Monday, May 11, 2009

Trade Winds and Sea Breezes

Four pilots made five hikes and three flights at Kahana today. Scot and I worked our way to cloudbase at 2,300 feet, in a mixture of sea breeze, easterly trades, and disorganized thermal bubbles. We made the most of sparse lift at the next couple of ridges, and finally counted ourselves lucky to reach Hauula Beach Park.

I didn't take many pictures during that flight because the first time I hit cloudbase, while still at Kahana, I decided to swap a battery from my camera to my GPS. Just to have that warm fuzzy feeling about the possibility of whiting out.

After the bus brought us back to Kahana, we saw Chicago Tim in the air. Scot had to leave, but Maui Doug arrived and hiked up with me so I could launch for a second flight. Soon after I launched, I realized that the sea breeze had given way to the easterly trades. I was able to fly to the back a few times but there were unpleasant swirls and sink holes along the way. The clouds were headed offshore and I think some of the lower air was too. Tim's interesting landing confirmed the easterly theory, as did the sensor reading of 83 degrees, and I headed for the beach in front of Ching's store in Punaluu, while Doug hiked down.

A fun and educational day for everyone.

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