This February just keeps on giving up amazing thermic days. It’s been the best month for thermaling and flying cross country I can remember in many a winter. Maybe it’s global warming. Or just a perfect El Niño effect. Whatever it is, I like it. Today a slew of pilots flew Koko Crater in a variety of conditions. A few of us were lucky enough to bite into the chewy thermic center of that delicious Koko confection, spinning up to cloud base at 2,500 feet and then thermaling along a street of little puffy clouds all the way to the Makapuu lighthouse and back.
Shawn, Frank and Jetflap made up the early shift, and they sounded the alarm to bring out the troops. I heard Jon Goldberg was kiting at Sandys early as well. Dave brought his small wing because Frank made it sound strong, but it turns out it was actually pretty light, and a bigger wing was the call. Jeff flew one of his best flights there, breaking a nine year jinx. London Harry flew a record four hours over the crater, ridge soaring the thermals like a champion.
Thom, Divot Steve and I launched for the second shift, along with Shawn for his second try. Shawn took an unfortunate flush cycle to the field below, but the rest of us scratched and thermaled our way high above the crater, and then connected the clouds to reach the lighthouse before returning. It was the first time Steve had even stayed up there!
Sandy and Johnimo showed up for the late shift, along with Dave for his second try, again in a small wing. The wind seemed strong as they hiked up but waned considerably by the time they launched. Dave scraped his way to Sandys and Sandy flew Jim’s Skywalk to the field below launch. Thanks to Ginny for the ride to the trailhead and for the good vibes she sent to the XC crew from the LZ. Thanks to Divot for the Alaskan Hopothermia Double IPA.
We heard that Heckle and Jeckle (I mean Steve and Drew) were spotted on launch at Kahana in the afternoon, determined to get flights despite the east-southeast flow. I would love to know how that worked out!
I forgot to turn on my track log until I was halfway to the lighthouse, but at least I recorded a little bit of that epic flight. Here's to more surprising adventures like that before this winter's through!