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A Full Throttle Multimedia Video of Seattle From the R22 Beta II helicopter – Part 1 of 2.

16 Oct
Multimedia essay by: David Johanson Vasquez  © All Rights 

The Robinson R22 helicopter is often described as a sports car version of helicopters — ultra light in weight, it takes off quickly and is so responsive it will literally make your head spin. Weighing in at only 1200 pounds fully fueled, it often feels like you’re wearing the helicopter like a “jet-pack” rather than riding in it. As a thrilling life experience, helicopter flights are at the top of the list, however, it requires the highest level of professionalism to safely fly and be involved with helicopter operations.

Videos by: David Johanson © All Rights

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMVD3-P0fdM&feature=player_detailpage

 As a multimedia specialist who produces stories supported by photography and video content, I’ve used a variety of helicopters for an image capture platform. Everything from the compact , high – performance Huey 500D up to the  large tandem rotor  Kawasaki KV 107 (a licensed version of  the Boeing Vertol BV107 “Chinook” helicopter.) It’s the R22’s light weight, which  in my opinion, gives you the most thrill for getting from point A to point B.          

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The Robinson R22 Beta II Helicopter was arranged for me to use as part of ◊ a six-month photography contract with the Port of Seattle. In between locations photographed for the Port, I shot video content for multimedia educational applications.

Multimedia Enhancements For Greater Learning 

This multimedia video includes graphic overlays, lower third titles and an integrated color key, which indicate: ΘSeattle historic architecture (Smith Tower)↔ municipal, transportation and industry infrastructure along with the  R22’s performance ratingsThe style of writing for this multimedia essay structures information using bold and italicized text  to optimize key content for quick scanning by readers. For accessing your recall and comprehension a quiz is included at the end of this essay. You’re also invited to explore provided web links related to the essay’s content  for learning more about subjects of interest. Your opinions and insights on how to enrich this multimedia experience is valued, so a comment section is included for suggestions and feedback.                                 

Advantages & Challenges For Image Capture from Helicopters     

The advantages of using a helicopter over an urban setting are many including: multiple low angle views, which are unavailable when using fixed winged aircraft, hovering over specific areas, an efficiency in reaching desired altitudes for a variety of perspective views.  

Ξ Aerial photography and especially video are challenging to produce in a helicopter compared with using fixed winged aircraft.  Two major issues, which can hamper imaging are: ↑ vibrations and noise caused from the engine next to the cab and rotor vibrations caused from elastic torsion deformations while flying. Aerospace companies such as Boeing and big budget feature film projects will occasionally use high-end aerial photography  companies, which have specialized cameras mounted into their aircraft. This specialization can reduce some aerial photography vibration issues associated with hand-held cameras, but it requires a large budget to justify the expense. The R22 helicopter is a very light craft and the summer afternoon, which was used to shoot these aerials, had strong turbulence, so some scenes will have some unavoidable vibration and noise in them. 

This is the first of two videos, which features aerial views of Seattle provided by  Helicopters Northwest out of Θ Boeing Field. The second video, soon to be posted, shows the return for refueling and includes initial mechanical issues getting the helicopter back in the air.  In regards to refueling, it’s critical a helicopter has been properly grounded before operations begin. Helicopter rotor blades are capable of generating large amounts of static electricity —especially in dry, dusty environments, which can pose a serious threat to both flight and ground crews.                

Outcomes From Infrequent Helicopter Accidents Are Usually Tragic… But There Are Exceptions

One of my first jobs after graduating from college was with KREM-TV (King Broadcasting) in Spokane. A few years after I moved on from working with the station a tragic accident occurred with its news helicopter. The helicopter had just picked up Gary Brown —an outstanding KREM videographer (who I remembered as always being upbeat, positive and friendly) — when its rotor blades struck the guy wires supporting the station’s transmitter tower. Both the photographer and pilot were killed instantly.

