Sunday, April 22, 2012

Four Twenty

Friday, April 20, was definitely a day to get high! It was a smoking gorgeous day, to a degree that we have not seen in months. Now, I know our group is fond of Torpedoes, but apparently there is also an interest in safety meetings. I guess all our meetings should be on April 20th! Everyone showed up, or almost everyone. It would be easier to say who was not there. Heck, it was a weekday even - a lot of people must have called in sick to work!

Flights were happening all over, but only a few made it across the bay to venture east. Alex (no surprise) did it once, and then just to ensure his reign as king, double dipped the bay crossing with two trips. Alex, One-Eye, Joey, Ike and Mad Dog made the crossing, but Ike and Mad Dog bailed back to Kahana before too long.

A good downrange XC was had as well, led by One-Eye, who has found a new love for his Axis wing. He and SD Tom made it to BYU. Alex flew from Punaluu back to Kahana to complete the chronic out and back loop, before heading downrange again to land at Hukilau. Harvey landed at Pounders and Saskatchewan Pavan, Gaza and Laurel landed at Punaluu. Oh, I made it just a little past Pounders, and for now that is what I am sticking with: anywhere but Pounders! Thanks to Lake for the retrieve.

It was magnificent to see the mountains in their majestic form again. I flew my highest and deepest flight over the Hauula ridge ever. Alex took so many pictures that he and a bottle of scotch could not even get through them all. Though after seeing him the next morning, I think he did make it through the bottle of scotch!

Speaking of kings, Q showed up to claim his wing, but Reaper had carried it up to launch, so he had no choice but to fly. It was great to see Q out there, since he's been super busy with his new venture, a big boat. Q, do you know what they say about boat owners? There are only two times that boat owners are happiest, the day they buy it and the day they sell it. But a few of us sure had some happy times on it already. Hope to see you flying more with us.

Flights started at 10:00 am and lasted till dusk. Alex flew a personal record of seven hours straight, with one toplanding break to relieve ballast. The finale of course was Woody and Bonnie on a tandem. The dance between them under the wing on the LZ was longer than the flight, and just as entertaining.

I'm happy to say there were no major incidents to report. We are all trying very hard to keep Pete's new job as easy as possible. There was a wedding on the beach that we were asked not to intrude upon. Poor Pete, he had to keep his tandem up for two hours.

There were so many pilots flying this 4-20 day that I may forget some, due to this darn short term memory loss that I can't explain. So please chirp in on the comments if I forgot you, or if there was any other interesting item that I missed.

Roll Call: Ike, Alex, Sidehill, Woody, One-Eye, Will, Jorge, Maui Doug, Joey, Mad Dog, Quentin, FlyStrong, McStalker, Sharky, Bonnie, Harvey, Gaza, Laurel, Ginny, Big Mike, 5-0 Mike, Brent, Kevin, Lake, Larry Mac, Reaper. Visitors: SD Tom, Pavan, TJ

It was a great day! May we get more like this again and again and again. It's a shame April 20 only comes once a year.

It's Time to Fly, Roll Your Gear, Toke It Up the Hill and Get HIGH. Happy 4-20.


Thom said...

Wow no comments, well, thanks Alex for yet another needed edit to my hen scratching.

May we have many more days of glory such as this.

swan said...

Thom, you wrote a great story for a great day! I was thrilled to be in the air with all of you flying monkeys.

Alex said...

Thanks for the writeup, Thom! I was stoked to get super high on 4-20, and also to score some serious chronic action! I got nice and high above Kaaawa, reaching cloudbase, which was almost at 3,500 feet. I flew to Kualoa and back twice, then to Punaluu and back, and finally to Hukilau, for almost 30 miles of XC distance, a unique marathon twist on the double out and back flight we call the chronic. I was in the air for a personal record of seven hours, interrupted only by one brief but urgent toplanding to relieve an overfilled ballast container. It was awesome sharing the air with almost 30 fellow pilots throughout the day. I took over 700 pictures during those seven hours, trying to capture just a hint of the gorgeous views I was seeing, documenting the changing light conditions throughout the day. Over the next couple of days, after a concentrated effort (and not a little scotch) I was able to whittle that number down to 42 keepers and polish them up to be included in the article above. Thanks to everyone who joined us in celebrating 4-20, and especially to Gaza for the post-flight safety meeting, and to Jim for the grape juice. The funniest moment for me was when we invited San Diego Tom to join us for the chronic, and he demurred, citing his employment by the military. Of course when he realized we were talking about XC, he was all in! Great flying with you, Tom!

Brian said...

Busy work day.. was stuck packin parachutes instead of bowls straight though 4:20! Oh well, I have some days off coming up.. Glad you all had a kind session soaring high at kahana!

sandy said...

What incredible cloudbase! Must have been some smokin' thermals out there. I'm soooo jealous, and happy that so many were able to grab some of that stuff.

There was one pic of an orange glider looking low in Kualoa valley -- was that just funky perspective, or was he/she really in a funky spot? Do tell, as I've so rarely (once?) crossed that valley myself and need to learn the ways.

Beautiful pics! Thanks for telling the tale, Thom.

Alex said...

Sandy, it was just perspective. Jim was probably two grand at that point, and he was closer to the Kaaawa side than you can tell. I just happened to be closer to three grand when I took it, so he looks low! But I did snap one shot of an incredibly low glider:

Mad Dog pulls in front of the Lion

Bon Bon said...

Awesome pics, and congrats on your longest flight! That's great! I didn't realize it at the time.

Today was special for me because I got to fly with my sister at Kahana while she was visiting. This was Beck Beck's second paragliding flight. Thanks, Reaper for taking her tandem! :)

Here is a video of our flight together:

Upon landing after a 2 hour flight with several pilots, including my sister in a tandem with Reaper, I was told that Woody was looking for a 'front bumper' - with my wing still over my shoulder, my eyes got big and I said, "I'll go!!!"

We had a few mishaps on launch and got the wing sorted out and launched for a short, brisk flight. I told Woody it was getting a little strong, and I could see gusts on the water, and I thought he could handle it, but he was the pilot in command and needed to make his own decision - but i was game to go. He kited the wing up like a cobra and we were off the hill.

Upon landing, we danced. Thanks for the dance, Woody. It was epic. It was more fun knowing how amazed everyone watching was. And yeah; the dance was longer than the flight, but I'm ok with that. Here is a link to the video:

What a fun day of flying!