Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beginner's Luck

After all these years of flying I've been chasing the best flight of my whole career. The flight took place on my 20th training flight at Marshall Peak in San Bernardino. I took off and thermalled to over 12,500 ft agl whereupon a UPS jet on approach to Ontario airport flew underneath me. After an hour flight I top landed in the bushes at Marshall and my instructor said he was screaming at me over the radio (which I never heard). I chased that flight for years, never getting another like it...

Well, enough about me. This is the story about dumb luck and determination:

Today I arrived at Makapuu where a bunch of experienced and visiting pilots were basically 'Para-festering' in the hot sun trying to figure out where to launch? Alex and Fireman hiked up to Tomato patch and were somehow able to launch in very East and light conditions. Alex then flew over to Koko crater to check things out for the Para-festerers. It was a bit light at Koko and Alex reported he wasn't able to soar it. Meanwhile Fireman Dave was trying out the new Ozone FLX and entertaining the gang with his Helicopter attempts.

So, after retrieving Alex we headed back to the Makapuu LZ where the boys were giving up and cracking the frosties. I managed to rustle up a few pilots for the hike to cactus launch and upon arriving up there we noticed that it was getting very light. Jorge launched the FLX to give it a go and was able to getup over launch. Frank managed to get up, with Dustin from Telluride following. Then Alan G. launched, but he bombed out. That left Mike from Torrey and I setting up in diminishing winds. I launched only to bomb out, followed by Mike and the rest when the wind finally did die off. Just as we were landing Harris my student showed up for his hopefully 24th flight?

I told Harris that we "All" bombed out from cactus, but that he was more than welcome to get a sled ride and that we had to hurry up because it was getting dark. Almost everyone packed up and left by that time.

Kui and I decided we would launch Harris in the diminishing light and winds. But, alas, the wind was picking up a bit? As we were setting up Harris' wing the full moon was rising off of the ocean. Boy, was it rising fast... Maybe the wind was picking up due to the 'Full moon thermals"? Hehe.

Whatever happened was nothing short of beginner's dumb luck. The wind gods, the full moon gods, etc, etc aligned themselves perfectly for Harris' 1st full moon flight. After a near perfect launch, Harris was off all by himself and soaring Makapuu in the brightest of full moons. I was estatic. After a bit of radio guidance Kui and I headed downhill to race to the LZ to watch Harris in case he 'Sunk-out'. He didn't. I met Mike from Torrey and Alan G. having the last of the frosties at the LZ only to watch Harris soaring high above Sea Life Park in the full moon. BASTARD!!!!!!

About an hour later and after the last drop of frosty beverage was gone, the wind finally turned a bit north and light. Then totally northwest. It was at this time that we decided Harris should come in. His approach in total full moon light was over the bathroom, across the LZ parking lot and he nailed the LZ with a perfect into the wind stand-up landing. Did I say "bastard'?

Well Harris, you're well on your way to chasing the dream bro...

Good Luck,

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