Sunday, June 10, 2012

Camp Kahana Chronicles

Kahana is our Camp and Fly site, and this year marks record numbers of camping pilots, as well as a record number of sites occupied by HPA members. The third year of the Bob Johnson Birthday Fly-In certainly set records. As I write this, Scrappy's Birthday Bash is ongoing, and larger than past years. And I am sure the upcoming wedding of Pete and Annette will make headlines on these pages. These are just three of the organized events so far this year, and I am sure there will be more camping, flying and stories coming from Camp Kahana. It's my favorite place!

I really couldn't think of a good title for this one. I know Alex could conjure up something better, but since he's missing in action, you're stuck with my rendition of the President's Log. There were no real epic XC flights in recent days, but some firsts were had, and hopefully those that scored them will give us another read. I know I will miss some pilots on the credits, because there were just so many on Saturday, and I had to leave early. Also, the weekend is not even over yet!

On Thursday, Kalei, Mochi and I packed up the truck to get an early start on setting up for Scrappy's Birthday Bash. We had the entire campground to ourselves all night, except for the permanent residents, the chickens and roosters.

Friday came, and it did not look promising for flights. I got a kiting lesson with Woody, which I am now finding not only essential in becoming a better pilot but also a lot of fun and great exercise. A few of us managed to squeeze in flights in the easterly flow. I kept mine short, but others stayed up for an hour or so. Sorry, I did not make a roll call for that one. My flight was too short, and so is my memory. Campers started to arrive after work, and the population grew through the night. By Saturday mid-morning, Camp Kahana was full.

Saturday started off slow, and I got another kiting lesson. Bonnie and I are working toward our Master Kiter Certificates, and she will most likely get hers before I do. She has been practicing, and even opts to kite instead of fly on the marginal days.

Flystrong was pacing. The anticipation of a maiden voyage was just eating him up. Finally, the sensor stabilized, and the windsock was blowing steady and consistent, which prompted One-Eye to lead the charge: "If I am going to wait, I am gonna do it on the hill". He and FlyStrong hiked up, and they did not have to wait long. The rest of us waited, just watching and listening to the radios. "I am at 1600' and it's smooooth", One-Eye reported. Immediately, the trail was filled with packs, and soon the sky was blotted with amazing color.

A few bay crossings were attempted, but with no success. During the session that I flew, the roll call was: One-Eye, FlyStrong, Ike, BC Jayson, Woody, a Japanese Visitor (name?), DC Mark, Divot Steve, Scrappy flying tandem, Maui Doug, Scot on the Slide, Stalker, John (Reaper and Woody's new student) for a first flight, Duck and Reaper.

Kalei radioed up that she was visiting with Aunty Yolie and packing up our camp. We had Saturday night plans back at the homestead. I said I would be right there, and she retorted, "No, Daddy, stay up for a while, I am packing and it will take a little bit". Well, I just had to listen, and took a few more lifts before swooping into land. She had everything ready to go, and told me to relax and have a beverage with everyone. Kalei, you're the best!

The LZ was filling with more pilots, and even more were hiking up, as Ginny was setting up her camp. Additions to the air before I left: Jorge, North Shore Brian, Scrappy (on another tandem) and Kevin. Hiking up were Sharky and Hilo Ken. The Woody Kiting Clinic was open on the LZ, with Bonnie, Lake and Tom Eckman. Woody was trying to coax Ashley into the class as I was leaving. I am sure Bonnie and Lake hiked up for a flight after I left, and I overheard that Gaza was on his way up as well.

To Tommy RD: a big shout out from all of your fellow monkeys. May your fever cool and your wing be over your head soon.

Well, I think that is it. If FlyStrong does not write up something about his new love affair, I know we'll at least get pictures. Please, if I missed your name, or you remember someone that was present and/or flying, chirp in on the comments, so I can add them in to keep the log going.

I penned this starting at 3 a.m., and again missed the President's East Coast coffee hour. Now I need a nap, because it is Sunday, and hopefully...

It's Time to Fly, Get Your Gear and Go!!!!!


Alex said...

Thanks for the excellent report, Thom! I hope to read many more like this. The only sad part was not reading Joey's name - I'm worried he is not having any fun since he loaned me his baby. There's a sad old lonely Peak 2 at my house with his name on it!

Thanks for the picture of Bill's new ride. What a beauty. I look forward to following him downrange one day soon.

Speaking of which - don't worry about not flying XC every dang time. I mean, really, that whole XC thing is a bit overrated, don't you think? You guys should probably just focus on staying local, work on your wingovers and stuff, and leave the epic cross country flights for July when I hear conditions are really gonna get good. That's what I'm hearing, anyway. Could be as early as June 25th or so, but definitely July will be off the charts epic...

Stalker said...

Thanks to Jim for letting me try his Little Cloud. Was a short flight, but a lot of fun! Now that I know what to expect, would love to try it again! ;)

Maui Doug said...

Nice recap Thom! Yes Alex how right you are when you said how you will be following Bill XC on his new wing. I flew next to him yesterday on my Aspen 3 26m,(which I am 50lbs over on)and he was pulling away from me. We where both hands up! Yikes Bill you might want to get one of those hang glider drag shoots for landings! :-)

Thom said...

Ya Bill did say it was a tough one to land. It did not want to come down and it is super fast.

I could hear the lines sining as he past me.

We have a a secret bet if any one wants in. What date and time Alex will secure an ice peak 6. Its going to happen he just is not willing to accept it yet.

Alex said...

Thom, your story above is about camping and flying at Kahana. I don't think anyone but you and Don are that interested in gossiping about a wing buying decision I'll have to make sometime next year. But just for you two, I'll take the bait:

All EN-D pilots are flummoxed now because the two-line comp wings have snuck in like wolves in sheep's clothing and many brands are no longer making non-comp models. (Jorge is getting an IP6 soon so you guys can gossip about him first. He said I could try his - isn't that friendly of him? Hope I don't like it too much!) The thing is, I've always said that I need a wing that performs a little better than most others, to make up for my frequent deficits of skill and courage - so until you guys start leaving me behind regularly, I think I'm still on the right class of wing.

Of course the glide performance is nice, but remember the downsides: comp wings are not designed to last more than a year, they have all unsheathed skinny tangly lines, they are extremely demanding to recover from non-flying configurations, they can't spiral safely, and the prices are much higher than for regular wings.

Wait, I'm a little slow, and I think maybe I misunderstood this whole secret bet arrangement ... now I realize you guys are offering to sponsor me! That mitigates two downsides right away! Okay, twist my arm - if you buy one for me, I'll fly it. Size 23, color Rioja. You'll definitely win the bet that way! :-)

Now back to a less gossipy topic: I can't wait to hear details and see pics from the day after this story. Sounds like Bill had a great day on his new hot rod.