Saturday, September 12, 2009

Addiction to Firsts

On Tuesday I got the jitters when I could not make it to Kahana for the filming flights and the great day there I heard about. I was trapped, sweating and shaking, by a thing called a "job", but I thought just maybe a late flight at Makapuu would take the edge off, so I put a call in to Frank. He returned the call around 4:30, just when I was heading for some family work in Waikiki, and I made a U-turn and headed to Crazies to get hooked up.

Frank & I had a great flight, and somehow I knew the next few days were going to be flying benders. After we landed, I told Frank it was my First flight out of Crazy Launch where I actually stayed up. Wow, it was great not to hike.

Wednesday came and I had to work. Ray volunteered to be a slave and help me with a job in Ewa Beach which made it go by fast … then it was off to Makapuu for another injection of Sky-alis.

Ray, Jorge and Reaper had to suffer through their tandems with 3 little Aussie hotties. I even asked if there was a speed course to become a tandem pilot so I could help them out with these, but that is another story best left told by the pilots involved … and they're not talking. Joey smartly went to the Juice with the tandem crew and they all flew the first session.

Visiting Pilot Ike tried to launch Crazies and had to pay the Beach Landing Toll, after which he made a few attempts at Manics - this pilot does not have to hike at his home launch, so he did not want to hike.

The day wore on, and some misguided Fire Rescue livened things up on the LZ. Cooler flying started, but that wasn't doing it for me anymore - I needed a heavier drug. Finally we all went to launch from Crazies again. Jim had hiked back down from the Juice and took off first, and then a sequence of great launches started like bees from a hive. I had a great launch from Crazies - I remember watching people launch from this place for years, always saying to myself "They are crazy - I would never do that." Well, Sky-alis will make you do things.

I soared over to the back of the lighthouse with Jim at my side. That was the First time I had seen the back side of the lighthouse".

Ray & Joe had headed around the point toward the valley over Waimanalo. I decided I would follow them and was accompanied by Jim and Big Island Ike. I caught up to Ray at the beginning of Green Walls. Even up close those mountains look like someone painted them. I told Ray that Olomana looked reachable and he said go for it. This was my First XC at Makapuu and I did not want an overdose. We landed at 0 dark thirty and had a few frosties, called my para wife who was glad to hear I had a good flight, and she met a few of us at The Shack in Kailua. We were supposed to go to dinner in town, but due to my addiction, we could not make it.

On Thursday, I had to work on the North Shore, but was eager to stop by Alex's on the way back to deliver some flying paraphernalia and maybe get hooked into a flight. We talked about it and it was strong, wrong direction and cloud base was a little low. No fix today, got some work done. First time that had happened in awhile.

Friday came and went with hopes of flying conditions on Saturday.

On Saturday, I got to Kahana to see wings in the air and on the ground. Anticipation started flowing quickly only to be halted by the forecast of an incoming squall.

I had to have a Torpedo to take the edge off while we waited. When Alex started flying the cooler, I even thought of going to Makapuu. I needed a flight. Jim held his ground and so did Ray - they kept saying, it's going to be good, just wait. I felt like I was in withdrawal, pacing back and forth out to the beach. Then it happened: we hiked up.

The wind was stronger, but I managed to get a flawless launch and soared up to catch up to Jim & Ray. Several attempts were made to cross the bay, and then I got high and went for it. From the beach, I heard Reaper in my helmet, "Thom, there is a cloud over you - just ride it over," so I did. I had an amazing flight over Croaching Lion, then down a little until I had to cross the valley. I was leery of crossing, and then again Reaper radioed: "you just crossed a bay of water, this valley is one big LZ," so off to Kualoa I went. This was a big First - I was alone on a ridge with no other junkies in sight. It was great. I looked back at Pyramid Rock: that will have to wait for another day. I headed back to a great landing at Kahana. It was O dark thirty again, and I headed home.

I know most of you have families, and some of you have jobs, or think you do. How do you curb the desire to fly in order to be with your families and actually get some work done? Is there a Fliers Anonymous? I hope not.

See you in the air.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That wasn't me talking to you Thom... It was the future world Champion Bonkers that said "you just crossed a bay and the next crossing was all LZ?" hehe. I never would have thought of that!

Good job, by the way.