Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Space Monkeys Return to Earth

Thanks to everyone for your support and good wishes while five Hawaii monkeys were blasting into space at the Owens Valley the week before last. We did our best to keep the home troops entertained. It was an unforgettable experience for us in many ways. My mind is still occupied by indelible images of that severe landscape of dusty desert and magnificent mountains, and also by myriad intense moments of fear, frustration, excitement and elation. In an effort to sort through some of those memories, I thought I’d offer a recap of the week, for anyone not already tired of hearing about it!

[Photo credit above: Aaron Colby Price. I have included a few amazing shots of views I remember seeing this week, from the Facebook feeds of some talented pilot/photographers: Aaron, Brad Gunnuscio, Matty Senior, Matt Bonney, and Chris Amonson. I wish I could have taken more myself but my hands were numb!]

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Remembering “Doc" Bill Harris

Please join members of the hang gliding, sky diving and paragliding communities at Makapuu on Sunday, September 20, to commemorate the life of our adventurous friend Dr. Bill Harris, who recently passed away after a lifetime spent in passionate pursuit of airtime. He was not only a long time mentor to many but he also never stopped learning and expanding his flying horizons. Bill’s wife Georgie will be there, and we are planning to drop flowers just offshore of the LZ if it’s flyable (and so far, the forecast looks good). If it’s not flyable, we will arrange to have them dropped from Brandt’s helicopter. Please bring some flowers and meet at the Makapuu LZ at 9:00 am Sunday, to get pilots in the air by 10:30 for an 11:00 flower drop. Hang glider pilots will be bringing cold refreshments, veggies and dip.

Talking about Paragliding

I had the privilege of making a presentation about Oahu paragliding to the Hawaii Trail and Mountain Club the other day. I chose my best 180 photos taken over the past 5-6 years on some great flying days at a dozen flying sites around the island. And I chose my best 6 videos, though we only had time to show half of them. I was super nervous about speaking in front of a group, with a microphone, but this great group of hikers made me feel at ease right away. Plus I had about a dozen pilots attend as my guests for moral support! Thanks to everyone who made it out.

The Clouds of August

August was a prolific month for flying despite the continued plague of low clouds and humidity and hurricane scares. I sometimes think the story of flying on Oahu is really the story of clouds and wind. This El Niño summer has brought an unusual amount of moisture so it’s been cloudier than ever, though not so windy. I finally managed to collect the best of my cloudy photos for August, taken during a month of flights from Kahana, Makapuu and Dillingham.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Ike to Maunawili

Today was another one of those unpredictable days. The range looked gorgeous but the sensors were spitting out North winds. Ike stopped by my house and twisted my arm into flying Makapuu. Alex was yearning for the Knob but I wasn't biting on that one after being vexed there the day before. We talked him into a Makapuu flight. I was the first to launch and flew out over the lighthouse to start the mission. This was the last shot I got of Ike before he went down range. He was charging.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Battle to Survive The Owens

I was starting to prep my gear for the up coming Owens Valley PG Nationals, while Kalei was taking these pictures she said, "You look like your going to battle, you look like a gay storm trooper". Well, unfortunately I think she's hit it right on the helmet. We will be launching around 6,000 feet and have potential altitude gains to 17,999 feet. It will be cold and the ride up to these elevations could be fast and furious. The more I have been gathering information and gear for this trip the more I wonder, What the Hell am I doing??!!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Dirty Window Pains

First, I am glad the editor did not correct the spelling in the title: because flying here, lately, has been a pain. You can't forecast the good days, and when you try, well, you're left wearing your purple outfit with no place to go. The trails are muddy as we hike up between the window washings, and the inside of my pod is dirty and needs a little more than windex.

Monday, August 17, 2015

President Stepping Down

Oh God, No!!!! It's not what you think!! As most everyone knows, our club is a Reverse Dictatorship. So Alex does not have a choice: he has the job for life, whether he wants it or not. But this story is about another kind of stepping down. These days many EN-D pilots are stepping down to the EN-C range, for a variety of reasons, but improved safety and performance on EN-C gliders is pretty much the top justification. Alex had his inaugural Makapuu flight on Sunday and displayed the new colors of Air Force One.

Monday, August 03, 2015

It's been a while #flyingsoloatKahana

Between Liliana, a fixer upper house, and work, I haven't had much time to fly lately, especially at Kahana, since Makapuu is closer to me now. Most of my flights are tandems nowadays, because I absolutely love flying tandem, and I have a very large list of friends who want to go, but last Friday I went flying all by myself (literally) …

Friday, July 31, 2015

Midsummer Marathon

Our summer season has blessed us with an abundance of sweet cross country conditions, albeit on the humid El Niño side, with clouds a bit lower than we'd prefer on most days. But that hasn't stopped us from flying our heads off in every direction at every opportunity … some of us more than others. Congrats to our most infrequent flyer JK for his record breaking out and back flight on a particularly low cloud day. My flying is never notable for record breaking distance, but I do rack up a lot of cross country airtime, and I take a lot of pictures! Since my last post here, I have flown around 20 of the 30 days before I left for the mainland, and I have only now gone through the 6,100 photos I snapped during that time, to select and process 82 favorites. I hate to say how long that took, but hopefully it was worth it!