Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News
Yes, it was 'box kite month' with plenty of brisk air to fly our squashed-box designs in. Finally the fresh wind version of the Dowel Box was built and flown. This should save the much abused Dowel Box (Moderate Wind version) from getting punished in fresh winds ever again! More on that later.
Welcome to Flying DOWELS and Plastic by the way! Just a simple re-name of the newsletter, reflecting the future direction of my kite-making. My apologies if you are utterly addicted to the skewer designs and don't want to leave them... (There are actually a few more of them coming, so don't despair)
Spring is approaching, and the weather has shown hints of this, although today was quite cold by Adelaide standards.
Although I am uncontactable personally on FaceBook, you must have noticed by now that FaceBook functions have been added to the MBK site. Specifically, you can...
1) 'Like' the site as a whole by clicking the Like buttons at the top and bottom of the nav bar. Over on the far left side of nearly every page.
2) 'Like' any individual page by clicking the Like button at the bottom of the page.
3) Comment on almost any page you like (oops, bad pun), by scrolling to the bottom and typing into the commenting box. If you really love the page, you'll end up down there anyway.
Grovel grovel. You know what's coming next, I suppose... Yeah, that's right - please take just half a minute to go to My Best Kite dot Com, find an obscure page you genuinely like, and then... LIKE it, down at the bottom :-) Preferably, avoiding pages that people have already 'Liked'. It really will be helpful for the site, and thus will help me afford the time to put into even more kite designs for you to make.
"Every new kite is an adventure!"
P.S. Once again, a big thank you if you responded to last month's mini-survey! Also once again, the question is settled. Kite-makers who work with Imperial measurements really prefer working in inches-only rather than feet-and-inches. The only exceptions are also quite happy to work in inches-only if only that is available. At this point, 99% of all Dowel-kite related content both on the site and in the eBooks has been checked and edited. Text and graphics. All the measurements are now shown in centimeters, inches and dowel-lengths.
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Possibly the easiest way to contribute to My Best Kite is to visit Flying Kites - Kite Loss Stories Plus Much More.
Just click on the first link on the page, and start typing. Your story will eventually end up in an appropriate category. Just dash it off, since I will take care of the spelling and grammar if necessary :-)
Easy. Other kite fanciers will appreciate it. The best stories inevitably get comments from all around the world. Now there's something to share with your family!
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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
Like last month, the questions kept coming through the Ask Tim page. One of these days, I'll have to separate out all the bridle-related questions onto their own page. It's interesting - these questions form such a large percentage of all the questions asked. I feel another eBook coming on... 'MBK Kite Bridling FAQ' or some-such ;-)
Also, a number of interesting kite stories. To the point of - which one should be featured... It just has to be the one about a discovery of an old but very famous stunt kite in mint condition! OK, so it's not a single-liner. But I'm honored that someone chose to post about such a significant find on the MBK site first.
Read all about the Peter Powell Stunt Kite discovery in the UK.
Interestingly, another contribution just 5 days earlier concerned someone whose father used to hang out with Peter Powell himself!
Kite Flying Report Of The Month
Here's the short-format report on an unsuccessful outing with the Dowel Box kite (moderate wind version). You're up for a decent kite-crash yarn aren't you? :-) Some might find it more entertaining than the more usual 'perfect flight' stories...
Here's the report:
(titled "Flight Report - Strength Mods Tested To Destruction")
"Sounds exciting. A lot more so than waiting for the glue to dry on a new cross-piece for the Dowel Box kite though...
Winds outside seemed moderate to fresh, so it seemed like a good opportunity to test the recently fixed (!) and slightly modified Dowel Box kite near the top end of its wind range.
Down at the reserve, the kite soon went together as we sheltered behind a line of trees and bushes. Blissfully unaware of the atmospheric mayhem higher up. With a more forward towing point and the cross-pieces secured together with shoe-lace ties, the kite was set up for somewhat higher winds than ever before.
With only about 20 meters (70 feet) of line out, the kite found smoother but much faster air than I was anticipating. Every few seconds, the side spars would bend like snakes around the pivots provided by the cross-pieces. Ooooerrr...
And then, as if in slow motion, with my entire life passing before my eyes... The upper cell briefly folded to a noticeably sharper angle, before suddenly... SNAP and my son joined me in observing bits of 5mm dowel raining down on the soggy grassed field below. The upper cell collapsed completely and the hapless kite nose-dived to the deck in seconds.
On finding the cross-pieces in the grass, it seemed the shoelace tie had come undone. Maybe the kite would have stayed in one piece if it had held. Lesson learnt: those ties need to be wrapped several times around the dowel before being secured with a bow. Otherwise, they can evidently work loose!
Walking back towards the car, I noticed some huge gusts bending the tree tops over. No wonder the lightly built box had trouble. The Dowel Box kite is really a great moderate wind flier. I've concluded that its wind range extends from the upper reaches of the Light Wind range through to the lower reaches of the Fresh Wind range. But fresh-to-strong? Forget it!
Next time there's a touch too much breeze for your light-wind kites, why not make a Dowel Box and see how it goes. Just don't take it out in a gale!"
MBK Kite-Making News
Slightly Old News:
To continue the theme of 2-Dowel kites, I have left the photo of the 2-Dowel Sled up there, from the last 3 months now. 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.
As hinted at last month, the Dowel Box (moderate wind version) was duly upgraded with cross-piece ties and a more forward upper bridle leg attachment point. Both measures intended to make the kite more resilient to wind pressure. And then it collapsed on me in fresh wind! I was simply too optimistic about the weather that day.
The flight report noted that a shoelace tie had come undone. However, after a closer look at the wreckage, it was clear that the upper horizontal cross-piece had failed on both sides of the tie, which had held! So, the kite had simply been subjected to way too much air pressure. It's just fine for moderate breezes gusting briefly into the fresh range.
The Dowel Box (fresh wind version) was also built and flown. Despite the somewhat frail-looking 5mm spars, the much reduced sail area and shorter, stiffer cross-pieces combined to make it cope comfortably with some very fresh winds.
I've had thoughts on moving the Dowel Delta's spreader further forward. This will provide much more stiffness, compared to the current design which sometimes flexes the spreader excessively. The center of gravity will move forward too, but I'm hoping it won't affect the kite's stability too much. It also occurred to me that with the spreader further forward, shaving wood from one leading edge dowel is probably more likely to result in a trim change! The current kite was frustratingly unresponsive to this standard trick for correcting a turning tendency in a Delta. Hence the silly little wing-tip tail-let you might remember seeing in a video and photos on the website!
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 2011, and no updates since)
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Issued on Tuesday, Aug 30th 2011 Issue #0049
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...