Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Award

Reaper, Big Ray, and I had a lucky window to get in some flying over at Lanikai today. When we checked in at the beach the wind Goddess seemed to be in our favor, despite Alex's curse. We made our way up to the normal launch down in the bowl between the bunkers. I was so anxious to fly. I was first to set up and conditions looked good.

I'm not sure where I lost my focus, but as I pulled up and was getting yanked off my feet I noticed I was backwards. NO not twisted backwards, hooked in backwards. Reaper was screaming "abort, abort" but it was too late.

So I got off just fine and wanted to bail to the beach ASAP. Reaper helped me to "fly the wing", while taking a video of my inept failure to post on "You tube". So I settled in to contemplate my situation, and decided to fly a while like that. I wanted to give Reaper a chance to get pictures just to remind me of how fortunate I am and to mentally prepare myself for landing.

I even took a couple pictures (they didn't come out) and talked with Frank and Fireman Dave flying over at Makapu'u. Thanks to them for their encouragement, and sorry Dave - but for today I claim your title of "King of bad ideas".

Once Reaper got his pictures, I decided I was pretty much done, and headed in to make my attempt at landing. As I was nearing my chosen landing zone, I hit some headwind, and it became immediately apparent I was NOT going to make the beach. My next thought was "where is the biggest roof". I can't say I set up to land, more like prepared myself for the impending ride to the hospital. But as Alan G said when I was first telling my story "the Angels must have been on your side today". I landed, not so gracefully, on top of the second story a house directly across from Quentin's, and sustained my only injury of my adventure there (minor scrapes on my arm). After gathering all my gear up, tossing it off the roof, and climbing down, Quentin was kind enough to open the gate and invite Reaper and I back across the way for a much appreciated post flight refreshment.

You may have seen Reaper's pictures already, and I'll take any and all grief or harassment with a smile. I'm thankful to be writing this article, and for all my paragliding family. There's not much that I can say that will convey my feeling of stupidity and lack of proper perspective. Happy Thanksgiving - I gladly accept the Turkey award for this year.


Anonymous said...

Reaper you posted this video backwards!!

Gravity said...

I did... Ooops! NOT. I think this should be in the USHPA mag. It's toooooo funny, and with a happy ending.

I love the cover shot of Jim facing backwards.

Although there was much more potential Chaos -

I landed going backwards at the LZ in the fast approaching wind gusts just after watching Jim house land, and then the visitor Alan from Torrey in his DHV 1-2 almost didn't make the beach by flying to far downwind w/out a radio, and barely made the end of the beach.

Then my student Big Ray was being blown back over launch at 2,000' agl to end up barely making it out over the water on full speed bar, and landing with too much brake on to get dragged down the beach a little bit.

It was a fun day, all are safe, and we had a good time (most of us anyway). What an Epic Turkey day...

The party for the wayward pilots was also awesome as we had a 26lb turkey in the oven and all the fixins ready when we got home.

PS Earned my nickname today)

Waianae Jim said...

Thanks Reaper - great pictures, I'm sure they'll help me recall this memorable flight. I neglected to mention that visitor Alan from San Diego joined us for a flight. For the record - my flight time was 26 minutes.

DaveZ said...

Should you deduct or add the 26 minutes from your log?


Glad it all ended well. Thank you for sharing it.

Hilo Ken said...

Hey Jim,
Atleast you can laugh about it now. You are safe and relatively unscaved! When I made a silly mistake like that it cost me $1800 to put my motor back together.....

I'm glad you're ok! Did the home owner know you landed there?

Waianae Jim said...

Ken - luckily he owners weren't there, I'm sure I would have aroused them with the loud "thud" on their roof. The neighbor was there, but luckily was a nice guy and even offered a ladder if I needed one, and Q had the gate key, so I didn't have to jump a fence to get out of the yard once I climbed down.

Anonymous said...

The late Mattias Rotten was a master of flying hooked in backwards! He could do every trick in the book! Keep working on it Jim! In most situations when something is wrong it is usually best to head for the LZ right away. Glad your alright. It's friggen cold here in Colorado. RT