Sunday, September 07, 2014
I don't think we have had that many pilots in the air for quite some time. It was great to see so many charging down to Puu O Kona, which didn't let many of us sneak too far past it. I'll try to recall most of the flights.
There were at least four in the air when I arrived. Hiking up to Juice, Gaza launched and shadowed the trail briefly. On launch were the Bavarian Brothers, Peter and Wolfgang, Brent and TommyRD. I launched and flew to the lighthouse to mark my first waypoint.
Gaza took a way outside line from ironwoods, heading toward Olomana. I lost sight of him for a bit, and when he reappeared, he was way, way below me, blazing toward Puu O Kona. I was working on getting back up myself, from my straight across the flat lands route, which stuck me low at Puu O Kona. Low is not where you wanted to be, but I found a little comfort at seeing Gaza well below me trying to make it work. I lost him again, until I saw a white blob on a Waimanalo base ball field, with kids running towards it. I reported that Gaza landed in a field below.
But I was wrong! I realized it must have been a tent, possibly filled with treats, because Gaza came limping back to the base of Puu O Kona even lower this time. Dude, you're done. I headed back toward the lighthouse to mark my third waypoint. Needless to say, I was shocked to see him return and set down at the landing zone. He gave a good description of the snotty lift down low as he tried to medicate the shakes with a frosty beverage.
Ike followed me on the tour, but took the back route along the ridges which kept him gainfully high, and he never had to grovel. Staying out of the clouds was our only job this day, and Ike stayed clear. He got to witness Duck's little adventure from a comfy high spot. The only pictures I got were of Ike before my camera battery quit.
Duck was on the chase with Alex and me, but somehow got stuck a little too far back while turning in a low thermal. He had to make a treacherous trek to the Mariners Ridge landing zone. Now even Duck is in the losers lounge of the OTB Club. No injuries, so that bag of luck just got pilfered.
Woody was out in his new Mantra 6, and guess what color it is? It's bright orange, of course, to match his car, neck buff, most of his clothes, and his effulgent personality. This wing is a cross country machine, but of course Woody just had to see how it handled with wingovers and his array of wingy dingys. Sorry, my camera had already quit by this time.
The rest of us had nice normal flights, except for someone that hasn't flown in months. Yup, JK is back, and back with gusto. He launched and headed straight for Puu O Kona. He grabbed a lifty section of air, but pinched it a little too hard, and popped out on top of the clouds at 3,200 feet, with the rest of us groveling at cloud base, between 1,700 and 2,500 feet. JK continued on to Olomana, then to the Pali, and then on to Waiahole. We gave up tracking him, figuring he would call us when he landed. Just as the last wing was getting loaded and vehicles were heading for Gravity Bay, we looked up. JK was coming back. I waited for him in the landing zone and gave him a lift home.
Pilot Roll Call, as best I can remember: Ike, Joey, Gaza, TommyRD, Brent, Stalker, One-Eye, Sharky, Reaper, Alex, Duck, Woody, Jonathan, JK, Dave Nichols, Garrett, Franky, Maui Doug, Sidehill, Bavarian Peter and Wolfgang, and at least 4 hang glider pilots. Did I miss anyone??
And the fun never stopped! We all gathered for the quarterly meeting and party at Gravity Bay, Pete's new resort on Kaneohe Bay. Thanks to Pete for hosting over 60 pilots, family members and doggies!
Picture Left: Who says there's no in-flight beverage service.
The range looks awesome today, so JJJ will be awaiting some new ink by 7am. Would be nice to read another author. JJJ was pretty happy this past week with Fireman Dave, Scrappy and Woody all etching stories into the archives. Personally JJJ is a lot easier to live with when he has something to read, so I would appreciate it. I am out today, Donna and I are flying with James in the Bellanca.
It's Time to Fly, Get Your Gear and Go!!!!! I'll be watching ya from a window seat, ohhh yeeeaaaahh!
Posted by Thom at 9:47 AM