I’ve included a link below, which has an article with a photo of the accident scene from the Spokane, Spokesman Review – May 7, 1985 edition. The story has comments from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA ) official coordinating the accident’s investigation. Ironically at the same page is a syndicated, New York Times story of a larger helicopter accident, which occurred on the following day of May 6. That tragedy was of the loss of 17 Marines in a large Sikorsky, CH-53 Sea Stallion off the southwestern coast of Japan. A joint operations helicopter reported witnessing the CH-53 suddenly lost power and dropped 500 feet into the sea. 

About ten years ago a friend of mine survived a helicopter crash, with only a few scratches. He had bought a used helicopter from a sheriff’s department to State his own flight service business. Over time, parts needed to be replaced with upgrades and he was sold a defective fuel-line, which was installed and failed while in flight. He was approximately 100 feet in the air with two clients when the helicopter’s engine shuttered to a stop. Fortunately he got his helicopter into ↑ auto rotation (emergency helicopter procedure, which shifts rotor blade’s pitch to use stored kinetic energy for making a “soft landing”) and as they began descending, the helicopter’s skid caught the center of a tree and its branches helped them slow the descent even more. 

Education and Training Is the Key to Helicopter Safety

Overall, if you consider how many hours and flights in a day helicopters perform flawlesslythey are safe and reliable. What these specialized aircraft can achieve in vertical maneuverability and performance is nothing short of marvelous and amazing. To ensure engines and structural frames are safely maintained the FAA certifies aviation mechanics using  two certifications. Helicopter mechanics are required to have: an airframe mechanic and or a power plant mechanic certification. Most employers prefer their mechanics having both certifications, which requires 1,900 hours of coursework in order to pass oral and written exams that prove their skills.           

Both videos demonstrate the essential level of professionalism required for helicopter operations during a high volume of jet and helicopters landings and takeoffs at Boeing Field.

Now, just sit back and enjoy the ride!       

     

 

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QUESTIONS FOR CONTINUOUS LEARNING AND TO TEST YOUR RECALL?

1.) What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a helicopter for aerial photography?

2.) Name one of the first skyscrapers, which also was the tallest building on the West Coast until 1962?

3.) What is the most important overall requirement for flying helicopters?

4.) What is the name of the emergency procedure for when a helicopter’s engine fails inflight and what process takes place for a soft landing?

5.) Name the FAA requirements for being a helicopter mechanic and why are they necessary?

6.) Describe the multimedia enhancements on the video, which were used to promote greater learning.

Integrated Learning Color/Symbol Key for Career Technical Education:

Navy BlueAerospace Engineering related including: aerodynamics, structural dynamics & avionics

Ξ Dark Green — Multimedia & graphic design techniques used for Integrated learning

Θ Maroon — Historical structures, locations and or districts

◊ Indigo – Professional photography & video production

 Purple — Civil engineering related

 

REFERENCES: (Click on these sites to learn more on the subject)

The Kopp-Etchells Effect: Eerie Halo of a Helicopter’s Rotor Blades in a Dust Cloud – Neatorama

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=AD0282087

The Spokesman-Review – Google News Archive Search

Robinson Helicopter Co.

Helicopters Northwest – Boeing Field

Intersting facts about the historic Smith Tower

HistoryLink.org- the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History

Smith Tower – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walking Tours (Self-Guided) – Visiting Seattle – Seattle.gov

http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/about/Chronology.pdf

Downtown (Central Business District) guide, moving to Seattle | StreetAdvisor

Columbia Helicopters

CH-47JA Helicopter | Helicopters | Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. Aerospace Company

Boeing CH-47 Chinook

Boeing: History — Products – Boeing CH-47 Chinook Rotorcraft

MD Helicopters MD 500 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boeing: History — Products – Hughes OH-6 Cayuse/500 Military and Civilian Helicopter

Helicopter Safety | Flight Safety Foundation

http://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/1900/1/umi-umd-1880.pdf

King County International Airport/Boeing Field

Port of Seattle

 

 

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Is there a greater champion for keeping America viable as the World leader in technology and science, than Senator Maria Cantwell?

