Friday, August 30, 2013

Pipe Dream

Today was possibly Hawaii's biggest cross country day ever. And the conditions weren't even that epic! Clouds were a bit low, but I think I was the only one bothered by that. Jorge and Thom had primed the pump with 40 and 50 mile out and back flights last week, and this week has just extended the streak, with our twelfth straight cross country day today. Josh Cohn and his lovely wife Kaya are here this week for an impromptu vacation. Or so they thought: we are putting Josh to work! Yesterday we made him fly to Olomana under a super low cloud base, and today we sent him after the state distance record.

And if you haven't already heard, Josh shattered Doug's long standing 30 mile state distance record to tiny little bits by flying from Makapuu to … Pipeline. Actually he flew to Off the Walls, for those who know their surf breaks. Josh's flight was about 35 miles, or possibly 40 as it's scored online. He said he found a sweet thermal just before the Kahuku wind farm, which took him to cloud base and gave him the chance to cut over the tip of the island to the north shore. He landed in horrible offshore rotor at the beach, to the delight of the surfers who were hanging out wishing for waves. Just another routine landing for a world class comp pilot.

I flew from a super light and thermic Kahana to Temple Valley, and then turned back to chase Josh because of the low clouds over Kaneohe, eventually landing at Kahuku Golf Course for my farthest out and back distance, or any distance, 30.7 miles. Kaya picked me up on her way to retrieve Josh, and we got to relax for a bit with cold beverages and snacks at Ehukai beach park. Thanks for the ride Kaya!

In many ways it was my best flight ever, for thermaling, decision making, fortitude, stamina, etc. And it's actually my farthest flight here by like a mile, slightly extending my old Makapuu to Hukilau personal best. I am so happy with today's flight. A rare flight where I wouldn't second guess anything I did. I wouldn't have minded having higher clouds to make it all the way to Makapuu and back, but this was the first time for me flying an out and back past the Pyramid, and I look forward to more flights like that!

As for the other Makapuu straight liners: Dave flew a very respectable 29 miles from Makapuu to BYU, Kauai Adam flew 24 miles from Makapuu to Punaluu, and Thom flew 15 miles from Makapuu to Hygienics. Thom's first flight was cut short by GI issues, but he made up for it with his late shift charge. Others who I heard flew or showed up: SF Derek, Gaza, Maui Aaron, Johnimo, Reaper, Maui Doug, McStalker, Jorge, Frank, and Woody. And Brian flew at Kealia in his Little Cloud at the end of the day.

If anyone has a story to tell, feel free to post your own story, or just add a comment here. And let me know if anyone got any pictures or video from today so I can include them here.


Thom said...

What a Day!!! I did not expect a write up this early but here's what I got from my end at MPU.

I arrived at 11:30 and reported that it was perfect at MPU, appearing better than the day before. No one was coming till 2pm so I went to eat, Serg's Mexican.

During my feast on a huge Chimichanga Carnita I got a text from Maui Doug "on LZ" and then a call from Josh, I quickly woofed down my meal and headed to MPU.

Juice was the call. First the Tandem Duo and then Josh. Juice launch was wider for Josh's a glider. Even Kaya may agree that it was a better launch than Crazymans.

Josh was up and at light speed. I could see him disappear as I reached Iron Woods.

It was now around 1:30 and the thermals were their usual poppy self but nothing horrible. I grabbed a good one right about the first power line which jostled a little burp with an odd taste. I continued just a little further got another quick up and just a little seat dropper. This started some kind of reaction and I had a projectile vomit. The pigs below the power line would eat well tonight.

I regained a little composure, looked around, ok no body saw that. But then I got weak and felt really weird so I limped back to the LZ. Derek's mom gave me a Sprite along with dunking my head in the ocean I was feeling a little better.

Dave showed up and of course got a good laugh from my story and asked me if I was going up again. I said I don't think so. He said, "You got color, some red and pasty white, maybe we should rename that place to Perg's." He got me laughing, ouch stomache still a bit sore.

I watched Dave and Jorge take off. Dave on his M4 and Jorge ballasted up on Scot's R-10.

I watched Derek from Muscle rock and Maui Aaron fly around and land. Gaza with a swollen wrist could only watch as well.

The second shift was showing up. Jorge back from Olomana and Doug back from lunch, I am betting no Serg's. they had tandems and Crazyman's was the call. I went up to help them launch.

Stalker showed up and I saw that Sangria Aspen come out, got me motivated, I was going.

Reaper showed up along with Johnimo, Kauai Adam and Frank snuck up to Juice to avoid the que.

It was getting late by the time I launched again. So, no turning no waiting just go! I made it all the way to Green Walls with very little benching staying between 1800-2200. Which ended up being the elevation most of the way.

I could see Kauai Adam, he stayed about one valley ahead, he had no radio so I couldn't tell him anything, he just went for it.

Reaper was on the ground and called me. "I just past Hygenics heading for Pyramid." Reaper gave me a cheer but it wasn't enough.

The wind had started to die and if you were low you were done. I came into the next ridge way too low got behind it and dropped like a used chimichanga, I know gross analogy.

I pushed out trying to make the football field but that was not happening and I found a baseball field to be the one. Wow, smaller field than I thought and no wind. A couple of Woody peels, a few 'S' turns and a big wrap at home. Actully I missed the plate....but so did my lunch.

Dave, Josh and Kaya had past me and looped around to fetch me. We had a great meal at Buzz's and even talked about something other than PG. Kaya had a little miss adventure Kayacking, we gave her a good solid 5 minutes and then it was back to the boring PG talk. As the Aussie's would say, "She's a Keepa".

Great day!!

Alex said...

Thanks for filling in the details Thom. Your new nickname is Reflux.

The funniest part of my day was when Josh told me on the radio that he'd gone around the front way, over Kualoa Ranch. I was pretty high heading out from the back and thought that sounded like a really cool way to go, so I headed that way. About halfway I was getting hammered in sink and had to escape back to the Pyramid to bench up again. Man, I don't know how Josh made it around! Talking to him later he clarified that he meant he'd gone through the ranch's big valley, not around the front. Which is what I usually do, and what I ended up doing today. I think Dave did the same. Not sure what Adam did, but I have a feeling he flew the back way over boogaland!

firedave2 said...

Great title, I was thinking of "Being Josh Cohn", trying to channel a little of Josh's skills into my flying. Trying to never turn if possible.

I launched about an hour after Josh, I think he was at Kahana at that time. Cloudbase was about 2200' early on, and all i had to do was fly straight and keep out of the clouds. Before the Pyramid, the only place I turned was the Pali, Stairway and Waihole. I cruised through Kaawa Valley and arrived out front, from there on the lift was slow and I had to downshift and plan for my final destination. Cloudbase was 2000' max over Sacred Falls, and I set out from there on a deep floaty line aiming for the windmills and hoping for some kind of thermal help. None ever came, and I had to bail on the deep line and ended up landing at BYU.

Josh and Kaya were returning from Off-the-Wall with Alex, who they picked up at the golfcourse. A couple of cold PBRs and a side run to pick up Thom and I was back at my car.

Kauai Adam was out at Punaluu somewhere, but by the time Thom answered his phone we were almost back. The BUS was his retrieve. Amazing flight for him, with a Booga passage to boot?

It was fun and motivating to know that Josh was out front charging, and cool to see what is possible with a low cloudbase. That record of Josh's might stand for a while.Congratulations.

DaveZ said...

Thanks for the detailed write-ups guys, you know I like to fly vicariously through your stories. Cheers.