Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Insanely Strong and Beautiful

The title does not actually refer to any of the strong and beautiful women in my life. I am thinking of yesterday's flying conditions at Kahana. It was an unlikely day to fly much higher than ridge height, but I was determined to carve out a cross country mission, and by god I crunched that speed bar into submission. I'm giving it all she's got Captain! The reward was a strange and starkly beautiful cloudless view of the whole range.

I managed to punch through a mighty headwind all the way to Kualoa, where I spied Mad Dog in the last field far below, training his crazy cattle egret in aerobatic stunts. Imagine how many centipedes it must take to reward one of those things during training! And the stunts! All the other cattle egrets can only dream about those loops, spins and stalls.

There were hardly any clouds. Not a single cloud over the ocean or the coastline, and only a few very thin bands racing by over the mountains, with crashing waves visible in many of them. It was mesmerizing to watch. I got close to three grand above Kaaawa, although I was only imperceptibly moving forward at that point without speed bar.

I returned to Kahana to find Duck plowing through the molasses above the bay. We briefly considered heading downwind toward Punaluu, but the idea that it might be even a hair stronger there gave us pause. So we thought better, and landed shortly after that, and watched Woody working with Ian, Matt, Anne and Marc in the very strong flow at the landing zone, before heading to Punaluu to troubleshoot the sensor.

What a strong and beautiful day it was. I heard someone's faint voice over the radio from Makapuu, but I'm not sure who it was. I imagine it was blowing pretty good down there as well. The Punaluu sensor is down because of cell issues, so we don't really know how strong it was for my flight. I'm calling it 15 mph average without a doubt.

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