Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorable Day

Almost 20 pilots assembled at Makapuu to make the most of very light conditions on Memorial Day. The marathon flying day featured repeated hikes, scads of unintentional early landings, scores of entertaining toplandings, and countless hours of scratching and thermaling.

Our myriad landing locations spanned the entire coastline and ridge: the Manics launch depression, various spots all over the Cactus launch plateau, a haole koa forest near Tomato Patch launch, the beach below Crazies, every imagineable spot between the beach below Crazies and the LZ, the dunes outside the LZ, and the edge of the street outside the LZ. Some landings were even made right on the LZ!

The day started with several optimistic launches at Lazy Corner, the little shelf adjacent to the lookout, but the conditions were so light that most folks opted for the hike up to Cactus, which would turn out to be the main launch and toplanding spot for the rest of the day. Even from there the conditions were not always strong enough to get up, and numerous flights were cut short by the merciless whims of the fickle convective airflow.

My own day was marked by several high and low points. I sunk out twice to the parking lot near the Heiau, only to stubbornly hike back up for more. But I was very pleased to have pulled off the initial session of kiting, launching and scratching my way up from Lazy Corner to Cactus, not to mention all the sweet toplandings at Cactus over the course of the day. The most memorable part of the day for me was turning circles in a nice thermal above Tomato Patch along with Laurel, Jim, Jared and Berndt - it felt like a miniature comp gaggle. I got to 1,300 feet, my highest point all day, and probably high enough to set out for Koko, although I wasn't quite confident enough to try it from there.

I left the party at the LZ around 4:30 for a BBQ at home, but I heard that some of the guys flew again from Manics as it filled in stronger and norther.

Thanks to Maui Jon for the refreshing beverage at the lookout, and to both Ginny and Jim for the tasty Torpedoes at the LZ! If I left out or misconstrued any details of the day's events, I'll just have to blame those infernal explosive devices.

It's very likely that we could have had a more epic day of flying somewhere else, at a site favored by stronger flavors of sea breeze or better thermals, like Nanakuli, Tantalus, or even Dillingham. But Makapuu turned out to be a great location for an all day party, where pilots of every persuasion could enjoy the festive holiday atmosphere.

If anyone else wants to add their pictures to this story, send me a link or e-mail some pix my way and I'll include them.

By the way - it's not too late for someone to write a paragraph or post a picture about the previous day's adventures at Tantalus. I've heard rumors about several close calls, some involving airplanes, and some involving security guards. On second thought, maybe it's best those stories remain untold!


Thom said...

The last flights seem to be the best soaring flights,Ray's student Coast Guard Phil was up for over 2 hours and went around the corner to Waimanalo. His 5th flight, first soaring flight, I told Ray I must have missed that class.

We have to work on the "Condor Picture" I think it would be a cover.

Brazilian Ray said...

congratz to Phillip!!! his 5th flight lasted more than 2 hours!!!! way to go!!
watch out, he confessed he got bit by "the bug". I'm sure you'll see him more often on our sites. he is almost a P-2 now...
welcome to the "bug bitten" club!

Anonymous said...

On Memorial Day, I took out my WalkerJet for its last Oahu flight.
I have sold the unit to Ricky White over on the Big Island. So, with the winds light I decided to fly Sandy's and it was a beautiful day for a motor flight. I have to confess that I forgot one important thing and that was "sunsreen" what a nice little glowing reminder I have of the day.
I will miss the motor but that means I will have to commit to free flying......

Hilo Ken

Alex said...

Thom, which is the "condor" picture?