Sunday, January 01, 2012

Aloha 2011

The last day of the year, I woke and realized I really needed a final 2011 flight. I had been grounded since December 2 after a bungled launch left me with fractured ribs. After dragging my feet at home and knowing that a gaggle of pilots were to repeat the previous day's exploration of the island's northern tip, I had to pack my gear and go.

The drive was tedious due to crazy traffic. Upon arriving at the airfield I could already see 8 wings in the air and more and more as I approached the launch trail. Jim was laid out on launch when Swan and I emerged from the grass below him. The cycles were slightly cross and inconsistent, typical for the Dill. This launch has claimed several wings and has forced many to turn and hike down. Today, Jim yielded himself to the Dill Deity, balled up and hiked down.

Dave launched quickly and I was next. I was full of anxiety, I have made 10 trips to this launch resulting in 8 hikes down and 2 sledders. Maybe due to Jim's sacrifice the Dill allowed me a perfect launch and I scored my first Dillingham soar.

Ike had been up for hours and was eager to lead me to Kaena point.

I had only seen pictures of this in the past but now it was my turn to see it first hand. It is an amazing sharp point and I got a little choked up when I turned to see Makua on my right and the Dill on the left. Below Yolie, Ike's Dad, Sister and Brother-in-law radioed up from the point, "Is that you two up there above us." "OOOh-Yaaa", I replied.

Ike continued on with Dave and Swan to the outer edge of the TFR ring, reports from the LZ were that it was starting to pick up. I decided I better make my way down and put in a request for landing assistance to prevent any rib jostling. I landed with no issues with a big smile on my face. Ike made another trip down to the point to check on his family. Ike and Reaper were the last in the air for 2011.

On New Years Eve, eighteen pilots celebrated their final flights of 2011. Possibly the final flights in the US. I never thought I would say this let alone write it for all to see and hold against me for eternity, "Thank You Mr. Obama and Family". Yes, if it were not for the exile caused by the US President and Family, Dillingham would never have had such color.

Hopefully it will not take banishment for us to pay homage to Lady Dill. Perhaps this is why she has been so reluctant and scorned so many in the past. Finally to feel wanted rather than used as a last resort may have let down her guard. I think our collective New Years Resolutions should include more frequent visits to the Dill Deity. She has shown her good side with record breaking launches and flights, we owe it to her to color her skies. I thank thee for my first Dill flight and I plan to see more of thee in 2012.

Another record breaking day at the Dill, 18 pilots flew. Alex, AllanC, FiremanDave, Lake, Duck, Ike, Sidehill, Frank, TommyRD, Travis, Reaper, Swan, Kevin, Sharky, Scrappy, FlyStrong, MauiDoug and Vistor Mike(B-Rays past student). One-Eye and Chilli were the only sacrifices that hiked down. Other pilots present at LZ were Gaza, Ginny, Harvey, MikeM and Five-O. Family members Reaper's Bro Dave and Kui, Ceese(spelling), Ike's family-Yolie, Ike Sr., Donna Lynn (sister) & her hubby Mike and 'lil Gaza' Eliason. Again if any were present and not listed please chirp in on the comments.

2011 was a great year: Best USHPA Chapter, Hawaii Paragliding Association, USHPA Instructor of the Year, Pete "The Reaper" Michelmore, Largest increase in membership, Record flights, 5 shots in the USHPA Calendar. We got our worked cut out for us in 2012 so like I always say,

It's Time to Fly Get Your Gear Go!!


Anonymous said...

What a nice way to start this new year! Thanks for the yerning to get back in the sky .
Soon to be out from my own 'tfr' & healed enough to join all you fine folks ,'thebeeman'

Thom said...

Story adjusted forgot Scrappy. So record stands at 16.

Hope you guys got some today.

Thom said...

Ok another update. Story Adjusted.
I forgot Flystrong. I was slightly under the weather while typing this morning. So I appoligize.

Record is growing and stands at 17 Now.

Bill said...

Images from the day:

My best flight there yet.
Bill "Flystrong"

firedave2 said...

Beeman, it is good to hear you are alive and kicking.

After one launch with an overload of foliage in my lines, I hiked up and went again. I climbed up after launch and was taking pictures of my nephews Flat Stan with Laurel as back drop. The he jumped out of my hands, I shot photos of him skydiving away from me. I should have put down the camera and went and caught him, by that time he was dipping into the clouds so he was hard to see. Oh well, it will make a great story for my nephew, Flat Stan goes skydiving. I even made a replacement Stan, throwing a Shaka in surf trunks and a lei.

After that Slacker and I wandered off toward Waialua, Don headed back, and I landed near the high school. A nice lady told me that I missed the 'landing field' and offered me a ride back even before my feet touched the ground. Funny.