Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Portlock Eight

It turned out to be as nice a day as I've had the chance to fly at Koko head, with seven other lucky pilots. Frank made the early effort to hike up while Ginny, Joey and I waited at the bottom to make sure the conditions were good before committing to hike up. Frank made the call from the top, saying it wasn't too strong for my "big" Paratech P44 wing, so off we went. Joey thoroughly enjoyed his first climb up that nice road (not).

When we eventually got up there the wind was a bit strong out on the normal launch, I was wishing I has packed my Apco Lambada. Frank encouraged us to go a bit around the corner and have a look there. It was still too strong, so we all sat it out waiting for the wind to back down a bit.

Reaper showed up with Kui, and Scrappy popped in. It calmed down enough that Joey decided to give it a go, he masterfully demonstrated his "overshoot" method of inflation, then was on an elevator ride pretty straight up. After watching his launch, the rest of us decided to wait a bit longer. Scrappy used the time to load up on rocks for ballast. While we were sitting around up there we met Steve from the UH weather department, and had a nice chat with him.

Our wait, thankfully, was not in vain. The wind backed down nicely, Reaper, Scrappy, and I launched. Frank had headed in to land and go sailing. Tim had made his way up to take some pictures, hope as usual for him he puts up a link to them. Reaper left his camera and Kui with Ginny. Fireman Dave appeared and made a quick launch in his U-Turn, although by his standards the wind was a little light by then for that tiny acro wing, he still put on a show over Portlock throwing some huge wingovers and getting way lower than anyone else, before working his way back up. Rich, Maui Doug, and Harris were making their way up the road, I was giving them some directions to launch from the air, for what would be their first flights at the site.

I had a side-by-side talk with Fireman Dave about trying to jump over to Koko Head (proper) but eventually Dave nixed the idea (probably because he wasn't in his comp glider). Like I said in the air Dave - I'll follow. I finally headed in to land just before Rich, Maui Doug and Harris launched. From what I heard they all had great first flights there (with the exception of Rich's botched launch attempt). If anyone else got some good pictures please share them Four first timers in one day. Great to see everyone out there, let's do it again!!


Anonymous said...

Great article Jim! Wow, what a rush! I popped another cherry, thanks everyone:-)

The hike definitely got my blood flowing so all this adrenalin could get to all parts of my being!

Thanks Harris for the launch assistance. Thanks Rich for the guided tour up to the top.

It was great getting experience soaring with a bit more traffic in the sky. It was a challenge watching the acro maneuvers by FireDave and also keeping my eyes on the road.

The police visit by the two HPD cruisers was a nice added rush at the Elementary LZ. They were vary kind and mellow. They said they were just responding to some neighborhood calls. I told them that this was my first time landing at the school and asked if there were any rules or restrictions for paragliders?
They said, "they did not know of any, and did not have a problem with us landing at the school".

They were happy to hear that paragliding pilots are certified by the FAA and use radios with ground spotters at all our LZ's for public safety.

They politely left as the two cute young mormon ladies made there sales pitch to them.(It's true!)

Thanks Jim for the motivating call which amazingly took me away from the Steelers game. Thank God for DVR's! Thank God for Paragliding, Thank God for the Steelers! 35-24
Just Thank God:-)

firedave said...

Jim, Good Stuff!

I was thinking of downwinding over to Koko Crater, but I thought it was windier than it was and was mildly concerned with rotor on landing. When I landed at the school there was little air moving.

I have flown to Koko, but have yet to find the right day to get up from there. There are plenty of landing options below: the ball fields at the district park, kaiser High School and if we get up then Sandy Beach.

Next time.