Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seven Stories

Today marked the sixteenth consecutive day of good flying weather since our summer season began. We have flown every day for the past sixteen days, at all three of our windward sites! That's the kind of strong medicine we need to wipe away the memory of this winter's unusually meager flying opportunities. Best of all, the majority of these good summer days have taken us far from launch, rewarding us with many interesting trips and transitions. We've enjoyed a few classic ridge lift days, many super thermic days, lots of days with low clouds and a few days with high ones. It looks like the trades will be increasing this week, to spoil this unusually long streak, but I have to believe that these sixteen consecutive days portend a lot of airtime over the coming months.

With all this flying, it's been hard to keep up with the story writing, so I have to resort to this wrapup format when I get time. Since the last article was posted, we've flown seven days without a story. Here is what I remember from the last seven days, along with the pictures I took on some of those days, and a few pictures and videos taken by Bonnie and Bill. If anyone else has pictures or video to add, let me know and I'll include them. Or if I left anyone out, or any details need correcting, post a comment!

Monday: Super Sea Breeze

Ray, Thom, Woody and I flew early, in a nuking super east sea breeze, and it was strong and bumpy and not very pleasant! Later, Woody and I hiked up again for a couple hours of scratching in a much mellower light and buoyant sea breeze. We didn't get higher than 1,100, but it was smooth and floaty, followed by a long tree soaring session. Scot reported that the wind was blowing over the back at Makapuu.

Tuesday: Clear Sky Mission

There were practically no clouds in the sky at all. Many pilots converged on Makapuu for a cross country mission, but conditions were light and difficult at the ridge, so many of us figured we might as well just stay local. But the die hard crew of Dave, Jorge and Mad Dog dove back low to Puu O Kona to establish a foothold, and they clawed their way up back there to ride the thermals along Green Walls, continuing all the way to Kahaluu and Waiahole. Maui Doug followed a bit later and made similar distance, and then Joey launched all alone at Makapuu for the last long flight, flying the whole thing by himself and making it to Kahaluu. Later, Frank was denied at the Pali and had to turn back. Bonnie and Tommy flew the last session along Green Walls in boaty evening conditions.

Wednesday: Low Cloudbase Crossings

Cloudbase at Kahana was low, and the wind was on the light side. Woody launched around noon, and I came out to meet visitor Rick from Colorado an hour after that. Bonnie came out and flew a quick one during her lunch break. The wind was mostly east, but there were moments of north in it that made it seem worth trying to cross the bay. Rick scratched heroically, but ended up at the beach. I crossed the bay, but couldn't quite get up over there, so I had to land at Swanzy's. It's been a while since I did that - glad to see I left myself enough height to make it there! I ate a quick fish taco at Bobo's, and then Gaza picked me up for another session. He joined me in a sweet cloud surfing clinic above Kahana, and then I crossed the bay again, and made it this time, to Kualoa and back. Ray, Sandy and Bonnie also came out for the last session. Dave flew at Lanikai, and Jim and Jeff flew at Makapuu.

Thursday: Those are the Brakes

It was a bit brisk at Kahana, but sunny and nice. A good day to stay local and play around. But I soon noticed my brake pulleys were corroded and seized up, and I wasn't able to get them unstuck, even with Ray's magical airplane lubricant. So my flight was mostly controlled by weight shift, which was pretty unsatisfying. Ray and Jorge flew tandem, and we were joined by Woody and Tim. I think Thom and Jim were there too.

Friday: Triple Transition

I got new pulleys installed to fix my brake problem. Then I enjoyed a super fun day of challenging bay crossings. Joey joined me for the first attempt, and he ended up at Swanzy's, while I was luckier and made it to Kualoa and then back to Kahana. Soon after getting back there, I was tempted by a magic carpet of a cloud to run back across once again. I played around above Kaaawa for a while, and then a big black cloud scared me back to Kahana. Meanwhile, Thom crossed to Kaaawa, and then egged me on into crossing for a third time to join him. We flew almost til dark, although I think Bonnie and Wayne flew until actual dark. Arizona Jim and Murari came out and flew with us too. Jim and Ray and Reaper were there too. And probably some other folks I'm forgetting.

Saturday: Superchronic

One of my best XC days ever. I launched with Woody, and then proceeded to cross to Kualoa, returning to bench up again at Kahana and fly to Punaluu, and then returning to Kahana from there. That's the now familiar trip we call the Chronic. But I couldn't resist tacking on a trip to MDKS in Waiahole with Gaza after that, and I am calling that little combo trip the Superchronic. Thanks to Sharky for the ride back, and for the first taste of my new favorite cold elixir: Hoptimum. That is one strong and tasty beverage. We were joined out there by Jeff, Maui Tim, Colorado Rick, Big Mike, Rich, Ray, Reaper, Sandy, Chris, Roland, and Big John. Congrats to the new guys on first Kahana flights! Frank flew at Makapuu.

Sunday: Squall Dodging Clinic

The day started dark and cloudy, but I flew a quick tandem with Woody just to play with launch techniques and asymmetric spirals. We landed as a squall brought in some drizzle. Frank flew Makapuu in the morning. Later, as the weather cleared up quite a bit, a whole gaggle of pilots came out to fly at Kahana: Joey tandem with Allegra, Bill, Bonnie, Woody tandem with Thom, Reaper, Jim, Maui Tim, Arizona Jim and Murari, and probably a few others. Bill crossed the bay, and Tahitian visitor Francois followed him over. They all landed after a few hours of flying, as some more squalls came in.

I know Lake was out flying a couple days this past week, with his parents in town, not sure which days exactly. I'm sure I forgot some other folks too - please post a comment if you want me to add you in!


Kevin said...

Thanks for the recap Alex. Not a great time to pick up a bunch of OT. 8 days in a row. I know Duck is hating being away in this prime time too. Glad to hear of the great flights. Superchronic. Right on. Hope to fly soon but looks like strong trades are moving in.

Thom said...

Finally I got to sit and read this one. Great recap, not sure how you can remember all the different days and they were different.

Still hoping for a more flyable summer, but apparently you can make anything work.

Enjoyed my coffee this morning.

Brazilian Ray said...

Last saturday Lake had a very interesting landing after trying to cross the bay and scratching back at north ridge he almost didn't make it back to the beach and landed right in between two very "happy" guys wearing colorfull speedos. We could hear "it's raining man, alleluia, it's raining man !" in the background ...

It was fun to BBQ with the gang. Liliana had a blast at the beach! Thank you guys for keeping an eye on Lili
Brazilian Ray

Bon Bon said...

Nice write-up, Alex. I'm having trouble remembering all my flights, and I've spent some time going through them. I finally posted pictures from all of my flights. Thanks for including my pics and videos to your story.

Here are more pics from this week:

(they are listed in different sets)