Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Host of Paragliders

Scot asked a great question on the radio yesterday at Kahana: what's the collective noun for paragliders? Something like a gaggle of geese, or a murder of crows. He suggested a drunkard of paragliders. There were some other suggestions - I considered suggesting a barrel of paragliders (because we're monkeys). But then someone said a host of paragliders. I like that a lot. It's the same word used for a bunch of sparrows, but it's quite appropriate for a group like ours that just can't seem to stop throwing parties. Over the last two surprisingly flyable days in a row, in between the past week of bad weather and the next week which doesn't look great either, an enormous host of paragliders, over fifty strong, have flown their hearts out and partied their brains out. Photo and video evidence to follow soon.

Friday: Super East Anomaly

Similar to last Sunday's Super Bowl conditions, on Friday we had another strange super east day at Kahana that was eminently flyable, without any noticeable rotor on the LZ or holes in the air. I don't know if it's just the light conditions or some other atmospheric factor that makes that work. Or maybe the sensor is just out of whack lately! Anyway, I think our own personal sense of the air on the LZ, on launch and above the mountain should always take precedence over the numbers.

AK Jason was in town just for the weekend, and he was excited to go somewhere. Motorhead was up for it too. We got as high as the low clouds would allow at Kahana, and then Motorhead led the way over the back to Punaluu. There we spent a long time working the very nicely organized lift, to the point where we were quite a bit higher than cloud base, probably 500-800 feet above it, at almost 2800 feet. It was easily manageable because the clouds were sparse enough and they were barely moving. What a beautiful cloudscape we had up there.

Finally we got as high as we could and dashed further downrange. Motorhead went first and stopped at Hauula, not realizing that we weren't planning to follow him that way. Jason and I made a line straight for the golf course, and we almost made it, landing just short at the end of Malaekahana Beach. Motorhead finally got high enough at Hauula to follow us, and landed at BYU. A super fun and gorgeous flight.

Motorhead caught a ride from a nice person back from Laie. Jason and I caught a ride from a cute young surfer girl at Kahuku. That's never happened to me before - I know it's because Jason was with me. But she only took us as far as Hauula. From there we could see Gaza heading downrange, and he opted to join us down there while we waited for Motorhead to finish the retrieve. Thanks Paul! From there we headed to the meeting/party at Thom's house, with plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Kahana roll call: morning session was Woody, Allegra, Harvey, Jason. Second session was Jason, me, Motörhead, Gaza, and Jai Pal. Also Drew, JD and dad, and probably others I'm forgetting.
(Second hand Makapuu roll call: Thom, Reaper, Jim, Nova, Maui Doug, Scrappy, Stalker, Dave, Brent, Matt, Mike McCreary)

After that we had a huge turnout at our meeting, a lively discussion and a great party, with lots of amazing food and drinks. Thanks to everyone who came, and thanks for bringing such a tasty feast, and thanks to Thom and Donna for putting up with us. And thanks to everyone who stayed late and cleaned up!

Saturday: A Bonanza of Bowties

As long as we're coining new collective nouns: maybe it's time to think of a better name for the increasingly popular double out and back loop in both directions from Kahana. Thom named it the chronic a long time ago, but maybe bow tie is more apt because it describes the shape pretty well. And it's a little classier term for something that really dresses up a flying day at Kahana. At least for one story, I'm going to try bow tie on for size and see how it fits. Feel free to offer your own suggestions!

The day started super north, like 23 degrees on the sensor. It was definitely an accurate reading - the first few guys who launched struggled to get around the corner and get established. But we made it work, and the direction gradually veered to an easier launch direction throughout the day.

This day was all about easy crossings and record breaking numbers. We had 37 pilots out there, and 29 of them flew, with at least 12 in the air at once, 11 bay crossings (1 first), 7 in the air above Kualoa at one time, and 6 magical bow ties (2 firsts). Congrats to Laurel and Motorhead for their firsts!

I personally flew for a bladder busting 4 hours, covering 18 miles, including 3 bay crossings and a bow tie, for my highest scoring Leonardo score in 3 months. (Something is wrong with the altitude portion of the track - there are some dips that don't belong in there.)

Saturday roll call: Thom, Bonnie, Flystrong, me, Reaper, Motörhead, Laurel, Gaza, Scrappy, Divot Steve, Jason, Jim, SD Robin, AK Nathan, Woody, Steve, Luis, Joe, Max, Drew, Kyle, Roland, Firefly John, Johnimo, Sandy, Scot, Kevin, Sharky, Duck, McJohnson, Ginny, Nova, Rich, Jai Pal, Sacramento Dan, Hilo Ken, Airborne Ken, and possibly others I'm forgetting.
(Second hand Makapuu roll call: Roland, Maui Doug, Five-0 Mike, Frank…)

Later on people came over to my house to celebrate the flying day, and we had a record number of people there - Dorothy counted 20 at one point. Thanks to Sandy and John for the pie, to everyone else for the wine and other goodies. A great ending to a great day.


JeffMc said...

Useless trivia: a gaggle is actually a group of geese on the *ground*. A group of geese in the air is actually called a skein, but that doesn't sound as cool

Thom said...

I couldn't wait till coffee read so I am forcing down a Torpedo.

Thanks for the right up, who knew that 2 days in a row the numbers would read so erradic and yet the better flights were at the site with the worst readings.

MPU on Friday was similar to that of Thursday with NE flows at Manics manageable conditions, Friday Cactus actually worked, well for me & Nova. The air was lumpy again, we did notice several changes of direction with it finallizing at East as Reaper and the Hangies flew the back side of the light house.

I think Bow Tie is an appropriate call for that round trip.

Congrats to Laurel on her first Bay Cross and Bow Tie to wrap it up. We wish you could go to Rat Race this year, but we know the wedding is on the agenda. Which we forgot to bring up at the meeting.

Thanks againg for another successful well populated meeting. It was great to see everyone. Thanks Again to Donna for putting up with us, everyone that manned the grill and special grats to Sandy & John for the hosing the place down.

We need some more flyable days!!!

Oh if no one has reminded you lately, Your ALL an intregal part of this 'Host of Paragliders'. May 2013 be a great year for us all.

It's Time to Fly??????? Get Your Gear, dust it off, and Go!!! I HOPE SOON.

swan said...

Thanks for the write-up Alex. I'm sorry I didn't get my act together on that one. As you said, I was liqoured up and then spent the morning in the hospital with our friend Erik.

But man was that a great flight - one that will be etched in the memory for years to come.

Thanks to Thom and Donna for another great get-together. Thanks to Duck for letting me demo the Sigma (you're not getting it back :)) Thanks to motorhead for inspiring me to go for the bowtie. And thanks to Alex and Dorothy for an evening of old-fashioneds and the-world's-best-menudo.

I have to say - LIFE IS GOOD!

And Thom, I will see you at Rat Race next year. Let me get married and get a few more flights under my belt first. And kiting. Need more kiting.

Ka'a'awa Larry said...

Swarm, cluster, flock, tribe, covey, array, band, pack, colony, bevy, mob, phalanx, and my favorite; murmuration!

Waianae Jim said...

Nice write up and video Alex. Fun flight hope we all get out there to do it again soon. The 20 pics I took are here: Bowtie