Friday, August 19, 2011

Pushing It

Although I will never get tired of looking at Mad Dog's boots over Le Parmelan, someone has to post a new story. We have had four days of flying at Kahana since our last Hawaii story, and today's flying seems worth the effort to put a few words together. How else are we going to enjoy our coffee in the morning?

Sunday was all about tandems. Then on Tuesday, Maui Doug and Five-0 Mike flew during a nice lull at the end of a strong day. On Wednesday, visitor Thane, Doug and I flew in blistering wind conditions. Today, a dozen pilots came out to Kahana on a day that was forecast to blow 15-25 mph, and thankfully it turned out to be a tiny bit lighter than that. Ten of us flew, in very strong conditions.

It was incredibly strong. We were getting lift way out over the bay. I managed a touch and go at low east launch in front of Thane, and then I toplanded at low launch on the north ridge, dropping my wing into the bushes. I relaunched and shot straight up. Above 1,500 feet, there were times that I was parked, even in my very fast wing. But I flew in that strong stuff for four hours.

Around halfway through my flight, the wind backed a bit to the north, and I got excited about the prospect of a bay crossing. I know that it's extremely hard to cross on a strong day, but I was really determined to figure out how to make it work. I must have tried five or six different lines. On my final attempt, I got sucked up hard by a cloud before I left, to 2,200 feet over north launch, and I knew it would be my best chance.

I arrived over the Crouching Lion pretty high, but I found that I needed to ride full bar, pulley to pulley, bucking and pitching in the strong cross flow, all the way around until I got to Hidden Valley. It was a truly sphincter-clenching experience. I have never crossed on a stronger day.

From there, I flew to Kualoa, but the whole time I stayed way out in front of the ridges, working the front of the strong lift band, out over the water. It felt like a crazy day to be over there across the bay, but I was happy to have made it. By the time I was climbing up at Kualoa, the wind had veered more to the east, and I rode a fierce tailwind back to Kahana.

Roll call: Five-0 Mike, Harvey, Thom, Thane, Jim, Bonnie, Doug (2x), Jayson, Larry, me, Larry Mac, Duck.

Thanks to Harvey for the tasty refreshments, and to Ces for the ride back to my car.

1 comment:

Thom said...

Thanks for the quick coffee read. I got to drive under you racing back to get on rug rat duty.

It was different watching you take an outside line down the ridge.

Keep pushing it, just don't push me first to see how it is.

I guess we will all have to learn to fly this stronger stuff, doesn't look like it's going away.

I know your not flying this morning....I got your wing.