Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News
As you have no doubt noted from the subject line of this email, the new Dowel Delta has logged quite a bit of flying time this month. The previous ones were ok, but I can really recommend this one for light wind flying fun!
All of a sudden, with Northern Hemisphere Spring approaching, questions have started pouring in to the ask Tim page. These often often result in links to other on-line resources that zero-in on the topic being discussed. I'm sure plenty of visitors find these posts useful from time to time.
As hinted at last time, a short questionnaire is currently up on most of the 3rd columns of the My Best Kite site. This should help me to, one day, please a bigger proportion of the kiting enthusiasts who appreciate the convenience of a downloadable book when doing their projects.
"Every new kite is an adventure!"
P.S. It might be a few months coming, but 'big kites and air-borne cameras' are locked into my planning now. I can't wait either :-)
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Table of Contents
- Visitor Contribution Of The Month
- Flight Report Of The Month
- MBK Kite Making News
Visitor Contribution Of The Month
In terms of amazing kite-loss tales or other long kiting stories, nothing of the sort came in this month. However, amongst the big influx of questions via the ask Tim link was a small contribution that I'll feature here. It's almost a throw-back to the 50s or 60s when suburban life was more easy-going and everybody's kids played in the street or vacant lot or grassy reserve.
Read about a spontaneous neighborhood kite festival, in a brief story titled Sail The Blue. There's not much there - but what a great concept! Is anyone game to try and replicate it? Share the results here, of course.
Flight Report Of The Month
It wasn't hard to pick one this month. Despite the flight's ceiling being only 200 feet rather than the usual 400 feet off the ground, this Delta flight was quite memorable. It even features a spot of ridge flying, or slope soaring as some call it!
Here's the short-form Flight Report for this somewhat busy outing. Actually, it depends on how you define 'busy'. Some of the time, I was probably 'busy' just gazing at the Delta's graceful flight...
Dowel Delta Beautifully Balanced
"So much happened during this 'zero-wind and thermals' flight that I didn't even have the time to take any photos or shoot video. So it's going to be a very compressed 'short-form' Flight Report today.
To see whether they were at fault, I switched the leading edge dowels around some days ago. Today's flying didn't really show up much of a tendency to hang either way in the air, but it will probably be best to wait for a moderate-wind day before coming to any conclusions about that!
The Dowel proved 'beautifully balanced' indeed. To the point where I could toss the winder on the grass and let the kite fly on auto-pilot for minutes at a time. Drifting, slowly spinning in weak lift with the line hanging straight down or even trailing behind a little. Just a hint of fore-and-aft rocking in scrappy air. Very nice.
Anyway, here's all the action in list form...
- Wind was too light to hand-launch.
- Pulled the Dowel Delta up on 20 meters of line, straight into some lift.
- Managed to get 30 meters (100 feet) of line out. And in, and out, and so on, but no landing.
- Better lift took the Delta to 200 feet. Sometimes I just let it circle and drift downwind in lift.
- Ended up near ground level again. Never mind, just attempt some slope soaring - centimeters off the ground, over an artificial mound near the edge of the reserve! Fun fun fun, and still no landing. But lots of walking and working the line.
- Back to 200 feet again, after dicing with the tree-tops in 2-3kph of thermal-induced puffs. But I kept losing the lift at 200 feet. Should have put the kite on 20 pound line perhaps. No danger of breakage in these conditions!
- Tell-tale signs of thermals were everywhere. Small birds hunted for insects, and sometimes checked out the kite. Bits of white fluff floated by, high up.
- The kite stayed East of me most of the time. The forecast was for light winds. They certainly got that right.
- Eventually just let the Delta fly around on its own. All the way to the ground, after about 40 minutes in the air. The resident kookaburra in the suburbia to the South cackled in approval, a little more reserved than usual.
Don't forget the wind meter reading... I hear you. It showed an average of 1.2 kph (from many directions), and a max gust of 4.7 kph. I was waiting for a light wind day, but not quite this light!"
MBK Kite-Making News
Last month I entertained (or bored?) you with a detailed explanation of how the latest Dowel Delta differs from its predecessors. On one of the outings I did manage to get some decent photos and video. However, the on-the-floor photo up there shows the kite's dimensions pretty well.
In flight, the leading edge spars are free to come together by just over half a centimeter on each side. The resulting sail billow helps give the kite directional stability. Keels don't seem to do much until the line angles are fairly high.
On re-reading some of Dan Liegh's website on Delta design and flying, the penny dropped as to the full story on trimming Deltas. If there is a significant difference in the flexibility of the leading edge spars, then it is easy to spot just by swapping them around. Then, in flight, the kite should lean in the opposite direction. Easily fixed!
However, if this does not fix the problem, then a change to the sail is required. Dan suggests a trailing edge apron (lots of small tails, in effect) to increase the general stability of the kite. Personally, I don't mind spoiling the symmetrical lines of the kite by adding a 'tail-let' to one wingtip! This adds just the tiniest amount of drag force to the kite, hence it's performance potential is hardly affected.
I guess some of us might get lucky and end up with a sail fault cancelling out a leading edge fault. That would be evident if you swap the spars to correct a lean - and then find the kite flies perfectly over its whole wind range!
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Issued on Tuesday, Feb 28th 2012 Issue #0055
My Best Kite
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