Sunday, December 07, 2014

Out and Back with Alaska Jack

2014 has been fickle for giving up big sky days, but how odd is it that whenever an Alaskan pilot is in town, we get some great flights. Well, today's mission must have looked like an invasion to the poor ground dwellers trapped in their cars along all three island passes. This will be short just to keep JJJ off my back, as well as several others that also flew this great mission. Unfortunately he's already drinking his coffee.

I had to work today but only till noon. Alaska Jack had just landed his jet and was ready to fly. He was excited because from the cockpit he could see a wing at Makapuu, which turned out to be Frank. I told him that the numbers looked strong and north at Makapuu, and the guys were gathering at Kahana. En route, we got intel from Duck: Kahana's no good, so everyone is going to Makapuu, including Alex. At the bottom of the Pali we took a right instead of a left.

The day was gorgeous, perhaps one of the best days I have seen all year, so I gave thanks to the Alaskan luck charm. I had one mission: let's see how far we can go. We got to Puu o Kona and Alex was not liking the cloud suck. OTB Garrett had secretly blazed out ealier. As the lead scout crossing one of the highways, he reported: it is perfect! With this cautionary intel, I decided to push a little ways down Green Walls. It felt good, so I kept going.

Jack did not have a radio, and just hovered above me, pushing forward, sideways and back with his amazing skills under a rocket of a wing. He never left me behind the whole trip. Alex took a wide line out to Olomana, and made it work, but he dropped behind Jack and me. Soon we were joined by Garrett as he was coming back from his stealth mission, and he decided to turn around and accompany us.

It was cold and north, and we ended up kinda trapped at Pyramid with a few options: go for it, or make it back to the cars. We decided to head back to Makapuu. We turned around and found Alex waiting at the next ridge in Waiahole, so now there were 4 of us. But looking back towards Makapuu, there were several wings making their way towards us along the ridge.

In the lead of the second squadron was Duck. He was showing Berndt and Flash the route for their first trip. One Eye was flying his new Aspen 5, and that orange color we could see for miles. We then passed Scrappy, Maui Doug, Maui JJ, and Ike, who all made their way to some point downrange and then back to Makapuu. Ike needs to borrow some lights from Nightshift, as he came back in the approaching moonlight.

The second squadron landed out at Waiahole park, and were trying to arrange some type of transport back to Makapuu. My wife, Donna, was at Kahana hoping for some pilots to land there, but none of us made it. She went to rescue the Waiahole crew. She let them have her car so they could go retrieve theirs. Gotta start leaving a key somewhere on your vehicles! This day we had drivers that could have brought them north to the party at the Colby Compound, but it all worked out.

After logging my flight I noticed 2 airspace violations so the 115 points that would have ousted Mad Dog I got a DQ for the day, but it was still an awesomely fun and interesting flight. I think it was a record for the number of people that went down range. If Alex can add up the cumulative miles it may be another big number.

Flight Notes: Maui JJ made it to H3 on a FreeStyle 2. Now that's amazing! OTB Garrett stayed on this side of the range, which was smart. First big distances to Flash and Berndt, with Duck and One Eye showing them the way.

Roll call is one of the best we've had: Alaska Jack, Alex, Sidehill, OTB Garrett, Maui Doug, Joey, Frank, Vin, Scrappy, Dusty, Maui Tim, Maui JJ, Oahu Garrett, Rich, James, Ike, Flash, Berndt, Duck, One-Eye, Pete Reagan, Jon Goldberg. That's 22 in the air at Makapuu. There were some notable sled rides at Kahana but those boys ain't talking.

Special thanks to Donna for the transport loaner, to First Lady Dorothy for hosting, feeding and putting up with a debriefing party, and to Alaska Jack for bringing the unpredicted perfect day and mentoring me.

So, when an Alaskan comes to town,
It's Time to Fly, Get Your Warm Gear On and Go!!!

1 comment:

AK Chris said...

I may be back in March, so get ready for more luck from Alaska.Nice story Thom.