Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News
Soaring fronts? I'll explain... Here in South Australia, cold fronts sweep across the state from time to time, from West to East. A text-book cold front consists of a cold air mass displacing a warm air mass, with the cold air forming a wedge. The thin edge of the wedge creeps across at ground level, scooping up and pushing back the warm air mass. One local effect of this is a large region of rising air which is sometimes exploited by pilots of sailplanes, hang-gliders and paragliders. And a few days ago, in Old Reynella, by a kite nut flying his Dowel Barn-Door kite ;-) More on that further down...
Colder than average weather has persisted here, even for this time of year. However, there have been plenty of opportunities to fly kites. And a returning boomerang actually, but that's another story... Winds have been light to moderate for most of the time.
As already mentioned, the Dowel Barndoor had an interesting flight. Near the middle of the month, the Dowel Dopero lived up to its high-efficiency reputation. Hovering around at 400 feet in very light wind conditions. During the first week of the month, the 2-Dowel Sled, yes the huge one, soared well in light but quite gusty conditions. Boy, you really feel the gusts, flying a kite that big...
A few more visitors asked questions about kites, through the Ask Tim page on the site. One visitor contributed a photo of his completed Tyvek Dopero! Basically, the Dowel Dopero, covered in Tyvek instead of plastic.
"Which side does the bridle go on?" The eternal question from newbies, not helped by illustrators who persist in showing Diamond kites with the sticks facing the flier! See how I once had a bit of a dig at such illustrators, in the Cartoon Kite page. It took a while too, cropping and resizing all those images!
"Every new kite is an adventure!"
P.S. A big thank you if you responded to last month's mini-survey! The question is settled. Kite-makers really prefer working in centimeters rather than millimeters, with very few exceptions apart from those who work in inches. Hence, all future MBK plans and templates will feature metric measurements in centimeters. All the existing plans will also eventually get converted over, as part of future updates.
Now, I wonder how North American kite-builders feel about inches vs feet-and-inches? Which of the following statements describes you best...
"Working with inches-only is the only way to go"
"I prefer inches-only, but plans showing measurements in feet-and-inches are OK too"
"I prefer feet-and-inches, but plans showing measurements in inches-only are OK too"
"Working with feet-and-inches is the only way to go"
Just copy and paste the appropriate line into a quick reply to this email - thanks!
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Table of Contents
- Visitor Contribution Of The Month
- Kite Flying Report Of The Month
- MBK Kite Making News
- The KAP Kite Project
Visitor Contribution Of The Month
Well, I've actually decided to feature a question submission here... The answer provided by myself and an MBK
regular, taken together, could really help anyone who is being bothered by an out-of-trim stunt kite. Yep, as in a 2-line Delta!
See the problem and solution regarding a stunt kite suffering from uneven turning.
Kite Flying Report Of The Month
Here's the short-format report on the Dowel Barn-door's adventures, when it got swept up in a passing cold front! Never before have I been aware of the exact minute a weather front has come through. Has this ever happened to you? Fascinating.
Here's the report:
"Amazing fluke. But I think that's what it was - here's what happened...
With barely enough breeze to disturb the leaves outside, we set off for the reserve. I have confidence in this place having more wind up high! At the field, the gusts were enough to easily launch the Dowel BarnDoor. In fact, conditions were just perfect for it. In no time, the kite was out on 30 meters (100 feet) of line in the gentle Easterly. So gentle that the kite hung at low line angles for a while, unable to generate enough lift to climb higher. Patches of weak thermal lift boosted the kite up from time to time. 60 meters of line. 90 meters (300 feet) of line. Still, perfect flying conditions with sunlight and now just enough breeze to keep high line angles.
Then... The kite went overhead. Nothing unusual in thermal conditions, except that this time it seemed oddly smooth! The line stretched tight, snaking and bowing out slightly in 2 or 3 directions as the BarnDoor wandered about, struggling to find which way was 'up'.
The kite went past vertical and started to descend! Again, it felt a bit odd, not really like thermal sinking air. Just a very steady descent as if the air had suddenly gone dead-calm.
Within a minute or 2, I found myself flying the kite in a Westerly! High line angle, but now in increasing wind strength. It was a tense few minutes after that, with the kite suddenly starting to stress and loop to the right. I raced across the field, winding in and keeping an eye on the power-lines, and other obstacles below the kite...
Eventually the kite was down on a short line and more under control. Heading back to the West, I noticed the air temperature was noticeably cooler! Looking up, the clouds were scudding by in the opposite direction to when we arrived. Pre-frontal cirrus (Mares Tails) adorned the sky even higher up. Putting it all together - it just had to be a COLD FRONT passing through. The BarnDoor had actually soared in the region of warm air as the wedge of cold air forced it upward.
What a memorable flight!"
Here's a link to the How To.. page for this kite, which is a good reliable flier.
MBK Kite-Making News
To continue the theme of 2-Dowel kites, I have left the photo of the 2-Dowel Sled up there, from the last 2 months. More are coming! I might keep the next one a surprise until it actually looks like happening though... The only thing I'll say is that while the Sled is perfect for light to moderate winds, I'm hoping the next design will cope with moderate to fresh winds, without pulling your arm off! When all three are complete, together they should cover a very wide wind range.
This month has seen some flying, a lot of web-page updating, but no new building - although the revised Dowel Box kite should be started soon. It will be a fresh-to-strong, maybe even gale-force, kite. The current Dowel Box design will have a small mod to make its cross-pieces more resistant to breakage in fresh wind gusts. That should help a few newbies!
The KAP Kite Project
This has stalled for the time being, but I have decided to keep this section in place. That's because something along these lines is going to happen sooner or later. Possibly involving that camera over there.
To visit The KAP Kite Project page to see exactly where things are at, you will need the password 'mbkkapkites'. Without the quotes of course. If you use the FireFox browser, it's an easy matter to just let it remember the password for the page.
I have added 2 photos and 2 videos of the 2-Dowel Sled. Take a look! (Added in May, and no updates since)
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Issued on Tuesday, Jul 26th 2011 Issue #0048
My Best Kite
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia
New! Comments Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...