Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lanikai Sunset

The day started with a beautiful sunrise this morning. As I was working, I noticed the winds getting lighter. Upon finishing work, I checked Wind Lines, and word on the chatter box was that Lanikai was working. Lake said he was interested in flying there, but he wasn't sure where to launch. I posted that I was on my way.

As I was arriving, I never saw Lake in the air (or anyone else) and I went straight to the trail head and started hiking. I tried contacting Lake on the radio, but I couldn't reach him. Scrappy called, and said he and Steve were on their way. Then Flystrong called and said he was on his way, too. I told them it seemed like it was good, but I was just now getting there.

As I was hiking, lots of people were admiring my pack. Some asked if I had a house in there, others if I was in training. I explained to them that I didn't have to hike down, but I was going to fly down. One local asked, "Oh, was that you that was just in the red parachute?" I said, "No, was someone flying?" "Yeah, there was a red parachute." I said, "Where did he land?" To which he (of course) replied, "I don't know."

I knew something wasn't right, and I called Lake. No answer. He called me back a little while later, and I asked if he was okay. He said "Yes, but no, I'm not really okay." I asked what happened, and, well, I guess he was going to write a story about it. He asked me if the air was sometimes "sinky". I said, "It can be, in the rotor. Where did you launch?" He replied, "Where was I supposed to launch?" I said, "Between the pill boxes. The wind is comin' from the Mokes." He simply said, "Oh … I guess I should have waited." I said, "Yeah."

As I was approaching launch, Gaza called and asked how it felt. I told him it was averaging about 8 mph on launch, and it felt good. Scrappy was in the LZ, and said it was blowing about 5 mph coming from the Mokes. I quickly laid out and got ready to go. Flystrong got to launch just before I took off. He seemed a bit nervous just hearing about Lake's experience and it was his first time flying here. I told him not to worry, it felt good, and he would do fine.

Just before I was about to launch, we could hear this buzzing noise -- an RC airplane!! I could hear it to my left (facing the hill), so I decided I would launch and go left (the opposite direction), to check it out and see where it was. I pulled my wing up nicely, had a perfect launch, and made it look easy by going straight up. I was cheering and yelling as I flew past Scrappy and Steve who were almost to launch, and above Flystrong, hoping this would help him feel a little better about launching. I flew back to the other pill box, yelled down at some hikers, "Hey, where's that plane?" They pointed: "Over there!" I said, "Oh, okay, I see it." It was on the other ridge, so we didn't need to worry. Then I said on the radio, "It's perfect up here!!"

Flystrong had a flawless launch shortly after me and the photo shoot began! I shot him, and he shot me. He practically walked on my wing, getting close for some nice shots. (Too bad I don't have my new camera yet). I used my "iCrap" and Drift helmet cam. Steve launched shortly after Flystrong, and Scrappy was just after him. Then Flystrong chased them around like a kitten playing with a ball of yarn, trying to capture their shots, too.

As I was flying, I was listening to my relaxing music (mostly The Piano Guys). I looked towards Makapu'u and stared at Bear Claw Ridge, thinking of my friend, Leslie who passed away just yesterday on the trail. A while later, an Iwa Bird flew right above it. There wasn't a cloud in the sky in that direction. It was beautiful. Although I didn't know him very well, it saddens me that he is gone. Even though it was a horrible way to go, I'm glad he died doing what he absolutely loved doing. Rest in Peace, Leslie …

A while later, AllanC came on the radio and said he had just launched from Cactus at Makapu'u. He was the only one that flew there. He radioed us when he landed, and I told him we still had 3 in the air, as Gaza came up for a late flight, and Scrappy and Steve had already landed.

Gaza was about to pass regular launch (between the pill boxes), so I yelled down at him. "Gaza!! Go back!" He later told me the hikers on the pill boxes told him, "She's yelling at you." I tried calling him on radio, but didn't hear him reply, so I called him on my phone which was connected to my helmet via bluetooth (he thought it was a little strange getting a call from me from the air). I said, "Dude, you gotta go back to where that hiker is walking right … now, and go down the hill and launch there. That's where we all launched and it was good." He had never launched there before.

