The 1 Skewer Sled Kite

Just Loving The Moderate Breeze!

While the orange 1 Skewer Sled kite flew today, the sun was gamely trying to peek through. It never quite succeeded. But never mind, it was a great first outing for the spanking new little Sled. I went up to the nearby vacant block, which afforded plenty of room to test fly a 1-Skewer design.

1-Skewer Sled Kite

The forecast had predicted 10-15 knot winds, moderating to 5-10 knots later in the day. Around 2pm, the winds were still decidedly in the moderate range, and even gusting to rather fresh speeds just before I came home.

On arriving at the grassy block of land, I removed the winder of 20 pound line and the rolled-up Sled from the inner pockets of my jacket. It would be easy to smuggle this kite into any venue! Not much point though, since its in-door performance would not be great.

Despite being in a somewhat sheltered position near a tall fence, the 1 Skewer Sled kite was soon aloft.

Initial impressions were that the kite was very stable and collapse-resistant. Letting 10 or 15 meters (40 feet) of line out, I took a few photos. Then, after letting out another 10 meters (35 feet) of line, I zoomed in close and shot off some video.

The moderate gusty breeze was not a problem at all, although the kite had a slight lean to the right. Annoyingly, the ribbon tails quickly wound up, leaving only a short section flat, right at the end. So the tails looked like a couple of paddles! They still seemed to be doing the job though. See the photo down there...

The Sled seemed to be holding around a 45 degree angle most of the time, with a decent pull for so small a kite! After a while I took it down and pinched off a centimeter (1/2") of plastic from the right tail. This didn't have much effect, so brought the kite down again and pinched off another couple of centimeters. Eventually, the kite ended up with the right tail some 6 or 7 cm (3") shorter than the left tail, to correct its tendency to fly to the right. It's not often that a kite this size will fly perfectly true without adjustments. For one thing, no 2 BBQ skewers are the same!

I eventually flew on 60 meters (200 feet) of line for a while. This required carefully monitoring of the kite's distance from surrounding trees and power-lines running beside the main road, just in case. Most flying was done on around 40 meters (140 feet) of line. Even on that much, the kite was starting to look pretty small!

The winds seemed to strengthen a little during the last flight. The highest wind speeds blew the game little Sled kite down to 30 degrees or so. But it hung in there, and never looped out of control.

At other times, rising air came through, causing a lowering of the line tension while the kite floated face-down. So a few nice thermal climbs resulted, when I let the kite float vertically upwards with line slipping slowly through my fingers.

There was an exhilarating moment on 60 meters (200 feet) of line when the tiny 1 Skewer Sled kite reached a 60 degree flying angle. A short time later, it got punished with a blast of fresh wind and I had to pull in line very quickly to avoid a close call with some tall trees!

There's never a dull moment when flying tiny kites.

I must say that I'm very happy with the performance of this small Sled. It is definitely a better and more reliable flier overall than the original clear-plastic, tape-edged 1-Skewer Sled kite.

The story above was an actual flying experience with the described kite. My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!

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  1. Flight Report:
    KAP Mystery Solved

    Aug 25, 14 03:57 AM

    Last week I came home from a KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) session down at Brighton beach, here in Adelaide, South Australia. The photos were a disaster, being totally washed out. Over-exposed, to be a little more technical. At the time I thought the problem was purely the position of the sun, relative to the direction of the camera...

    Well guess what. Down at the same beach today, the photos had the same problem - and this time it definitely wasn't the sun. Camera damage seemed a small possibility since the rig had hit the sand at some speed last time, during a white-knuckle experience with the kite in rough air! Which turned out OK, but that's another story.

    Anyway, once back home today, I did a little investigating with the camera, taking some test pictures from the back yard. It was a great relief to find the explanation for the bad images...

    It seems that setting a fixed ISO is not a good idea for this camera in very bright lighting conditions. It can cause the camera to run out of adjustment room for other parameters, like shutter speed or aperture. When the camera was allowed to set ISO automatically, the exposure problem disappeared. Whew!

    The Tyvek-sailed Carbon Diamond performed wonderfully today. It was, for the first time, hoisting the KAP rig into the air. Never has the rig been so steady for so long. Sway was almost non-existent. But whenever I handled the line the camera twisted back and forth due to the rather steep line angle from the rig to the kite. Without enough horizontal separation, the suspension lines do not provide the maximum resistance to twisting. It might be an idea to separate the attachment points even further, on the flying line.

    The 2 meter (7 ft) Diamond was struggling to lift the camera in the fairly light winds coming off the ocean. At times, people on the beach had to duck under the line from me to the camera! The camera was behaving as a sort of aerial tether point, with the kite flying at a steep line angle from there.

    Measured at shoulder height, the on-shore breeze was about 4.5kph gusting to just under 7kph. More of a day for the Multi-Dowel Sled really, which hardly feels a 280g weight on the line!

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe what's on offer in that message series!

    Read More

New! Comments

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