The Helicopter Pests Of L.A.’s Skies

We Were Supposed To Love These New Flying Machines. It Worked Out a Little Differently.

Sometime in the mid-1980s, while he figured out the week’s patrol schedule, the former chief pilot of the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station helicopter patrol program—begun in 1966 and among the first in the nation—informed me of the perversity of helicopters.

A plane with wings, he said, naturally wants to fly. It’ll glide if the engine fails. A helicopter doesn’t glide. With the engine off and blades spinning in “autorotation,” a helicopter just goes down. “Helicopters don’t naturally want to fly,” the chief pilot said.

That aerodynamic fact might please irate Angelenos. Many wish …

The Darkness Beneath Huell Howser

Reveling In California’s Joys Has Always Been Partly About Making Up For Broken Dreams

Huell Howser has retired after nearly 30 years of producing and hosting programs for KCET, ending his career in Garbo-esque disappearance within almost ubiquitous presence. California’s Gold, California’s Green, Downtown, …

Living in a Modern Way

When California Designed the Future

GIs in World War II were urged to consider what their post-war home should be like.


Home is where most Angelenos wanted to live when World War II ended, in a …

The Foster City

Why Outsiders Run So Much of L.A.

When I was young and my brother was a little older, we would be in bed before dark on mid-summer evenings. (The times were different then.) We would lie in …