Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Le'ahi - just a few days ago

Le'ahi may have gotten its Hawaiian name from lae (brow ridge, promontory) plus  Ľahi (tuna) because the shape of the ridge line resembles the shape of a tuna's dorsal fin. Its English name was given by British sailors in the 19th century, who mistook calcite crystals embedded in the rock for diamonds. Diamond Head has a whole different meaning to those who can fly. Southerly flow brings us non-jobbers out searching for the rare day of epic soaring at Le'ahi.

I had just finished work -- yeah, go ahead and laugh -- at 11:30. Gave a shout to another non-jobber, Mad Dog, who was finishing lunch and heading to Le'ahi to check it out. I was the first to arrive, and the flow was light but straight in. Made a few more rallying calls to JetFlap and a text to Jorge. Mad Dog wasted no time, laid out, waited and launched with Brent and I watching.

Alex sniffed us out, of course, and informed me the Airport readings were high at one time, up to 16. Well, I can gladly state that it was not the case a few miles down the coast. Taking heed of AirBoss's information, I was hesitant to get my gear and go. Mad Dog kept begging me to come up, "It's perfect, come get some while we can".

I headed over to East launch. The narrow passage through that gap is always intimidating but I was able to pull it up and off with out a hitch. Team Sol was now in the air. It was perfect but I was still wondering how can it be like this when the airport that I could now see was blowing 16. I had to scratch a little to get up and was getting 10mph penetration at times.

Jorge showed up and performed for the tourists. Alex called while we were in the air -- I just had to answer his call and peeled my glove back to swipe the phone. I reported that it was perfect up here, and all he could say was … get some pictures.

Brent, who aided with our launches, disappeared, knowing that this site has been deemed beyond his present rating, but today it was almost anybody's game. Brent showed great restraint -- I know it was tempting, and we all owe you for the rides and refreshments. I remember doing the same thing for many years too. Watching others fly is a great way to learn, but eventually it just eats at you till you know you can make the leap.

Hungry and thirsty, we decided to land, after an hour for me and an hour and half for Mad Dog. He ran to get refreshments while I was packing my gear. Then the troops started to show up, just as Jorge came up from the beach. Gaza, Brian, then Jorge again, followed by Berndt, Frank, JetFlap and the Reaper.

Mad Dog and a few of us decided to have some refreshments. We could hear on the radio that several were still flying, and Berndt scraped our ceiling of 999' with his new Cobra. He dipped one edge on landing and became another member of the wing washing club.

A successful day of flying Le'ahi. May we take care of this site and enjoy it safely for many years.


Anonymous said...

that made my coffee time all worth while. Thks Tom

Unknown said...

Thom...thanks for sharing. I especially enjoyed the videos of Mad Dogs and Jorges landings at the beach. I have watched many take-offs at Le'Ahi but have not seen any landings at the beach. You made your launch that day look easy but I did not get to see you land.
Every time I watch you guys fly I learn a little something. The flyin Monkeys have helped me in so many ways. One day I hope to return the favor.