Online newsletter of the Hawaii Paragliding Association

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Since my incident with clouds many many flights ago, I have had an aversion to them. I have avoided them at all cost, even when noticing that others appear to disappear into them and get higher than me all the time. I would always yell and scold on the radio (if you can believe such a thing), but really it was only due to my own fear of getting too close. Yesterday was different. The clouds were wispy, and I can finally believe the responses to my scoldings: Thom, we are just alongside, in between and above. This was the first time the clouds and I have spoken on friendly terms.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Flying the Hurricane

Hurricane Julio graciously veered far north this weekend and spared the islands from anything but a break in the trade winds, making way for light northerlies and sea breezes. A zillion pilots took advantage of the light conditions to fly Makapuu all day long, some venturing away under a lowish cloud base to Greenwalls, Olomana and even the back side of Lanikai. It was great to see a lot of rare faces out there. I guess mine was one of those! I'm leaving for the mainland today to ship Logan off to college. See you guys in a couple weeks!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Presidential Pardon for Iselle and Julio

When the powers that be must get a flight, a pardon just has to be granted. On the way to my last job of the day, I called the Prez: any chance of another Calm Before the Storm? He declared: no way, dude, we're done for weeks. Ouch! Just the thought of no airtime for a few days gives me the shakes, but when the prognosis is for weeks, well, you wouldn't want to be around me. I must have put a bug in his ear. I went to check the chat box and hit iWindsurf instead, and the last few readings on the Punaluu sensor were very interesting!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Breeze

Summer tradewinds have finally started to fire on all cylinders, just in time for August, and we're flying everywhere all the time. Yesterday was another perfect day for many of us at Kahana, with cross country flights in both directions under high and sparse clouds, by veterans and first timers alike, including many happy visiting pilots. Most of us are making the beach landing work there well enough, with a few daredevils even managing to back their way down onto the edge of the remaining sand at the keyhole.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cross Country Chronicles

Strong wind drove some die hard eastsiders to join us at Kahana yesterday. It was great to see Jorge and Maui Doug up north for a change! And great to have Woody back on the island and flying with us! The wind was a little brisk and east but that didn’t stop me, Thom and Jorge from charging to Kualoa and back. The clouds were much higher and more sparse than we’ve seen the last few weeks. We turned around at Kualoa and shot back past Kahana to Punaluu, with Maui Doug tagging along, and then three of us made it back from there. The end of the flying day was marked by a wide variety of exciting landings. Not to mention one exciting landing in the middle of the day!

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.