Tuesday, March 15, 2011

FlyStrong Fly-In

What a day!! I was in rally mode to score some big airtime Saturday and mark the day fittingly. Larry had already beaten me up the regular ridge at Kahana and was setting up at high launch. We two Coasties studied it a bit before he politely let me take to the air first. Although, I think he really wanted me to be the wind dummy!

My PTT wire disconnected and fell off during my launch, but Larry exercised his old Search and Rescue skills and found the wire on the hill -- thanks! I top landed for the retrieve, and then helped him off into the blue yonder. About that time, Mad Dog arrived on the scene and joined the aerial party.

The rising sun slowly burned off more of the gray ceiling, but it stayed around 1,900 feet, just high enough to skim along the bottom. Allan C joined up with Mad Dog and they crossed the bay with ease, but couldn’t salvage much lift over there. At approximately 700 feet, I heard them radioing they were bailing to Swanzys beach park.

Click here for full-screen version of this video!

The skies kept filling up: Travis, Waianae Jim, Duck, Berndt, JD, Scrappy, Steve, Harvey, Chandler, Bon Bon, Jeff, Don, Sharky, Brazilian Ray, Louise, Sidehill Thom, Kevin, and several visiting Japanese pilots. High launch needed a signpost that read, “30 minutes wait from this spot.” The queue was starting to look like the H1 at rush hour. It was a sight to see so many wings in the air. AirBoss Alex ran things from his ATC outpost on the beach and kept our visiting pilots in check.

I tried out my new monopod to test out some boom like camera angles. It’s probably easier with a tandem passenger doing the work, but I managed to get off a couple unique shots. Duck and Allan C peeled off downrange for an XC hop to parts unknown. And I made a couple attempts to cross the bay, and eventually took the right line to put the exclamation point on the day! That felt pretty good. I finally came down after 4.5 hours to join the party. Thanks to Jeff for the grinds, and to Duck for the beverages, and to everyone else for coming out and celebrating with me.

That week marked 3 years of “FlyingStrong” through cancer. I just might be the only guy that’s ever flown with a chemo needle sticking into his chest and a pump inside his flight suit. But the therapy of soaring beat chemo any day. Thank you guys for standing by me while I gave it hell. It was a close one. I couldn’t have done it without ya. We all fall down from time to time, in one way or another, but this family of flying monkeys is always there to dig you out of a tree, lug your gear down a hill, or even push you through the Big C. Now let’s seize the day and fly! Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.


Anonymous said...

Great group shot photo, What a great way to celebrate, flying with friends and a bay crossing to top it off. Thanks Bill Ike

JeffMc said...

Bill - so stoked for you, you had the best flight of the day! I was there when you flew with your chemo needle that day, and I still tell the story. So hard core, and so inspirational!! Wishing you many more anniversaries, Bill !


Ka'a'wa Larry said...

Nice flying with you, buddy. It was great to see such a gaggle on the special day. Everything just "worked", the weather, family beach parties, visitors, overall good feelings bubbling all around, couldn't have been better!
Thanks for your friendship and attitude. Keep it up!


Thom said...

Wow, Great shots Bill

Glad you didn't get my spin and sorry missed the Festivities after, had to run after hiking down.

I still would lover the up shot picture with my Synergy in it too.

Congrats on 3 years we sent this story to Donna's brother who also has the needle in his chest.

Scrappy said...

Wish I could have joined you in the air instead of just on the ground hucking fresh meat off the hill.

Some interesting flying happened Saturday and Sunday. Lets work to keep flying less interesting and just EPIC.


JK said...

Great story, Bill! Congratulations on your three-year Heissman against the beast. The photos are amazing and I'd like to see how the monopod contraption works. See you after this HA/DR & PR event settles down - which may not be for many weeks to come.