Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tricky and NO Treat!!

Olomana is always a tempting waypoint, but the bailouts are minimal. Maui Doug has landed in a new development on the east side, and I have seen it as I have passed by it on my travels. Today was the day that I had to land there. What may have once been a treat for Maui Doug and others that have dirted out there, is no longer so sweet.

Mad Dog and I decided to take a low cloud jaunt down range and with the predicted strong trades we were planning it to be a one-way trip. Lift was easy and buoyant, the strong trades were not so strong, and it was just the pesky clouds that kept us scraping at 2,300 feet.

I left Pu'u O Kona chasing the coattails of the Mad Dog. He was pulling in and up at Olomana as I was transitioning to flat land sniffing. I found a few and thought I had it, but then I got it, a huge sink hole. Plunging into the valley of thick trees below seemed to be my destiny. I caught little snot rockets coming out of the development, which gave me enough to get over this minefield.

Like any good development it is progressing. What was once cleared land and dirt now had roads, bridges, drainage ditches, trucks, back hoes and power lines. Looked good from the air but more and more treats just kept popping into my closer view. Now, I could see rebar sticking up from both sides of the road that had the best line and least amount of activity. Grading wires traversed all the lots, and concrete was being poured on a few other choice areas, so the road was the only good option.

Okay, I had an LZ, not a great one but very doable. This place is a frying pan of thermals, snotty wing wrenching twisters and rotor. Somehow I kept calm and kept up my speed with heavy weight shifting s-turns. The workers all saw me now and most stopped to watch. They could see my wing pitching back and then dropping down. A few iPhones came out, I would really like those videos.

There were times when I started my final approach only to get sucked back up. Hands up, a few more s-turns, then finally a touch down through rebar uprights. A couple claps from the workers as I balled up and headed for the street. Jorge was on his way to grab me and Maui Doug intercepted him. Thanks for the lift!

On my way back to the LZ, Mad Dog called me to let me know he was down and safe. He grabbed the bus and was on his way back.

In conclusion, the development is no longer a recommended landing zone. Make sure you have another option: this one was a short lived one and should now be off the list. Houses will be getting built there next, the road will be paved, and it is to be a gated community.

Still unnerved and recording this log, I hear the door bell ring: "Trick or Treat!" I hope there are enough treats cause I can't take any more tricks like that one.

Happy Halloween, It's Time to Fly, Get Your LZ Picked Out and Land Safely.


Anonymous said...

Olomana Heights! Yes, I've been forced into this construction zone before. It was last month. And I was with Maui Doug. And he managed to NOT join me with my landing here ALSO. And the vertical columns of rebar greeted me as well. I landed on the road on an uphill slope after getting popped a few times as well. Sounds like Groundhog Day, not Halloween. Be careful when you fly with M. Doug around Olomana, and watch out for the rebar!!! P.S. Posting as "anonymous", as my log in has been banned with a Bali IP address. JK

Anonymous said...

Oh, Maui Doug, Mad Dog... what's the difference? They both routinely outfly us all! :-). JK

Alex said...

I have bailed out to some interesting places at Olomana over the years. I'll certainly avoid rebar city, thank you. That place didn't look good even when it was just a freshly cleared dirt patch! The best two options are Olomana golf course or the big fields at the youth correctional facilities. If we're not high enough to make those spots we made some mistakes way before that point!

This might be a good time to remind our pilots that if we are getting up at Olomana and we want to go somewhere, we can either head back to Makapuu, or to Lanikai, or to the Pali. What we can't do is head out over the marsh. Class D airspace extends to cover Kailua High School, Castle Hospital, half of Le Jardin Academy, and almost all of Kawainui Marsh, including the dump and the quarry. Look at a sectional if you're not sure. It's not legal for us to fly below 2,500 feet in that direction from Olomana, or land anywhere inside the circle, without consulting ATC. Ask JK, James, Nightshift, Five Cent or any of our airline or private pilots if you have questions about airspace. Don't be the pilot that brings federal scrutiny to our happy little group.