Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Window Pains

After a grim morning of readings that were way too east, Woody and JJ stopped by and said they thought we had a window of possibility. I definitely didn't see that: the sensor kept veering way past 120 degrees, which is typically our extreme cutoff. So for once I found myself in the position of trying to talk jonesing pilots out of a marginal mission. But they seemed determined, and I just had to shake my head.

I waited a while, then drove out to see if they were really going through with it. The sky was soupy with dark low clouds apparently growing out from the valley. The valley was full of rain. But to my surprise, Woody was up and making it look good! By now I only had an hour of time left before I had to leave for school pickup, but I just couldn't help myself. Watching JJ scratch heroically to save himself from sinking out just inspired me somehow! I scrambled up the hill to join them, and was soon skyed out with Woody way above cloud base over Puu Piei. Clouds were forming below us and there was bounteous lift above.

We all headed over to Punaluu and back over Sacred Falls, marveling at the cloud castles forming around us. I soon found myself plenty high enough to head back to Kahana, where I found Duck just scratching his way up at the Rhino Horn, with Allegra setting up to launch high east. Anne was in the LZ trying to work on her ground handling, but there was clearly no good airflow down there. Woody and JJ decided to land at Punaluu to avoid the likely rotor at the LZ, but I figured, on this light of a day, how bad could it be? And I had really pushed my timeframe so I needed to land and hightail it to town.

Well, it turned out to be truly hideous down there. My poor wing was so confused, it kept trying to reorient itself in the switchy sinky airmass over the beach, while my wingtips just didn't even bother to stay open. I came in hot and almost overshot but I was happy to be down safe and sound. Duck wisely headed to Punaluu after watching that episode, and Allegra ended up hiking down because the cycles on launch had petered down to nothing. What a lucky window that was!


sandy said...
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sandy said...

Ah, a second multivariate quadratic equation is needed -- one for when KNA is good for launching (and which spine) and the second to calculate KNA beach vs. Punaluu. I wonder if an iPhone can handle that kind of math?