6 Jun

Late 1990’s photo-illustration to promote Real Audio and its affiliates. At that time: RA Vice President of Marketing , Maria Cantwell hired my multimedia services to create this futuristic, virtual reality view of Seattle.

Photos and essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights   Second—  Addition

The U.S. is in a must-win race, to continue as the clear leader of global competitiveness  in technology and science. No other stakes are higher or ensure greater returns for our nation’s security, economic health and cultural way-of-life.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State has a proven record of properly managing the resources of public and private sector technology.  Global leadership requires well-informed oversight, which can fully employ, the most recent developments of  science and technology.  Ms. Cantwell’s earlier career as a successful executive in an emerging media technology company, gave her exceptional tech industry qualifications. A functional knowledge of computer engineering provided her a proactive view of emerging, 21st-century Information Technology (IT).  The Senator serves on five Senate Committees; perhaps the most critical for the nation’s position in world leadership is the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee.

Washington State is fertile ground for producing world leading, innovative technology companies.  Software development, Internet commerce, biotechnology and aerospace industries are the primary economic engines of the Pacific Northwest.  It’s fortunate for the State of Washington and the Nation, to have a representative who clearly recognizes the economic and technical potential of these dynamic industries.

Electricity, is, the lifeblood, which our current technologies rely on.  Electrical energy is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for our way-of-life, which society society takes for granted.  Vigilance from our national leaders is essential for protecting our crucial resources from natural and manmade disasters.

Cantwell’s first major accomplishment as a U.S. Senator began taking shape within the first days of being in office; by her focussing a national spotlight on deceptive energy market manipulations.  In December 2001, Enron—a onetime energy giant— filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while laying-off thousands of its employees.  Enron had taken extreme advantage of deregulation within the energy industry.  Without legislative oversight the company was on a rampage of manipulating energy markets, while overcharging businesses and households millions of dollars.

In the 2005 Energy Bill, Senator Cantwell helped author provisions, which made it a federal crime to manipulate electricity or natural gas markets.  Cantwell also helped uncover evidence, which proved, ongoing deceptive schemes were used by Enron traders to target customers. With the energy company’s blatant deception made public, Senator Cantwell successfully stopped the bankruptcy court from forcing customers  in Washington State, to pay millions of dollars in “termination fees” for electricity which hadn’t been delivered.

Boeing 747 at Everett manufacturing facilities.

Affordable, reliable electricity was and remains today the essential resource, which allows dynamic industries to thrive in the Pacific Northwest.  Boeing aerospace, is a prime example, which could not exist without massive amounts of dependable electricity for its airline manufacturing.

Boeing’s flight line at Everett’s Paine Field.

The Senate’s Commerce, Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness, has few Senators capable of engaging computer industry experts as Senator Cantwell demonstrated, with her IT background.  During hearings on High–Performance Computing Vital to America’s Competitiveness, Cantwell was able to facilitate important questions on supercomputing architecture and applications. The Senator also had the opportunity to introduce two industry witnesses from the Washington State, who gave examples of how these technologies were advancing research & development to support manufacturing.

High-performance computing are the latest concepts for maximizing the power of supercomputers and networks for advance scientific research and it’s rapidly being embraced by a variety of key industry sectors. These powerful computer systems reach trillions of calculations per second, enabling discoveries not possible with standard computers. High-level computers are now used in a number of applications such as: accurately forecasting weather fronts, DNA modeling and  National Security.

 Internet2, which is a next-generation Internet Protocol and optical network, has the bandwidth performance needed for transferring high-volumes of  data produced by supercomputers.  A new national network, Level 3 Communications can now transfer 100 Gbit/s, which is a 100-percent improvement over Internet2. These high-speed secure networks are primarily used by academic and medical research for universities, in many cases the collaborative R&D will eventually  find an industry application.

