The 2 Skewer Roller Kite
Long High Flight In Perfect Weather
The 2 Skewer Roller kite seemed a good choice, since it was a classic 'light wind and thermals' day.
Once we arrived at the reserve, it didn't take long to float the
Roller out to a line length of about 15 meters. From there, a bit of
line-pulling got it up a little higher where there was just enough
breeze to keep it air-borne.
At this stage I pulled out the camera and took a few photos and a couple of videos.
When the Roller touched the ground a few times during lulls, 4
year old Aren helped to re-launch the kite. He now knows how to hold it
by the bridle and let it go when the wind catches it.
Now it was time to fly much higher!
It was straight-forward to slowly let out line for a while. The 2
Skewer Roller climbed smoothly, maintaining a 40 degree flying angle.
Soon it was passing through 100 feet, and we started walking back
towards the perimeter fence, upwind.
Having forgotten our sun hats, it was good to notice a
large shady tree quite close to where we were headed! Maybe we could fly
a bit longer after all, without getting fried by the UV ...
the kite was still maintaining 40 degrees, although the line was going
out quicker now.
We reached the low log fence and sat on it, while the kite parked itself at a 45 degree angle. Mind you, there was a lot
of sag in the line due to the very light winds. Even then, I decided to
let out the remaining few meters until nearly all 150 meters of line
The line tension was quite low most of the time, but slowly went
up and down in response to wind speed and thermal activity. Accordingly,
the 2 Skewer Roller kite slowly rose and fell, flying at between 30 and
55 degrees. The amount of sag in the 20 pound line varied a lot too. In
these conditions, a 10 pound line would probably have been safe enough.
The average wind speed was probably somewhat less than the ideal for this kite.
Eventually, there were some of the usual clues that a stronger
patch of rising air was in the vicinity. After all, the time was
heading towards 12 mid-day. A fluffy seed passed by at shoulder height.
The 2 Skewer Roller kite seemed to encounter choppy air: sinking one
minute, soaring up the next.
Another fluffy seed made an appearance - at 100 feet altitude, and it wasn't going down! Maybe now...
Sure enough, after a while the line really tightened and the
little Roller climbed like a home-sick angel, with a hint of trailing
edge flutter. The kite peaked at about 55 degrees, its highest level of
the entire flight. Just over 400 feet up. Perhaps the middle of the
thermal was way off to one side, since the kite dropped back down to 45
degrees after less than half a minute.
Perhaps it was a skinny thermal, since winter is not far
away. As an ex-sailplane pilot, I remember climbing in some rather
narrow and turbulent thermals near Alice Springs in the N.T.
A while later, having seen the 2 Skewer Roller kite have a good
long high flight, I decided to bring it down. Walking slowly back to
where the car was parked, I wound on line whenever the line tension
dropped a little. Down came the kite, right into my hand without
touching the grass.
If you're new to this site, have a guess which country I'm in.
Here's a clue - these other flying objects kept the kite company at
- 20 galahs
- 9 magpies
- a passenger jet heading East after taking off from Adelaide airport
Don't worry, the jet was at several thousand feet!
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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Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM
This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.
The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.
For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.
At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!
And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.
Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.
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