Friday, December 24, 2010

You are so Totally Not Allowed to Fly!

Say what?! That was the response Alex got when he called ATC to fly Dillingham. This is after we'd already initiated a two-pronged attack of Dillingham's 4 nm. restricted flying area. Alex led a group on the Dillingham Airfield side, while Reaper, with a jammed filled Hummer and a few beverages, snuck up from behind through the Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Facility.

After a desperate call to Alex's Secret Service dude, the beauracratic SNAFU was fixed. Alex was reporting light winds on the Kealia trail launch while Reaper's group was getting almost too strong conditions on top of Peacock Flats - what gives?

The Peacock pilots launched with heaps of lift and immediately headed to Alex's launch who had just taken off. With the NE wind direction that Kealia face should've worked plenty, but it finally dawned on me what was going on. The flats were getting sweeping wind, which is accelerated. Alex was reporting the real wind strength - very light.

That fact also dawned on everyone else so we high-tailed it back to the flats. I tried getting higher on any east facing cliff I flew by and could barely maintain - the wind seemed to be getting lighter - uh oh! When your car is parked on top of Kaena point bombing out is not an option. That would be one helluva hike or a costly cab ride.

Everyone, along with Alex, were close behind but getting lower. Reaper was just able to clear a turn over launch and set down with Forrest just clearing launch going downwind and initiating a butt-skimming spiral into the wind. I, on the other hand, was below launch upon arrival and made a few figure-8's scratching that NE facing cliff and just couldn't get above launch. Finally, about 6 ft below launch I side-hilled and let the wing collapse on top using the lines to climb up the cliff. That was a close one.

Bonnie was desperately working the climbing hill for any lift but threw in the towel and landed at Erdman Camp with Alex following. Hillbilly had plenty of lift coming back but stayed behind working a section and suddenly got too low for an attempt and landed down below as well. The flats have a great, almost drive-up, grassy launch - the final section of the road has been chained off for bird feeding. I've never seen so many birds: chucker, pheasant, quail, albatross, you name it, it was running or flying everywhere.

It's a great site for flying but having a team on the Dill side is a must for bombouts. Suddenly, there was plenty of room and refreshments in the Hummer - beautiful!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys are gonna have to get me roof rack for Xmas!! (a nice one) lol

Thanks for the write-ups ya'll, man im missin it!!

See you next year ;)