Sunday, July 26, 2015
I tagged the lighthouse first just in case it was a worthwhile entry. Then off to the great beyond. It was NE and fairly light so I thought a multiple trip flight may have been in store.
Puu O Kona was rough, almost at the top of my bump tolerance. I was alone there, but I could see JK and "Divot" Steve Phillips on their way. Should I tell them it's a butt whooping? Nahhh. I hit 3,000 feet and pushed toward Olomana, taking a nice wide line. I arrived there at 2,400 feet and I was going down, not finding heaps of lift, sinking to 2,000 feet before hooking a bronco up to 3,000 feet again. Well, I might as well go to Lanikai.
The plan was to go there, tag it, and then come back. On the way I caught a few little bumps and I mistakenly thought out loud: I got this! JK was on my heels, but then suddenly I found a cold spot just as I arrived within reach of the backside of Lanikai. I was in horrible sink, not enough to turn back and run, but hopefully I'd be able to at least scoot over the top and then maybe find a Lanikai thermal.
I made it to the front edge with 1,100 feet or less. I radioed out, "One way trip! I will be landing at Lanikai and the beach is crowded!" JK, seeing my plight, had enough height to turn and run, while Steve was scratching his way up on Olomana, having arrived for his first time there. I could hear him saying, "Okay, I am going down, is that development below a good LZ?" I was getting thrashed around and was never able to answer him, but he dug his way up and made it back to Makapuu. So did JK, who then turned again at the lighthouse to go to Maunawili and back. Nice score!!!
The beach was horrible, packed with people, and on our LZ was a tent, volleyball court and 100+ beach bums. This was not going to be good. I called Donna, and thank god she was home. She offered to run down to the beach and clear me a spot.
She called me back and had me on speakerphone while she asked the group of Marines if they could help clear a space for my unavoidable and predestined landing. They thought this was way too cool. From the air I could see a swath of people moving and the volley ball net coming down, while hearing the orders being barked by some of the Marines in charge. It was really cool to see how they cleared it so fast.
I spiraled in and gave them a great show. I landed for a standing ovation. Alex would have had sore eyes, because along with all the Marines were their girlfriends. A typical day at Lanikai, let's just say. Mochi was there too, and came and jumped into my arms. The girls all liked Mochi, the little chick magnet. I gave the tandem boys' number to several who seemed eager to get a flight. Oh, and then I did a beer run and dropped off a case of beer to my runway crew. Thanks again to our Marines who protect us every day and also did me a solid on this particular day.
Donna had to pick up Maile at Makapuu. How convenient! There were still wings in the air when I returned and more launching going on.
Dr. Bill Harris, at the young age of 86, got his first soaring flight at Makapuu, under the guidance of the Reaper. Perfect launch, great flight and perfect landing. Way to go Bill, and hats off to Reaper for fulfilling this pilot's dream.
"Divot" Steve Phillips made his first flight out to Olomana and back. The conditions were pretty rough thermal wise, but he hung in there.
Amanda and Holger, our visiting Aussies, got their first Makapuu flights. Thanks to Miami Eddie for the site intro.
5-0, Frank, TommyRD, Jorge, Maui Doug, Flash, Scrappy, Divot Steve, JK, Sidehill, Reaper, Doc Harris, Eddie, Amanda, Holger, Ginny, Johnimo, and if I missed anyone, let me know.
Posted by Thom at 11:26 AM