Monday, December 19, 2011

Filmmaker seeks help finding radio-controlled helicopter downed in West Linn, Oregon.

WEST LINN -- A Northwest Portland man still is looking for his compact high-tech helicopter, which crash-landed somewhere near Interstate 205 while shooting photos earlier this month.

Brian Dalrymple was flying the radio-controlled Droidworx AD8 Heavy Lift, equipped with a digital camera, on Dec. 12, while shooting pictures for a documentary film on Willamette Falls. Shortly after 2:30 p.m., the helicopter stopped responding and took off on its own. He was able to activate "automatic land" mode before it disappeared somewhere near the Willamette Falls Viewpoint. 

But Dalrymple couldn't see if the helicopter went down on the freeway, closer to the river or up on Barrington Heights. 

"It definitely was a bummer," said Dalrymple, 27. "I have looked all over for it and I've talked to a lot of the neighbors there, but I haven't found it."

Dalrymple said if the batteries still work -- and if it survived the landing -- the internal GPS locator should have pinpointed the spot where it went down.

"At this point, I don't know," he said. "I think it's probably in the trees, someplace."

The helicopter, with its eight rotor-driven lifters and black carbon fiber "legs," looks something like a flying spider that measures more than two feet across. And with the Canon EOS 7D attached, it takes on a futuristic eye-in-the-sky look -- at once amazing and slightly intimidating.

Total cost for the helicopter-and-camera package is estimated at $16,000.

Sgt. Neil Hennelly, West Linn police spokesman, said several city residents have called police after Dalrymple knocked on their doors and asked permission to look for his helicopter.

"Of course, it would sound suspicious and people did the right thing to call us," Hennelly said. "But in this case, it's completely legitimate. He's really looking for his helicopter."

Hennelly urged anyone who finds the helicopter to contact police at 503-655-6214.