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Flying Dowels & Plastic, Oct 2012 - A Few Skewer Kite Sorties
October 30, 2012
Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News
As the Subject line said, it's been Skewer kite sorties mainly this month, but a couple of Dowel kites were flown as well. Including the giant 2-Dowel Sled. The weather has been mixed, but generally it has been reasonable for kite-flying, with plenty of sunshine.
As you might have gathered by now, a little experiment with Pinterest is underway on the MBK website. This social system is quite suited to this site and myself personally due to its emphasis on imagery. This site has over 1500 images on it! That surprised me too when I sat down and went through the numbers. That does add up to quite some potential for others to share the site's images around, with a resulting boost in overall traffic. How much? Time will tell.
OK, ok, back to the kites! ;-)
A KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) section has been reintroduced to this newsletter. The aim is to develop a successful auto-KAP system that requires relatively little expertise (and money!) from the photographer, compared to traditional approaches. Without sacrificing much in terms of image quality, both video and still. Of course, the final product will be a How To ... eBook to help people replicate my successes and avoid my failures. Should be interesting!
I'm not one to rush, so progress with the KAP project will be spasmodic. The camera, by the way, has been selected and purchased.
"Every new kite is an adventure!"
Have a story to tell?
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 :-)
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Table of Contents
Visitor Contribution Of The Month
A few contributions came in this month, but how can I go past the one featuring a big Rokkaku - one of my favorite kinds of kites!
If you like Roks too, particularly big ones, have a read of this report from the sunny beaches of Jamaica. Well, an 'all-inclusive resort' actually, but the beach must have been pretty close by...
Here's Jay's post, where he recounts how Jamaicans Loved My Kites.
Flight Report Of The Month
After doing a number of short-form flight reports this month, I did a full report just this morning, to document how the recently re-built 2-Skewer Barn Door performs.
This report features 2 still photos and 10 seconds of video which should help you decide if you might want to make a small Skewer Barn Door for yourself one day. If you have ever made one or two of the 2-Skewer designs, looked out the window and thought 'nup, too windy today', then this sturdy small Barn Door might be worth considering. It takes quite a lot to force this kite down if it is properly trimmed!
Here's the flight report from this morning.
MBK Kite-Making News
As promised, the 2-Skewer Barn Door was re-made this month, although the How To... page online is still not quite finished. Just need to do the bridle detail diagram and give it all a final check.
On the topic of bridles, my experiences with this kite and also the Fresh Wind Dowel Box kite a few months ago have led me to really favor short bridles...
By this, I mean where the fulcrum point is no further than about 1 wingspan away from the vertical spar in flight. This allows the kite to rotate more in a tail-up direction when under extra air pressure. It really improves the wind range!
Another advantage is that when the wind drops, the kite is less prone to lose height rapidly in a tail-slide. Instead, it is quicker to pitch forward into a belly-flop and hence float down slowly until the next gust comes through. The photo up there illustrates this well, with the kite starting to pitch forward and the tail floating up behind.
Just after the previous newsletter went out, the 2-Skewer Sled went for a fly with some more sail material removed from down the center. This seemed to cure it of leading edge collapses, so no more changes will be made to that design.
During the same outing, the 3-Skewer Sled illustrated why it is a very good idea to tape the middle of a Sled's spars to the sail material as well as the tips!
OK, so I didn't 'get a camera in the air next month' but at least the camera has been selected and bought! I'll also need to do a few tests and some documentation before actually putting the camera in the air. For one thing, I'll be flying a kite with some small rocks for a payload before risking the camera. The flying characteristics of the kite will change when weight is being carried.
The camera is the reasonably light-weight Pentax Optio WG-2, which has repeat-exposure facilities. No external devices required to trigger the exposures! As an added bonus, the camera happens to be designed as a very tough device for sporting use. Shock-proof, water-proof and even dust-proof. Still, I'll be designing a nice shock-resistant bamboo skewer cradle for it!
Over the last 2 years, I've had a variety of ideas for a series of kites for KAP. Lately, I'm leaning towards doing a series of very similar Rokkakus in different sizes, in order to keep things fairly simple for the photographer. Now that I actually have a capable camera for this, it shouldn't be long before I make the first kite. A big one for light winds.
These are advertised in the right hand columns of the My Best Kite website, and occasionally referenced in the body text of some pages. I'm sure you have seen them.
In recent months, the number of people accessing eBooks on all kinds of topics has exploded, thanks largely to the Amazon company and its increasingly popular Kindle e-reader. In fact, the term 'eBook' might soon be so well known that I can stop referring to mine as 'downloadable, printable books'!
My books are of the PDF file variety, which you can view and / or print off from PCs, Macs and other computers. A bit 'old-school' now, but still pretty handy. There are even ways to access them on the Kindle. But the way of the future is with hand-held devices that are as easy to read as paper.
A little reminder...
An MBK book is a PDF file containing text and photos which can be downloaded to your computer's hard drive. These 'eBooks' are handy for either reading on-screen, or printing off to paper, which is preferable for some. With a PDF, it's very easy to just print out the pages you want. For example, a couple of Appendices plus the instructions for a single kite.
Almost the entire book-published content of this site is contained in the MBK Book Bundle. Of course, the cost is much less than buying all the books separately. Also, as time goes on, the value will increase as new products are added or existing ones extended. For example, the recently-added 3-Skewer A-Frame.
Plenty of people are signing up for the MBK Beginner eCourse. Feel free to reply to this email if you have tried it and have a comment or 2. A more advanced course is in the pipeline.
Issued on Tuesday, October 30th 2012 Issue #0063
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