Monday, September 03, 2007

2007 HPA Air Raid Round-Up

[This is an addition to Alex's article, as I didn't see his at the time of my posting -- consider it a different perspective of the same day. Enjoy.]

The 2007 Air Raid took place yesterday at Kahana Bay. It was definitely a laid back affair and any attempts at organization were quickly dismissed by the group. Lots of the now familiar faces were missing yesterday and there were definitely some suprises: Mark "Nalu" Hill (local legend), Kenny Boyd (HG pilot and future PG pilot), Steve Stackable (from Torrey), among others.

The weather looked great for calling a serious XC task. The only problem was that other than Alex and I, no one really cared to do it. Brazilian Ray was flying tandem, Nalu decided to take Kenny tandem for the task, and everyone else forgot their GPS/Radio/motivation. It turned into a fun flying day with awards for distance, altitude, and spotlanding.

The conditions turned out to be light with many a pilot sinking out to the beach throughout the day and most of the launching done from upper launch. Once you patiently climbed out you could really put on some altitude over Puu Piei. Peter and Hilery took the tandem to just under 2500'.

Alex and Berndt flew to Pounders beach in less than ideal conditions for the distance win. It was a great flight considering the lack of the normal quality lift, and might have been a first for Berndt.

There were quite a few attempts to cross the bay, but Steve and Alex's late day runs were the two sucessful trips. The peanut gallery on launch were claiming that Steve was flying to Makapuu, but moments later he zips by on the back of a motorcycle.

The Bomb Drop was dropped itself this year because a few thought it was dangerous to drop baggies of sand over the beach, but I think compared to the guy on the quad ripping up the beach at 40+ mph, it would have been relatively benign. Many pilots asked for it since it is a real crowd pleaser. Makapuu next year, with a beer bottle drop (empty of course). Just kidding about that.

Which brings us to the spot landing. The spot landing is great because anyone can do it, and it all happened right in front of the peanut gallery. The day starts off with pilots being slow and cautious trying to concentrate on getting in close. As the day wears on everyone gets a bit looser with pilots spinning, sliding and plowing their way into the spot. The entertainment value for spectators is huge with the cheering from the sidelines adding to the mayhem. Next year the bomb drop is on the spectators.

The peanut gallery setup is amazing with everyone set up in the shade under the ironwood trees with a clear view of the action. There is a grassy folding area and picnic tables. It is just on the Kaaawa side of the venturi, and we might consider using it on a day to day basis.

There was a "Where's Frank?" contest, where like the fabled Big Foot, people claimed sightings, but he never actually materialized.

Millilani Eric took a downwind spin around the back of the ridge, I guess to explore the lift on that side. After an amazingly long and low glide back around the front, he emerged up high in front again.

We missed Don Ikenberry, who we thought had the resume for a perfect retrieve driver. But I guess since he doesn't drink and can't fly for a while, there was nothing that interested him.

Wives, girlfriends and pets all came out and supported (read: endured) and made the day special. Special thanks goes out to Ray from Sol and Jorge from Ozone for donating the prizes.

As far as future events go, I think we have enough tandem pilots to have a club family and friends fly day, where we take all comers tandem. We could do a club XC comp day for the (few) interested pilots without the restraints of a Fly-In. Maybe we could move the party up to launch next time and everyone could topland and watch the mayhem unfold from the front row.

I failed to bring my camera, so I hope some of you will share some photos with us.

Results: Open / Serial

Altitude: Peter & Hillery / Jim

Distance: Alex /Berendt

Spot Landing: Scrappy / Jim


sandy said...

Sure wish I could have joined in the fun this year. I've enjoyed all of our previous flyin's and have learned to enjoy the challenge of those light wind thermally days at Kahana. I was off having some wild and wonderful adventures of my own at King Mountain, Idaho. I hope to post more about that later.

Alex said...

We definitely missed having you there, Sandy! But King Mountain sounds cool - are you pursuing your HG curriculum there? please do post something about it when you have a chance!

firedave said...

I think I saw that Farmer's Intermountain League comp got moved from Sun Valley to King due to brushfires. I think Sandy is the Hawaii champion.

sandy said...

Yeah, I hooked up with those guys. Met Matt and Nate and others. They led the way, but were all too fast for me. While they did an out-and-back, I just did an out in beautiful glass-off conditions. I had an excellent retrieve driver, so no worries.

The next day the comp pilots wisely headed to Big Southern Butte. I don't know how they fared, but it couldn't have been worse than for those who stayed at King. I have alot to learn about mainland desert mountain flying!