On May 28, an explosion at the Verso paper mill in Sartell, Minnesota claimed one life, injured five others, and resulted in the biggest fire in Sartell’s history. The blast concusion was experienced by many around town, and it was reported that the thick black smoke was visible from as far away as Foley. Crystal Blunt captured this image less than half an hour after the initial blast, and the fire continued to burn for the following two days. The following images where captured as smoke still trickled into the air above the mill. The Radio Pilot News Service of Flight Flash took to the sky today for this aerial perspective. A solemn flight today with thoughts for the man who lost his life in this tragedy. For additional coverage, link to www.WJON.com .
Patches of open water were widening on the river today as temperatures in St.Cloud went into the high 50′s. View a shot overlooking the city as seen on WJON. http://wjon.com/overlooking-the-frozen-mississippi-river/
I sent the plane up for a low-res trip above the ranch neighborhood last weekend. This is the centrecam aircraft with the camera looking down and backwards today. Although it can mount on skis, it’s still currently on wheel landing gear. In this configuration the propellor is very low to the ground and you can hear it sucking a few small rocks into the propellor and launching at least one of them right through the tailfin. The river in view is the Missippi. It was around 18 degrees during the flight and upon landing I discovered the Prius needed a jumpstart, so I had to hoof it a ways back home to get help. Anyone else out there have trouble with needing to jumpstart their Prius a lot? [youtube uxxT0z5n_hQ]
[youtube UgLtdq63xy0] After several days of temperatures well below freezing, the Mississippi River has frozen over in St.Cloud. Absent of snowcover, it was a great opportunity to photograph and study the pattern of freezing on the river. The water on the East side of this portion of the river is generally last to freeze and first to thaw. Due to the uneven and unpredictable pattern of freezing river water, it is considerably dangerous to wander onto the river ice, especially under snowcover. It is notable that the white areas are not snow, but artifacts of the crushing ice formation. These images were gathered for science and safety, so I was not concerned with the nose wheel that drops into camera view. This particular airplane is the only one I use which takes off directly from the ground. Recently fitted with wheels to do video flights, it was last flown with skis during the winter of early 2009 to document the construction of the Granite City Crossing bridge Makes A Unique Holiday Gift…Stop By Paper Collector And Select From A Large Collection Of Prints. Most Flight Flash images are available on request at Paper Collector Gallery. 5×7, 8×10 and 13×19 sizes available.
Scroll Down This Page For Postings Through June, 2011. For Additional Amazing Aerial Photos, Click Through The Archives From May 2011 And Before. I hoped that the combination of heavy rain and a break in the clouds would result in an incredible rainbow today so I scrambled the airplane to Whitney Field. Unfortunately, the rainbow never materialized. The weather turned hot, muggy and hazy today, and later, I spent an hour of flying at the amazing Boomerville Lodge. A special thanks to everyone who came to Paper Collector Gallery for the Sizzling Summer Art Crawl, The St.Cloud Times, Star Tribune, and the new businesses and people supporting the effort to make aerial photography more affordable and accessible in Minnesota.
Support Flight Flash and bring innovative news and views to Minnesota and your community. ALL OF THE FOLLOWING IMAGES AND VIDEOS IN THIS REPORT, (EXCEPT RADAR AND SATELLITE) WERE PRODUCED BY FLIGHT FLASH. WEATHER RE-CAP 2011. Spring in St. Cloud gave an unusual hint that things to come might be on the line of the unexpected – or maybe even extreme. An April snowfall christened the city with a beautiful, albeit unseasonable layer of snow crystals that completely vanished within hours. [youtube i7StpffjrLA] Days after the actual snowfall, Flight Flash (RPNS) produced this screen test to chronical weather in the local media…It was only an experiment and my friend Kaylene stepped up to be the on-camera reporter. In the moments we began to film this, the first wave of terrible storms were beginning to unfold throughout the South. The laptop radar captures a view of this data. We used the images to train how to spot tornadoes from the national radar mosaic. Little did we know, we were studying what was about to become one of the biggest outbreaks of tornadoes in history. This left an unforgettable urgency to document and promote weather safety in the St.Cloud area. A month later, a small storm followed by a display of heat lightning reminiscent of 4th of July fireworks, paid our city a visit in May. At the same time, only an hour away, Minneapolis was recovering from a tornado touchdown that claimed one life. Then, on the first day of summer (June 21, 2011), rain fell on our city to such an extreme that it flooded several streets…and it wouldn’t be the last time this year. [youtube 50T_NZLtvTM] The sky hadn’t finished. Not much more than a week later on July 1st, a very serious wind storm dropped a weak tornado in the Waite Park area, and pushed winds into the North side of downtown St. Cloud where dozens upon dozens of trees were pushed flat. The fact that these trees blocked many routes to the St.Cloud Hospital made the situation that much more serious, and our city went directly into action. [youtube UDEHRScgmaM] Compare an image of Whitney Field only a few weeks before as a thunderstorm approached… …and then 3 weeks later as it became the city’s compost site for downed trees. In St.Cloud, it seemed the worst of summer storms had to be behind us for 2011, but the weather was unrelenting. Rains continued to bring flooding that swelled the Sauk River, and endangered some of our young citizens and rescue personnel. For 3 days in a row, rescues and the recovery of a swamped rescue boat on the Sauk River held our attention in the news. The oppressive heat index which pressed beyond 100 degrees for a few days in these weeks probably drew people to the river to cool down in spite of the apparent danger. [youtube nh1Em6JvR88] Then came lightning! An intense electrical storm wrought fury in the St.Cloud metro…sending 6 to the hospital and alerts of fire from lightning scrambled firefighters to the rescue. … Continue reading
Another summer in Central Minnesota to remember. This flight on July 21st reveals the Sauk River (in Waite Park) at flood stage. Even after a string of rescues, and a sunken rescue boat recovery in the news last week, I encountered 3 teens swimming dangerously in these waters…again, without life jackets. They finally exited the water just before the rapids became dangerously strong. This view reveals the river beside Parkwood 18 with the quarries in the background. Here’s a video from the archives above the same location: flooding on the Sauk from just last spring… [youtube lAW982zQbbo]
A recent file photo (7.8.11) of the Sauk River near to where the rescue call was made. On Tuesday afternoon, as the Sauk River approached flood stage in St.Cloud, a report that a woman was spotted clinging to a tree in the swift flowing waters of the Sauk sent rescue teams into action. Upon her retrieval, it was learned that up to 7 more members of a group who had gone tubing that day were unaccounted for. The rescue effort immediately intensified. [youtube nh1Em6JvR88] The news service provided this video report for www.WJON.com Exclusive extra – THE RISK TO RESCUERS: On a sidebar to the rescue of 8 teeneagers from the flooded Sauk River, 2 kayakers also risked their lives to assist them (A civilian and an off-duty firefighter). The kayakers eventually drifted downstream into the rescue staging area where the Sauk enters the Mississippi. Having slipped past a rope dropped down to catch them, the Zodiac watercraft eventually retrieved them as they were pulled into the swollen Mississippi. [youtube ddjctriXnjQ] Support growing businesses in Minnesota: www.SohlstromWeddingVideos.com