I’m not crazy, you know.
One of the growers I’m working for this year asked me if I’d add another 5-acre block to the list of cherry blocks I’m drying in June. The block in question was in Wenatchee. Not the outskirts of Wenatchee, like another block I’m doing for him. This one is in Wenatchee.
I got directions and drove out there yesterday. It wasn’t easy to find. That could be because it was in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. The cherry trees were surrounded by taller trees and houses. One of the cherry trees actually overhung the garage of a house on the border of the block’s property. I saw all this from the one street where I could see the trees from my truck. I didn’t see it from the air.
I wasn’t happy about the location. There were power lines and too many houses. I wondered whether the town had any ordinances that prohibited low-flying aircraft. After all, I’d have to fly just 5-10 feet above the trees. About equal with the rooflines or second-story windows of some of the adjoining houses.
I got back to my camper and called the Wenatchee police. A dispatcher took my info. An officer called me back about an hour later. I explained the situation.
“Are you definitely going to do this?” he asked.
“I don’t want to,” I admitted. “This is what’s going to happen. About half the people around there will think it’s really cool. The other half will call you or the FAA to complain. And if it rains overnight, I fly at dawn. That means 5 AM.”
“We have a noise ordinance,” he offered.
“That’s good,” I said.
“And what about safety? Aren’t you worried about crashing into houses?”
“I wouldn’t crash into houses if I go down,” I assured him. “But I would go into the trees. And things would fling off. It wouldn’t be pretty.”
“I don’t think you should do it,” he said.
“Works for me,” I replied.
We wished each other a pleasant evening and hung up.
This morning, I was in the area with my helicopter and another pilot on board. That’s when I got the full picture of the orchard and its odd shape. I asked the pilot with me to take some photos. So here’s the orchard I won’t dry: