Friday, September 23, 2011

The Three Wise Men

As the story goes, three wise men from the East followed a distant star to pay homage to their true king. Our king was not able to bench up after making his crossing today; and though he did not have to walk on water, the thought must have crossed his mind as he landed at the LZ, knowing that making it back to the ridge may have been just a little out of reach. He only had a short window anyway, and needed to leave.

Three Wise Men journeyed to the East (launch, that is), to fly and pay tribute to the newborn airborne king, bearing gifts of Sigma, Sol and Gradient. I had almost lost my non-jobber status; Duck had been enslaved by work; and Joey found his new ball and chain, the mortgage, to be overwhelming. We all needed the blessed freedom of the skies.

Duck was in the air getting higher and higher. Joey and I were on launch: it was perfect. I wasted no time and had one of my best launches. As one of my tributes to the king, I forward kited up the hill till enough wind lifted me to join Duck.

Joey launched as Duck headed across the bay, and I followed, and then Joey. The Magi was complete, so our journey continued across the great valley of dinosaurs. The picture above is the North Star, Duck, over the stables of Kualoa. When we arrived over the manger we had to assess the incoming squalls. They appeared to be heading into Kaaawa, Kahana and maybe even Kualoa. It was a large band of wetness. Maybe this story should have been about an Ark!

Although this story was supposed to have some type of religious twist, none of us were willing to be baptized. Joey headed back to Kahana and landed dry. Duck and I had Mad Dog on the way, to swap vehicles at Kualoa Beach Park, so we opted to land there.

Yes, we all had great flights. Perhaps the gods had forgotten to take in the red carpet when the king had to leave. Crossing is always great fun, but getting a bad monkey off our back always gives us the most relief.

The following is the real Story of the day. Larry Mack has had a few setbacks, as many of us have had. He has been working on his ground handling with Master Woodrow, and today, he decided it would be his day.

He sat on east launch for I am guessing about two hours. He got baptized by the squalls. When the skies started to clear, Harvey launched for a quick flight off of north launch. He boated around for a while, but never got high enough to provide his usual aerial displays, and then he landed. We all sat on the beach, praying to see Larry Mack lift off.

Duck was on the radio giving LZ conditions, and Larry was patient; he was waiting for that perfect cycle.

Finally the wing inflated. We all commented on his newfound skills with A's and C's. He was in total control. Finally, the wing came over his head and he was off without a hitch. A solo flight for Larry Mack, but he had a crowd of happy pilots on the beach cheering for him.

Larry came in to the LZ at what appeared to be a low altitude, but no, he just wanted to swoop in and land right next to us. He was surrounded by all, and we got to see the best smile anyone can ever see.
The king arrived to catch the landing from the parking lot, after which he was debriefed on the epic flights we had enjoyed in his absence. The best gift we could provide was the news that a monkey teetering on the edge had just flown back into the barrel with ease.

MACK is BACK !!!!!!! (This was going to be the title, but I am hoping that Larry can jot down the saga of his journey back into the air.)

It's Time to Fly - Get Off Your Camel and Go!!!

Pilot Roll Call: Alex, Duck, Sidehill, Joey, Harvey, One-Eye, Mad Dog,Gaza, Visitor Scott, and of course, Larry Mack!

Sorry, the pictures are not up to the king's standards, but I am trying Duck's camera and obviously need some lessons. Duck got some video and hopefully that will grace this story soon.


JK said...

All that bible study when you were 8 is paying off, Thom. Nice story!

Alex said...

Nice story, Thom. You're gonna give me a Jesus Complex. But actually it's kind of nice for me to be the one denied the crossing for a change, and to watch my buddies score a sweet one. I remember when that used to happen a lot more often!

Larry Mc said...

Nice story, Thom. Thanks to everyone for their support!

Someday I may write about my several "close encounters of the wrong kind" and the psychology of paragliding.

In the meantime, folks may want to read (re-read) Alex's Feb.8, 2011 story, Shattered. Being part of that experience had a sobering affect on me for sure.

Fly Safe !

Thom said...

@ Larry Mc. We will be looking forward to seeing you flying again and again. Oh, ground handling should always be practiced but we get lax here.

Maui Doug used to kite more often too, hence the spot named after him. But even he is skipping to fly now that he has a quiver of wings from low to high winds.

I was almost as happy as you were when I saw you lift off.

Congrats for ditching the bad monkey. See you in the air.