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There I was. Thought I was going to die.

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posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:02 AM
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There I was, at 4,000 feet above the beach, climbing at 1,500 fpm, with cloudbase about 500 feet above me.

Above Makena there is a persistent convergence of airflows. From the east the tradewinds are blasting out of the Alenuihaha channel, being compressed and accelerated between the islands of Hawaii and Maui. From the west those same tradewinds have wrapped around the mass of Haleakala and effectively executed a 180º turn. When these air masses meet headon there is only one direction for them to go; up. This convergence of winds produces a linear region of rapidly rising air which stretches from Ulupalakua across the Alalakeiki Channel to Kahoolawe and beyond. When those warm, moist tradewinds are forced upward to cooler altitudes they form a line of cumulus clouds. The convergence is well marked.

Riding this area of lift, one can soar easily between the slope of the mountain and the shoreline, even venturing a mile or two offshore, while maintaining an altitude of a mile above the ocean. Looking down from this height the exact location of the convergence can be easily seen. There is a sharp delineation on the water. To the east of the line the ocean is a raging area of whitecaps (Alenuihaha is known as one of the most consistently violent stretches of water anywhere), to the west the ocean is lightly ruffled.

But the convergence has many moods. It can be blissful and glassy gentle lift such that one must pay attention in order to stay up. It can be smooth but strong enough so that one must pay attention to avoid being drawn into those cumulus clouds and becoming disoriented. It can also be so turbulent that one will often look to the handle of the emergency parachute for a bit of reassurance, our gliders are strong but they do have their limits.

Today it was pretty smooth, but it was really strong. Too strong. In order to avoid being lifted into the clouds I had to fly to the east, out of the lift band, in order to descend. But this meant that I had to cross again through the lift to get to the beach, the landing zone. It took four attempts to get low enough to cross the lift band safely. This was not unusual.

What was unusual was that, as I was planning my landing approach, I saw that the convergence lay directly on the beach. The eastern end of the beach was exposed to a strong easterly wind, the western end, a westerly. Now, with altitude, one can fly back and forth across such an interface (also known as a wind shear). I had been doing so for an hour or so. But close to the ground it becomes an entirely different matter and there was no way I could avoid what I knew was going to occur.

It wasn't too bad until I got down to about 500 feet, then all hell broke loose. The turbulence became severe, my glider a leaf in the wind with my attempts at control no more than suggestions. I could see "sand devils" whipping down the beach as I began to drift offshore. A water landing in a hang glider is an extremely dangerous event, often resulting in drowning. At this point all I wanted to do was get back to the beach. And, somehow, at no more than 20 feet above the water I did just that. I swooped into a standup landing on the sand.

Not done. No time to relax. I saw, howling down the beach directly toward me, yet another sand devil. And I was still hooked into my glider. I shakily fumbled with the carabiner and finally managed to get it disconnected. I immediately went to the nose of my glider and grabbed the nose wires, hoping to gain some control of it before the gust hit. No avail. The ball of air hit me and immediately tore the kite from my grasp. I stood watching as it tumbled in the air and finally impacted the kiawe trees which line the beach.

The glider was heavily damaged. I was unharmed. It was an excellent landing.




posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:39 AM
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Sounds like just another day in paradise ..
.

edit on 14-9-2019 by hopenotfeariswhatweneed because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:40 AM
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a reply to: hopenotfeariswhatweneed

I wrote a song about that.
Bored Again In Paradise.

Some other time.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:42 AM
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a reply to: Phage

I'm not that adventurous, one day I keep telling myself I'm at least going to do a tandem dive here in Byron...one day...

I often watch the handgilders around here in awe, it must be an amazing feeling
edit on 14-9-2019 by hopenotfeariswhatweneed because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:45 AM
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a reply to: hopenotfeariswhatweneed

I started flying when I was young. And stuff.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:46 AM
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a reply to: Phage

Yeah well your only old when you conceed you are.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:47 AM
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a reply to: hopenotfeariswhatweneed

Sometimes our choices are limited.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:47 AM
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a reply to: Phage

And no gopro or any other kind of action camera with you?



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:47 AM
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a reply to: Trueman

Not in 1982. No.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 02:57 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Trueman

Not in 1982. No.

Now you make sense. 82 was a great year.

Record of low temperatures and Mt. St. Helens erupted.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 03:00 AM
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a reply to: Trueman

Twas the year I was first diagnosed with cancer. But other than that, not bad.

edit on 9/14/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 03:02 AM
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a reply to: Phage

Wow, glad you made it out alive! That must have been scary as hell.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 03:07 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Trueman

Twas the year I was first diagnosed with cancer. But other than that, not bad.

Cheating death twice same year, great year I'd say.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 03:10 AM
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a reply to: Trueman

Can't argue with that.

Based on that criterion, I've done right well. Overall.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 03:10 AM
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a reply to: Night Star

It was. But not as scary as some days at Pipeline.
My teenage frontal lobe was not fully developed back then. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.


edit on 9/14/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 04:18 AM
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Hawaii can be a crazy place!

I remember one time standing on the beach in Maui looking out across the water. I kept thinking I was seeing something at the very limits of the horizon (and limits of my vision). I would strain to see, but I couldn't tell for sure if what I was seeing was just some kind of a mirage with the surf or what. Then the sun kind of went behind the clouds and I could see a whole bunch of tiny, tiny, specks way TF out there. They were wind surfers! And, they must have been out there at about 12 miles or so. I couldn't believe people were crazy enough to go out that far.

So I asked someone what the deal was. They said there was some current colliding with some other current which made for great wind surfing, but you had to go WAY out there to get into it. Jeezus, if one of those dudes ever crashed and lost his board, or had something break...he'd probably be in Tahiti before anyone ever found him!



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 04:23 AM
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a reply to: Phage

Sounds pretty skeery!

One of those days you kiss the ground I bet.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 04:23 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk




he'd probably be in Tahiti before anyone ever found him!

Naw. The ITCZ doesn't really let that happen.



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 04:27 AM
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a reply to: Phage

What is ITCZ ??

ETA - So you know of this place then? Does it have a name?

edit on 9/14/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2019 @ 04:28 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Intertropical convergence zone.
Keeps winds in their own hemispheres, for the most part.



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