Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Solar Powered

Five desperate souls dragged their soggy wings out to Kahana yesterday to take advantage of an unexpected late afternoon window of sunny and mild conditions. Three of us were lucky enough to fill our tanks with over an hour of much needed airtime, for our first flights of 2013.

I was surprised to get a call from Woody saying that he was meeting Bonnie, Larry and Thom at Kahana for a flight. I knew the forecast was looking better for the week, but didn't expect it to start looking good until Tuesday. The wind had been howling all day, the rain had been almost nonstop, and clouds had been super low. But sure enough, I peeked out the window and saw that it actually looked worth heading over to take a look. After the next batch of squalls, anyway.

I headed out just as the sky was turning a strange and unfamiliar shade - blue. Now I was getting excited. I texted Dorothy to say I was hiking up for my first flight in a month. She texted back: don't let your desperation cloud your excellent judgment. Ouch - that sounded like what my superego would text to my id! I tried to ignore the admonition - I didn't want to cloud my desperation with judgment!

It turns out Thom couldn't make it out to join us, but Larry hiked up before we could even check the sensor. It was showing 85 degrees - way too east - but hopefully that was just a residual effect of the squall system. Woody, Bonnie and I followed him up the extremely muddy trail to low launch and we elected Woody to lay out first and be our wind dummy.

After an exciting couple of attempts, he blasted off into the blue, and reported good air. And finally the sensor started to look good, reading a textbook 11 mph at 68 degrees, so I laid out next and got off without too much fuss. Bonnie soon joined us in the Zion, but Larry hiked down, worried that he was too rusty for a day that still seemed marginally spicy.

The sun was just setting above Puu Piei, and I tried to take some pictures of Woody illuminated by the surreal backlighting. I hadn't brought my sunglasses and I found myself blinded as I took each shot. I could only hope I was framing the shots correctly, and that we weren't going to collide during the photo session!

We flew under the blue sky for a while, and then a couple of very low cloud bands approached, from way out over the ocean. Soon there were low clouds everywhere, with bases down to a grand, and Woody and I found ourselves high above them in between layers. What a beautiful perspective that was.

Finally, after a bit more than an hour up there, we headed down to buzz the surfers before swooping in for landings at the LZ. I landed in the sand but managed to kite the Grasslander around to the back forty before setting it down - whew! TommyRD showed up after having decided Makapuu was a bit strong, but he was too late to hike at Kahana. Next time! But we enjoyed some refreshments together, and we toasted the beginning of a great year of flying.

1 comment:

Thom said...

Better late than never I always say, but I'll be bitching again this year.

Congrats to your first 2013 flights, but special honors to KLarry for making a good decision for himself.

Here's to 2013 may it be mostly Up in the Air and I am not talking about the weather forecasts.

Thanks Lunch was better than coffee.

JJ Jameson