Online newsletter of the Hawaii Paragliding Association

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It’s a Hard Job (but…well, you know)

The Monday morning grind begins: coffee, e-mail, phone calls, texts. Clients begging for progress on longstanding requests. Five visiting pilots in town, chomping at the bit for tropical airtime on what is probably the last good flying day for a while, as the high pressure ratchets up the wind speed. On days like this you just have to split the difference: work til noon, fly til dark, then go home and work til you crash.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Clouded Minds

Cloudbase dropped so low yesterday that I really thought we weren't going anywhere, for once. But Duck was raring to go, after a month of missing out, and I was compelled to follow, afraid of missing out for even one second. We flew the lowest ever cross country flight to Kualoa and back, below massive towering fortresses of white, darting around them and climbing between when possible, to catch glimpses of their lofty turrets many thousands of feet above.

Hello from Okinawa, Japan!

I finally flew here, just six long months after I arrived on the island. It has been difficult to pin down the paragliding group out here, seeing as everything is posted in Japanese. But I finally decided to put my best foot forward and get to it. I was able to track down the local school which caters to motor pilots, and they pointed me in the right direction.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Incurable Affliction

My name is Sidehill … and I am a flyaholic. There is no excuse for missing a day of flying, no matter what the traffic is like to get there, no matter what the weather looks like, no matter how muddy the trail is. But launching with no LZ is truly a sickness. Yes, Kahana is still open for flying, but if you're thinking of doing it, you better be able to top land, or land out, because the beach is minuscule. The keyhole is gone, and the walk from the trees to the water is two or three steps. A few did make it to the beach yesterday, and thankfully there very few campers and no one was on the beach. It was on the sketchy side as the following debriefing will attest.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Apres le Deluge, Moi

Don and I enjoyed a first postdiluvian flight at Kahana yesterday, an aerial survey of the flood damage. In addition to the beach having been completely washed out, and some ironwoods being toppled by the outflow, there are huge mudslide scars scored into all of the surrounding ridges from Kaaawa to Punaluu.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Calm Before the Storm

After four long wingless days in Kauai with the family we were headed to the airport. We were driving through Anahola, and Donna cautiously looked over to me, not sure if she should say it, but then she did: There are two wings in the air. Sure enough, I watched Joe and Courtney fly over my head. Argh, so hard to enjoy watching others fly when I haven't had a fix for four long days. Joe did chat an offer to lend me a wing and harness. Thanks, Joe. I declined in order to spend some time with the wife and kids.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Smokey and the Bandits

Aloha 'Ol Smokeys! Well, today was a little smokey, with the fires in Wells Canyon, Brewster, and a few remnants from McNeil canyon fires. This morning was a bit strong and North on launch so the task commitee almost called off the days task just to give everyone a much needed break. Forty plus hours of flying, and more than that for us volunteers, plus 100+ degree heat and dry hot weather really takes it's toll. Even Jorge looked worked after yesterdays task, and he even said to me "Reaper, I'm taking a month off from tandems when I get home, whew".

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Alone in the sky

Yesterday I enjoyed a solitary little round trip in the sweetest light easterly conditions, thermaling under a low cloud base and hopping the ridges down to the little hill before Pounders that we call Sucker Hill, before turning back for a slow return to Kahana. It's a fun challenge to see how far we can go in that direction before trying to make it back, especially on days that are less than perfect for it, with lower cloud base or more easterly flow. But next time I hope to have more company!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Dodging Bullets

"A little piece of advice. You see an agent, you do what we do. Run. You run your ass off.” I always think of Cypher's line from the Matrix when I see pilots trying to take on a big incoming rain system. Yesterday Mad Dog enticed me to play that game with him, shooting crazy lines and dodging between numerous squalls and rain bands and gust fronts. As usual my timing was sometimes poor and I got stuck a few times. But somehow Mad Dog always makes it look effortless no matter how close he cuts it. Great flying with you as always, Neo!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Colors and Clouds

Makapuu was graced by at least a dozen pilots yesterday, and we kept the skies busy all afternoon between the lighthouse and Green Walls. I think each of the four launches was used at some point during the day. It was light enough to head downrange, but clouds were on the low side, brushing Puu O Kona and Green Walls, so we had to dance some intricate figures to get around them. I spent most of the day flying alongside Thom, admiring the indelible hues of his new ride.