Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News
Regarding the subject line on this email... Perhaps not the most amazing toy on the planet, compared to what some kids would have opened up on Christmas day. But it was interesting anyway, hooking up my recently-acquired 50kg spring scales to the ponderous manta-ray-like 2-Dowel Sled. The other end of the scales hooked around a small branch on a young tree. I even took a short video of the scales in action, which might find its way onto the site one day.
Like last month, quite a variety of kite types were flown in December. Here they are in order of flights, and coincidently, in order of sail area...
- Dowel Box (Fresh Wind Version, 1.2m 4ft in length. Showed off its best capabilities in a smooth fresh sea breeze)
- Dowel Sode (1.2m 4ft in height and span. Also performed well in a beach location, in smooth moderate winds)
- 2-Dowel Genki (2.4m 8ft span. Several more flights, nothing particularly satisfying due to insufficient wind.)
- 2-Dowel Sled (2.4m 8ft tall. Great long flight in light winds with some thermal activity.)
Although the Genki book was nearly complete, it's on hold for now since the current design really isn't good enough to publish. Never mind, it will one day be recycled into a revised book on a larger, more lightly-loaded Genki. The experience with the current kite has generated a list of improvements as long as my arm!
"Every new kite is an adventure!"
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Table of Contents
- Visitor Contribution Of The Month
- Flight Report Of The Month
- MBK Kite Making News
- The KAP Kite Project
Visitor Contribution Of The Month
December is the slowest month of the year for MBK, in terms of people coming through the site. However, that didn't stop a few interesting contributions coming in.
The story featured here has an interesting title, a photo of the kite in question and decent narrative - despite the somewhat short lifespan and difficulties experienced by the kite!
Check out this home-made kite tale, titled The Listing Rhomboid Box Kite.
Flight Report Of The Month
What to do when 3 kites had great flights... Even though, most unusually, no kite this month even went to 400 feet! The Box and the Sode were being flown over a narrow strip of beach sand, hence I didn't take chances with longer line lengths. The (overweight) Genki was restricted to short flights due to light winds, hence was never in the air long enough to climb high. And finally, the big Sled... for some reason I just didn't bother letting the line out further than 60 meters (200 feet). Maybe the chore of bringing down down this hard-pulling kite had something to do with it, despite the light winds!
Hey, you know what - I'll feature one of the Genki reports here. It's a more entertaining read, definitely. Have you noticed how 'kite failure' stories tend to be more interesting?
Here's the report:
(titled "Flight Report - The Genki On 50 Meters, Until...")
"There seemed to be a moderate breeze outside, with plenty of sunshine, so it seemed a good time to pop out with the Genki. Down at the reserve, the breeze was quite gusty, as usual, but at least there would be no problems getting the kite away.
With the line reel anchored just upwind of a shade-throwing tree, I carried the fully rigged kite downwind, pulling line off the reel. The Genki rose up readily from a hand-launch, then decided to hang on a wing-tip for an anxious moment or 2, before righting itself. At this point, I had a few meters of line out and quickly pulled on a bit more tension to urge the kite up higher. Up it went, drogue fully inflated, while I hurriedly moved upwind and let more line slip through my hand. I can't believe how steep this thing flies.
A minute or 2 later, there it was, sailing quite steadily on nearly 50 meters of line. A great sight! From time to time it moved around somewhat from side to side, and also dropped some height during lulls in the breeze. Then I took my eyes off it for a just moment while I let out a final meter or 2 of line...
When I looked back at the kite, it had dropped a wing-tip way down and was soon heading straight for the ground.
Here we go again... All I could do was to release all tension in the line while the kite was still several meters up. It plopped down on the leading edge of one side, snapping the trailing edge tape on that side and pulling out the batten tie yet again. Sigh. To add insult to injury, I discovered that both rolls of packing tape in the bag had only centimeters of tape left on them. This was not enough to get the kite back in the air.
This Dowel Genki is close to being called a 'failure', but with yet more weight along the trailing edge and perhaps sea-breeze flying only, it might yet put in some great flights.
Winds today averaged 5.4 kph gusting to 11.7 kph, near ground level."
MBK Kite-Making News
Compared to last month's epic discussion of the Genki's balance problems, this will be quite short :-)
About all the kite-making I did this month was some repairs and minor mods to the Genki. I've lost count of all the extra bits of packing tape here and there! The next Genki will have edging tape on both sides of the plastic for extra strength in case of a nose-in.
When the kite has contacted the ground on its trailing edge, the batten ties have proved to be quite vulnerable. They just pull straight through the sail when the batten gets a hefty bump on the outboard tip. Hence, the shoe-lace ties are now attached to the vertical spars. The battens now lie at just a slightly different angle than before, when the ties are secured to the battens. This seems to be working well, with this much stronger arrangement.
Remember that dowel tail-weight that was added last month? An extra length of dowel is now taped to it, to increase its effect even more. With copious amounts of packing tape as well. Disgraceful isn't it ;-)
The shoelace ties were barely fitting the grooves in the tail weight, when threaded around twice. So a little more file work was in order to make the grooves bigger.
Regarding threading shoelace around twice... This has proved to be a good idea for just about every tie on this kite, or any Dowel kite. For example, when anchoring the leading edge corner straps to the horizontal spar, it makes it much easier to half-hitch the shoelace without losing tension in the tie.
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."
Probably 'later' after all, now. So for the next few months it's a bit pointless running this section with nothing new to report. It will disappear after this issue.
But sometime later next year, when KAP is actually being done, this section will surface again. My current thought is that box kites will be used, giving good protection for the camera by mounting it within the kite.
Why not tell a friend about this kiting newsletter.
Issued on Tuesday, Dec 27th 2011 Issue #0053
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...