Friday, October 15, 2010

Vectors and Venturis

Crossing the bay at Kahana is occasionally easy, but more often it's a challenge, a fun one. We flew two challenging but fun bay crossing days in a row this week, and many pilots figured out how to get over there for their first time. The great thing about the bay crossing is that it really forces you to think about tangents and trajectories, altitude and azimuths, crabbing and cloud skimming. Of course, the unfortunate thing about the crossing is the depressing dearth of places to land near the Crouching Lion if you happen to get low over there.

On Tuesday, despite what seemed like conducive conditions, the early shift wasn't able to send anyone across. But later in the day, five pilots crossed the bay and made it to Kualoa, three of them for the first time ever, two of them landing at the park where Kevin was ground handling, and three coming back.

We had some exciting moments getting over there. Visitor Josh from SD worked some thermic lift under the wispies to get himself way out front over the water above Quentin's brother's house, before making the turn to begin his crossing. I took a more traditional direct line, and suffered a huge whack on full bar just as I was getting close to the Crouching Lion. I lost some height, but I gritted my teeth and went back on full bar to squeak around and in front of the knob, coming in lower than I think I've ever made it. Of course I always say that, but this time it's really true.

Then I realized Gary was following me - I saw him standing up on his speed bar and coming in even lower! Somehow we both made it up from down there, and followed Josh to Kualoa. Gary landed over at the park, rather than trying to get up high again at Kualoa, and caught a ride back with Kevin. Doug and Harvey crossed over later, in the last light of the day. Harvey landed at Kualoa, and Doug came back to land just around sundown. I drove out to retrieve Harvey, who was super stoked to have made it there for his first time ever.

Then in a late session on Wednesday, Jeff and Doug made it across to Kualoa and back, while Thom and I made a few unsuccessful attempts before meeting those guys at the LZ for some refreshments. Doug says he just used a little cloud suck to help him over, which is definitely a great tool when it's available. I handed my crown over to Jeff and Doug: all hail the new Kings of Kahana. Thanks to Josh and Thom for the refreshments.


Anonymous said...

Hm-m-m "Venturis" or "Venturii"?

MauiDoug said...

Alex, great job helping the new P2 Tom Peterman launch his first Kahana flight from upper north yesterday. It reminded me of my first Kahana flight were you showed me the same awesome site intro aloha!!!

Thanks for passing around your crown the other day, but it was way to tight on me. I'm certain it only fits one person properly. That would be the person that did 5 top landings in 5 minutes while Jeff and I were getting geared up, that would be you!

Great launch, flight and landing Tom P :-)
Much aloha Mdoug