Friday, October 10, 2008

Long lost friends...

Our long lost friend Ken Berry is still at it in Tennessee. And today was tribute to Ken.

We hiked to low launch today due to the high winds. Alex and visiting pilots reported very East and strange conditions while they were flying today. They said there were holes in the wind and very light conditions with almost rotor conditions on landing.

I met Alan Goldberg, Mauri, and Hillbilly today to fly late at Kahana and Alex says "it looks doable" The wind was picking up and clocking around a little more northeast as we arrived at the LZ.

We hiked to the low launch and it was blowing 14 to 20 mph in the gusts. Ugly conditions for a P-3 and my student P-1 Mauri. Who has only flown in 'Butterfly' conditions here before from the high launch?

We waited on low launch and Alex was reporting strong conditions at the Punualu wind talker up to 15 on the beach? It was blasting on low launch. I told Alan and Mauri that if you got ready there might be a lull in the wind and allow us to launch?

Just then the wind died down to 12 mph on launch. Mauri, eager to fly, said " I'll go, I wanna fly".

So, we launched Mauri in lighter winds. She actually was able to kite her glider for a moment and just as she left the hill and flew straight out and up, (Perfect launch!!!) the wind started nuking again. I asked Alan if he wanted to fly (as the windlines increased), and he said "no".

Ok, not wanting to 'EVER' hike down; I laid out my medium Hook and started to build my wall. Now the winds were back up to 20 mph... Sh&%t. I pulled up the glider (not expecting to be yanked as I outweigh it considerably), I had a huge knot in my left tip. The glider swung over and I had to kill it quickly. Then Alan who was helping me tackle the wing, slowly and cautiously untangled the knot. I was now on top of low launch and ready to fly. I pulled on the A's and was dragged off of the hill backwards at high speed while the glider was still in a horseshoe shape. The glider was caught in a tangle of scrub and then finally released with full force and further yanked me in the air. I was flying backwards off of low launch, past the trees and into the air when I noticed I was flying backwards and with a couple of twists?

I love to fly backwards and this seemed almost normal to me, when I decided that in high winds and low it was probably not a good idea. I un-twisted and stood on the speedbar in the next valley and managed to get up, only to see my un-suspecting student soaring a 1,000 feet over the road having the time of her life. Hehe

I joined her for some very strong soaring in gusting conditions trying to play the 'Cool' instructor and taking lots of photos and videos. All of a sudden, Alex says, "Do you guys see those menacing clouds on the horizon?" Uh no, not until you mentioned it.

So, we ambled back to the beach park for a couple of fun landings near the frosty swizzling post flyers.

Just as we landed and packed up our wings, the wind kicked up to 21 mph and 20 minutes later the rain fell.

I told Alex, that my launch was in true Ken Berry fashion. Sucked off of low launch in high winds, dragged thru the dirt, and spun around only to have a short flight in near storm conditions. God, I miss the 'ol tough Green Beret to show me the way...

Miss ya Airborne.


1 comment:

JeffMc said...

Cool story Reaper. But, knowing Ken, he would have walked right past you on his way to HIGH launch! :)