Friday, January 31, 2020

2019: The Parting Glass

I started this post in a reflective moment at the end of last year but I shelved it as I got tied up with last minute travel prep. Today we're already wrapping up January but hopefully it's not too late to reflect on last year's memories and milestones!

As I've written elsewhere, last year marked twenty years since the fateful day in October when I called Pete to inquire about lessons. I managed to locate my ancient log books from those first few years and it's actually surprising how little has changed. I'm still chasing every possible moment in the air, with a lot of the same crazy old buddies, plus quite a few awesome new ones. Here's hoping the next twenty years are just as rewarding!

As many of you remember, I used to post here after each and every flying day. Now I'm retired from that compulsion, but I can't resist submitting an annual article looking back on the year. As 2018 wound down I composed this one, a benchmark for my 2019 year in review.

Overall this year was pretty average in terms of flying weather. I don't think we can complain on that score. Lots of good days and a few great ones. Our local cross country flying saw some notable achievements, topped by JK's double pyramid monster, the highest scoring flight ever logged by a local pilot, dethroning Mad Dog from years back.

But why do I qualify that by saying local pilot? Because this year our XC flying was dominated by a young Swiss pilot on a round the world cross country mission who was here for only 20 days in August, flying an EN-B wing. Check out the league results for 2019. On most of the days Nicolas flew, local pilots stayed relatively local because of cloud base or what we thought was a too easterly flow. Check out the lines he took and the altitudes he reached in his longest flight. Not sure it's possible to get that high outside of a cloud but still it's impressive in a crazy way.

Speaking for myself personally, this past year I logged 1526 km in 346 hours during 179 cross country flights, not just here on Oahu, but notably at three separate and super cool national championships, in New Zealand, in the US at Chelan, and in Canada. My farthest flight was 130 km from Chelan to the border of Canada! Something enticed me to double down on competitions this year and I still can't believe I made it to three of them. There's no better or more intensive way to improve your flying. After twenty nonstop years my flying doesn't often tend to improve in noticeable ways but I feel like I made some headway in the competitions this year! Plus they are just a fun way to fly interesting places with a bunch of great people.

Locally, I flew seven of our ten Oahu sites over the course of the year. I'm shocked to realize we never had a single good Kona wind day for Diamond Head! And somehow I just never made it out for the days that might have worked at Koko Head or Lanikai. Here is my cross country flight count:

Kahana: 108
Makapuu: 33
Knob: 6
Kahuku Motocross: 5
End of the World: 4
Koko Crater: 2
Nanakuli: 1

In 2019 I also flew my mini wing more than ever, always at Kahana, but I don't keep any count of those flights. Since top landing and relaunching is such a big part of what I enjoy about flying the mini, it's likely I flew hundreds of individual flights! At least I posted a few pictures and made a few videos of the mini wing action.

Speaking of pictures, I posted almost a thousand photos this past year on Flickr, and I spent some time poring over them to pick my twenty favorites. Click the image at the top to see them. And I posted almost thirty new videos to my Youtube channel over the year.

If I've missed any notable milestones or memories from this past year please post up in the comments to remind me!


Alex said...

How could I forget this most notable milestone: after 18 years with the same old boring dude we finally got a new president? Vive Fireman (Retireman) Dave. What a smooth year at the helm. Here's to 17 more. That's our term limit right?

Thom said...

Well, you made the JJ Jameson come out and smile as he sipped a hot cup of joe.

Great re-cap Mr. X-President. I have enjoyed your videos immensely and I would love to see a compilation of them woven into an award winning flying film. Of Course I would like to view it at the Coupe Icarre with a everyone there.

Now, only one story per year is better than none, but the publishing of them makes me realize another year has past, as I reflect 2019 was a good year, although my log book has gathered dust.

Keep up and I mean up, all the great videos and reflective re-caps.
Hoping 2020 to be the year for all of us to 'Get Your Gear and Go' !!

I do miss your your stories as my glossary has not needed to be opened in quite sometime.