The 2 Skewer Barn Door Kite
Gentle Flying Near Its Wind Range Lower Limit
Today the 2 Skewer Barn Door kite enjoyed a high flight in unusually
smooth and light inland winds. Another unusual aspect was the 100% cloud
cover. It was like 'pea soup' fog at 4000 feet or so, with the
occasional smoothly rounded strata-type formation visible here and
However, the air was warm, with no threat of rain. From a
photography point of view, light levels were reasonable too. All that
cloud could not have been very thick.
Aren and I got the photo session out of the way first. With 3 1/2
year-old Aren obligingly holding the line, I snapped away with the
digital camera. He was doing so well, I even got him to move upwind with
the line to climb the kite while I took video.
The first attempt was rather too enthusiastic! Aren caused the
orange Barn Door to shoot up, then bounce around while he stopped
walking and started hauling the line in hand over hand. The next attempt
was perfect, with the little fellow backing up slowly.
This time the 2 Skewer Barn Door kite gently climbed out above
As you can see in the video down at the bottom of this page.
After all the imagery was 'in the can', we gradually climbed the kite up, slowly releasing line.
We had to follow a careful path though, which
- avoided the elderly golfer practicing his swing,
- took the kite over the corner of the field to avoid trees and give maximum room to fly, and
- also kept some distance from the 2 teenagers using the practice nets for cricket training!
It was becoming a more enjoyable flight by the minute. The 2
Skewer Barn Door kite responded to quite gradual changes in wind speed.
Even above the wind gradient, winds were variable, and sometimes so
light that the kite barely hung in the air. It was sometimes necessary
to just stand there and wait for some more tension to come on the line.
The flying line angle varied from roughly 30 to 50 degrees,
depending on wind speed. The Barn Door was once boosted right up to 70
degrees in a weak patch of rising air, before floating back down on its
face. It's not my best thermal-catching kite, but it was still a welcome
departure from its usual Diamond-style performance!
By this time we were getting closer to the 2 teenagers. They soon
left, as they do when their space is invaded by someone more than 20
years older :-)
Finally, a long lull took the kite right down to 20 degrees or
so, with line about to droop onto the grass. This was followed by a long smooth climb, slowly accelerating as the 2 Skewer Barn Door kite passed through 200 feet or so.
Aren and I ended up on the far side of the reserve, sitting on a
grassy embankment. All 150 meters of line was out, except for 4 turns so we
didn't lose the kite. The kite settled out at close to 400 feet at
around 50 degrees of line angle.
During another lull, I had to wind on quite a few meters of line,
but was able to slowly climb the kite up again. I took the chance to
practice climbing the kite at a constant line angle of somewhere around
40 degrees. With all the line out once again, the kite slowly made its
way up even higher, as line angle increased.
Eventually it was time to go. In these light conditions, it was
an easy matter to simply wind line on to bring the kite down. It was
hard to keep the kite in the air once it got below 100 feet. By walking
slowly upwind, we kept the kite off the grass.
By this stage, some blue patches had appeared in the East
although unusual smooth cloud formations remained in other parts of the
sky. All in all, a nice relaxing outing with the 2 Skewer Barn Door
kite, even with the 3 year old in tow!
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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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!
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