Online newsletter of the Hawaii Paragliding Association

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Getting After It

After yesterday's second straight day of adventure at the End of the World, which ended with me hiking my way out of there after a scratchy sledder, I met Cade who had masterfully flown back to land next to the cars. He said something I found hilarious and awesome. It's an expression I've only heard but never used myself. It's also funny because it's kind of a consolation, like a cross country pilot who ranks high in airtime. He said: Alex, you sure do get after it. Today, many of us got after it at another rare winter site. You know, the kind of site that involves driving, hiking, waiting on the mountain, watching your buddies handle crazy turbulent air, and hiking down.

The Coconut Wireless Report

I was not there, but to appease the rants of our local blog enforcer-in-chief, this humble reporter will relate a probably distorted diatribe from last night's pilot debriefing. I've heard tell of the mysterious rarely flown Makua site, and have wanted to try it for myself for quite some time. A cursory look at the blipmap and the forecasts made it seem like that this might finally be the day Makua would be working on a weekend. I mentally prepped for a chance to try this elusive spot while puttering around the house. Alex posted that his crew was getting a slow start but had an ETA of 12:30-1. I missed that last part, and focused on the more comforting report of a slow start and continued with my household chores.

2014 Final Meeting Minutes

First and foremost, thanks to Pete Michelmore for hosting yet another wild and well attended year end meeting. Thanks to all that showed up, from the hang pilots to the puppies. I'm not saying that is the order from the top to the bottom, or vice versa, but you know I had to get a Goto dig in here somewhere. 2014 was a year in which we celebrated the victories and tried to learn from the woes. I'm looking forward to finishing 2014 with great safe flights and to great flying events in 2015 as well.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The End of the World

Today marks the third time we’ve launched and soared from the southwest tip of Kaena Point, the very end of the most remote corner of the island! Although I think it's the first time we've hiked in from the Yokohama side. But now that we know how well the ridge works on these westerly and sea breeze days, I think it’s time we find or groom a decent launch up there. The one we’ve been using is abysmal! Just ask the poor suckers who followed me out there today.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Shine On

A strange combination of sea breeze and pre-frontal Kona wind powered up Diamond Head for a first winter flying window today, drawing over a dozen monkeys out of the woodwork on a sunny Thursday. Six flew, most soaring for multiple long flights, punctuated by a variety of dramatic top landings. Conditions were super east and light, with fat thermals bubbling up from Kahala. A band of solid rain and rainbows offshore slowly chugged its way across the horizon but never threatened to approach.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sailplanes and Sea Mist

Anyone who has flown on Oahu for a few seasons will have learned not to confuse sea breezes with real wind. Wind blows; sea breezes suck. Wind behaves predictably, but sea breezes are a crap shoot, varying with background flow, cloud cover, heating patterns, and moisture. Today’s sea breeze sucked a handful of Dillingham fanatics out to the remote northwest corner of the island, and after holding off a brief bout of overdevelopment, the sea breeze carried us aloft to soar long and far over the island’s most scenic peninsula.

Thanks to All Our Veterans

This is not a paragliding story about one of our flights. It's a gesture to remind all of us to thank our veterans every day of the year for making it possible for us to have free flight. Yesterday there was a dedication of a statue for the Navy Seals at Bellows. One of our favorite frequent paragliding visitors, Laddie Shaw, was there to represent his unit of the Navy Seals.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Climbing the Ladder

Somewhere in this picture, near the lake, sits my house. In the yard, there is a papaya tree, with a ladder leaned next to it. Our Oregon buddy, Paul Murdoch, has had some ladder issues lately. So now, in my advancing years, I climb on that ladder more carefully. But the ladders in life all have slippery rungs, missing steps and disappointing peaks. Today's climbs were similar, but they were never a disappointment.

Saturday Nov. 15: Meeting, Election, Party!

Last minute plans came together yesterday for our final quarterly meeting of the year. This is the one where we elect (or re-elect) board members and pay our annual dues. Please bring your spouses, friends, students, and canine companions. Pete "Reaper" Michelmore, our next Region 3 director, has kindly offered his Kaneohe bayside mansion, Gravity Bay, as a venue. Please bring food or drink to share.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Best Worst Flight Ever

As winter tightens its grip on the islands, we are confounded by the constant approach of frontal systems that thwart our hopes for easy soaring. While the days grow shorter, our windows of opportunity for airtime grow even smaller, and we have to invest more time driving and hiking for less time in the air. But these winter windows often reward us with the most challenging and interesting flights, often over the least flown corners of the island. Yesterday, in the light veering northwesterly flow ahead of a rapidly approaching cold front, four of us leaped through a window of fantastic cross country adventure at our farthest and most mysterious outpost: Makua.