Monday, April 16, 2012


I got a phone call from Goto early Sunday morning, saying Makapu’u might be good for a tandem, but it may be a bit too north. He told me he was meeting a visitor pilot at 0930 and he would fly solo and let me know if it was good then. He called me back and said it was looking good, and we planned to fly after lunch.

I arrived at Makapu’u and saw two gliders (hangies) in the air. The next thing I knew, I saw four. I looked over Manics and thought I saw another one and had to recount. That was Leo soaring the back side of the ridge. In the air were: Goto, Leo, Fred, Dale, and visitor, Mike. I captured some of their landings on video here.

After hangin’ out in the LZ and talking story about their flights, I motivated Goto to take me up. Thanks to Tim for taking us up. We got to launch and stood at the edge of hang launch to feel the wind. It felt good. Goto set up the tandem glider as I started getting ready, too. I was getting my music and camera ready when Goto said, “We’re about five minutes out.” I thought, ‘already?’ (He’s pretty fast at setting up). I said, “So… that means I should get my ass ready?” “Yes.” I put on my warm clothes – a jacket and flight suit, connected my Bluetooth music to my helmet. We did a “hang test” and I hooked in to see how I was “hanging” (if I was hanging in the right position). Good. Standing on the edge of hang launch, Tim held the glider while we hooked in. He reminded me how to hold on as we launched. We were looking down a 1000 ft cliff. Goto asked, "Are you ready?" "Yep!" (I was ready as ever.) … and off we went!

We had a super fun flight! Upon launch we felt the typical “Rabbit … ‘Poop’” that I’m used to feeling in my “parapanties”. Cloudbase had gotten pretty low and we flew right through the clouds. He let me fly the glider and my goal was to keep a straight course and head towards the lighthouse. As I was flying, we watched a huge whale near the lighthouse. As I (sort of) maintained the straight course, Goto told me to push out on the control bar slowly to stall it. I pushed forward. “More.” … “More.” … “Keep pushing.” … “More.” At this point I could barely reach the bar it was so far forward. “Hmmm… it’s an ‘unstallable’ glider! The thing won’t stall! Here, let me see it.” Goto took over and he shoves the thing all the way forward and it finally stalled.

After we flew around a little while, I decided to attempt to get my camera out of the pocket of my flight suit (it was being blocked by the harness). I eventually got it out and we did some fun, sharp turns and stalls. I brought up a can of Sierra Nevada Torpedo beer to snap a photo while I was hang gliding (if you upload a photo doing something adventurous with their can to their website, you get a free tshirt.) So I snapped a few shots with the can.

We saw Tim pull the truck into the lz and decided to go in to land. This was my second time flying with Goto. The first time we flew, the wind was a lot lighter, it was easier to land and we just floated in nicely. This time, we were coming in fast. And right over the cars. I closed my eyes thinking we were pretty close to the parked cars near the beach. We came in with the left wingtip over the cars and Goto told me to stand up. I climbed up his back to become vertical and we touched down, we landed a little short, but safe.

Thanks Goto and Tim! It was a blast!

A video from Tim's camera: here

After we landed, Goto started breaking down the glider and told me I should go to Kahana and try to fly there. I admit, I was thinking about it. It was about 1530 already, and it seemed to be picking up so I wasn’t sure if I would get a flight in. As I arrived to Kahana about 1700, I saw Maui Doug doing wingovers and coming in to land. I talked to a bunch of pilots in the LZ who had already flown. The beach felt brisk, but okay. So I started to hike.

Part 2:!i=1804674246&k=8XWPf4v&lb=1&s=A I got to the boat ramp and Reaper came on the radio and said it had picked up quite a bit. I told him, “Ok, I won’t fly. I’m just going to hike up for exercise. If it’s no good, I’ll hike down.” I hiked to low north, and it felt ok. Again, a little brisk, but not too bad. I asked how it was on the beach and Reaper said it was good. I planned on launching, so I got ready. I knew it would be a short flight. After I set up, I looked out and saw a big dark color on the water with rain just behind it. I got on the radio and said, “I’m gonna launch, but it’s gonna be quick. I see a big gust front coming.” Reaper saw it too and suggested I come straight in. I launched shortly after, made one turn, and headed for the beach. I managed to grab my camera and the Torpedo can, again, and snapped a couple photos as I headed for the beach.

I came in and landed perfectly, kited it for a second, then killed it with D’s. I balled it up and went straight to my car and shoved my glider in the trunk. Then the gust front hit. Impeccable timing.

JJ suggested I write a story since I was “bi-wingual” today. I told him that someone else should, because everyone else had better (paragliding) flights today, and that mine was so short. Maui Doug said, “You can’t get a much better flight than what you just did.” I looked at him funny. “That was awesome how you recognized the gust front, you made the decision to launch and come straight in, and you were able to land just before the gust front hit. It doesn’t get any better than that!” Thanks, Maui.

A few pictures from my flights


Thom said...

I couldn't wait till my coffee to read this one either. Oh, Bonnie by the way I am a size don't even drink beer!!!! And that shot will most likely get you a shirt.

Congrats on being bi-wingual. Are we loosing you to the dark side, hangie that is??

Bon Bon said...

Dammit JJ, i thought you were in bed - wanted u to wait for your coffee.

Don't worry, i got u a large! (they dont have small).

Bon Bon said...

In answer to your question, as long as im in the air, im happy - so i dont care what kind of wing it is!

Maui Doug said...

Awesome Bonbon! You were born to fly ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great flight at Makapuu w/ Goto. What a launch !!