After flying around a bit and taking more pictures, including Gaza this time, it was getting too dark for any more photos, and Flystrong exclaimed, "It's a wrap!" as he and Gaza went in to land. I stayed up a bit longer; soaking it all in, listening to my music, and just … thinking. Then Flystrong said, "Hey Bon Bon, don't forget to land!" I was like, "Copy that."

Looks good … I'll go first! First one up, last one down. I had an hour and a half, butter-smooth flight, with some fun wingovers, as well. This was my favorite Lanikai flight.

I submitted a photo to Hawaii News Now, and they aired it with the caption: "Flystrong flying over the Mokuluas today"! I also uploaded a pic to their website and Facebook page. Congratulations, dude, you're famous! :)

***JJ Jameson - I hope you're happy … I knew I'd be up all night workin' on this … it's freakin' late.

Here are pics that I took from today's flight:

Lanikai Sunset pics

Here is a video I put together of our flight today:

Music: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts" by The Piano Guys. Check out their video (shot at Pounders and Ka'a'awa Valley at Kualoa).


Bill said...

Hey, my camera has dual purpose function - it makes for a great, flashing aircraft beacon as well!! Hahaaa


Bon Bon said...

Yeah, i noticed that, thats why i put that clip im the video, and took a screen shot of the flash in one of the photos. U should see the video of me landing, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash. I was gonna post it, but it was too dark to see anything.

Thom said...

Thanks Bonnie your sacrifice for lack of sleep to get me a story was well received. When I can't fly I am always hoping someone grabbed the window.

Hopefully Lake is ok, hard lesson to learn but many of us have been right there. Others with worse scars, count yourself lucky.

I hate to bitch all the time, but if that's what it takes to get my coffee reads, then JJ it is.

JJ Jameson

Thom said...

Just watched all the vids and pics. Nice choice of foot wear, McStalker wont be wearing his for flying anymore and Scott got dissed pretty good on PG forum when others viewed his DH flights with those footy shoes.

Just becareful not much support in those but your a barefoot gal now anyway.

Great shots and vids by the way, made my morning.

Bon Bon said...

Yaaay for approval from JJ! Glad you enjoyed the pics and video. I hope everyone else does as well.

sandy said...

Much mahalo for the report Bon -- and great props for you and Bill from Guy Hagi!

Still eagerly awaiting the rest of the story from Lake ...

Lake, we don't know each other well, but I'm gonna use your experience (or at least Bonnie's perspective) to raise an issue important to me:


Charge, bring, and USE your radios!!!

When you get to the site, hiking up, flying, and while waiting for others to land.

This goes for locals, newbie locals, oldie locals and visitors alike.

It is one of the things that makes our flying community so great. This way we can be there for each other to help out (or be helped) in so many ways. It also transforms our individual flying experience to a shared experience. The flip side is that *some* times there may a bit too much chatter for some of you to stand, but I think the potential benefit outweighs that "cost".

The potential benefit to pilots who may need help with a launch, help after an incident, report of conditions, etc. etc. etc. is so valuable to those that benefit directly from our help and then also to everyone else who then don't have to mourn the tragedy of a preventable injury or loss of a flying site from an incident that gets out of hand.

Lake, I hope you're mending well and fast. I'm so sorry things went wrong. I hope you don't mind my using what happened (especially since I don't even know yet what did) to push my belief. I hope you will share with us what happened so we can learn more from it. Looking forward to getting in the air with you someday!

Kevin said...

That story and vid were awesome BonBon. Its great to live these flights through these stories, pics and videos. It makes having to work during these flyable days a bit easier. I like studying the pics and vid and try to judge wind direction, launch sites, LZ, and terrain etc. Like SH said, at least someone is able to take advantage and get some air time if I cant.