At the Senate’s subcommittee, witness, Michael Garret, Director, Airplane Performance for the  Commercial Airplane Division of the Boeing Company, described to Cantwell and the other Senators how high-performance computing dramatically changed Boeing’s aerospace design process. In one example, Garret shared how Boeing had saved 80-percent, in the number of wing designs for the new, 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing 787-Dreamliner preparing for its first “maiden flight,” at Paine Field, Everett Washington.

If our intention for the Nation is to remain a leader in science, technology and commerce, we need more representatives in the Senate,  such as Senator Cantwell.  Our national elected representatives must understand the current and future potential of these advanced computer systems—to keep America technologically, economically, and militarily viable.  Fortunately, we and our  Nation’s Senate have Cantwell to help enable critical question on how to retain our leadership through high-performance computing and a new spectrum of technologies. ~

Senator Cantwell at one of her fundraiser, sharing her views on technology and education.

It’s important I share with you that Maria Cantwell and I have been friends for many years.  She hired me to photograph her when she first ran for congress and generously credits my photography for helping her get elected.  When she latter became an IT executive, she again hired my multimedia services to help promote and market Real Networks in Seattle. I’ve included some photos of Ms. Cantwell at a May fundraising event with campaign supporters and close friends.

Ms. Cantwell being introduced by Jim Johanson at a fundraising event in Edmonds, Washington.

Senator Cantwell has agreed to answer a series of interview questions from me, on science and technology related issues. The format for the interviews has yet to be confirmed, but there will be at least a text version and possibly, a  video one as well on the ScienceTechTablet and BigPictureOne multimedia sites. The interviews will take place sometime over this summer. One of my questions will be related to a photo-essay I wrote this year on the current Solar Storm cycle, which will be peaking by 2013.  Specifically. her views will be asked of how ready we are—in comparison to the 1989 Solar Storm, which caused Hydro-Quebec’s power grid to crash and leave millions of its customers with no electricity.

I mentioned to  Cantell that the Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) Advisory for Edmonds School District, which I volunteer as a committee members, will launch a STEM Magnet school at Mountlake Terrace High School for 2012 -2013. The Senator was very enthusiastic with the news, as she is a big supporter of the education program. MLTH was also in her former district when she was a state representative, living in Mountlake Terrace. Questions on how we can attract and support more programs, such as STEM, will be on the interview list.

If you have a science or technology question which relates to the United States for Senator Cantwell, please write it down in the response section bellow this story or email me with your interview question. I will do my best to ask your questions with the time available for the interviews.

A gathering of friends and supporters with Senator Cantwell. From left to right: Jim Johanson. Patrick MacDonald – former Seattle Times music critic, Maria Cantwell, Carmen lisa Valencia, David A. Johanson

The World Event Which launched Seattle into a Postmodern Orbit, 50 Years Ago Today.

22 Apr

Seattle panorama with Space Needle in foreground and Mt Rainier in background.

Multimedia eLearning essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights – Third Edition    

Content includes: Blended learning, critical think, Seattle Postmodern History, (Video Links – MGM film segments with Elvis Presley at Seattle’s World Fair, postmodern video of early NASA rocket launches & spacewalks, video defining “postmodernism”)  (Web links, history org feature of Century 21 Seattle’s World’s Fair & Architect Japanese American Minoru Yamasaki)

Century 21 World’s Fair logo.

On this day, April 21st, 1962, Seattle’s Century 21 World’s Fair opened the doors for its national and international visitors.  Eventually, almost 10 million guests would attend the entire event to—imagine a futuristic tomorrow, which promised technological wonders for improved living and for promoting world harmony.

In the previous century’s, 1851 London World’s Fair, taking place at the Crystal Palace, it was a first of its kind event . The industrial age was in a mature stage of  development, offering new forms of emerging technologies.  In this era, people became aware of time speeding-up, caused by steam-powered’s ability to hasten the speed of long-distance travel with locomotives and steamships.  The dimensions of  time and space were being reduced by these transportation developments… which brought distant nations and cultures together, allowing for— the creation of World’s fairs for promoting industrial development and international exhibits.  Seattle’s first World’s fair, the  Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, in 1909, took place near the peak of the modern industrial age.

