You can imagine in the 25-years David Richards has been a private pilot, he has had quite a few bird-eye-view encounters.
So, he knew the increasingly dark cloud of smoke he spotted Saturday morning in Woodburn was worth a detour.
"We were coming home past the Woodburn Factory Outlets and I saw a smudge of smoke ahead and I said -- what's that? Let's go look at it," Richards told KATU News.
Richards, alongside his neighbor, circled around with their phone recording and watched as the plume grew. Cell phone video Richards posted on Facebook shows the smoke getting thicker and the fire growing stronger as it engulfs an RV approximately 1500 ft. below on Pacific Highway in Woodburn.
"You're a long ways away from it but what's very interesting is you can see the progression of fire pretty quickly and it went from a very small smudge to something very major in probably less than two to three minutes," Richards continued.
Richards, a high school shop teacher, says he is now sharing his story and his video, in hopes of inspiring future small plane pilots.
"We evangelize our sport because if more people could see what we see from the air, I think we would have more people interested in flying around in little airplanes," he said.
Standing in his hanger, surrounded by planes he built himself, Richards says he hopes to pass along his passion of planes -- not just piloting but of the unique perspective that comes with being able to look down at something that can incite panic on the ground and awe in the air.
Story and video: http://katu.com