Monday, March 05, 2007

Leaving the Ridge

As the trades died down to light winds and sea breezes over the past few days, we've started to enjoy some great thermal flying and even some modest cross country flights. I was lucky to get out and fly four of the last five days, and along with others, I managed to leave the ridge for a mini-XC trip on each flight!

At Kahana on Thursday I made it to Kualoa and back, while McStalker guarded the ridge and nursed his secret cross country ambitions. It was a little stronger than usual for a bay crossing trip, since the brisk trades of the preceding week hadn't quite deserted us yet, but I squeaked over on my second try.

On Friday I launched the lighthouse ridge at Makapuu for the first time ever, with Don and Jon, and from there I flew Jetflap's little triangle to Three Poles and Koko Crater. I'd been hearing about that launch and that triangle and I was very happy to finally try them myself.

Saturday and today I launched at Cactus and followed Jetflap and others over the back to Koko. I think I've only been over the back twice before these flights, so I'm still kind of new to it. But today I started with only 1400 above Three Poles, and I would say that's a nice minimum. All three Koko crossings involved some pretty strong turbulent air on the way over, with a frontal the other day and a fifty percent collapse today - I'm still not used to that. Also when I arrived at Koko on two of the days the wind was offshore, which makes for some yucky air over there. The one day the wind was onshore was sweet and the thermals at the Crater were working nicely.

Sunday was the day I didn't make it out: on that day the guys did some nice thermal flying at Mariners Ridge and a couple of lunatics pioneered a new launch at Makakilo. I hope to see some pictorial evidence soon.

Anyone up for flying tomorrow? Let's leave the ridge and go somewhere! Maybe the west side will finally give us a break.


firedave said...

Alex: Scrappy's camera is holding the better photo evidence of our Makakilo flight. Basically we hiked up up Puu Makakilo, Scrappy launched first and yoyo'ed up and down in pretty strong but disorganized lift. I launched as Scrappy was landing, I went up and down a few times as well, topping out at 1500', but I couldn't hook a thermal that would take me to cloudbase. I actually think it was that kind of day where the thermals down low are small and rough, if we could climb higher then the lift would have improved.

Two thoughts on the place: 1) The entire area below launch ( and beyond) is one big LZ (miles of LZ) and 2) You don't have to jump over the back of the Waianae's to access the flats of central Oahu. So, having a low cloudbase or small testicles ( does not apply to females)would be much less of a problem.
Once we figure out what conditions work best we might have a new favorite site. In the meantime, if you are interested in playing, park near the south end of Nemo St. hike down a couple hundred yards and make a hard left up Puu Makakilo on a trail that diagonals up the south west face, about 120 yards below the top bunker is where we launched. Happy hunting!

JeffMc said...

Dave - is this the place?

Makakilo Launch?