The Space Needle, an iconic landmark from Seattle’s 1962 Century 21 Worlds Fair.

Significantly, the Century 21 World’s Fair was successful with a number of tangible results— it was one of the few world’s fairs, which made a profit and most importantly, it lifted Seattle out of its perceived provincial setting, while placing it on a world stage.  The timing was ideal for the city’s economic and development trajectory.  With Boeing Aerospace as a prime Seattle-based company, it benefited from the international exposure, right when the postmodern world began embracing jet travel for enhanced global access.

Aerial view of Seattle Center, part of the original site: Century 21 World’s Fair.

Optimism and enthusiasm associated with the 1962 Worlds Fair was authentic, however, in the big picture, a dark shadow was growing in super-power tension as the cold war thermometer was reaching a boiling point.  President Kennedy’s excuse of having a cold for not attending the Century 21 closing ceremony in October was a ruse, actually his efforts for de-escalating the Cuban Missile Crisis were urgently required.  As a result of averting a nuclear war over Cuba, President Kennedy successfully presided over the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union’s signing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the following year of 1963.

Ironically, it was the Soviet Union, which created the theme of “science” for Seattle’s Century 21 Worlds Fair.  On October 4, 1957 the Russians launched Sputnik, the first orbiting satellite, which gave them an edge in space development.  With the Soviet’s apparent satellite success, Americans feared they were falling behind in science and technology; as a result, the theme of “science” became the framework for Seattle’s Worlds Fair.  From this time forward, the U.S. set goals to be leaders in space exploration and development.

The shock-wave effect created by Sputnik, awoke America from its idealistic  complacency of the 1950’s.  Now a sense of urgency was created in looking for optimism within future technology of tomorrow.  This quest for all things technological— was the fuel which Seattle used for launching its World’s Fair.  Late in 1957, the title: Seattle Century 21 World’s Fair was selected as the brand name—to help promote America’s vision of optimism for a technological future.  To champion this cause, Albert Rossellini, Washington State Governor from 1956 to 1965— selected an exceptional group of business and civic leaders for a commission, which successfully acquired  financing for the World’s Fair.

Governor Albert Rossellini on Veteran’s Day 1961.

Governor Rossellini, a Pacific Northwest civic titan, had a vision, which helped develop the region into a world-class economic dynamo.  The World’s Fair, along with a modern transportation infrastructure, and post secondary education developments are just a few examples of the legacy Rossellini created.  One more fascinating contribution from Governor Rossellini was his success at bringing the of “King of Rock and Roll” to Seattle’s World Fair.

Albert Rossellini  pitched the idea to MGM, for making a movie with Elvis Presley (click on the video link →)  It Happened at the World’s Fair — (Movie Clip) Happy Ending  Enlisting Elvis, a mega superstar, to help promote the Fair in a movie was a brilliant marketing move, with true creative vision!

Most impressive icons of the Century 21 Fair are the Space Needle and Monorail, both went on to become revered Seattle landmarks and preferred  tourist attractions. Internationally, the Space Needle is more recognizable as a reference to Seattle, than the city’s actual spoken name.

The ever-popular Seattle Monorail glides into view.

Low angle view of a futuristic Space Needle.

The Inspiration for the “Space Tower” as it was initially called, came from a napkin sketch by C21 chairman, Eddie Carlson.  The chairman was motivated by his visit to a 400’ TV tower, complete with an observation deck and restaurant in Stuttgart, Germany.  The idea of a tower with a “flying-saucer” shaped restaurant at the top, was presented to architect John Graham, who added the concept of a rotating restaurant to allow viewers a continuous change of panoramic views.  Victor Steinbrueck, professor of architecture at the University of Washington and architect John Ridley produced concept sketches which featured an elegant tripod, crowned with a saucer structure, observation deck.

Minoru Yamasaki, a first-generation, Japanese American, born in Seattle, was the lead architect— along with Seattle’s NBBJ Architects chosen for designing the U.S. Science Pavilion, today’s Pacific Science Center.

