Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News
Winter is just a few days away now, here in South Australia, and the weather is already cold by Adelaide standards. The winds have been quite reasonable for light-wind kite flying most of the time. Just a few days have had me wishing I had the time to make a gale-proof Dowel Tetrahedral!
Remember the over-the-roof adventures last month? A few more happened this month also, including a white-knuckle flight in freshening winds with the new 3-Skewer A-Frame. It finally made it back over the fence and into my hands, after hovering high over suburbia as sunset approached. More on that A-Frame later...
It seems orange drop-sheet plastic does exist after all. All the tables at my sister's birthday party were covered with the stuff! No more pale-blue giant MBK kites will come out from now on. They will all be a more satisfyingly photogenic Pale Orange. You beauty! (sorry - an Aussie-ism)
"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
Visitor Contribution Of The Month
Yet again, the majority of the contributions this month were actually questions, via the 'ask Tim' link on the site. But a short thank-you note from the president of the Adelaide Kite Fliers club did provide a few interesting little snippets of kiting info.
Read Dr. Tony's submission with its obscure kite facts and file them away in your head :-)
Flight Report Of The Month
This one was actually the first report for the month, and it featured the Dowel Box Kite (fresh wind version). The weather conditions changed markedly while the kite was up there. This usually makes for a more interesting story, so here it is...
Dowel Box Kite: Smooth Sailing Turns Rough
"Just for a change, this flight with the Dowel Box Kite wasn't over the roof top...
Earlier in the day, things looked fairly calm, but by the time I got out there were windier periods. Down at the reserve, moderate gusts would come through from time to time. Just enough to launch the fresh wind Box it appeared. Sure enough, after a few tows and sink-outs, the blue 'squashed box' design managed to claw its way higher. A bit of timing and working the line helped of course.
Passing through 100 feet or so, additional wind strength made for very ideal conditions for this kite. Climbing further was a uhhm ... breeze. Initially the sky was rather overcast and the box kite settled down to a rock-solid position in smooth, moderate winds. Just over 90 meters (300 feet) of line was out.
A ragged formation of white cockatoos flew across just down-wind of the field. Flickering specks of pure-white. Later, a splash of red and yellow shot past me at shoulder height - a parakeet of some kind, in a hurry to get somewhere downwind of my position.
Why fly on 90 meters when there is more line on the winder... Out it went, another 30 meters to 120 meters (400 feet). Not long after this, I noticed that the kite was scooting around a lot more, and even climbing overhead from time to time. Well, 80 degrees at least. Thermals had arrived! Indeed, the sun was now out, not quite at full strength due to thin sheets of cloud here and there. But the air had responded to the ground's warmth within minutes. Now I had a big fish on the line, not a barge...
All up, a great flight, with the wind meter peaking at 9.6 kph at ground level. But somewhere between 15 and 20 kph upstairs, I think. Why not give the Dowel Box Kite (fresh winds) a try."
MBK Kite-Making News
Ready for a 'fresh new kite design' as promised last month? Well, there it is, over on the right. The 3-Skewer A-Frame Kite, which by the way has been added to the Making Skewer Kites downloadable book. Full plans, step-by-step construction notes, flight report and all that. This one is a bonus design for the book-buyer, unpublished on this website.
My first crack at an A-frame kite has 3 bamboo skewers end-to-end for each spar. The spars are trimmed a little to fit the sail. A 4-point bridle and A-frame construction keep the kite rigid enough to cope with quite a good wind range. Provided any turning tendency is trimmed out, of course.
Since the horizontal spar is too low to take the upper bridle loop, the top 2 points of the bridle are attached to the diagonal spars instead. In turn, this requires that the horizontal spar is attached to the others in front rather than behind, as viewed by the kite flier.
At least, I thought this would be a good idea so there was no chance of air pressure pulling the horizontal spar off the other spars. Perhaps with really strong glue joins it would never matter, but I decided to play safe! With the more traditional technique of binding the spars together, it wouldn't matter either. But, this is MBK, where 'every kite is constructed the same way' to keep things simple and as quick as possible for would-be kite makers.
My longer-term plan is to have several 3-Skewer designs as bonus kites for the book, covering a very wide wind range. It seems to me that this A-Frame might be well-suited to modifying slightly to make it a moderate-to-fresh wind flier instead. This would be achieved by using doubled skewers for the center of all 3 spars. The necessary overlap of bamboo would result in a slightly smaller kite - which of course would only enhance the stiffness even more.
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Issued on Tuesday, May 29th 2012 Issue #0058
My Best Kite
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia
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