Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter Air Hunt

Forecasters had warned us that the Easter weekend would be too strong and/or too showery for flying. Sometimes you just have to write a weekend off for flying, right? Anyway, we had other events to distract us from our grounding: we were looking forward to the get together at Dave's on Saturday, and Sunday would be a nice family day for many of us. But as it turned out, there were a few rather big holes in the forecast! Some lucky pilots scored great flights on Saturday afternoon, and then again on Sunday morning, at both Kahana and Makapuu.

Saturday dawned blustery and bleak. The sky was dark grey and hazy, though at least it wasn't rainy. After a very brief and unpleasant test flight at Kahana around noon, that had me parked over the road at 500 feet, I landed and then waited around a while, sacrificing a handful of brain cells, in hopes that conditions would improve. The BLIPMAP suggested the wind would back off, but I wasn't too optimistic.

But then it really did start to back off, and I ran back up the hill to take advantage of a perfect window. Skydive Mike and Brian flew smaller wings first, though both had to make unplanned early landings. We had better luck with larger wings, soaring up to cloudbase where we chatted with Frank who was up at Makapuu. The full moon high tide had completely covered the Kahana LZ with water, so Doug, Thom and I flew to Hauula for the chance to land in a nice big grassy field. Turns out it was a busy camping weekend and the field was covered with tents. There was also a big Baby Luau on the downwind side, with tents and a bouncy house. Thom was a bit nervous about the crowded scene, but then he realized there was still a nice big swath of empty space in front of the coconut palms. We all landed down there in front of the live band rocking the pavilion, and Duck kindly brought us back to Kahana, just in time to get ready for the party at Dave's. Here's my little video of the day.

Sunday dawned sunny and perfect. The forecasters were saying something about a shearline, and the BLIPMAP showed a definitive switch from blue/green to yellow/orange around midday, but we weren't too concerned, since anyone could already see it was a great day for flying! Joey and Bill scored the perfect window, crossing the bay to Kualoa under a lowering cloudbase, waving down to Bonnie, and returning to torment the rest of us who were just arriving. Many pilots hiked up with hopes of joining them, but only Duck got into the air before the shearline arrived. The three of them hovered in the shearline gust front at the tree line, before landing in the keyhole with varying degrees of success and grace. Everyone else hiked down. At least I had saved myself a hike by arriving just in time to shoot the landings on video.

After the rain moved in, a bunch of us relocated to my house, where we watched some videos and celebrated our good fortune. We counted ourselves lucky to find some flying windows this weekend, but we know we are even luckier to have such a great group of folks to hang out with during our grounded moments!


Thom said...

It was worth the wait just for the video's.

I was nervous due to the amount of people and tents on the "Land Out" that we had chosen, which may not have conformed to upcoming new standards of safety.

My confidence is getting a shot in the arm with my landings, thanks to Woody recently and others who I have gotten pointers from, listen to and learned from over the years.

We should always be improving and must continue practicing what we have learned. Once you think you know everything or have nothing to gain from others experiences, you should quit and do something else.

JJ Jameson.

Stalker said...

Bad planning made me miss Saturday, so I made it a point to get out on Sunday. But I arrived later and missed the party. I was last to hike down. I tried to wait out the rain, but the rain won. It never stopped completely and had to hike down in a total downpour. Was soaked to the bone by the time I got down! Was worth a shot! :-/

Duck said...

Man, I knew it was spicy by the way I was hovering in the tree-lift at 50 ft. But, it still was funny! I was about to go for my C's when I fell back and then I was just too busy laughing--I knew I had people to catch me.

Then, Joey did the same, just so I would not fee bad!! Man, talk about taking one for the team! Thanks for that Joey!

Awesome vids and story! Thanks for catching me Alex and Allegra!

Maui Doug said...

Love the videos Alex! Great editing and music as usual!

Hey Joey can you hook us up with an aircraft carrier catch cable for those strong landings?

Joey said...

hahaha, that was fun...lets do it again!