Monday, June 09, 2014

Tradewind Marathon

Yesterday’s classic trade wind conditions gave us our first real summertime marathon flying day at Kahana. The trade winds were a bit strong and easterly, but we’re not complaining. Twenty pilots flew throughout the day, with seven making cross country flights, some for their first time, to various points between Mokolii and Malaekahana.

Lately I have been thinking about how to expand the scope of the routes we fly from Kahana on an average trade wind day. Not a special northeasterly or light thermic day, or a high cloud base day, but just an average moderate day with medium cloud base. Mainly I have been curious to see how far downwind we can go and still reliably make it back. Mad Dog has been pushing it to the far side of Sacred Falls and making it back on a regular basis, but I have wondered if we can come back from as far as Hauula Shopping Center, or Sucker Hill.

Well, yesterday seemed like a good day to try it, despite a very strong easterly flow. It took forever to make the upwind slog back to Kahana but it was a fun exercise just to see what’s possible. I didn’t pull in and work any lift down low at Sucker Hill: I just tagged the shopping center as high as I could and darted back to the Hauula side of Sacred Falls to bench back up, before slowly creeping upwind back to Kahana.

Now I’m wondering if we can go as far as Pounders and do the same thing! Or Laie Point! And I’d still like to see if we can climb out from Sucker Hill and work our way back on a more light and thermic day. I ended up making a nice long loop from Kahana to Mokolii to the shopping center and back, and then I topped it off with a downwind dash to Malaekahana, for my 4th highest scoring flight this year, a 26 mile marathon in my big beautiful back yard.

Duck followed me for the Hauula loop, opting to skip the upwind slog and land there, followed by Jeff, Drew, Steve and Sebastian, at least some of them for their first times down there. Thom flew an upwind leg to the rotor zone of Hidden Valley in Kaaawa before coming back with stained underwear. Dave showed up at the end of the day to fly a lonely late afternoon loop between Mokolii and Punaluu.

Thanks to Duck and Harvey for the retrieves and refreshments. Thanks to Jim for the pictures!

I heard some folks flew Makapuu as well. Frank sounded the alarm for the day at 8 am as he hiked up to Juice launch! I also heard 5-0 Mike was there, and Jorge and Doug.

Kahana roll call: Dave, Sebastian, Woody, Hailey, Duck, Steve, Drew, Thom, Jeff, Jim, Ike, JJ, Harvey, James, James, Pam, Kauai Bob, Eric, Bryce, me. And probably others I'm forgetting.

1 comment:

Thom said...

Great story, I just threw that pair out. I was glad Don saw the 'acro' show that I was stumbling through at Hidden Valley. I went in their all cocky saying I got this, the air stopped for a second, oh crap, then a nice pitch back and surge forward I lost my buffer of altitude and limped back to Kahana.

Good fun day just didn't get the Alex Bus pass. I am glad to see that out and backs have become more the challenge now, makes retrieves a little easier.