Thursday, December 07, 2017

4 Grand of Cold, Hard..........

I bet you all thought I was gonna say CASH!!  Well, you be wrong, when my GPS reads 4100 feet its worth more than CASH, cause I'm gonna go somewhere.  It was a little Cold and it was a little Hard but today's flight started breaking down my walls of getting back on the horse.

Felt good to be back in the air, now that I am off the no flying wagon, flights have been few and far between for me. Alex knew I needed a decent xc flight to start getting my tolerance up and head in the game. We talked the night before, weather predictions looked like the best we have had in awhile.
When morning arrived so did all the text, Ike's bad leg wasn't so bad so he was skipping his usual gym therapy, Jorge put his surf board aside, Alex was already at Manics (no surprise), Ulf  had already launched, while me, Maui Doug and Ma.... (Mr.X for today) either rescheduled work or called in sick.

It was a good feeling to pull into launch and see 2 wings totally skied out at iron woods. Oh ya, we are going somewhere today. Manics was perfect. Got to 2000 feet at iron woods and could have gotten more but the crew of Ike, Alex, Ulf, Mr. X, Maui Doug were already exploring Pu'u O Kona.

It was one of those days when you could go straight out over Waimanalo and hit Pu'u O Kona without the need of ridge. The wind was Northerly so we all thought the tail wind would make it an easy trip back, Kahana was on our minds.

Green Walls lived up to her name today, all the past rain and the crisp north flow made it greener if that's possible or maybe I am just getting old and starting to appreciate the journey and not just the destination.

Ike and Ulf were struggling at Olomana, the usual destination from Green Walls on a North day to avoid the smacking air of the alternate route along the walls to Lani Po, the finger directly behind Olomana. I watched Ike get low and he went into Rebar City, no more rebar, the development is on its way but still pretty rough to get into as Ike debriefed us later. Ulf was struggling and not throwing in the towel but he looked low. Alex radioed "I got 4k over Olomana and was going to go to Lanikai but made an easy route to the Pali. I am sure Ike and Ulf "liked" that news.

I decided to rough it and try the route behind Olomana, I had more than enough elevation and push toward the Pali with Maui Doug at my 6.  Hit massive holes dropping like a sheet of ice off glacier. It was a little cold. Had to turn back to Lani Po which surprisingly in this flow was kinda working. We both got higher. I hit 4 grand first time in a long time and headed out took a wider line out to then cut back into the Pali, I made it and looked up Maui Doug came in higher.  Always nice to have some one in front of you showing which way not to go, this time it was my turn I guess, but 4 grand was nice and Cold.

Ulf made a line from Olomana to the Pali, he came in lower than me but was up in no time. From there it was the usual get high at the Pali sink to the next ridge trying to avoid going into the bowls. Watched the crazy people hiking up Stair Way to Heaven as they probably looked up and said the same.

Now this is the first time I had ventured this far from Makapuu since my incident, I was nervous wondering if I could land out if needed like Ike had to. Got a text from another pilot, who couldn't call in sick, "Where you at?" I texted back "At 4000 feet", response "I am jealous but glad your up there". Then Reaper came on the radio, "Who's up there, dam it" as he was driving up the Pali. We gave him the list and like the great retriever he is said, "I am working today but will be glad to come get you where ever you end up".

It was awesome to be up there heading towards Temple Valley. The head wind was getting a little stronger and seemed even more north. I could finally see Alex. He had already made it to Waiahole and stated he's turning back. The head winds a holes were taking the toll on him. I figured Temple Valley was a pretty good bite now lets go back. It's North should be a tail wind quick trip. NOPE.

By then Jorge had caught up and went past us as we turned to head back.  It was getting Hard to get high as the wind felt like it was parallel to the ridge. You could get high but the holes during the transitions were ominous as my vario growled with decent. I was getting nervous dropping so fast and started looking at golf courses and big parcels of fields. All my trips down here and I have had a few, I had not landed out but once or twice and a few of those were bouncers. The north winds made these choices even more of a calculation.

I started my frantic chatter, "Alex are you getting anything on that ridge!!" not answering cause he was but it wasn't great. I kept pestering until my battery died with one last "My radio is dead".  I could hear Jorge in my head, "Tank God !!, now he be quiet". I guess some things never changed.

I tried to stay in the flats cause the ridge was getting to be a roller coaster, some times they can be interesting and some times you just want to get off. I aimed for the Pali where Alex was skying out. I pulled in there so low but knowing that I could make the Pali Golf course, (they hate us there but if you have to so be it).  I could see the faces of the folks on the look out.  They were waiving, if they only know how much imaginary crap was about to land on them they wouldn't be so cheery. I looked at my vario 1900 ouch air space, oh well. But was going up in a slow pace then finally topped out at 3600'.

We heard that Maui Doug went down at King Intermediate football field. Our club supporters are great, not seconds after that transmission Cess was on her way to pick him up but was turned back after Shirley, Reaper's mom, was already picking him up. Michelmores to the Rescue.

Left the Pali and pulled in low behind Olomana 2100 feet not as bad as the Pali so up I went again. Smoother ride to Pu'u O Kona maybe knowing that I was high in elevation and in heart it felt smoother. 

Pushed out over Waimanalo Beach and gave daughter Maile a call.  She could see me and was running along the waves at the beach.  I was 3k over the beach, it was nice.

Flew out over Rabbit island and saw some monk seals sun bathing. (picture courtesy of Superman)

Landed at the LZ, packed up and headed out.  I was pretty happy, you don't here that everyday.

Great day with: Ike, Ulf, Alex, Jorge, Maui Doug,Mr. X (hope he gets a doctors note), Superman, Frank, 5-0, Garrett (welcome home), Drew flew but pulled a Frank and disppeared,

4 Grand was Cold, Hard...............really good fun!!!!!

I hope to do this again and again cause.....

It's Time to Fly Get Your Warm Jacket and Gloves and Go!!!!!!!!!

PS to all you mainland fliers cold here is anything below 70 so don't JUDGE.


Duck said...

Thanks for the coffee read for us earth and job bound folks! Sounds like it was quite a day!

sandy said...

Awesome flight and write-up Thom!

Thanks for the report

(very jealous, but inspired!!!!!!!!!!)

Puka Wai said...

Thanks for the write-up. Sounds like a flight with more pucker factor than this old fart likes! Hmmm, if anything under 70 is COLD and here anything over 40 is WARM, then there must be some kind of inversion between here and there...

JK said...

Nice flight, Thom. It’s really great to see you charge again. Looking forward to getting home and joining the gaggle.