Sunday, January 10, 2010

Diamond Head Desperadoes Strike Again

Yep, still eager to fly since the TFR, now I think we will chase almost any option for free flight: Diamond Head was definitely harsh on the takeoff on this southwest and very breezy day, a replica of last time. I checked it out on my Ducati, with La Peste in tow, and found it doable, as Alex drove up and parked, so I went for my wing and was back in a flash!

With Alex now in the air, I gave it a college try, very windy and gusty, up, then down, side to side, not quite out the gap, so I set it down and tried again. Next was a tree snag draping half my wing on top, as I was dragged back and the wing collapsed, but luckily it re-inflated right off the top and I was clear. Wow, that was close! Barely moving forward out of the launch gap, but going up this time, I crept forward at one MPH toward the light house and up into the winds aloft. Big Isle John squeaked out of launch shortly after, oscillating from side to side, and slowly joined us in the stiff S/W conditions.

Kind of parked, but not really, I soared out over the condos, and after finding no lift over them, returned at 450 feet of altitude. More pilots tried to get into the air in the abusive launch conditions, but without any luck, as it got more cross and windier. After a one hour flight, I went for the extremely side shore LZ of the beach. Knowing what to expect from similar conditions last time, as soon as I landed, I went for the stabilo line and dragged the wing tip to me, and kept on grabbing material till I had the whole wing in a nasty bunch, but safe and sound. Alex landed just after, and he too was ready for the fierce fight, and won the arrest of his flailing wing in seconds! John was next in, so Alex and I both unhooked and grabbed his wing on touchdown, so no complications there.

We walked back up top to see others making the last few tries to get aloft, but to no avail. All the group hung out to enjoy the view, as I raced off to work, cramming my jumbled mess of a wing and lines into the 4Runner. Wow, what a wild and woolly day! It was weird to be flying and all the while thinking of the battle I was going to have on the landing...but it turned out to be another safe day in the record books.

Till next time. If anyone else wants to leave a comment on the trials and tribulations of launching on this day, feel free, because I know my attempt was amusing...

Aloha, Mad Dog


Joey said...

After several failed attempts I threw in the towel. Too West and rotory but I luckily managed to keep it out of the trees...I had a fortunate flight here a few days ago so it wasnt a total buzz kill for me :) untill next time...

Thanks for the post Maddog!


Alex said...

Great story, Mad Dog, thanks for posting. I launched without any witnesses, except for a cute surfer girl sitting on the wall, or maybe that was why I hucked off as if I knew what I was doing. But the conditions were already quite cross, and I was getting pushed around by swirly gusts as I tried to get out of the gap. One of these winter fronts will bring us some nice straight onshore prefrontal Kona conditions and we'll see what a Diamond Head day is supposed to look like, with multiple launches and toplandings for everyone, and daredevils buzzing the lookouts, the ones along the road as well as the one up at the crater.