Online newsletter of the Hawaii Paragliding Association

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Caps and Veils

Yesterday we enjoyed one last nice long flying day before we have to start looking for dry windows during the rain we are forecast to get for the next week or so, ending six straight weeks of consecutive easy flying days on the island. The approach of inclement weather was signaled by an incredible cloud show: on this last perfect day, flying from Kahana to Kualoa and back, I witnessed the most stunning display of pileus and velum clouds I have ever seen, forming around and above some very dynamic cumulus clouds. My phone pictures don’t begin to do them justice!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Insanely Strong and Beautiful

The title does not actually refer to any of the strong and beautiful women in my life. I am thinking of yesterday's flying conditions at Kahana. It was an unlikely day to fly much higher than ridge height, but I was determined to carve out a cross country mission, and by god I crunched that speed bar into submission. I'm giving it all she's got Captain! The reward was a strange and starkly beautiful cloudless view of the whole range.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Textbook Tradewinds

Now these are trade winds! After weeks of light synoptic flow, sea breezes, thermals and overdevelopment, we are back to a more typical pattern of moderate easterly wind. At least for a few days. Pilots flocked to Kahana and Makapuu to enjoy the easy ridge lift, and also some fun and challenging technical cross country flying. Technical flying is the kind that involves being low and near terrain, as opposed to the kind that involves thermaling to cloud base in wide open air. Oahu pilots could write the textbook on technical flying.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Easy Choices

We are super lucky to have so many options for flying on most days. Today we had many happy pilots flying at least three sites, and we could easily have spread out to a few more! Four of us met to fly at Kaena for our second day in a row out there, this time in easy ridge lift under very high clouds, cruising all around from the point to the drop zone, until the window closed. Four flew Kahana in super east low cloud conditions, all landing at Punaluu. And at least a handful flew Makapuu in strong east low cloud conditions. If there are more details or pictures to share, post them in a comment!

Knobject Fixation

When our winds are light enough they give way to sea breezes that waft onshore from every corner of the island. Almost any site on the island can be flown in a sea breeze (and you all know by now which one absolutely cannot). But figuring out which one will work best is tricky. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. I happen to be fixated on a particular corner of the island, so that's an easy decision for me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Eye'm Back!

After a very long hiatus, by my standards anyway, I was granted medical clearance, now with two eyes. I was ready to get back in the saddle. I had to work til noon, and then a 3pm rug rat pickup was dropped my way. Well, I guess there is always tomorrow. But on the way back to the house, I looked up at the range, and it was clearing. Suddenly the truck went from 15mph to 40mph, with the horn beeping at the little school kids to get out the way. Two skipped red lights, a two wheeled turn and I was flying by the driveway kicking Kalei and Mochi to the curb.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Congratulations, Dave and Kim!

Dave and Kim have been best friends for over 25 years. They have stayed in touch for all that time, and last night they made their permanent bond at the Koolau Ballroom. There were pictures at the sign-in table: one from when they met and one from the present. But everyone commented that they look the same! They met as flight attendants many moons ago, and Kim is still with Continental/United, residing until recently in Florida, I think. Dave left the Chelan PG Nationals partway through to help her move to Hawaii. She's a keeper because she actually told him to stay and finish. But Dave left to help her anyway, so clearly she means a bunch more to him than the top finish at the Nationals for which he was destined.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Doubting Thomas

Who would ever stick someone with the name Thomas, aka Tom? The name should be removed from the baby book of names, as it has developed several negative connotations through the centuries. I am sure anyone with this saintly name has been teased by one or more of these renditions of Tom. I know I have. Today, while passing the Chalice of Debriefing around the LZ, I was reminded of the founder of the disenfranchised name, Apostle Thomas. May this story be a heads up to all future parents: put some thought into the name please.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wakeup Calls

We could all use an occasional reminder of our incredible privilege and good fortune, as we pursue our unique pastime here in this place. It's easy to take what we experience for granted, especially during periods of perfect flying weather like the one we're in now. So in the middle of yesterday's otherwise dreamy flight, Thom and I each experienced brief nightmare scenarios to wake us up and remind us how lucky we are!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Olomana Ping Pong

Ping pong flights are what a few of us are resorting to these days. We ping a particular starting point, say, the Makapuu lighthouse, then we'll pong as far north as we dare go, which today was Olomana. Then back to the lighthouse, then back to Olomana, and then one last pong back to the lighthouse. Yup, just like a ping pong ball. It may sound monotonous, and frankly, when doing it alone it is, but when you're gaggled with a group, it's very interesting to see the different routes each takes on that given day in varying conditions. I am not trying to justify flying laps, although it has cut down on retrieves by sending folks back to the LZ. Monday was one of those learning flights.