The 2 Skewer Dopero Kite

Gusty Fresh Winds Spring Up From Nowhere

Winds around the house were moderate and gusty in the morning, but nothing that the trusty 2 Skewer Dopero kite couldn't handle. Besides, there was a chance the breezes would die down further towards the mid afternoon when we planned to fly.

2 Skewer Dopero kite in flight.

Sure enough, the weather seemed very calm as we pulled up at the only decent sized local reserve that wasn't weed-infested. The prickly kinds of weeds we have around here have a habit of catching the flying line, not to mention parts of the kite and its bridle.

After placing the wind meter on the grass, some seconds passed before the little cups even started to spin! No problem, The 2 Skewer Dopero kite has a track record of doing very well in light winds. Even no winds at all, if some thermals are about!

A few meters of line were let out to get the kite up for some photos. The small Dopero hovered and climbed slowly in the soft puffs coming through, while I worked the line a bit as well.

Perhaps 10 minutes later, fresh gusts started rolling across the reserve. Very sudden, most unexpected and somewhat unwelcome! This wind was possibly associated with the Adelaide Hills only a few kilometers to the East. Gusty gully winds.

All of a sudden, the Dopero was straining at the leash, zipping around left right and almost overhead. While still on 20 meters (70 feet) of line, some photos were taken. It's hard to get a sharp in-flight picture when the kite is hundreds of feet up.

Flying could be called uncomfortable, with the kite being forced into large loops from time to time, and generally being battered by the wind.

A few times, I brought the kite down and tweaked the upper bridle loop knot left or right. This kite is quite sensitive to the knot position, so I overshot once or twice!

There were some problems with old tape giving way as well. Most of the spar caps were originals from the day the 2 Skewer Dopero kite was made in November 2008! They do a good job generally, but don't last forever.

As usual, I had come prepared with a roll of yellow insulation tape in a shorts pocket. Over the next half an hour or so I ended up replacing or reinforcing most of the spar caps, trying not to add too much unnecessary weight of course.

My young son Aren got sent over to the wind meter on an errand - to push the reset button! Otherwise the average might be a bit low due to the earlier calm conditions.

Quickly, the kite line went out to 30, then 60 meters. Even so, it was still necessary to bring the Dopero down for another bridle adjustment. It was still hanging to the right in the smoother but rather fresh breeze up there.

Although the 2 Skewer Dopero kite was pulling very firmly, I thought Aren might like to test his muscles on it, so I gave him the line. Nearly 5 years old, he's getting stronger all the time. Aren boasted that the kite wasn't pulling very hard at all...

After edging back towards the Eastern boundary of the reserve, there was room to let out all 120 meters of line. At this length, and due to wind strength being higher than optimum probably, the 2 Skewer Dopero kite refused to go much higher than a 50 degree line angle. Never mind, at least it's having a good high fly! Also, I hadn't thought to shift the towing point forward at all. So the kite was still on its light-wind setting!

After taking down the kite one last time, we had the trim pretty close to perfect. But, time was running out and it was decided not to loft it up on the maximum line length again. Plus, both upper sail tethers were starting to pull through due to the unrelenting wind strength. In fact, in the photo up there you can see that the left panel has gone a bit loose. That wouldn't have helped the trimming problems!

Most reports on the 2 Skewer Dopero kite have focused on its great light-wind performance.

However, today was a day for exploring the upper end of this kite's wind range. Just see the video down there! If you have made a 2 Skewer Dopero, be persistent with making tiny adjustments to the upper bridle loop knot. The kite will fly straight as a die when you get it right, even in a fresh breeze.

During packing things up, I noticed from the Windtronic 2 anemometer that the wind speed had averaged 7.4 kph at ground level, gusting to 23 kph. Perhaps that was closer to 35 kph up high, judging by the bent-over upper branches of the trees during the strongest gusts! Plus there was heaps of leaf noise.

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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For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

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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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