Originally titled the U.S. Science Center, now the Pacific Science Center, was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, using his “Gothic Modernism” style.

Yamasaki’s innovative, graceful style was also used in Seattle’s most daring piece of architecture, the Rainier Tower— supported by a gravity defying inverted pedestal!

Yamasaki’s dynamic Rainier Tower architectural design in Seattle.

Another of Minoru’s Emerald City designs is the IBM Building, used as a model for the New York City twin tower design (destroyed in the 9/11, 2001 terrorist attacks.)

Seattle IBM Building designed by Minoru Yamasaki, was used as the model for NYC WTC Twin Towers. An example of Yamasaki’s “gothic modernism” style.

The Pacific Science and NYC twin towers architectural style is gothic modernism, which is a signature feature found in most of Minoru’s designs (please see examples of gothic modernism elements in the photographs below.)

Yamasaki’s iconic Twin Towers, Once part of NYC World Trade Center.

NYC Twin Towers designed by Minoru Yamasaki.

The futuristic Century 21 Monorail, gracefully gliding above the busy streets of Seattle. One of the City’s most popular tourist attractions.

During the summer of the World’s Fair opening,  my parents took me to experience the exposition. Although I was very young while attending, the images and feelings of wonder from seeing the futuristic architecture and exhibits are still with me.  The theme of life in the 21st century, awoke my imagination and interest in science technology at an early age, which still continues to this day. ~

Twilight view of Seattle Space Needle and Pacific Science Center.

A must see postmodern era video featuring the beginnings of the space race. Click on link below. ↓

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfVfRWv7igg

What is postmodernism video (click on video link below ↓)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL8MhYq9owo

HistoryLink to Century 21 — The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, Part 1 ( Click on link below ↓)

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=2290

Links to Seattle Architect Minoru Yamasaki ↓

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoru_Yamasaki

http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19630118,00.html 

What can be more important than reaching for excellence in education, still not sure? Read what one of the greatest storytellers of our time is saying about the importance of education. Iconic filmmaker, George Lucas is true to his word regarding support for education. Please read what he wrote this week in his Eductopia.org. Site, regarding the importance of teaching. My written response to Mr. Lucas’s article is how I use web-based multimedia experiences to share passion for learning. I wonder if GL took a look at what I had to say?

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/importance-of-education-george-lucas

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/importance-of-education-george-lucas

www.edutopia.org

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Explosive Video Captures Seattle Kingdome’s Collapse Into Oblivion…

27 Mar

Explosive Video Captures Seattle Kingdome’s Collapse Into Oblivion…

Video and essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

Preparing to record the mammoth collapse of a Seattle icon: we stood tightly packed, as a captive audience of thousands, ready for a chain-reaction roar from tons of ignited explosives taking effect. 

It was a sunny morning in Seattle on March 26, 2000, as my future wife and I set up video cameras to capture the Kingdome sports stadium’s last moments.  Anticipating an enormous opportunity for dramatic video content, we arrived early, to set up tripods on a grassy knoll with an ideal stadium viewpoint.  Our efforts were more than rewarded, with the structures stunning collapse; however the ensuing surprise after-effects, were much more than planed for.

With only moments remaining for a syncopated, chain-reaction of explosions to pulverized its concrete victim: the assembly of people, boats and helicopters settled in place. The percussive pops from helicopters perched overhead, along with excited voices from the crowed; seemed to turn muffled as attention focused ever sharper on the doomed stadium.  All in attendance knew not much time remained before one of the world’s largest buildings would only be a memory.

