Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Big Island Getaway

Some of the Oahu pilots have been hatching a plan to fly thermals at Kealakekua this weekend. I just found out I'm free to go, so I am joining up with the gang: so far it's Bob, Ray, Sandy, Russell, me, Fireman Dave, McStalker Jeff, One-Eye Jim, Cliff, Scrappy, Jiah, and possibly Doug and Suicide.

Bob told me I have to be a ringleader, so to do my part and get things started I have booked the Hibiscus Suite at the Ah Paradise B&B at the LZ for Friday and Saturday nights, which should hold about five of us comfortably (the nightly rate will be $160, to be split between Bob, Sandy, Russell, Ray and myself.) One-Eye Jim has booked another room for those nights as well.

If you'd like to join us at the B&B, please contact proprietors Greg or Miles (click here) - they have other rooms in the main house, but I don't know if they'll be available, so you'll need to check on that. And there's a separate cottage that holds 5 people but it's available Saturday night only. Local pilot Charlie says it's also possible to camp out if anyone is interested.

The weather is supposed to be trade wind weather, which is usually good for Kealakekua. Jayson just got done flying there for the last three days and said it was perfect. The thermals start cooking up around 10 am and keep pumping into the early afternoon. The newer guys will probably want to get launched before 10 am to dial in some calm air flights before they step up to tackle the rowdy thermic air.

Charlie says we do need 4WD vehicles to get up the road to launch. Me and Bob will have a 4WD that he's borrowing from a friend in Hilo. We're arriving by car around 10 am Friday morning. Russell is renting a mini-van from the Kona airport on Friday evening after work and Sandy will be on that plan too. One-Eye Jim is renting an SUV and will join us Friday morning. Fireman Dave, McStalker and Scrappy are planning on doing a day trip to fly with us on just Saturday. Cliff is doing a day trip on Sunday. If anyone wants to do that I would recommend the first flight of the day (5:30 am?) and one of the gang can pick you up and drop you off. Jeff McStalker asked for a map of the site:

Map of the launch area
I think this map is centered on the B&B

I also researched our online archives and found some great reading for those interested in the history of Oahu pilots flying at Kealakekua. (Three generations of websites - the username and password for the page containing our oldest archive are the same as those for our current directory page - also the page is large and takes a while to load up - let me know if you have trouble accessing it).

Sep 2006: Huge new unofficial LZ available for low profile use
Jan 2006: Frank's trip to the Big Island
Oct 2005: HPA donation to help pay for new official LZ
Sep 2005: Bob and Ray checked out the new official LZ
Apr 2004: My last trip there was with RVC
Apr 2002: Reaper takes his recent students
Dec 2001: Josh Cohn Thermal Clinic
Oct 2001: Superfly clinic
Aug 2001: HHA pilots help clear first official LZ
May 2001: HHA Memorial Day Fly-in on the Big Island
Mar 2001: Jon's first account of flying Kealakekua


firedave said...

Stalker and I are probably going to just day trip on Saturday, out on the 8:24 and return on the 9:13. If you are interested call me 382-0568

Alex said...

Me and Bob are flying in on Aloha #42 to Hilo arriving 7:21 am, picking up his buddy's 4WD and we should be in Kealakekua around 10 am.

Bob will drive back to Hilo Sunday night - I'm leaving from the Kona airport Sunday night on Aloha #87 at 8:55 pm. I would love a ride if anyone else is headed that way...

On past trips I have found that it sucks to cut your flying short on the last day to make it to the airport, so I have picked the last flight out to make sure that doesn't happen this time!

sandy said...

Russ and I are on Hawaiian Air:

Departure JAN 19, 08:00 PM Honolulu (HNL) JAN 19, 08:43 PM Kona (KOA) HA398

hoping then to catch some thermals departing from the coffee house below launch

Return JAN 21, 07:38 PM Kona (KOA) JAN 21, 08:18 PM Honolulu (HNL) HA307

JeffMc said...

Confirmed w/ FireDave. See you guys there!

JeffMc said...

Does anybody have a Google Earth link or GPS coords for the Kealakekua site?


Alex said...

Jeff, I put links to some Yahoo maps in the body of the article for you. The google map was too cloudy and the microsoft map didn't have enough resolution.

Waianae Jim said...

O.K. - I'm in. Flying into Kona Friday am. Will meet up with Alex and Bob for Friday a.m. session. Staying Fri & Sat at the B&B flying back from Kona Sun night at 9pm. Wil have a rental SUV for transportation support.

paliglydr said...

Alex, Sandy and I can take you to the airport when we go.

Alex said...

Thanks Russ! Actually it sounds like One-Eye Jim may be taking the same flight I am so maybe I can ride with him and defray his expenses a bit. Ray is now on my same flight as well - so maybe we'll all fit in Jim's SUV for the ride back on Sunday for the last flight out. Either way it sounds like there will enough shuttles headed back that everyone will have a ride.

paliglydr said...

No worries, Alex. But if the One-eye truck fills up, we can take the spillover. Now I just have to try and remember how to do a forward launch 8-)

Alex said...

Yeah, forward launch, what's that?

I talked to Gene today and he wanted to remind us to please DRIVE SLOW up the 4WD road to launch - I think this is to avoid pissing off cranky residents or chewing up the road, or both. Also he tells me that if we land at the new huge unofficial LZ, we should hustle out of there and help them maintain a low profile. Maybe we are supposed to fold up in the official LZ - we can double check when we see those guys.

Alex said...

Can anyone bring a laptop? I might be able to, but it's kind of a big one and if anyone has a smaller one it might be better. I'm thinking of bringing this awesome DVD I borrowed from our PG library that has lots of good information about thermalling and other aspects of "Performance Flying" - might be fun to watch in the off hours. Also the laptop might be handy to offload pictures or videos from our cameras so they're free to take more the next day. Just a thought.

Brazilian Ray said...

good idea, Alex. I can bring mine. also, what is the protocol to fly there? do we have to pay to join the BISA? waivers????

forward launch, what's that?

Alex said...

I think the protocol is to sign waivers, but no dues. Plus I think we have to buy the beer.

I just heard that Cliff is joining us for a day trip on Sunday. Yay! That makes nine.

Gravity said...

Yes, there is a launch donation of $5(?)per day, per pilot. I donated $20.

The box is located on the downstairs portion of the house facing launch with waivers and pens in it.

Have a good day.

Alex said...

I know some of you are worried about the weather forecast calling for anything but the nuking trades we've always assumed are best over there - so I called Charlie and verified that the prognosis is still excellent for good flying on all three days. The cold front is not actually forecast to pass over the islands (which would bring rain), so the weather should be dry and sunny. Charlie says he's not concerned about the forecast at all.

He also said they're all getting really excited to see us over there. And he said Gene was wondering if they should put together a little comp for our visit...that's the same good idea Ray had.

Brazilian Ray said...

sorry I had to change my plans because of work schedulle. I'll leave HNL on aloha at 5:10 am saturday and return with alex on sunday leaving kona at 08:55 (arrive 9:35pm).
can't wait!

by the way, if you're interested in joining me in the same flights, it will cost you only $69! check aloha at www.alohaair.com

what are you waiting for?
good luck with your booking!