I went to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl one January night in 1995. I remember several things about that night.
First, I recall offering my jacket to my date, as it was unseasonably cold. Normally in January in the LA basin, summer temperatures prevail because of strong easterly Santa Ana winds scouring hot air off the Mojave Desert east of LA and pouring it down into the LA Basin. There’d been no Santa Ana winds for a while, so I watched as the marine layer rolled in off the Pacific, bringing with it cold, damp air and thick clouds.
I remember hearing a helicopter land near the Bowl and thinking that some rich celebrity had arrived to see the show. I also recall sitting in a horrendous traffic jam later that night, in fog, on the 101 Freeway, while CHiPs, EMS and wreckers tried to sort out and clear away the debris of a Bell JetRanger that had just collided with power lines strung across the Cahuenga Pass, the canyon where my part of the 101 lay.
The helicopter that crashed and burned was the same one I’d heard land earlier in the evening. It hadn’t brought a rich celebrity to the Bowl, just four regular people — the pilot, his police officer buddy and their two dates, flying in for an extra special time. [Read more…]