We only have two seasons, which are indistinguishable to most visitors, but as local soaring pilots we like to think we have a special appreciation for the differences. While winter offers a grab bag of pressure possibilities, summer is our stable and consistent bread and butter. Winter arrived late this year and has been very slow in wrapping things up, but a couple of recent classic flights at Kahana suggest that summer is just around the corner. Well, at least after this weekend's next cold front!
Last week Thursday, after one late winter cold front had departed, and before another one showed up, we got our first glimpse of summer conditions with a textbook downrange jaunt from Kahana. Nine pilots flew a combined total of over 80 kilometers in rather easterly trades under a lowish cloud base. We were scattered all over the place, but we found our way back for a long celebration of the start of summer flying. It was just like old times! Roll call: Jeff, to Punaluu ridge and then back to Punaluu LZ (6.5k); Bonnie, to Hauula (6.5k); Woody, French visitor Martial, Berndt, and Duck, all to Pounders (9k); Thom, to Laie Point (10k); FlyStrong, to BYU (10k); and my little wing carried me to the end of Malaekahana (13.5k). Chili Brad flew at Kahana at the end of the day. Most amazing of all was that everyone managed to hitch rides back in various local pickup trucks! Just a reminder that the folks out here in the countryside really do have hearts of gold.
Then again yesterday, four of us took the chance to reprise that downrange mission in another round of super easterly trades between cold fronts, and while the cloud base was a bit higher, the wind was also a bit stronger, so we didn't go far. But we were thrilled to spend time navigating a spectacular cloudscape above Sacred Falls. Roll call: Thom, French visitor Martial, and me to Hauula; Berndt to Pounders. Flystrong and Harvey flew later on. Thanks to Duck for the retrieve, and to Martial, Duck and Berndt for the refreshments!
I look forward to more summer weather! We do have one more very late weak cold front slated to arrive this weekend and languish through midweek. But after that I am expecting consistent and predictable trade winds, easier conditions for visitors and new pilots, possibly some new distances and routes for local veterans, longer days, and all the top landings we can stand. Let's do this!