Thursday, December 27, 2012

Awesome Sunset Flight at Lanikai

While stalking Wind Lines, I saw the post: "Orange glider up at Koko." My first thought: 'Ant.' Funny how the visitor pilots somehow seem to be the first to launch, or be the only ones to fly a certain site. We later found out my first instinct was right, the orange glider was visitor, Anthony Green (one of the Acro Twins), tandem with his father, Phil Green.

When Phil told me a while back that he was coming back to Oahu in December, I felt really bad that they wouldn't get to fly due to the TFR for President Obama being here. I'm so glad he had business to take care of and had to cut his vacation a little short, so that we could enjoy a holiday flight. Leave it to Ant, employer of Cross Country Magazine, to get an epic XC flight on a day like today - strong and east. Launching Makapu'u around 2pm (while no local pilots flew there -- that I know of), and flying all the way to Laie. Awesome flight, dude!

I never even really looked up to look for a glider, like I usually catch myself doing while at work and driving. I didn't expect it on a day like today. After work I struggled to figure out where to go. I knew it was a bit too east for Kahana, but considered flying there anyway and landing at Punalu'u. I decided against it and thought Lanikai may be working. I knew it would be brisk, but doable. Tommy said him and Frank were there but needed a site intro, I text him and said, "omw." By the time I got there, Frank was, well....AWOL and it was just Tommy and I. During the hike up, I realized I had left my radio on after my last flight (like 3 months ago), so I was going to fly without a radio. We got to the pill boxes and it was too east (like we thought it would be) and kept hiking past the upper pill box. We went around the corner and the higher east launch felt brisk, so we chose the lower one. It felt good, a little brisk at times. I waited for a good cycle, pulled it up at an angle, like Woody taught me, so I wouldn't get bungy-launched. Tommy thought it looked funny and yelled, "No. No." I said, "What? What's wrong? ... I'm goin, dude." As I took off, I ran through Haole Koa trees; I jumped and bounced my foot right off of them, as my glider pulled me up so diligently. Actually...I went straight up. High. It felt good. I got that feeling back again. It felt like it's been so long. has been -- since December 8th!! I gotta admit, I was goin' a bit crazy and needed a "hit". I was high... and it felt good. As I climbed over the ridge, I watched the sun set behind the mountains behind me. I looked over the ocean and saw a gradient sky turn from blue to orange to pink and back to blue as the sky met the ocean. I was getting higher and higher and quickly and easily got to thirteen hundred as I was well above the ridge. I did some wing-overs to get lower and though they were small, it felt so good. I did more, bigger this time. Yes. I love that feeling.

Tommy finally joined me and he, too went straight up. Suddenly, almost simultaneously, we looked over the ocean and saw the moon come up behind the Mokes. I yelled down to him, "Look at the moon!!!!" We both started howling, and cheering. Then watched the moon rise higher and higher. It was beautiful! After a while of flying, Tommy flew by me and said, "Are you headed in?" I said, "Dude?! Full moon!!!" He laughed and stated that he was gonna go land. I said I was gonna stay up a while longer. As I enjoyed the rest of my flight, I looked out over the ocean. Moon Shadows.
'Wow.' I thought. Seeing the shadows of the Mokes from the moon was epic. It was so cool. I snapped a few shots and realized the wind was getting stronger and I wasn't penetrating - I decided it was time to head in. I put on speed bar and headed straight out over the water as I kept staring at the moon's reflection on the ocean. Just then, when I thought it couldn't get any better, I looked back. . . . fireworks! How cool!! I was stoked. I was focused on landing in strong winds; I started working my way down upwind and out front, over the water, on bar. I looked around at my surroundings as I let off bar and got lower, still not penetrating. I added bar and climbed my way out of my seat. Then, with my C's in hand...I danced in the light of the moon. Perfect.

We ended the night with my fav -- Round Table Pizza...Mmmm... One. Happy. Girl. :)

Pictures from our flight:


Thom said...

I am having a great cup of coffee this morning.

Thanks for the write up Bonnie and the pictures.

I was driving home from work and was looking at the trees, I thought Lanikai would be the call earlier today. Then I read the chat box, at a red light, saw that Tommy & you had headed up. When I got closer to Kailua I could see 2 gliders in the air.

It was too late for me to make it. I am hoping for today somewhere.


JJ Jameson

kohalabeeman said...

Let see ,hhmmm how's that song go ?"I'm being followed by a Moon Shadow,Moon Shadow , Moon Shadow !