Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Skying In Skim Milk

I had to go to Punaluu then Laie today to check on a few things and meet Alex to get some HPA business done. Driving through rain by Maui Doug's Kite Spot and not being able to see Kualoa Range did not make flying Kahana seem even slightly realistic.

Alex sent me a text: "Are u near? Perfect bay crossing numbers.....hideous voggy sky though."
I replied: "just past MDKS, Will stop kna".
To which Alex replied: "Meet u there".

Was this a window, with nice northerly flow? It was murky and milky. The horizon was grayed and Puu Pei peak was not visible. The radar was ominous from Molokai. Yup, it was perfect, so we hiked the north trail. As we walked toward the trail head, trying to blame each other for getting their gear out first, the sun came out. But it disappeared as we climbed the first ropes. Alex is faster than I am, so he was laid out on low launch when I arrived. Seemed light to me but Alex made it look easy, so I hiked to High launch.

We soared up to 1500' and Alex made a Bay Crossing attempt but soon returned. We were joined by Lake and Maui Doug soon followed. The skim milk and the gray bottom clouds were just scarey looking. Every time I would start to burn down to the LZ the sun would try to peak out and draw me back to the ridge.

Two helicopters came buzzing by. One came through Kahana Bay, and headed towards us with his front light on us. I did some turns to show my colors and ward him off. Alex later said, "Maybe we should get lights."

It was smooth but just looked like skim milk. A cell call from Ike about a pending pattern on the radar made me want to go in, but still I stayed up. Alex was watching the radar too from his phone and noticed it was diminishing. So we stayed up. Soon they will outlaw cell calls, texting and web browsing while flying.

Finally after an hour, hunger set in, I headed for the beach. Alex followed but the call of the trees made him soar back and forth a while as on lookers took pictures. Alex landed and then Lake. Just in time the air was getting weird and Maui Doug was thinking of heading to Punaluu Beach. Alex assured him it was ok so Maui Doug came in to a no wind LZ, nice and fast.

All safe, but it sure was the weirdest skies I have flown. Ah, we did get the first Kahana flights of 2012: Alex, Sidehill, MauiDoug and Lake. It may be a weird weather year so when you can and with good judgement.

Got Milk? It's Time to Fly Get Your Gear and Go!!

1 comment:

MauiDoug said...

Thanks Thom for the first Kahana story of the year! Wow, yesterdays flight brought back my childhood memories of the thick San Fernando Valley LA smog of the 70's. I'm glad Donna gave me one of her inhalers because it sure came in handy:-)

Great flying Lake! It's great to see a new pilot fly as much as you! Congrats on your three recent Dillingham flights and thanks again for your hard work on the North trail and carpet for Makapuu! Awesome!