretty mountains. Check out the rotor blade.

The Golden Gate Bridge.  San Francisco decided not to cooperate with my intended flight plan and I had to go all the way around their airspace instead of going through it.  Oh well, at least I got to see the Bridge.

San Jose, CA.  Their controller was very nice, other than that, not much to say.

Hey, it gets a bit tedious after awhile, so I took another me shot.

Flying over a huge reservoir.  I didn't want to go around it, so I just got really high and flew over it. Within glide distance the whole time.

 5,500 feet and climbing, eventually to 7,000 to clear these mountains.

Can you see the little gap I shot through?

it was beautiful on top of the mountain.  There was this little community in the clouds.  Where do all these people work?

The windmills.

Another 7+ hours of flight today.  There was a huge 2-3 hour patch in the middle that I didn't take any pictures of because it was just farmland as flat and far as the eye could see.  Reminded me a lot of Illinois, in other words, boring.  That felt like the longest part of the trip because I had already been flying for 3 or 4 hours and there was absolutely nothing to look at.  Even though I was flying, it was still kind of boring.  So now I am in Victorville, going to wait for the photographer to catch up and Saturday I will be going out to shoot the first of a million photo flights we will be doing this season. Low and slow, here I come.


Day 1, March 31st, 2010.

The first leg of my ferry flight was an amazing experience, taking the heli from Seattle to Crescent City, CA.  Only got in 4.7 hours of solo flight before I lost light and had to land.  I was in the mountains with the clouds, in scattered rain pockets, and over the coast.  Take a look for yourself:

Here is my new $250,000 ride

I got forced into the valley instead of taking the coast because the clouds decided not to cooperate.  Can't go through em, can't go over em, I guess we'll go around em!

I was very happy to finally see the coast.  I was beginning to worry that I would have to take the I-5 route, which would have been much more difficult due to the weather.

Beautiful flying

To prove I was there:

Newport Oregon, looks like a good place to refuel!

Me and N39 Beggar Pilot


After the sun went down, the ground lights I were expecting to lead my way down the coast decided not to exist, so I had to land rather than lose all reference to the horizon.  It was a fun, challenging and interesting day.  Hope the weather stays decent for tomorrow.