Thursday, April 14, 2011

No Such Thing as a Free Launch

Watch in HD on YouTube

Everyone says the launches suck on Oahu. They say that our launches could use a lot of improvement. The question is, are they talking about our sites or our pilots?? Well, say what you will about our sites, but I have video evidence to prove that our pilots can hold their own in the launch department. Quite a few of the launches in this little montage are pretty darn sweet. Of course I am just as likely as anyone to revert to some of the humbler launch styles depicted here: sitting and swooping, jerking and yanking, twisting and twirling; but every now and then it all just clicks, and we know we've just pulled off a perfect torpedo launch.

A few weeks ago, as spring surprised us with some nice normal tradewinds for a change, I started hiking to launch again at Kahana, to get some exercise while my bones are healing. I may have also been motivated by the refreshing beverages and great company up there! But I've also been making an effort to film as many of our pilots' launches as possible.

If there is any room for improvement in our launches, a video can really help us see exactly what needs work. I wish I could see all of my launches on video! What a great learning tool: a retrospective mirror to reflect our form and technique during one of the most critical phases of flight. Lord knows I could use some launch improvement - especially for my tandems. I look forward to seeing footage of those sometime soon!

I am expecting my orthopedist to okay me for flying after our next appointment on the 25th. It will have been just about three months since that fateful groundhog day, and I'm hoping he says my bones are solid enough. Otherwise, you guys are gonna be trailed by the crippled launch paparazzo for just a bit longer.


JeffMc said...

Fun video Alex! But hey - I know my torpedo launch!! It was just strong that day!! ;) Exhibit A:

heheh, but really, what I find myself NOT doing enough is walking toward my wing more in those stronger winds. Like Don did just after me, same day, same conditions - and made it look easy.

I also saw a good tip on the Kitchen Productions' "Ground Handling" DVD, where you start in a very crouched position. Just the act of un-crouching as the wing comes up is equivalent to a step or two forward. That comes in handy for our launches where there isn't so much room for fancy footwork - Crazy's comes to mind.

Alex said...

Now Jeff, don't assume I didn't have you in mind when I referred to pilots who are well on the way to perfecting the torpedo! I just think it's always fun and useful to see our launches on video. I like the idea of capturing the most dynamic part of our flights, that beginning part that few of us even remember after we're airborne. I don't want to make anyone self conscious. In fact I remember as I filmed the launch that Bill did in this video, he shouted as he twisted away, "Uh oh, you better delete that video!" I hope you guys don't start avoiding me on launch now, or running up ahead of me to launch before I can start filming!

Maybe I'll start working on a landing compilation next...

JeffMc said...

nah Alex - no offense taken AT ALL - was just kidding, with my feigned outrage ;) Launches come in all sizes - just a fun video! In fact, what I really liked was there were no really BAD launches in there - and I know I've got quite few of those under my belt :)

Bill (FlyStrong) said...

hehehee, Awww man, you got me!! Nice video sequence Alex. Remember, the camera adds 10-pounds(!) - maybe that's why we don't look as graceful. I'll endeavor to work on that hill side kiting!!

Brazilian Ray said...

Cool, Alex! but where is my video?! hahaha!
this is a great tool and if used correctly you can improve a lot!! please keep doing it!
The torpedo article did not mention about the weight shift you can make by pushing your shoulder down a little (I learned that from David Jebb)... Practice your forward kitting and give it a try!

Thom said...

I think the launch vids are a great way to see what we can improve. thanks Alex and please continue filming and posting.

Yuichi from Japan said...

Great video Alex!
This reminds me of the perfect days in Oahu!!!
I'll fly in Izu in Japan tomorrow, cannot wait!