Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thank you, sir! May I have another?

On my way home from Kahana a few weeks ago, I gazed up at the Koolaus. "I wonder if I'll ever see those up close again?" On Friday, that question was finally answered! Makapuu erupted with bellowing thermals. It was mixed with a light north wind and was brewing to be a perfect XC day. I pulled into the LZ around 11:30 and Maui Doug pulled in right next to me. Scot was flying a friend tandem and put a slight downer on us. "Cloud base is low and there is some rain behind Olomana."

Lake was already up and surprise, surprise he was ready to go anywhere. By the time Maui Doug and I got to Pine Trees, Lake was one step ahead of us. Judging from the thermals at Makapuu ridge I knew we were in for a 'hands on' trip.

We could not get over 1800' at the start and the whole trip we were avoiding clouds. Lift was good but sparse with no true ridge lift due to the very light winds. We bounced off the bottom of clouds at 2400' coming up between them to 3100' occasionally. Lake got a little higher in, but dude that is not really recommended. We got away with it today but believe me it usually pays out a horrible dividend.

By the time we got to H3 my butt was getting a little soar from the big ups and collapsing downs. The sight of Kahana once we rounded Ahiamanu just kept me thinking of the Animal House quote, "Thank you, sir! May I have another?". The thermal paddles were all to willing to let us have it again, ouch. We headed towards Pyramid.

Maui Doug peeled off toward MDKS, he had a pending tandem so had to get back to MPU. That left Lake and I creeping toward the back of Pyramid. Lake asked, "What's the plan?", I responded with, "I am not sure yet?".

This is only the second time I have ever been here. As I approached pyramid, I tried my first route but it was a big hole. I started to think of Boogaland, Lake was already deep behind Pyramid so I headed toward him. That is when Lake decided to try an unprecedented trip along the Kahana side of Pyramid with a route towards Kaaawa Valley.

I didn't say anything to him except,"Lake you got balls of steal", which I heard a reply from KNA, "Or brains of cotton". I really thought he would turn and come back. He didn't. I think I did say, "There's no real place to land on that side." I didn't hear from him. He was busy not loosing much and as it looked like he was catching some snotty ones along the way. Then he started to sink. Maui Doug on route to land could see how far he was and said, "He's committed now, Thom, He's not coming back."

While I watched Lake inch his way towards Kaaawa Valley, I was still thinking of Boogaland and a trip to Punaluu. My thoughts were thwarted when it started getting lighter and the thermals seemed to be weakening. Lake was getting lower and I decided to head back toward MPU.

I did not get very far, "Thank you, sir! But I have had enough!!" I turned and headed to MDKS to join Maui Doug. He just found out that the tandem was cancelled and that 5-0 was on route to retrieve us. Awesome, I will be there in a bit. I had left with 2800' from the main range but was hitting big pot holes with only slight slaps up.

Arriving over MDKS with 800', wow a 2k loss that quick, my ears were even a little sore. I landed and rubbed my butt, "I hope I can stand up for the ride home." Oh, I had heard from Lake as I was coming in and he said he landed in Kaaawa Valley but had a long hike out and was going to call Bonnie. I think she may have gone to get him but we were on route, Thanks to 5-0 Mike who was coming home from work and turned left at the bottom of the H3.

Again, I was with Maui Doug staring up at the place we were just soaring. It was a rougher ride and not as long a trip as we had had some years ago but still it was awesome and I know tomorrow I will be reminded with some aches and pains.

We spied Jorge and Fireman Dave over us at Olomana and then from Waimanalo we could see them push toward Lanikai. Dave landed at Enchanted Lake Elementary and Jorge on his new Aspen4 made it back to MPU.

The log of pilots at MPU were big for a Friday: Lake, Scot, Maui Doug, Sidehill, Jorge, Fireman Dave, Reaper, Joey, Big Mike, One-Eye, AirBorne, FlyStrong, Bonnie on a Firefly, Alaska Jayson, Speed flyers: TK & a few others, Visitors: SbBob, FlaJohn, Francois. Hangies: Mike and Brent.

I know its late, I hope this makes coffee for some.

It's Time to Fly, Pad Your Ass and Go!!! Oh, "Yes, sir! May I have another!"

JJ Jameson


sandy said...

Great read Thom! Your butt got a little "soar", hehe, it got a LOT of soar-ing, too! I'm jealous -- but were there lots of collapses? or just bumpy?

Lake, please, please, please, give this sport and your fellow pilots more respect! Bull-headed pilots have been rewarded with death. What's the fun in that? (Sorry for the downer folks, just don't want another tragedy, just lots of fun.)

Anonymous said...

Nice flight Thom. Now that you are a comp pilot, you need all the training you can get before we hit big air in Canada.

Winds were light enough that it would be possible for Lake to find a leeside thermal to get up in, but being so deep would make it uninviting for most. Good flying.

I tried to climb in a leeside on the south side of Lanikai, hooked it, but bumbled out of it into big sink and into Enchanted Lake Elementary. At least there are a lot more options there.


James Bender said...

You can't have your puddin' till you eat your meat!

Thom said...

At James Bender. When are you coming back. I hear from you in the weirdest ways some time. Will you venture north to Pemby for the Canadian Nats. I will be there.

Thom Sidehill JJ Therrien.

Lake said...

Sandy, ...Not sure what your talking about. I don't think anyone felt disrespected. If someone doesn't respond on the radio it's usually because they are busy. I was never in danger of getting blown over the back because the sea breeze was barely more than 5 mph. The cloud shadows were hardly moving along the ground. I knew that I could make it to the pastures in Kaaawa Valley on glide and hopefully catch thermals back out to the front. -Lake-

Alex said...

Really great flying by everyone! Lake, sorry, the disrespect was from me making a lame joke at your expense over the radio. I was just trying to get a laugh out of Thom! Woody and I could see you guys way back behind the pyramid as we were flying a super light thermic day at Kahana. Congrats on the farthest flights of the day!

Maui Doug said...

Dear JJJ, Sorry for the delay in posting this comment. But its been so darn flyable lately, I havent had time to edit the clips I have of you and Lake. The only thing I have to say to you both is....please slow down to I can catch up to you to shoot some video of you guys! Here is the link to the clips that I did get.