Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Knob

There must be a thousand launches on the ridgeline above Mokuleia, from Dillingham Airfield to Kaena Point. But how many of them are worth using? We've tried a handful of them over the years, and while we've managed to get into the air, we're still looking for the perfect launch, one that doesn't take an hour to hike, or require super advanced skills to use safely. A launch that works in a wide range of wind speeds and directions. We may have found it today!

North Shore Brian and Drew were the first to launch from this new spot, and they have earned the right to christen it with any name they choose. In the meantime I am calling it The Knob, because, well, it's on a knob. I hiked it twice today, once without my wing, just to see what it was like, and then again with my wing, accompanied by the North Shore duo. The wind was pretty light by the time we were all up there with our gear, but those guys thought nothing of forward launching from the new spot in their mini wings. I didn't favor my chances to pull off a forward launch alone with my old fat rickety rocket ship, at least not without a bit more clearing work up there, so I hiked down. But those guys are my heroes: I wish I could forward launch like that!

We have thought about launching in this area for years. Troy once slogged through the tall grass and launched from the top of the slope below the knob, but didn't get up. I have flown over the area and eyed the knob itself many times, thinking it might be worth checking out, but not sure how to get up there. North Shore Brian has tried launching from the ridge just to the east, but without great success.

But this knob has been staring us in the face for years. It is right at the end of the paved road. And it turns out there is already a trail up to the launch spot, although the trailhead is sort of hidden, and the trail is not obvious from the bottom. I don't know who made the trail: Menehune, hikers, climbers, hunters, or pigs. Whoever it was: thank you! It's only a fifteen minute hike to a 600 foot launch, and it offers over 90 degrees of exposure, from NE to NW. This knob might be a game changer for Dillingham!


Sharky said...

Now that's "getting big" on about launching with intention!

Awesome video the background music... :)


Ka'a'awa Larry said...

Wow!! A drive-up launch at the Dill is just what the Dr. ordered.LOL
The video made it look plenty big and a 90 degree wide launch direction....Great. Awaiting more reports.

Thom said...

Actually "The Knob" is not a drive up. There is a drive up from the makua side but you have to top land to get your ride.

We scored some today.