Friday, March 14, 2014
Cloudbase was not high, maybe 2,400 feet or so, and it wasn’t light enough for well organized thermals. The day started out pretty east and cloudy but gradually backed to the northeast and grew stronger, more clear and more stable. BC Al and I blazed across the bay to tag Kualoa, then returned to snag Ike and go the other way, to Punaluu and then Hauula, before making the final return leg to Kahana.
Al is a great XC pilot from Canada who flies the big air of the Rockies with Brett Hazlett, Alex Raymont, Fred Bourgault, and other northern luminaries who talk funny. It was super fun flying with him for the second time. He completely outflew me, speeding and gliding and thermaling past me, in an old patched up M4. Ahem. My new lines must be out of trim already. But he says he flies with a lot of bar. I guess I could afford to use mine a lot more than I do. Or maybe I’m just not in that much of a hurry!
There were some tricky passages on the circuit. Like coming back from Hauula to Punaluu. Al tried sneaking directly back across Sacred Falls, but he didn’t quite get high enough to avoid the rotor, so he backtracked and came around the outside like us local chickens. Even so, the wide route was a howling venturi and it was slow going. Then the return to Kahana gave Ike similar venturi trouble, and he ended up just a tad shy and had to bail to the shrimp ponds. It was definitely blowing hard around that corner by that time.
I added one extra lap around Mokolii to the circuit, just to see how it was working over there in the second part of the day. It was pretty brisk and stable at that point with very few clouds. I lost Al at Swanzys when he pressed around Kaaawa too low. Meanwhile, over the radio, the Makapuu boys were complaining of rotor balls in the LZ. That sounds like a painful condition! And let’s not even talk about sniffing the rabbit.
I landed after almost four hours in the air, logging almost 25 miles and my second highest league score this year. What a great day to fly our two favorite windward sites. And what a great day for cross country flying! And did I mention how gorgeous it was? Nothing like a long absence to remind us how much we love this place.
Tomorrow looks like another choice opportunity for logging miles and airtime, before we are shut down for the next five days by strong postfrontal wind. I got a lot of nice footage today, but I'll wait for the windy days to make a video.
Roll call: Woody, Drew, Steve, Bryce, Alex, Don, BC Al, Rudi, Shiah, Ray, Barry, TommyRD, Harvey, Roland, Kaaawa Larry, Bernie, and others. And I heard Maui Doug, Fireman Dave, Joey, Kaaawa Larry and AK Jack flew Makapuu.
Posted by Alex at 12:12 AM