Here’s a recent image of a vista I see regularly. It’s the landing zone for the hang gliding pilots. I get to see it under many different conditions from early morning to late afternoon. I tend to prefer wide shots. I find they express my impression of a location better. Here, I wanted to capture the expanse of clouds moving over the land and the rain at Waimanalo Beach.
That doesn’t mean I don’t work the area looking for other possibilities.
Hang Gliding has been a catch as catch can this year. Most of the time the wind has either been too strong, too light, then add rain. Sunday was light and north . Good enough for a fly by at launch.
Talk about take it and forget it. I grabbed a series of shots for a panorama of this rain squall over Kaneohe on a July day in 2011.
This isn’t a complaint about construction. In this case it refers to what happens when trades are light and the land in central Oahu heats up during the day. Clouds build up and heavy downpours can occur. Hang gliders and paragilders avoid these conditions. Updrafts under these clouds can ruin their day.
And Sometimes the Landing Sticks you.
That’s what’s about to happen to my friend as he brings his glider in for a landing. The upper right corner of the photo shows the ridge line which starts at this end of Oahu and runs up the spine of the island called the Koolau Mountains. Just around the corner is the spot on the ridge from which the pilots launch. It’s a great view at 1100 ft above Waimanalo Bay. Naturally, visitors find the thought of flying off the ridge intimidating. The launch is the easiest part. The pilot can choose the best moment to fly off the ridge. Landing is a different situation. Once you commit to land, you’ve got to adjust to the conditions as you find them. In this case, the glider had a little more forward momentum than my friend wanted. The glider is in a nose up stall position but it pulled him off his feet. Unfortunately, the stall is about to bring them both to an abrupt stop. Fortunately, neither was damaged.
An essential aspect of paragliding is handling your wing during your launch. A good pilot never misses the opportunity to spend a few minutes ground handling the wing.
This is from April 2008 when days of Kona Trades brought Vog from the volcano activity on the Big Island. Between the Vog and the overdevelopment of the clouds over Waimanalo the air was thick on this afternoon.
From a few years back I got this shot of a friend of mine flying his hang glider past the moon
This is a pic I got almost three years ago. As you can see it was a beautiful day. We’d recently gotten a lot of rain. You can see the effects of the runoff with the slightly discolored water along the beach in the lower left. The trade shower is about to drop its water on the Marine Corps Base. Last Tuesday the Base got pummeled with an intense Lightning storm that dropped hail on the base and on Kailua. A funnel cloud formed just about where this trade shower is in the pic. It came ashore at Lanikai and voila it becomes a 25 yard wide tornado and went inland a couple of miles before falling apart in Kailua.