Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Misty Mountain Hop

After flying a bit at Makapuu, cold, with sore ribs, I landed by the beach side. Jorge had been predicting lighter, more northeast conditions, and in spite of my scepticism, it seemed to be materializing. He called me and suggested a little downrange run.

Now, I was imagining a little run to Greeenwall and back, under a low cloud cover. I launched first, climbed to about 2k over hang launch and went exploring. I was maintaining nicely at 2,200 feet, at cloudbase on 1/3 bar. Easy. It looked hazy or voggy ahead, but it turned out to be a constant mist, except for when it was really raining, for the entire flight. A first for me.

I headed out to Olomana at first, but once I cleared a darker cloud I headed along the Greenwall. I was maintaining so I just flew kind of downwind, out front, maintaining a 35 mph ground speed, straight to the Pali.

Jorge, who was a bit behind, saw me out near Olomana and flew there. He was wondering if I had got into trouble for a long while until he spotted me at the Pali. Onward we headed to Likelike, where we got sucked up pretty hard. I was thankful I wasn't on a Gin at that moment because we were really wet. Nevertheless Jorge later scolded me for using big ears in cloud on a wet glider, because it's normally not good.

Jorge seemed to have enough of this and was gliding to land in Kaneohe. I popped out of the cloud and pointed straight into Temple Valley on speed bar. At this point we were barely 30 minutes out of Makapuu, probably a speed record for me.

Jorge opted back in to the game, hung a u-turn over Kaneohe and climbed up at Haiku Stairs. I waited a bit at the ridge above Waiahole for Jorge to catch up. Clouds were low and dark ahead so a bit of a plan was needed. We shot a direct line, flying side by side for the toe of the Pyramid Ridge. I arrived with just enough height to turn the corner. Jorge arrived so low he couldn't turn the corner, and had to do this wide grovelly arc just above the trees and scratch hard to get established on the front.

We eventually climbed up the Pyramid, with low clouds that made it seem like nightfall. Jorge pushed into Kaaawa valley, but the strong cloud suck convinced him to turn around. We both glided together towards the front of Kualoa and it was working well, until we approached that little ridge on the front of Kualoa, with the old Gravity launch on it. Jorge's deeper line wasn't paying off so well. We both glided in from the back of the ridge and got sunk from the sinky flow over the back. I was probably 100 yards away, gushing altitude, knowing that if I could make that little corner, it would be an easy run to Laie.

But today we had already far exceeded the day's expectations, and with no immediate landing zones, we scrambled for somewhere to put down. Jorge found a cute hillside pasture about the road. I headed over to secret beach area to squeeze it in between some trees. Right as I dropped below the palm trees, I started moving fast toward the fast approaching water, and with no room for s-turns, I got deep in the brakes. At about 40 feet my left shoulder started dropping back, meaning I was spinning and about to stall. Fortunately we had been doing a little acro back at Makapuu earlier. I released the brakes and checked the surge when I felt the glider bite back into the air. Fast landing, but thankfully uneventful.

Five-0 had made the mistake hours ago of offering to pick us up no matter where we ended up. But then we remembered that Thom, Bonnie and the gang were flying at Kahana and it was getting dark. We called off Five-0, and got Thom to pick us up, and he even packed Slacker and some beers. Always good fun.

I can't wait for a good flying day. Thanks everyone.


firedave2 said...

I apologize for the typos, this was composed on my phone.

After we landed my glider was soaked, which likely made a little more stall prone on landing.

Alex said...

Do you remember when you dubbed yourself the King of Bad Decisions? I guess a long hiatus from good flying weather will bring out the desperation in anyone. Long Live the King! I was at home cooking dinner for the kids and watching the sky darken to an incredible purple hue, waiting to see if you and Jorge would pop out. I had almost given up when I actually saw a glider pop out of that black soup - but it was Bonnie, keeping vigil for you guys before she headed back out of sight to the Kahana LZ. Thanks for not making me feel like I missed an epic day today! And I'm sure there are some actual epic days in our future!

Waianae Jim said...

That title is so appropriate Dave and I like Alex's reminder of your 'king of bad decisions' moniker too. The dark clouds off in the distance sure didn't look all that inviting to me. Looked like you had some fun on your Thriller prior to your downrange excursion with Jorge. Nice flight!

Thom said...


Kahana was an air hockey rink just so darn boyant!

I couldn't top these two stories so I refrained from tickling the keyboard.

First Dave is the King of BD and Jorge well, every one needs a court and this time they did not check into Koolau Inn.

Alot happened at KNA here's the brief.

Woody gave a tandem to KLarry's grandson.
Woody's Students Luis and Drew got 2 flights each.
Ike, Gaza, Swan, Sidehill, Duck, KLarry, Flystrong, Bonnie, UtahKris, AkJerry, AkBrett. All got flights.
Landings were interesting with the 113 degree rotor. Sidehill, Ike and AkJerry got to practice parachutal landings.
Focused Pilot Decision of the Day goes to Johnimo, who hiked down when it went to east!! Congrats.

All Safe & Sound. Well, maybe not sound if you count the soggy pilots.

KNA Brief
JJ Jameson