Monday, January 28, 2013

Gradient Diamonds

This has to be a record for most of us. The earliest morning flights ever. I got a text from Woody at around 6:24 AM. The Kahana gang (less one sick Duck) were on their way. I got the rest of my gear ready to go and called Ike, telling him to be on the curve. I then called Woody at around 6:35, only to receive news that Alex was already on launch. I said, wow, the short bus from Kahana must have been hauling ass!! I just got a text 10 minutes ago saying you were on the way! Flystrong could be heard from one of the seats: Hauling asses is more like it! Who gets up this early to fly?! But now we all know when the Prez calls it you gotta just do it.

I picked up Ike, and Jayson, who had crashed at Ike's, and we were on our way. The sun was rising over Kailua as we sped up the Pali. We arrived to find, Woody, Lake, Flystrong and Bonnie in the air. Alex had just landed his old beater and was going to try Lake's Zion. It was getting a little stronger on launch.

Alex launched, then Franky and Jayson launched Allegra’s Hook2. I went off with my FreeStyle, and soon Motorhead was right alongside us. It was getting a little stronger on West launch and it was cross. The East side launch was not used often today due to the strong arching airflow and possibly also the obstruction in the middle of take off. We watched from above as Ike tried to pull up and go, only to be popped up and put back down.

It was fun, though it was not the typical smooth Diamond Head day that we have enjoyed in the past. But I was flying at 8:30 AM - how cool is that? The clouds was coming in south easterly which automatically made everyone approach the beach landing from the airport side, to land heading towards Kahala. I did my approach, and got even lower than my comfort zone over the water, as I had watched Jayson go long down the beach. I hit my final at 2-3 feet off the sand, but continued at high speed for a hundred yards, until a deep flare and speedy run brought me to a landing.

We found that to be the wrong way, and Woody was the last to do a downwind landing. He reported to the remaining in flight that the wind on the beach was coming from the airport. So, by the time Ike, Gaza, MauiDoug and Bonnie landed, they got to float in, which is also uncharacteristic for DH beach landings.

More pilots filtered in and out, but many stayed grounded, due to launch leaning more towards a P4 day. Fireman Dave and Lake were doing the final show when I left, but no others were going to attempt.

Roll Call as far as I can remember: Alex, Woody, Bonnie, Flystrong, Jayson, Ike, Sidehill, Motorhead, Lake, Franky, MauiDoug, Gaza, Harvey, FiremanDave. Showing up on launch were: Allison, Allegra, Divot, Scrappy, Stalker, Sharky, One-Eye, Roland, Johnimo and Matt & Krzys from BC. Heard TommyRD showed up later. If you were there or flew let me know to keep our blurry records straight.

Diamond Head is a touchy place. It has to be just right, so when the weather gurus tell you to go early, they mean it. I was done at 10:30 am which has gotta be one of my earliest landing ever too.

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


Thom said...

Thanks for the picture Jayson, I was not going to write anything but it got me going.

Gotta love those Gradient Wings.

firedave2 said...

Thom, it backed off a little bit later and a bunch of pilots got air, including Roland buzzing around in his haystack special. He kitesurfer was cruising out front as well. We got rain at about 3pm, then it cleared again, by then beer thirty had kicked in and MadDog was regaling us with stories.

Divot Steve said...

Afternoon Shift -
When Scrappy and I showed up and only Fireman Dave was in air. He wasn't moving forward very fast, if at all, when we arrived. Since he was on his 20m we were a bit wary of launching. Lake tried to launch on the Kahala side, but decided to move over to the other side and made it out. He made it up, but it looked like he went to the beach early. Roland was next to set up. He launched, and stayed out in front. The wind calmed down a bit after that. Still kind of gusty, but it was manageable. Maui Doug, Harvey, and, Frank went back up to show off some more for the tourists. The wind died a bit more, so Scrappy and I decided to go for it. Scrappy launched in his full size wing, and didn't like the choppy air, and landed pretty fast. I launched in Dave's Octane FLX. I landed after a quick flight. Watching the storm on the Horizon was a bit disconcerting. Tommy went next and was doing fine in his full size wing. Maui Doug launched again somewhere in there, too. Scrappy went up on the Octane. Motorhead showed up and got some second helpings. Sharky showed up just as I was setting up for my seconds,but wind picked up back to a bit too strong. I opted to sit on the wall and watch until the storm front hit us. Then we watched as Waikiki got hit by the storm. Eventually the rain got to us and ended the day.

Thom said...

Thanks Alex for fixing it up and adding a few more names.

Thanks Steve for the aftermath recap & including more pilots. Glad more got to fly this gem. It does no thappen very often so when it does you gotta get some.

Bon Bon said...

It was a super fun flight! That was my earliest flight ever, launching around 0700. I flew around for 2 hours, hangin out in the free refill zone with Woody; and hangin' near the lighthouse, hoping for a photo opp by FlyStrong, and trying to capture him as well.

Here are pictures from my flight: