Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Wingman is Back!

After months carefully healing up from a broken wing, Duck finally snuck back into the air a little over a week ago, taking a quick spin in his freestyle wing to make sure everything felt right. Well I guess it did, because last week, at the first sign of good cross country weather, he was right there charging across the bay and all over our back yards! It sure is great to have him back.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Cross Country Craving

As predicted, the wind ramped up to nuclear levels after last weekend's lucky window. But somehow we still managed to score a couple of spicy and delicious cross country days from Kahana this week, for separate flights in both directions and back. Apparently when the wind is that strong we can't do the whole double out and back loop in one day! We have been hungering for cross country action lately and we'll have to settle for snacks like these until we get some proper feasting weather!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Big Turnout for Big Bob

That has to have been the biggest and most successful fly-in we’ve ever had. Not to mention the most relaxed: a minimum of organization and infrastructure, and no planned activities. Just an extended weekend of hanging out and flying with tons of our favorite people. We counted over twenty tents and around fifty pilots, including thirteen visitors, plus around forty friends and spouses and kids and dogs. That’s almost a hundred warm bodies! Over forty pilots flew for many hours over each of three breezy and beautiful days, under wings of all sizes, buzzing below launch and skying out over three grand between the clouds, as we celebrated our memory of Bob and our good fortune to live this paragliding life.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Diamond Head Dogz!

My first introduction to flying Diamond Head came long before I was a pilot, and it was actually pertaining to a select once-upon-a-time apparent hang glider that chose to soar those onshore winds. Gifts of Kona were the basis of the story: this was a connection between a Hawaiian spirit, with a passion for the view and the importance of place at the precipice of Diamond Head, and an unsuspecting Californian, a surfer who came to know and respect the particular form and shape of the mountain which formed the winds and the waves on which he rode.

The article was in The Surfers Journal, quite a few years ago now, and was about a time long before me. As I have been flying for approximately five years, it must be at least seven years ago that I read this story. It created an indelible image of a period in time and a way of life in which limits were being raised, a time when Diamond Head would have been soared by one and one alone, and so spiritual levels were raised. I would have to say that today was one of those days, in a modern way, and though we did not have Dave Goto to grace us with his presence, we did have Leo and Nancy, and about twenty paraglider pilots.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dream Weekend

For three straight days, the forecasters stubbornly repeated a dire prediction for breezy conditions and showers. And for three straight days, we were delighted to prove them wrong. Over a dozen pilots flocked to Kahana each day for a variety of surprisingly good thermal and cross country missions, ranging from Laie to Waikane, and topping out at four grand. We ignored the forecast and just enjoyed the heck out of this surprise streak of perfect cross country weather! Or perhaps it was all just a dream, as Thom suggested. But my phone is jammed with over a thousand pictures from those three days, so I’m pretty sure it really happened! Here’s hoping for more dreamy weekends like that!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Changing of the Guard

The flying community has lost one of our longest serving members. Kui Michelmore passed on April 7, 2015. For 16 years Kui served as the Top Dog of the Hawaii Paragliding Association. Kui was the beloved soul mate of Pete Michelmore, whose accomplishments in our world were enhanced by his four legged partner. She passed where she started, at David Michelmore's house, in the presence of David, Pete's brother, and Shirley Michelmore, Pete's mother.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Headroom

The forecast made it look like we'd have a brisk day on our hands, but it turned out to be just about right, with plenty of room for thermaling and cross country flights in all directions from Kahana. We got close to four grand and logged eighteen miles over stunning scenery under the highest cloud base we've seen in many weeks.

Diabolical Dewpoint

Almost twenty pilots at Kahana on Easter Eve, and almost ten airborne at once: it was an impromptu fly-in! We even managed some cross country flying to Punaluu and back, and to Swanzys, despite the same infernally low cloudbase that has been soaking us for weeks. What is behind this cloudbase curse, this humidity hex, this diabolical dewpoint? Global warming? El Nino? Hot air at the LZ? Well let’s cool it and get that cloudbase back up to normal!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Cloud Crossings

What a crazy weekend of low clouds and variable airflow at Kahana. Lots of pilots flew both days despite the strange conditions, and a few of us even managed to fly cross country despite cloud bases as low as we've ever seen them. Apparently some kind of surface trough had snuck in behind the forecast for sunny trades. But nevertheless we managed a tentative bay crossing on Saturday and a full fledged trip to Kualoa on Sunday, connecting the misty ridge lines by surfing below, around and above the clouds. Great to fly with visitors Chris and Lindsay, Miami Eddie, Maui JJ, and AK Jason who is back with us for a few days.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sunbeam Session

As many of us all around the island can attest, there's nothing like living right next to your favorite flying site. The forecast called for very strong wind, but the sensor was strangely mellow, and a quick drive out to check conditions confirmed that the forecast was, ahem, overblown. And while the tenuous thread of rural island roadway that connects everyone else to this place was temporarily tied off, three lucky pilots savored a gorgeous afternoon session along the foothills of the Koolaus that lasted until the last sunbeams streamed over the mountains. Kudos to Allegra for the genius plan to drive the long way around the island to get here! And thanks to Duck for the timely retrieve!