Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Too Much Lift

Over a dozen pilots logged an estimated cumulative 20 hours and 150 miles over the foothills of the Koolaus in a strong convergent north flow on Tuesday. Most pilots stuck to the foothills, although one bold visitor mounted a sortie to the main range, doubling back soon afterward, announcing over the radio that there was too much lift back there. Which pretty much describes the day for most of us.

We rode high along an offshore shelf of very strong lift, many times breaking three grand. How does that even work? I would love to hear some theories. A few of us took advantage of the super lifty conditions to fly the longest laps ever recorded in the foothills. Thanks to Mad Dog, the double chronic is now a 40 mile flight! Now that’s a big freaking chronic (BFC).

Mad Dog got a head start on me and visiting comp pilot Mike, and I spent the rest of the day chasing Mad Dog, about thirty minutes behind. He was on a mission. I spent the whole day scanning the horizon for a tiny speck and finding him at cloud base way ahead of me. After he tagged Kualoa he zoomed downrange out of sight, and eventually I followed, only to see him coming back … from Kahuku! I was blown away. Nobody comes back from there! I was riding the convergence shelf and hoping to replicate his feat, but no way was I going to make it that far. I turned back just before Laie Point. Later Mad Dog told me I had completely misread his position: he had only made it to Hauula Shopping Center before turning back. Sheez. Next time charge your radio battery dude!

Mike tanked up at Kualoa and decided to charge toward Makapuu. I warned him that no locals were considering that flight today since it was so strong, and to beware of the strong venturi effect at the crest of the main range. He soon reported that he was finding it too strong and tried to make his way back, but landed short at Kualoa’s Secret Beach, or almost at the beach anyway.

After tagging Mokolii again, Mad Dog zoomed back downrange to land at Kahuku Golf Course. On a day this north, that is truly a feat. And going as far as you can on the last leg of your double chronic just happens to be the best way to maximize your XC league score. I bet Mad Dog’s flight broke 40 miles and 90 points. My flight turned out to be my best scoring XC league flight this year. It’s amazing how many miles you can cover on a day that’s too strong to safely navigate away from the foothills.

Thom and Doug also scored some chronic action in the strong offshore lift, with multiple loops flown. Doug ended up at Pounders after his last loop, but he landed so late nobody was available to grab him. Luckily he managed to catch the bus back to the LZ. Woody, Steve and Sebastian also crossed the bay to Kualoa or close to it. It was Sebastian’s first bay crossing!

Thanks to Berndt for retrieving me and Mad Dog. Thanks to Mad Dog for the tasty beverage.

Roll call: Mad Dog (41 miles), Alex (34), Doug (25), Thom (21), Mike Steed (20), Steve (6), Woody (6), Sebastian (6), Berndt, Stalker, Mark, Frosty, Harvey. And maybe others I’m not remembering. Mileage numbers are estimates - correct me if you have better numbers!


Thom said...

Busy Day, flying 3rd shift is tough enough but when the Big Dogs get there early there is no catching them.

My High is now even lower than Alex's lowest. I'll be creeping down the list when Mad Dog starts posting his flights. Actually would love to see those tracks.

Did anyone see if Mad Dog had an RC strapped to his glider. Great flight and even better bladder control.

sandy said...

Nothing makes sense anymore. You only lost 400 feet on your 2nd bay crossing, 500 on your first. MadDog butt-crashes on your brand new glider and gets a high-five anyway (but who can resist that big smile?)

Nice vid, makes me wanna get back up there again.