In these preceding moments my memories returned to the early mid 1970’s when the dome was first built.  It proved a successful means to bring professional sports back to Seattle, with the Mariners and the Seahawks.  I recall the agony and ecstasy of seeing Seahawk football, played inside the dome: of how loud fan cheering was and standing up to do the “Wave” which had recently been invented and imported from UW, Husky Stadium.  The stadium’s greatest sports glory was: 1978-79 season of the SuperSonics, when the team won game 3 & 4 of the series at the dome; then wining the NBA Championship in-game 5, at Washington DC against the Bullets.  Other events I attended at the dome were mega size rock concerts; although going to a concert at the dome was more about seeing the band, as the sound acoustics were horrible.  One remarkable aspect forgotten about the dome was how cost-effective it was as a stadium facility; Nationally rated as a top civic venue for revenue generation, while producing real income for Seattle and King County.  After nearly three decades of use, the domes mushroom like esthetics lost its luster and would have a hard time wining in any beauty contest.  So, with maintenance and obsolescence catching up, its days became numbered and a decision had to made on how to best remove it from the map. Imploding the Kingdome with explosives was selected the most efficient and quickest way to end its days.

Seattle Kingdome demolition March 26, 2000: view looking south moments before explosion. Video by: David Johanson Vasquez /Bigpicturephoto.us  ©

Anxiously some groups near us began to chant out countdowns for the detonation to begin: their efforts produced nothing but collective groans when reaching zero.  On the third and final countdown a steady chorus chimed in, as we sensed this was going to be it.  In between one and zero, hundreds of pigeons near the stadium instantly took flight; suddenly, startling flashes of bright light burst from the structure’s seems, followed by plumes of smoke from shooting towards the sky.  At this instant, time seemed suspended; as if everything else in the world froze for a split second, to grant this colossus structure dignity of enjoying one last moment in the sun before falling from grace and collapsing into oblivion.  For a moment, it was like watching a surreal, silent movie, due to absent sounds of shockwaves, which travel much slower than the light created by flashes of explosions.  A precise alignment of explosives, evenly spaced from the dome’s top to the ground, sliced through layers of concrete and steel, like a knife cutting wedges of a cake.  Finally, a ground-shaking roar of sound reached us and was now in synch with the dome as it collapsed in a slow-motion pantomime.  Astonishingly, the entire structure of 100 thousand tons of concrete and steel, which could have held several city blocks within its walls, appeared completely collapsed behind a dense shroud of dust and ash.

Watching in complete amazement and believing nothing could outdo what we had just witnessed, the crowds wild cheering was soon eclipsed by the site of a rapidly advancing, ominous plume of swirling dust.  The ash cloud accelerated unexpectedly from the blast site as it expanded evermore rapidly by hundreds feet within seconds.  This monstrous cloud of caustic dust and debris ironically appeared to come to life to avenge the destroyed stadium.  You could see large groups of pedestrians who were closer to the demolition site, scrambling into the streets to find cover from the unstoppable storm of dust. Within seconds, visibility of south Seattle was gone; the menacing shroud turned the sunny day into night as it rapidly descended north into the heart of the Emerald City.  Trying to keep my camera trained on the rogue cloud as it swallowed entire buildings and city blocks within its path; we notice it climbing to engulf our hill position.  Grabbing the camera on its tripod we scrambled for an exit to try to reach the safety our vehicle.  Reaching the park car in record time, the dust storm’s leading edge was now depositing a layer of particles on the hood, with gray quarter-inch sized chunks floating down like snow.  Now safely inside, with relief we removed the sleeves from our faces, allowing for us to excitedly recount the dramatic events.

A few years later the EPA produced a report, which found comparable similarities in the debris particles from the Kingdome demolition; with what was found in the falling particles caused from World Trade Center attacks of 911.  The ejected powdered concrete caused an airborne mixture of caustic particulates, with high traces of pH levels.  The plan (or hope) for a debris cloud from the Kingdome demolition; was a path heading south towards the industrial part of the city.  This was an optimistic plan as winds predominantly flow northwards for most of the year.

Up until now I’ve used this video for educational purposes in video production classes.  In the last segment of the video, are dramatic slow-motion and high-speed-motion of the Kingdome demolition.  These techniques have a variety of applications for industry including: manufacturing, engineering, public services and creative entertainment.   —

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