Monday, February 23, 2009


Finally got UP!!! Yes!!! I have been introduced to a new drug "Sky~alis" The drug induces adrenaline flow, promotes euphoria and is highly addictive. Side affects include but are not limited to feeling light on your feet, shaky hands, nausea and a strong desire for a beer after climax. If you are married or have any significant other that are not also on "Sky~alis" warn them of the "other woman" or as the case may be. Sky~alis is not recommended if you have any family plans until after O-dark thirty.

My journey started several years ago watching Don and his new realm of cohorts' fly around the island. Never really got the bug due the crazy, lazy, manic, juice launches. But hung around and joined Kui as a mascot of sorts.

Over the years and after a trip to Rat Race decided maybe I can do this. My first time was with Q on an almost overly windy launch from Cactus that almost was a "triandum", it was awesome. Then time went by started kiting and kiting and kiting. Ray needed ballast a couple of times and the hook was starting to set. Had a couple of bumps from rope pulls and toe ups but did not stop the desire.

Then it started to happen, para-waiting. Hiked up Koko a few times and on one eventful day, Reaper yelled over the radio "Just Do It" and I did. It felt like I was up for at least a 20 minutes and had a good landing on Sandy Beach under the watchful eye of the Reaper. I was soon corrected that my sled ride may have been 5 minutes. I was met at the ground by Maile, my daughter and next pilot in the family and Donna, my wife, who saw that look in my eye of loosing me to the "other woman".

Several other para-waiting events at which I got exercise up and down the hill but also valuable lessons of watching others, I guess that is where the term comes from “Monkey see Monkey do".

Sunday, February 22 will be my best entry into my log book, thus far. Don & I hiked to North launch and at the top we were greeted by the glum faces of Alex, Chopper Dave, John, and Bernie. Soon followed by Berndt, Chuck and Morgan. The waiting room was full. Alex effortlessly did a low launch but quickly top landed diminishing the hopes of the top guns. Chopper Dave reluctantly departed and wished luck to all. Finally a window opened for the experienced pilots, so again I watched and learned. Alex, Don, Chuck, Berndt, John took off and soared up high. By the time Bernie laid out the wind started to die out but he got a launch only to bomb out at the LZ.

John radioed to brother Bernie that it felt like it was changing and that he should come back up. Figuring that Bernie was on his way up I stayed up there to assist. I put up some new streamers to pass the time and watch the wind going cross but was it. It started to turn as Don & Bernie hiked up for 2nd flights.

Bernie got up and soared with brother John, Don gave me the look so I called down to the beach for clearance, Alex radioed “It looks good” and then again the loud voice of the Reaper came over the radio “Just Do It”.

After detailed pre-flight instructions from Reaper on ground control and Don at launch I left the hill. Not the prettiest of launches but safe and clear. One of the best sounds in the world beep, beep, beep followed and Reaper yelling into my helmet “Dude your up, may as well soar for awhile” so with Reaper’s and Don’s instruction I soared and hit 1000 feet. I was given my boundaries and was slowly prodded to go around the Rhino “Baby steps, a little away and then back to the front”.

Sun started to go down and I was getting cold, dam it. Well I have to land sometime and went out over the water to loose altitude. What the hell, I am going up again over the water, I thought that only happened on the simulator. Reaper was in my helmet again with step by step commands, I landed at Kahana Beach after approximately a 35 minute flight with Kui at my heels.

If you read this far, thanks. Big Mahalos to Don, Reaper, Alex for the assists. And Mahalos to all who have instigated this wonderful disease. Hope to get high on Sky~alis again real soon.


Anonymous said...

Way to go Thom!!! Glad to hear you finally got your first soaring flt. Greetings to all the Gals at your house. James Bender

Brazilian Ray said...

Right on, congratz!!!!
Kitting, parawaiting and observing pays off! keep up with the good job and remember to get your prescription with your local instructor before using Sky-alis!!

Welcome to the club! :)

Brazilian Ray

JeffMc said...

Great job, Thom - glad you could finally "get it up" :) (your wing, that is!)


Anonymous said...

Hehe Sky~alis really gives ya the shakes huh Thom...? Nice job, and welcome to the club. Now go buy some frosty beverages!


firedave said...

I guess that means Don can stop calling you "Eddie" now.

For others that don't know, Eddie is the kite guy at Sandy's that only kites, never flies.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Thom!

It's been a long time coming my friend.

Looking forward to some Oahu-airtime with you. Maybe next winter...

sandy said...

Yayyy Thom! Glad to see your patience and persistence and practice were finally rewarded.

I guess Don's going to have to do all the work now while you play ;-)

Anonymous said...


Just for the record I hiked down as a sacrafice so you all could fly.
CONGRATS my friend, I know that look from the wife and kids, Great artical.
See you in the buddy,


Anonymous said...

Way to go Thom! Is Maile old enough to drive retrieve yet?

Hope to fly with you next year. Best to Donna & kids in the meantime.

Mark Edgley

Anonymous said...

Congrats Thom! A couple more Skyalis flights and you'll be ready for Flyagra. Go bigger, stay up longer, and fly harder. And then there's always Enzflyte... :) But that's a secret.


Suicide said...

Aloha Thom!!

I am Sooooooo glad that you finally got up and stayed up.

Won't be long now . . . you'll be reaching goal and teaching as a mentor at Rat Race.


Kiss the girls for me.


Anonymous said...

yeah Thom, congrats buddy !! now it's ( almost ) all up from there. keep kiting a lot and have a great time flying. maybe i'll see you in Chamonix this summer with the boys, eh ? say hi to the ladies in your haus !
cheers, Czech