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Up In The Air: Sound Effect, Episode 107

Credit Allie Ferguson
The view from the observation deck at the Space Needle.

This week on Sound Effect, stories about the view from above.

The Best View In The City

Space Needle elevator operator B.J. Listman gets to see one of the best views in the world every single day for his job. And for B.J., the view from the top never gets old.

High-Altitude Exploration

UW Earth and space sciences faculty member Robert Winglee has designed a drone that can fly at an altitude of about 80,000 feet. It has solar panels in the wings and batteries for energy storage, meaning this drone can also stay up almost indefinitely. This high-altitude, long-range drone is designed to enable scientists to carry out remote sensing in some of the planet’s most isolated places.

More Diversity In The Sky

According to the Black Pilots of America, most of the people who get to fly for a living are white. The organization says less than 2 percent of pilots in the United States are African-American. Jesse Hayes is a Boeing engineer and president of the Red Tailed Hawks Flying Club. The mission of Red Tailed Hawks is to get kids of color interested in flight and the aerospace industry.

The Good Old Days In The Sky

There was a time when Gloria Sferra’s work took her around the world to exotic locales. From 1962 to 1964, Gloria was a Pan American flight attendant. She didn’t really know what she was walking into when she applied for the job with a friend.

Homes For Refugees Up In The Air

Rising rental prices in the Puget Sound region can be difficult enough for those of us who’ve been here a while. But what if you’re a refugee? There is a man in SeaTac who started an organization to help refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo find housing.


People hire Michael McAndrews to come to their events, usually funerals, where he’ll send off a flock of white doves in dramatic fashion. Today is a training run for 50 of  the younger, less experienced doves — ones that haven’t flown before.  

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Jennifer Wing.