Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cloud Marshals

Seven pilots answered the call of a super easterly sea breeze at Kahana on Wednesday. The window of good conditions was small, but two of us managed to sail through it to perform an hour of cloud patrol duty between there and Hauula. We did our best to keep those puffy little guys safe! The late shift scraped through the window just before it shut down, and then showed off some dramatic landings at Punaluu.

The forecast had called for yet another day of unseasonable sea breezes. But the BLIPMAP predicted a more serious easterly trade wind flow, and that’s actually what we got. Super easterly, and not light. But by afternoon things were starting to turn our way: a bit lighter and more onshore. Woody called it flyable at Kahana by around 1 PM, and I followed him up the hill shortly after that. Duck was in an altered state after finishing his big contract negotiation, and a celebratory Hoptimum or two, so he prudently opted for ground control.

Conditions were surprisingly benign considering the midlevel clouds were streaming offshore from the southeast. The air was buoyant and we were able to turn in some thermals. There was also a layer of clouds forming low in the sea breeze, and they were streaming onshore. Those clouds were our charges today.

One of Woody’s many jobs around here is to patrol the clouds and make sure they are safe. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. That’s why we call him Cloud Marshal. Well, today I was lucky enough to call myself his junior deputy. He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes: we circled the perimeters, and then we scouted above and below and in between. We made darn sure those wispy critters were healthy and happy. They were practically stampeding in Punaluu, and it was all we could do to avoid getting trampled. But what a gorgeous day to almost get trampled by a stampede of clouds.

We left Punaluu and cruised over to Hauula. Woody headed down while I checked out the lift between Sacred Falls and Sucker Hill, before circling back to follow him in to land at the beach park in Hauula. Thanks to Duck for the ride and the cold refreshments!

When we got back, the late shift was just getting started, but the window was closing fast. The first three got up just fine, and soon headed to Punaluu as the sea breeze began to stall and sputter. Drew was last on the hill and managed to scratch around a while before setting up a crack emergency top landing at mid east launch. At that point the wind totally died, and even turned a bit offshore, so he wisely hiked down.

Roll call: Duck, Woody, me, Allegra, Drew, Jonathan, and Jeff.


Mad Dog said...

This is not said enough, Many Mahalo's Alex for all the Tales & excellent footage to keep the days non flyers living high vicariously thrugh your eyes.
See you in the air soon...
Aloha Mad Dog

Thom said...

I second the comment of RCDog. Being on medical grounding really sucks but not as bad if I can read others exploits.

Mahalo for the read and log.

Brazilian Ray said...

could you imagine the footage you would have with a chase cam??
the club should buy you one! ;)

good job, Alex!