Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roller Coaster to Pounders

It has been a while since I have stroked the keys to weave a yarn. Hopefully, with Alex's fine tuning, and the addition of color from anyone who might have squeezed off a shot during this ride, it'll be a tolerable tale. A non-jobber Monday had arrived, and with winds predicted to get stronger for the remainder of the week, we were obliged to continue the Presidential Pre-Summer Streak. I finished my morning inspection in a hurry, and dashed back to Kailua to pick up Woody and Francois, our Tahitian visitor.

We arrived at the Kahana LZ for a pre-flight briefing with Alex, Scott, Harvey, and Mad Dog. The clouds were a little low, but knowing this could be our last fix before an extended grounding, we hit the dirt of East Launch.

If you can believe it, Alex was the first off, and flew by saying it was smooth and not tubular. Well, that wasn't going to last long. He lured Scott, Woody, Mad Dog and then Francois off the hill. I was hooking in when I noticed two of my 'A' lines had been chewed. Damn dog. I had left the glider out overnight, to make an adjustment in the morning, but when morning came there was no time so I quickly packed and did not notice the gnawed lines.

Harvey and I were a little leery about the lines on launch, and we gave them both a strong pull test and deemed them flightworthy. I launched and kept an eye on them for a bit, and then started to climb up for today's adventure.

Mad Dog and Scott were heading back from an attempted bay crossing, so an attempt from me would be futile. The decision then was to get high and turn left. I was trying out my new Flymaster GPS, but did not have any waypoints loaded, so not all features got to be played with. It appears to be very similar to the B1, but you can adjust the screen and fonts to make them bigger for older eyes.

The ride started for most of us at Punaluu, and all but Francois got the roller coaster ride. He was so high the whole trip that he did not appear to suffer the ups and downs that the rest of us did. Woody enjoyed the show from Kahana and said later that it looked like we were just having too much fun. Harvey also stayed local.

Alex theorized later that the thermals were getting sliced by the strong east winds, kinda like a sliced cucumber. Which was pretty good analogy of the flight. If you were circling on the slice you were okay. But if you dropped below in between the slices you were in a 'pickle', sinking like a raw potato. Maybe the title should have been 'Salad Run', cause we got 'tossed'.

The Hauula ridge was a little less active, but with little to gain. I radioed to Francois to follow everyone to Pounders, although he could have gone further with his altitude. But it was a good call to land no further than Pounders due to the strongish winds.

I approached Pounders next to last, with Francois still on the top floor. Pounders has always been a thorn in my side, or actually in my wallet. My last landing not only cost me my electronics but also, according to Advance, my Sigma 8. So this time, I came in with my newfound speed at first, and then Scott yelled up, it's strong, and you can just elevator down wherever you want. So I picked my spot and floated in.

We packed our bags and looked around. We were five happy pilots, happy to be on the ground, but of course each of us would get back on that ride anytime, just because. Harvey was on retrieve, and we all jammed into his truck. I was happy to have a dry Pounders run, but that did not last long after we pulled into Tamura's for the traditional debriefing beverages.

We hung out at the LZ to watch Woody land, and then Jim and McStalker took to the skies, but they landed after a short local flight. My wife is liking Francois, not only is he French, but he has gotten me to arrive home way before my usual O-Dark Thirty, two days in a row. Bonnie arrived after I left and flew the late shift all by herself in very brisk conditions, although I think Jim may have come back to check on her.

Kahana roll call: Alex, Woody, Scott, Mad Dog, Tahiti Francois, Sidehill, Harvey, Jim, McStalker and Bonnie. Makapuu roll call: Jorge, Maui Doug and Brent.

The Windlines call sign appears to be changing to Kitelines till at least next week.

It was Time to Fly, Got my Gear and Went. Now it looks like I got time to kick the dog and repair my lines.

Until next time, this is JJ Jameson signing off.


Alex said...

Thom, thanks for the story! That's the first on-time story in over a month! I added some pics. Scot shot headcam video but it might be a while before we see it.

Thom said...

Thanks Alex,

Uploaded some of Francois pictures not sure how to add a slide show in tried once need training.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story Thom. Sounds like Makapuu was the right place to be for my skill level. So far Kahana has been playing hard to get for me. Now that I am back living here I plan on spending more time with her so she will be sweet to me. Looking forward to flying with you guys.

Aloha Brent

sandy said...

I'm cracking up! I'm picturing you working those thermals like a baby carrot in a salad spinner. :-) Round and round she goes! I'm jealous. Glad you all got some good stuff.

Anonymous said...

The accompanying video. https://vimeo.com/42998835