Monday, March 24, 2014

Offshore Flying

I missed Saturday's great flights. I heard there were a bunch of crossings and an epic flight. Alex added a new high score to the 2014 XC League, and Ike had a flight through Kaaawa valley to the Pyramid and beyond. JJ Jameson has been patiently waiting for the ink and color for that day (yeah right), so in order not to tick him off at me, I am jotting this one down before he wakes up and brews a batch of java. Here's the log of the offshore flying, now that my fingers have finally thawed out.

I was going to head out early to get a morning flight but again I was Sidetracked delivering tables and chairs to B-Ray's for a party that evening. A stop to pick up Ike and finally I was off heading to Kahana. Almost there, I received a text from Alex stating that a breakfast feast was still to be had at 'Camp David'. Okay, let me explain that on, before you all start scratching your head and then you may scratch some more. President Alex and first PG wife Dorothy live in a 'White' house in Haaula, but they will eventually be moving to Punaluu, to what I have just coined as Camp David. Bet you didn't know it, but Alex's first name is actually David. Confused? You should be, but nothing will compare to the time I tried to figure out which eye of Jim's was not real. That's another story.

After a short meeting at the new compound, and a consumption of delicious bacon fried jalapeno grits, bacon, and fresh pressed coffee, we were off to launch.

Woody, Maui JJ, Alex, Ike and myself were on launch, and we were soon joined by Drew, One-Eye and AZ Chandler. Air Force One was first, and Ike followed, with perfect launches into the strongish conditions on North launch. I had a wrong wing tip loading, spinning, brake pulling horrible launch. After clearing my shorts, I yelled down to Woody, "How much to fix that!!!!" I didn't get a response but the look on his face meant I better bring my wallet. I have some bad habits that need correcting so I will be enrolling once again into the Soar Kahana Institute for remedial training.

Once in the air I was all good. Or was I. Heading across the bay was strange, as there was lift all the way to the reef in front of Crouching Lion. I arrived with hardly any loss of altitude, higher than most trips across, but very slow. My penetration was fluctuating from 3-7 mph, and I was going up and I was offshore of Swanzy's! Now that you don't hear every day. I did not pull into the usual bowls; I didn't have to and I didn't want to.

I was ready to turn and go land, thinking it was too weird for me, but thanks to Alex's reassurance, and Ike dropping back to the Kaaawa bowl, I stayed there, got used to the offshore flying and stayed up.  Good thing too: I scored an unusual offshore double chronic.  The lift bands offshore were strangely buoyant and strong, while tucking into the ridge, although lifty, was not so much, and really hardly needed.

Alex guestimated cloud base to be around 2,900 feet, along with a warning that you wouldn't want to even get that high cause you would be going backwards. Alex, Ike and I  flew Kaaawa for a long while feeling out this strange lift. We were joined by Chandler, and Joey on his Freestyle. I was watching some whales playing further offshore, only to turn and see Ike, Alex and Chandler venture off to Kualoa. I trailed on over but by the time I got there Alex and Ike were on an off shore return towards Kaaawa.

Chandler and I hung around Kualoa until Joey scooted in below us. I could barely see Alex and it looked like he was headed for Punaluu, still off shore. Remember now, we are not that high, 2,100 to 2,500 feet, but well offshore, at or just beyond the first reef. This was weird. Penetration was not that bad either it was only at the initial arrival at Crouching Lion where we usually hit a wall any way.

I chased after Alex but again he was on return from his first Punaluu trip as I passed the Rhino, again well off shore. I pushed on towards Pats at Punaluu Condominiums. Not sure what it would take to return I burned back early with great speed, and I arrived with plenty of altitude at the Rhino.

Did I mention that it was cold, downright frigid by our Hawaii standards. No laughing you mainland monkeys. We have had a few of you over here, actually stating how cold it was, just recently said by a top XC pilot from Canada no less. Well, it was cold and my zipper was stuck on my side pocket containing my gloves. I couldn't take it any more and twisted the pod up so I could work the zipper. Now I have gloves and I can push across the bay for one more trip. Ike was pod-less and cold so he circled down to go get some warming beverages.

I was alone on my last trip to Kualoa and could hear that Reaper was getting ready to launch on East. Wow, didn't he get the memo that you have to use a high level math now to interpolate the new Punaluu sensor. It was very north but the sensor was reading 77 degrees. He had a rotory launch, inadvertently landed on the trail below, then re-launched, and got up for a while around the corner in front of north launch, before he headed to the beach where he joined Alex surfing the trees at the LZ.

I was now the only one in the air, as I flew over Kahana Bay and greedily headed for Punaluu for those meager few points. I came back and landed fine, but I wanted more speed and didn't release after the final bump. I looked over at Woody: my bill is going to be just a bit higher now.

Not sure who brought all the Thai food but thank you so much. There is a new Thai truck by Kaya's store in Punaluu, and it's really good. I got to score one of Kaaawa Larry's first bay cross refreshements left over from Saturday's gathering. Then it was off to Ray's for his B-Day bash. A perfect Offshore Sunday.

Roll Call: Alex, Woody, Ike, JJ, Sidehill, Drew, One-Eye, AZ Chandler, Johnimo, Alegra, Jonathan, Mark, TomP, Brice, Harvey and the Reaper.

It's Time to Fly, Get Your Warm Gear and Go!!!!!

Just in case you are wondering about the Red Socks, leave a comment or a chat message.


Thom said...

PS Ike was on my Aspen 4 I was flying the Cayene4.

Alex said...

Yes, Thom, some of us are reading your stories! This was a fascinating strong day of offshore lift and chronic crossings. Great to share it with you. You definitely stayed up and flew longer and farther than anyone else. That kind of determination is good practice for the day when we'll have to decide to turn around after some long ass haul to nowhere and try to get back to where we started! You go first and I'll fly behind and shoot the video!

sandy said...

I think those socks would look much better with a kilt. Just sayin'.

Thanks for the offshore tour!