Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Eye'm Back!

After a very long hiatus, by my standards anyway, I was granted medical clearance, now with two eyes. I was ready to get back in the saddle. I had to work til noon, and then a 3pm rug rat pickup was dropped my way. Well, I guess there is always tomorrow. But on the way back to the house, I looked up at the range, and it was clearing. Suddenly the truck went from 15mph to 40mph, with the horn beeping at the little school kids to get out the way. Two skipped red lights, a two wheeled turn and I was flying by the driveway kicking Kalei and Mochi to the curb.

Somewhere in the havoc, I thought to call JK and told him to get his gear and let's go. He was ready and we were on our way to Makapuu. Alex called while we were en route and I told him we were on our way to Kahana … by air. Alex said he would be waiting, but he said not to stop at Kahana, because there was not even a bug fart, so just keep going.

Well, that was the plan. I had tried to follow JK to Olomana but I wasn't liking it and neither was he. He cut back low behind Olomana got a spanking and headed toward me at Greenwalls. JK again tried a back door to Olomana as I trudged through the Olomana rotor, which wasn't that bad.

I got to the Pali at 2,300 feet, and looking at the clouds that were starting to sneak in, getting higher was tricky. Topped out a little over 2,500, which would given me airspace clearance, but with no buffer. The window was getting closed, so I turned to look for JK.

He had gotten flushed behind Olomana, and he touched down at Luana Hills Golf Course. I was getting low, and prepared for Olomana wash. JK was coaching from the ground, and told me to get all the way back, you'll get lift. Doubting Thomas was at the helm for a second, but sure enough I was going up. I looked back and snapped the last shot of JK before he heads back to Guam and the mainland. He'll be out a month or so. I couldn't do that.

I made it back to Makapuu in record time. I think a few times I was actually doing 30 mph, but I did slow down as I passed over Waimanalo Elementary school zone. Those kids are huge. Making it to turn point three, at the lighthouse, with no wing man and only Chandler in the air on a free-style glider, I thought I was done. Then I remembered: Mad Dog is back. I pushed downrange to add 2 more turnpoints and complete a ping pong flight.

This time cloud base was getting more fickle, and tagging Puu O Kona would have to do, so I made a quick turn and sped back to the light house. I was done, and I wanged it in for a landing. Thanks for the ride Sharky! I was anxious to get home to load it up. After uploading I thought it was my fourth highest scoring flight of the year, but Alex corrected me, it was my third best! He said one more big flight and I would have him. But I told him …

It's Time to Fly,
But It's Not You I'm Gonna Flog,
I Got my EYE
On the Big Bad Mad Dog!


Alex said...

Crazy how quick that high cloud window appeared and then how quickly it disappeared again. I watched it from the Kahana side, where Woody and I were relaxing at the LZ after a rare sledder, our hopes for another thermic Kahanakuli flight having just been shot down by increasing stability at the surface. As we had hiked, the sensor average dropped from a minimal wafting breeze of 5 mph to an undetectable draft of 2 mph.

Thom, It's great to see you wrapped up that flight just minutes before sunset! Perfect timing. But I am sorry to say, Mad Dog won't take the threat of an XC League coup lying down. I'm afraid we missed the chance to sneak past him in the rankings, now that he's back from his European vacation. I understand he's eager to get back to work. On his XC score!

Thom said...

I am not afraid of the Big Bad Mad Doug.

After yanking the carpet out from under me last year at the very end, even though it was a test year, I will do my best to be vindicated and put that canine down a notch.

Calling you out Mad Dog, oh, welcome home.

Sharky said...

I picked up Mad Dog and La Peste from the airport last night. He was a bit delirious after 24hrs of flying back from europe...but he was babbling something about getting a good one in for his last day off before working again...

Release the hounds!!...err Mad Dog! :)