Monday, December 5

Osprey spotted

This should interest our closest neighbors, who are avid birders.

Today we saw an Osprey. Actually we heard it first, a deep throbbing sound from the north. Karla and I were hiking up to what we call Dragon Hill when the whole valley seemed to be infused with a very loud wubba wubba sound, more felt than heard. There was a component of the sound that reminded me of turbojet engines. I had heard the same thing yesterday but never discovered the source. It was obviously an aircraft, so I scanned the sky and finally saw it—an airplane with two enormous propellers. The Osprey takes off as a twin-rotor helicopter, with wings. Once airborne, the two huge engines/rotors swivel forward on the wings and it becomes a regular airplane and goes twice as fast as a fast helicopter.

It’s an aircraft that uses a great idea, vertical takeoff with fast horizontal flight, and took nearly two decades to perfect. It has commercial potential. The last time I went from our foothill ranch to our high Sierra ranch by helicopter, it took a whole 40 minutes. In an Osprey, it would take only 15. That would make a daily commute much more practical.

I’ll have to present the idea to the board of directors.

Photo: US Navy, via Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

Tom, any idea what the Osprey was doing up there? (You really had me going for a second; I was trying to think what could be wrong with an osprey [Pandion haliaetus] making that sound---trout caught in throat?)

Ana C.

Tom Hurley said...

I wouldn't know why we got an Osprey flying over us two days in a row. Hilary doesn't know why a B1 bomber flies over Furnace Creek Ranch, but was intrigued to find out that it could be piloted by her cousin.