Monday, January 05, 2015

This is your brain on KMX

I love this fickle and strange corner of the island. It’s a modest little hump of a ridge; the strength and direction are rarely optimal; the sky is often grumpy and showery; and the launches barely meet our lowest standards for airflow, layout space and snags. But on the few days it works, it’s a blast to fly such an unlikely spot, and to see the island from this rare vantage point, above its northernmost corner. Yesterday we got fourteen pilots into the air, in fairly strong and northish conditions, with many interesting lines flown between Waimea and Kahuku. It was the perfect way to ring in the new year, and celebrate a generous reprieve from our tormentor in chief. By which, of course, I mean the weather. May it torment us less than ever this coming year!

We watched Drew and Steve take the first exciting window, while the sky and ocean were still churning out some dark spooky energy. They top landed the little knob next to launch as the wind suddenly died off. It seemed like they might have grabbed the only sketchy little window and now we would all have to head down.

But obviously that’s not what happened, or I wouldn’t be writing this story. We watched as the texture on the ocean started to fill back in, and the clouds rose higher and turned a bit lighter shade of gray. Then out of the blue we were feeling strong airflow on launch, and we weren’t sure how long it would last.

I decided to test it out, and with lots of help, I pulled off a classic flat top launch technique. By which I mean, I survived a nefarious assasination conspiracy on the part of the airflow and my wing. Or perhaps it was just my poor technique. As I pulled the wing up out of the rotor and into the airflow, I was yanked mightily off my feet. I watched those feet shoot up over my head, and then I found myself twisting forward, falling back to the ground, hands plunged to stop the surge. Somehow I landed like a cat, in torpedo position, wing poised overhead, for a brief frozen moment, before I realized I was alive and shot out of there like it was all part of the plan.

Then it was down to Pupukea and back, watching as more and more pilots took to the air. Later on, lots of us meandered back down toward Pupukea, landing all over the place, from Velzyland to Waimea. I of course landed at the beer store and treated my friends to my favorite seasonal beverage: Celebration, the fresh hop IPA from Sierra Nevada. It was definitely a day for celebration. Thanks to BC Marie for the retrieve.

Many of us retired to the Punaluu Ranch for a BBQ and bonfire, where we celebrated late into the evening. Thanks to Duck for buying and grilling the ribs and chicken! Thanks to Thom and Reaper for gathering firewood, to BC Marie for building the excellent fire, and to Thom and others for keeping it going.

Roll call as far as I can remember: Scrappy, Jeff, Harvey, me, Thom, Reaper, Duck, Jorge, Drew, Steve, Don, Jayson, Gaza, Andrew, Jim, Larry Mac, BC Marie.


sandy said...

New breed of pilot: feline wing sorcerer!

Alex said...

My first flight with the new line set. Man does it fly well now! Thanks again to Thom, Jorge, and Duck for the heroic relining session.

Thom said...

I didn't think it was good and started packing up when Ike, Jorge and Jayson showed up. Jorge said it was going to be perfect and with Lucky Dog Ike there, well, I unpacked again.

Good flight, didn't know how short of a flight it was to Foodland and kept asking Alex where the hell is it, I was over it, oops. Those down wind flights are faster than taking a car that's for sure.

We just have too much fun, flying and partying way after the flights.

Thank YOU Dorothy for putting up with all your hubby's co-conspirators.

KMX is a good drug to stick in your arm if you haven't already. If you have there's always new angles to explore.

Oh, and Alex's launch although Ninja like was one of the reasons for packing back up. Glad I have a short term memory and was unpacking again.