Home NEWS Local Scene Dawn Patrol – “Things Just Look Better From 5,000 Feet.”

Dawn Patrol – “Things Just Look Better From 5,000 Feet.”


Good morning, Ground Huggers, hope you are all snug and warm in your jam jams and bunny slippers this morning while we take the NEWS24/680 Sopwith up for an early Look-See.

Our faithful old rattletrap finally made it up to cruising altitude this morning, even though she took her own sweet time about it, and we had to keep a close eye on our No. 2 cylinder head – that guldurn spark plug is misfiring again. Other than that the skies are clear with visibility virtually unlimited, and we have the vivid air all to ourselves.

We’re told the Whop-Whop Jockeys were stirring things up over Moraga Sunday night, the East Bay Regional Park district’s Eagle7 helicopter making several low passes over that little village around the cocktail hour. Very shiny and modern looking, that Eagle, and her crew keeps her in tip-top shape, but we’ll stick with the Sopwith for cruising. You’ll never know we’re even up here unless No. 2 starts missing again.

You know the old saying: A propeller is a big fan that keeps pilots cool, and when it stops, pilots start to sweat…

But so far, so good as you Road Warriors steer your chariots out onto our namesake freeways this morning, with most of you rushing right along, we can see, and… oh!… we just had a bad crackup (6 a.m.) on Marsh Creek Road and this one doesn’t look good. Oh no. Lots of help rolling up and, judging from our radio chatter (hold on a sec while I give the thing a good whack to set the crystals), they are calling in another whirlybird to pick up a critically injured person.

We’re going to move over and let those air ambulance guys get in here. They do good work even though we give ’em a hard time about being a partially assembled airplane back at the hangar.

Some naughty drivers down there this morning, still too dark to get a better description but apparently folks like to use the far right shoulder to pass other people and, judging from the reactions we’re seeing, that tends to startle them. Hope you make it where you need to be, naughty drivers, but more important we hope you don’t hurt anyone else on the way.

In Ground News – that is, stuff of no real interest to pilots – we hear Walnut Creek is considering a plan to move Last Call back from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m. for two local hot spots, Crogan’s Sports Bar and the Redux Lounge. They’ve had some issues down there, it seems, up to and including a murder, so the powers that be are taking steps – or at least considering it. They’ll knock the idea around at tonight’s Planning Commission meeting.

And in an Election Year for the Books it seems there’s change afoot at the local level with several old dinosa – veteran politicians – stepping aside and some new blood emerging. There’s a political reshuffling shaping up on several local councils and, in an interesting side note, Moraga’s fire district board is seeing only the third election not involving incumbent candidates in its 19 year history.

One local district watcher called it a true “fair fight,” a contested election for a director’s seat – this one between Orindans Craig Jorgens and Victoria Smith, the city’s former mayor.

Heading back to the hangar and some of Crew Chief “Greasy” McGillicuty’s famous 30 weight coffee. We’ll let you know if we survive the experience.

And, yep, you Moraga/Orinda people will see another closure on Rheem Blvd. after a crash there at Zander. Two cars involved and looks like someone got banged up but just a little.

That’s it for now, Fellow 24/680 Birdmen and Gals, over and out!


  1. My current “almost hit” count while traveling through the intersection at Glorieta and Rheem Boulevard is five. The last time a woman came so close I swear she nudged my bumper. And she stayed there the whole way over Rheem. When I looked back she was either falling asleep or texting I couldn’t say for sure. That yield sign from Glorietta to Rheem is a sick joke – most people seem to just speed up when they see it.

    • Hi, Sue, dang you guys are eagle-eyed. We do believe there is another law enforcement aircraft overhead – this time a fixed wing we believe may belong to the CHP. They are looking for a stolen car, unknown if the same one which inspired earlier interest or if there’s another one.

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