Monday, June 28, 2010


Who needs a gym when Kahana is blowing 7-12 mph from the east?

Sunday, I was hoping to do an early flight and get home at a decent hour to build up some family points. Well, this sport just doesn't let that happen when you want it to.

Don and I headed to Kahana around noon. Made as many calls as we could, but it did not seem promising for a gaggle. Approaching the fire station, we did not see anyone in the air, but after the Crouching Lion turn, we did see a wing laid out. "All Right!"

We did not know who it was until at the trail head when he flew over - it was Hillbilly. Welcome back!!

Duck, Big Island Don and I hiked up to high launch. Duck took off and flew straight up to the back in no time; damn feathers. Don dug into his wing loft and pulled out one that had not seen the light for quite sometime, the "Spinergy," and he got up, no problem. Then the wind turned to the 7 side for my launch. Maui Doug arrived just in time to watch me launch and scratch countless times; I finally got up enough to radio, "That was worse than the hike up, I need a rest."

We all finally got up high and stayed local, watching the clouds and banging into some ridge thermals. The clouds were coming more east and almost from anti-Kahana. Most of us went out over the Bay. Duck and HillBilly landed with ease. Don, Maui Doug and I stayed up.

Swiss Air (Aron Roenneler) arrived, and this is when the top landing show started. I had been doing the usual fly-bys, trying to get the feel for it but never got low, good thing. Swiss Air launched 4 times and top landed 4 times; he made it look so easy. Don had to make a phone call, so he top landed. I was trying to get out of Swiss Air's way, and got low and had no option. I top landed, instead of landing sidehill, my first time at Kahana and long overdue.

While we all sat on the hill, Swiss Air took off in a good cycle and got some more airtime. Matt arrived and made a go of it, top landing with ease. I told Don, I am not up for another scratch session, so I am pulling up, and if I don't get up, I am beaching.

Don of course took off in a fair cycle and the old Synergy got him up once again. I tried and the lack of wind and the beverage suck at the LZ was just too much, so I beached.

Maui Doug got up high and decided that Pounders would be a better LZ.

Don finally landed and we headed home before o-dark thirty, but we didn't get far - live music and good food at Bobo's blocked our direct path, and it was good.

After a year and half flying, I scored my first top landing at Kahana.

It's Time to Fly Get Your Gear and Go!


Sharky said...

Good job Thom! Nice writeup!

Anonymous said...

Hey Thom,
I kinda like Sidehill cause it is already programed in my phone...but if I need to change it to Topland, that would not be so bad. Great Writeup for My morning coffee!


Anonymous said...

Hi Sidehill,
cool writing! And I like the name Swiss Air, haha :)
Hope to see you today, I'm heading out to KNA in half a hour

MauiDoug said...

Nice scrathing Thom! The wind was 8mph avg. when you climbed out. Great job!

Alex said...

Thom, nice post, thanks. It was fun being ground crew and it was great to be available to pick someone up for a change. I owe all you guys lots of rides back!

I'm not sure how you are interpreting the difference between top landings and sidehill landings. a sidehill landing is really just a type of top landing - the type where you are landing on the side of a hill, like we do at Kahana. A sidehill landing requires you to crab in sideways and turn out at the last minute if possible. At Cactus or Manics the landings are more the classic type of top landings, where you're really on the top of the ridge, and you can just set up your final leg directly into the laminar flow. I think the landings you've done in the past could most accurately be called gentle sidehill crashes, whereas yesterday's maneuver was a genuine intentional sidehill landing. Congrats, I know we'll see many more of those from you.

Anonymous said...

Don & I talked about the difference between a Sidehill and a Top Land. He said a Top Land is an intentional touch down at an established launch area, hence the Land part, where as a sidehill is "Ok I am too low to make it to the LZ too low to make it to 'Top Land', ok controlled crash onto a side of hill that looks the clearest. Although Don has stated several times that being able to sidehill is a valuable tool. You never know when your going to take off with something not quite right or the wind dies out and you have to set it down somewhere quick and safe. I got labled Sidehill after a few eventful sidehills.
The most notorious being above crazymans after a low flight out of Juice. I still look at that place and shutter.


Anonymous said...

yeah, me too, Thom.


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to scratching with you in the hopefully not to distant future! Great write up Thom. Keep it up.

Pmac from BC

Brazilian Ray said...

Right on Top Hill, I mean Side Land, or would it be Top Side Hill Land... congratz!