Thursday, February 18, 2010

Achievements for All

It started out to be a very windy north day at Kahana, but as the day wore on, the winds calmed a bit. It is sometimes a challenge to get around the rhino horn from north launch and into the lift (for me at least), and it was the rattiest air I've been in for a while - I almost turned to the beach for safety. On my fourth attempt, I made it around and into the lift, as it was getting lighter, but I still scratched my way up with many collapses, very nerve wracking indeed.

I finally got up high with Don, Maui Doug and Seattle visitor Stu. Thanks to Scot, who helped me after my first failed attempt at north high launch. Reaching more stable air out of the NNW at altitude, I didn't wait long, and crossed to the Crouching Lion side of the bay from just 1800'. Don and Stu followed, with Maui Doug making his first bay crossing on his new steed. Again I didn't wait, and went across to Kualoa as the crew followed on my heels. We all hung there for a short bit to stack on altitude, and then we went back to the Crouching Lion side, where Alex was now in the air and crossing the bay to meet us. He was the last pilot to get up in the fickle north winds. Feeling like a yoyo in flight, I crossed again to Kualoa with Maui Doug who was on his first trip over there.

This time cloud suck was on, and the crossing was super high to Kualoa. Since I was still very high on the back peak at Kualoa, I bounced again to the Crouching Lion side, like the aforementioned yoyo, while Alex was now crossing my path in the opposite direction.

Feeling cold now, I headed home to Kahana, and hovered at 1700' above north launch, until the bug bit me to run down the coast to Pounders Beach Park. So I took a nice and easy quick cruise down there to the beach LZ, just before a patch of whitecaps whipped up. Alex and Stu had followed me as far as Hauula, but there they turned around to try and get back to Kahana. They got as far back as Punaluu, where they headed out to the beach at Chings store on speed bar to enjoy some frothy cold ones. Mahalo to Maui Doug for the retrieval back to the sunset party at Kahana, as Duck, his wife, Reaper and Malolo along with everyone else was there, to talk story and pack down a few coldies.

Very fun day after getting a bit of altitude under ya, but it was grueling for a few of us to get there. Also it was Stu's first X/C flight! Way to go, Doug and Stu... till next time.

Aloha, Mad Dog


MauiDoug said...

Great recap of a great day of flying and learning for me. Thanks so much Mad Dog for the post flight chat! This was my first time across the Bay, and my first major rotor spanking.
I had an intermediate syndrome moment with a 30% collapse due to rotor from getting to low and too far down the Kualoa Ranch ridge. I found myself more focused on getting photos than on paying attention to where the wind was hitting the ridge. I brain deadily flew down the spine and into some really funky rotor. Great lesson learned, fly the wing first and know where and why I am heading to any particular spot. Thanks again Sensei Mad Dog, I really appreciate your input and wisdom!

MauiDoug said...

OOoopps, forgot to post the photos link.