Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Wonder Why HPA is the Best Club? A-L-O-H-A!

I know people read this website all around the US. Heck, there are people around the world that read it too: Czech Pete in Nepal, Jules in Germany, Yuichi in Japan, and way too many Canadians to name. More recently there's Romanian Mike from Phoenix, and our latest Aloha victim, Ian from Carmel. I hate to toot our own horn, but sometimes everyone here needs to be reminded that their Aloha does not go unnoticed.

Today was my first flight of 2012, and as far as I am concerned, it was two days late. But I had a revelation about just how close our club really is, and how we look out for and support each other, as well as our guests.

The morning started with the standard banter on the Windlines chat box. The TFR had been lifted, and the L&V reports made it look like everywhere could be good. The winner was Makapuu. I was the first on the LZ, and thought I gave a report that meant get your asses down here, it's awesome. Mad Dog called in sick to work, and the Tandem Duo (Maui Doug and Jorge) were on their way. It was brewing to be a good day.

I gave visitor Ian the first Aloha call, and told him to get to Makapuu now. He was greeted at the LZ, turned in the required fee-less waiver, and was granted the use of a radio. Truly FREE flight.

Our coveted launch of Cactus was the call, and it drew us like moths to a flame. Pilots started coming out of the woodwork to get a 2012 first flight at Makapuu. It was discovered soon that this would not be an XC day, but just a day to fill the Makapuu skies with that familiar, colorful, Nylon Overcast.

The Aloha continued through the day, with pilots aiding others on launch, or maybe it was just to get them out of the way, but nonetheless, the Aloha was present. Pilots landed and were shuttled or taxied by other pilots to launch. There was never any asking, just get your gear, I'll drive you to launch, going up to launch, anyone need to get their car, let's go!

I finally landed to be greeted by my wife, Donna, and my daughter, 'SkySurfer' Kalei. Maui Doug offered to take Donna up to continue the exorcism of her fear of heights. It was trying, first a hike to Juice, then a trek to Cactus. Kalei was on the LZ, and Jorge, demonstrating more Aloha, was going to take her up, but she was hungry and did not bring the proper gear. Lesson learned.

The voggy air made it hard to breathe for both Maui Doug and Donna, who shared inhalers on the hike up to Cactus. The cycles had strengthened, and assists were needed to make a good tandem launch. Ike, who had been flying for hours, and top landing like crazy, slid in to give Maui Doug and Donna a hand, showing even more Aloha. Donna is so afraid of heights but she has a stubbornly strong desire to expel it. Donna said she had a hell of a grip on Ike; hmmmm, she is sticking with the scared story so far. They launched and had a great flight. Thanks to Maui Doug and Ike: that's Aloha. Thanks to Jim for the picture to the right, of Donna flying with Maui Doug.

The board members at the LZ decided to waive Ike's HPA dues, and decided that we should just charge him top landing fees, which would be much more profitable to the club. Okay, so that is not such good Aloha, but if you can get a quarter out of Ike with out owing him a dollar you did good.

The story of the day was Big Mike M, Reaper's student that has been craving a first high flight. He has had many tows, and finally got a high soaring flight today. Congrats Mike M, but we have too many Mikes, so a call sign is coming your way. Be prepared.

I have to pat myself on the back now. Alex wanted to get a solo flight in after having flown tandem with Amelia, and he needed someone to keep an eye on Amelia. Who wouldn't? So I volunteered to take her and Kalei home for some dinner, a pool dip and some puppy time. More Aloha!

Oops, and some more Aloha from me. Everyone knows what O-Dark Thirty is right? It is when you have flown all day, land and talk about it in the LZ till dark. You're driving home and you [pull over and] text to your spouse, 'Sorry, O-Dark Thirty.' Well, today, I got that from my wife: I was home, feeding the kids, getting dinner ready for her and whoever else showed up, just like she usually does. I felt like the cat that ate the canary when she walked through the door. "How was your flight, dear? Dinner is on the stove." I must be getting a kitchen pass for that one. I am sure I will burn it up soon. Thanks Maui Doug and Ike.

So, another day of flying for the HPA, nothing too epic, 1,500 feet max, no records, just plain, clean flying. But the Aloha was spread and that is the glue of this group. My kids call every one of you Uncle and Auntie for a reason. As quoted from a Lethal Weapon movie, "We are family".

Log of flyers for today: Mad Dog, Sidehill, Visitor Ian, Ike, Jorge, Maui Doug, Alex, Frank, Brent, TommyRD, Bonnie, MikeM, Reaper, Typhoid Joey. Plus one hangy: King Goto. Others present: One-Eye, Chili and Airborne Ken Berry. Again, if you flew, or you were there, and I missed you in the list, chirp in so we can keep these logs accurate.

Congratulations to HPA members for the Chapter of the Year award. Maybe we can get it changed to the Aloha Chapter of the Year. The paragliding world is small, relatively, so if we all live Aloha, it will certainly spread.

It's Time to Fly, Get Your Gear and Aloha and Go !!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Thom...great write-up. You have your own unique writing style and I always enjoy reading your stories. HPA is the best club in the world. I have been involved with a lot of different sports over the years and I have never experienced the kind of cohesiveness of this club. A great web site combined with a bunch of diverse characters that enjoy a little danger with their fun. Every club should have a Thom. Thanks again for the story.


Brazilian Ray said...

It is great to know all this great people that share their aloha in a very special way....
happy two thousand Aloha twelve to all pilots and friends ;)

Brazilian Ray

Anonymous said...

Thanks again to Maui and Don. I really enjoyed the irony of me flying while Thom was at home cooking.

Aloha a hui hou and e komo mai!

Bernie said...

I could not agree more!! Best PG club anywhere! When not at a flying site, I get my "flight fixes" from stories on Windlines. Looking forward to seeing all 11-25 Jan.