Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Sky is Falling!

For the last several days, the weather service has been issuing alarming and dire predictions. Not for falling skies exactly, but for strong trade winds. Since last Thursday, forecasters have been calling for the trade winds to crank up hard for the foreseeable future, starting … tomorrow. Since then we've had an 11th hour reprieve every day, and each day's forecast suggests the hammer will drop the next day. Nothing motivates paraglider pilots like one last chance for a good flight. Even if we get that chance every day! By Monday, the fifth last day in a row, we were quite motivated indeed, and many pilots came out to Kahana and to Makapuu to seize the opportunity for one more last day of good flying before the sky plummets to the earth.

At Kahana, cross country conditions started out great, and proceeded to the level of incredible. A bunch of us attempted a chronic loop, or at least parts of it. Pilots got to at least three grand, often well above the surrounding clouds. Conditions just got better and better throughout the day. Jim, Bill and I flew across the bay to start the first shift, followed later on by Thom and AK Jason for the second shift.

My flight spanned 7 miles, from Mokolii to Sacred Falls, with an excursion a mile offshore directly outside Kahana bay, to form a nice triangle. After three hours I finally forced myself to land, knowing that I had promised Duck that I'd team up with Woody to offer tandem flights to his boss and his boss's wife. They were stoked - and it was a nice reminder for me of how great tandem flying can be. Thanks to Woody and Duck for the assistance on launch.

At Makapuu, Bonnie's parents enjoyed tandem flights from Pete and Doug, and she got to try out Duck's Freestyle 20. I'm sure there were other exciting flights - please post a comment if you have a good story to add.

It was great to see so much great flying happening on what surely would be the actual last day before the trades ramp up. And why should we worry about the sky falling anyway? A descending sky is really just the perspective we get when we're riding the air currents skyward. After these trade winds back off I know we'll be eager for another dose of falling skies.

Kahana roll call: Jim, Woody, Bonnie, Lake, Bill, Thom, me, AK Jason, Roland, Scrappy, RK Jeff, Kevin, Duck, and possibly others. Woody and I flew again tandem with Duck's boss and his wife.

Makapuu roll call: Bonnie, Dave, Reaper, 5-0, Doug, Goto, and probably others.


Waianae Jim said...

Thanks for the write up Alienex, I mean Alex. Thanks for prodding Bill & I to venture over to the far side of the bay. Sure was fun getting to go somewhere for a change. Although whenever I try to keep up with the new technology my 'old' Axis Venus 2 seems a tad slower on trim speed. If I had more time probably would've tried for the chronic. The few pics I took of you & Bill are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/34871295@N00/sets/72157632004892484/show/

Alex said...

Bill has some serious speed on his Artik 3. Maybe he's cheating on the wing loading. I find even under my alien craft I need speed bar to match his trim speed.

Thom said...

Thanks for the shout Alienex, I like that one 1I.

I got to try by new POD the Skypper. I had demoed one from Jorge but did not adjust all the lumbar supports on his during my flight.

Woody helped me dial it in o nthe ground and with a few in-air adjustments it fit like a glove.

The weight shift is much more responsive than my Impress2 was or even my Woody Valley Light 2 that I am still using.

The first hard left I took I threw myself over like I used to have to do in the Impress. I also applied the same amount of brake as usual and found an immediate very sharp left turn. A bit sharper than I had excpected.

I got a Good bay cross in with AkJason then watched him get so high that no-one but me saw him wizz by KNA straght to Punaluu. There he got suckered into the back got low and had a rotor ride back to the front. He of course made it, got back up and finished the chronic with a landing at KNA.

That was to be Jason's last flight with us for awhile, but I have a sneaky suspicion that as he would say, "I'll Be Back!" Hey, maybe new call sign, Terminator. He has killed just about every xc flight here.

Another good log.

JJ Jameson

Thom said...

Wow just watched the video now!!!!

Alienex, you might have to start thinking of an additional camera mounted either on the foot of the pod facing back or up in the lines facing down.

One-Eye has gotta be happy with that flight and all the footage.

I think Flystrong is just over the top due to camera weight and such. I did not see much but the top of their wings. Maybe you could swoop under for a second in stealth mode, so they do not get a picture of the top of your wing!

Waianae Jim said...

@SH, You're right I'm happy with that video, has to be the most I've ever been in one. Alienex (pronounced AlYen'ex,to fit with his command of Russian language LOL!) must have had to work hard to slow down his spaceship enough to get that much footage. Thanks Alex!