Monday, July 11, 2011


On my first day back after five weeks on the road, I was rewarded with perfect flying weather. Twenty five pilots made their way out to Kahana today, including Duck flying his Sigma 8 for her maiden voyage, and at least six flew at Makapuu. Five of us crossed uprange from Kahana to Kualoa and back, and many of us ventured downrange as well. The clouds were low but they weren't holding us down, and we often rose above them to take in some spectactular cloudscapes. Bill won the duration record for the day with seven hours, and Berndt won the distance record, flying to Kualoa and then taking the slingshot all the way to BYU.

For me the day started with a trip to the airport with Thom, who helped me pick up Logan's new double bass at the cargo terminal, as well as my late luggage (including my wing!) at United baggage claim. As I was coming home from Thom's, Dorothy was heading to Tamura's in Hauula for groceries, and she reported seeing Jim packing up at Hauula, as well as someone else in the distance, probably landing at Pounders, a white wing with some red on it - Harvey, maybe? I thought maybe I was missing out on the action, so I sped up!

Then as I was coming through Kaaawa, I saw Berndt getting up over Crouching Lion on his Cobra. After dropping off my stuff at home, I motored back out there, and Reaper was on low launch calling it good there, so I hiked up. As I was hiking, I could hear over the radio that Joey (new handle: Juliet) and Bill had made it across the bay. Cloudbase was pretty low, around 1,900 feet, so it was a bit tricky to get high enough to make the crossing. But I knew that's where I wanted to go today!

Reaper and I launched and got up quickly, and we both headed across to Kaaawa right away. I arrived a lot lower, having taken the impatient and more direct line, and I had to grovel for a while above Crouching Lion before finally getting up to Reaper's height as he pulled in behind me.

Now there were five of us over Kaaawa! Berndt soon decided it was too crowded in the wispies over Kaaawa, and he headed back to Kahana, and eventually further, landing at BYU for the distance record of the day. Duck tried three times to follow us in his new wing and finally made it over to join us. By that time Joey and Reaper had returned to Kahana and landed for refreshments. Bill and I had already been to Kualoa, playing above the clouds there for a long time, and we were back over Kaaawa by the time Duck made it over, but we rode a big wet cloud bank back over to Kualoa with Duck and then hung out for another long session, mainly to dry our wings out. At one point while over Kaaawa, JK called to check in, and warned us not to repeat his recent adventure behind the pyramid.

Duck and Bill and I played in and around the clouds above Kualoa for quite a while, and we heard Ray down at the beach park working with students. We also heard Frank at Makapuu. At one point Duck joked about heading back to the pyramid, which was completely soaked in the clouds, but somehow it didn't quite sound like a joke, because of his amazing deadpan delivery over the radio. Bill wasn't sure either, but eventually Duck said he'd been kidding. Who knows - I think it's possible that his new wing was urging him into some crazy new adventures and then he had to cover for it by saying it was just a joke!

Finally we all headed back to Kahana, passing Thom on his third or fourth attempt at getting across, but he didn't quite make it, and came back to join us over Kahana. There we flew for a while with Brian, Bonnie and Bernie, before Bill decided to head down for a landing, because he had been airborne for seven hours and he thought he might be turning yellow from holding in his pee so long.

Duck and I headed to Pounders because it was just looking so beautiful down there. Thom opted not to follow, and eventually he headed down to land at the keyhole for refreshments. Ray launched and made it across the bay, but it was late so he didn't venture too far past there.

Ginger picked up me and Duck (thanks for that!), and as we were driving back, we saw Allan over Punaluu and heading towards Pounders, and Kevin setting up a landing at Punaluu, and Sharky heading that way as well. Then we saw Nightshift make a perfect landing at the keyhole on Sharky's old wing.

Kahana roll call: Mike M, Mike F, Ray, Utah Brad, Matt, JD, Jeff, Jim, Harvey, Ginny, Pete, me, Joey (Juliet?), Berndt, Bill, Duck, Thom, Brian, Allan, Kevin, Bonnie, Bernie, Wayne, Sharky, and Rich. Thom and Nova flew at Makapuu in the morning, and later I heard that Frank, Jorge, Doug and Dave flew out there too. Hope I didn't leave anyone out!

I took about three hundred pictures today, and Bill probably took a thousand with his fisheye. That's a lot of sorting and editing! I heard that Duck took video footage with his helmet cam, and he promised a story too. What a great first day back home! Thanks to everyone who came out today and helped to make it perfect!


Thom said...

Thanks for the Story, my bitching has paid off.

I tried 4 times and never made it, but what a great day. Nova flew 2nd shift at MPU and put on a hell of an air show I heard.

Unfortunately as everything is going light I have to work at least the next 3 days. I was so glad to get the air time Sunday.

This story was in time for my coffee and I expect others to start playing the keys to drum up some more reads for me in the next 3 days.

Looking forward to the upcoming FlyStrong pictures, previews on the beach were awesome.

Three days of flying coming up. I guess I really don't need to say it but, It's Time to Fly Get Your Gear & WRITE SOME MORE STORIES !!!!!!

Brazilian Ray said...

What a nice day!!! what looked like it was going to be strong turned out to be a perfect one!
Pilot Tom Peterman had a friend excited to go flying tandem and that's how we started the day: low launch east side and cruised for over one hour to land at Punaluu. while flying over the water side by side with Harvey, I yelled "give us a SAT!" (because I forgot my radios at home I had to yell) and it was like twisting his arm.... to avoid the pain, right away he spirals down for our entertainment as Stacy screams. we also got really close to FlyStrong, I am sure some good pics will come out of that!
Later, after she steered the glider for a little bit, it was our turn to land, so we headed over the water in front of Punaluu LZ and spiraled down to hear her scream again. Right before landing, we flew over a small ball of bait fish in front of the bridge, very nice!
Noell came to pick us up, we hang out with the McCloud clan and had lunch at Bobo's with Alaska Greg. we then headed to Kualoa for the fair but I refuse to pay the 5 bucks just to check it out, so me and Greg went to Kualoa park to practice some kitting.... when we looked up, there were Bernt, and Reaper, followed by Joey and FlyStrong. Later Alex and Duck also did it! I could not kite and just look up and see them over Kualoa, I HAD to go and join them! I rushed to north launch and ran up the hill. Launching from low at exactly 6pm I was on a mission! I banked to 1600 in front of Rhino Horn and using a good cloud street I took my gamble at 6:15 I didn't even go to Puu Piei! Bernie was right next to me and a wing higher when we started our attempt but there was a big hole in the clouds and I could see the blue sky, so it was time to push the bar and Bernie stayed behind. too bad I did not have a radio on me so I could tell him to push and follow me. Because he tried a more "direct" route and found the sink wall he decided to return to Kahana. From there, the lowest I got was a good 750ft and I just took my time on slow lift, pushed forward to Kaaawa valley but it was getting very late on the day as the clouds were sucking my Torck 2 up and I opted not to cross to Kualoa since I was by myself and had already felt that the mission was accomplished!
went back to kahana to land at the key hole and to share a coldie with friends to top off the day... what a nice day!!

Brazilian Ray

allanc said...

I could be included in the Makapu'u and Kahana roll as I flew Makapu'u in the morning, heard Bill praising how beautiful it was above Kualoa on the radio and then headed to Kahana for 5-bay crossing attempts and an xc towards Pounder's with some serious excitement. A little radio confusion left me without communications and I just could not get high over the Punalu'u Ridge. Nice flying marathon for all.