Saturday, November 17, 2012

High Times Big Island Style

It's been a while since I have written a story......ok, I have never written one, but finally I got down to work and this Big Island Soaring Blog needs some new ink.

I was trying to get Thom 'Sidehill' to come to the Big Island Playground again.  It had been awhile since he been with the gang here.  It was tough until, I had a 4k flight one day with a trip north to land at Kona Waina Elementary School and then Scotty & Bill made it to Old A's ( old air port just past Kailua Kona proper).  These XC trips were all it took and the fact that the strong winds shut down Oahu for the next week or so. He booked his flight to Kona totally forgetting that he had the HPA annual meeting to attend.  I told him what is the worst that can happen, they will vote you out, only Alex has a life sentence. 

I picked him up at the airport on Friday at 9 a.m. and we headed to Church.  We stopped by Azfelia's (probably miss spelled) which is a new LZ for him since the old Brown Spot now has  houses on it.   We walked it and I gave him a thorough briefing.

We were headed to the Church when the Gene, Sammy and Scotty past us.  Hey, wait for us.  Their car was full and Jean said he would come to pick us up at the bottom of the launch hill, so we headed up and parked at the bottom.  Thom got his gear ready as did I.   Gene was there in moments and appeared to be happy to see Thom, as you know Gene is a PG politician too.

We were greeted at the Club House by Smiling Sammy & Scotty Gee.  Small crew today just the five of us.  Scotty, Gene, Sammy, Thom & me.  Great flights were had by all but Thom scored only one, he stayed up for just under 2 hours and broke his Big Island record.  Highest and longest time for a flight.  We, 4 landed and road back up and prepared to re-launched while Thom was still up.  But by the time were launching he had was tired and had gotten low. He headed in to land at the new LZ.  Gene had headed home, so we were down to just 3.

Thom said you guys stay up and have a good 2nd flight.  I am going to take a nap or walk down to the Ice Cream store.  Apparently he talked himself into the ice cream and started walking, it's a long walk down from there especially with a stuff sack hitting you in the back of the legs.  

While he was eating his ice cream he met Doug Stroup's dad.  Doug is an instructor in Washington state that runs alot of the Chelan Opens.  Then he got the call that we 3 had landed at Azfelia's but we needed a car.  We asked him to keep walking to the Church and grab Sammy's car.  I know that is not very hospitable to have a visiting pilot walk all the way down to get the car to come pick us up but it gets worse. 

Thom arrived and we told him he had to stay on the side of the road while we drive Scotty to his truck, me to mine and then let Sammy go on his way.  So, now we stranded him along the side of the road watching our gear.  I guess I owed him one now.  But he got that the next day.

Saturday was another day and it looked a tad but better than Friday but you never know.  The crew was bigger this day with Neil, Charlie, Denise, Visitor Stan, Meila (not spelled right I am sure but she might understand) and most of Friday's crew of Sammy, Scotty, Thom and me.

Everyone had great flights and as usual Neil ventured off north giving us updates on the conditions and his elevation.  Thom got the closest to Neil's 3600' by hitting yet a new personal record of 3200'.  Thom got to fly over the Pali, towards Choice Mart but turned out over the bay to land shortly after with Sammy at the Church.

I had the scratch session that was the hardest I have worked in quite sometime.  I flew for an hour and 20 minutes trying to get above the road and when I did I was beat.  When I finally had enough elevation, I took a 10 minute jaunt to join Sammy and Thom at the Church with Neil coming in shortly after.  We were tired and hungry, so Thom & I left to Annie's for some lunch.

So far Thom is 2 for 2 but he has an XC itch that he wants to get a trip to the Old A's.  Hopefully Sunday just may be brewing in his favor.

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