Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Back on the Planet

I’ve gone many months thinking James must have fallen off the planet, so when he texted me yesterday afternoon to say not only was he still on the planet, but he was at Kahana and it was looking good, I was doubly shocked. The dude hasn’t flown all year, so of course he can be forgiven for misreading conditions on a dismal southeast day. Dave had just posted about his roughest flight ever, under low clouds from Makapuu to Kailua, and I wasn’t sure I was up for my roughest flight ever at Kahana, after an exhausting day cutting down trees at the ranch. But I know James isn’t as crazy as Dave! I mean, the guy drives a smart car! And he flies an antique airplane! This would be a different kind of adventure. And just the promise of a possible flight spurred my truck out of the ranch with all the trees still lying around in a big mess.

Well, I was amazed to find that conditions were miraculously good enough for us to at least launch and fly. And they were actually quite a bit better than that! Clouds were low, with bases consistently at 2,100 feet or so, and the direction was super horribly east, but the air was surprisingly smooth, and there were many gaps and blue holes between cloud banks. We climbed well above base, up to maybe 2,700 or so, and flitted around the tops of the clouds as the setting sun bathed them in its waning rays. It was a gorgeous moment, and I was happy to have James back in the sky to share it with me.

We sailed over to Punaluu for more of the same, and played there between the illuminated cloud castles, until I had the bright idea of trying to get back to Kahana. Even on my new ship, the super easterly headwind shut me down just short of the corner. I was looking down on Keneke’s and really not wanting to land there, so I blasted back for a landing in front of Chings store. James joined me shortly thereafter, and we enjoyed some poke and beverages before dark. Thanks to Woody for the retrieve! Woody told us that as soon as we had left Kahana Valley the wind at the landing zone turned to crap, blowing offshore with rotory gusts. I guess we timed our departure just right! I wouldn't have wanted to land with that kind of stuff down there. I think it was the sea breeze shutting down and allowing the background southeast flow to return. Anyway, that is lucky timing. I think James just has that kind of luck.

Welcome back, James! I look forward to many more flights with you in the near future.

1 comment:

Thom said...

Welcome back James. I think James and Dave would make a dynamic duo!

As far as landing decisions Alex still needs to set that Lanikai trip to ink. I drove by that ?'LZ'? the other day, What the Hell. Maybe we just need to open more beer stores along our routes. FYI, Keneke's has no beer.

So, don't make Dave sound like the only crazy guy either. I will never forget flying with Alex and looking a valley over, seeing lightning strikes. I screamed "We should go land, now!" His response, "We are not going that way". Ended up a good flight.

Thanks for the coffee read!!