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Flying Dowels & Plastic, Jul 2013 - KAP Test Flights
July 30, 2013

Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News


This month has mainly seen the Dowel and Multi-Dowel kites flying. And recently, as the title of this email notes, my KAP test weight has finally started taking to the sky. Some interesting and instructive experiences have resulted, which should help me to keep a camera or video cam safe when the aerial photography starts. It seems like there might always be a small element of risk though!

Specifically, it was the Dowel Barn Door, Dowel Delta, Multi-Dowel Sled and Multi-Dowel Rokkaku that did most of the flying this month.

With the Multi-Dowel Sled's angled side-spars, I had always suspected that moving the bridle knot would be very precise and effective in trimming the kite straight. And so it turned out to be. Up until this month the Sled had only been flown in very light winds, apart from the odd thermal gust. Hence the kite's turning tendency had remained uncorrected until now.

Last month's editorial mentioned the efforts of the 2 MBK Flight Reporters who have contributed stories so far. Over the next few weeks expect to see one or two more. At least! I'm on the hunt for kite writer/fliers. Could that be you? Have a look at this info page if you want to make some pocket money from your hobby.

Tim P.

"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.

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

  1. Visitor Contribution Of The Month
  2. Flight Report Of The Month
  3. MBK Kite Making News
  4. KAP Corner
  5. MBK Books

1. Visitor Contribution Of The Month

In this off-season month, only one contribution came in. But this short and simple story does illustrate the essence of home-made kite-flying and it's effect on kids in particular!

Check out 1st Time 4H Kite submitted by ... erm ... someone completely anonymous, from somewhere on this planet. Usually, contributors are most likely to be from the US, but at this time of year it could be anywhere.

2. Flight Report Of The Month

A toss-up between a short but satisfying Dowel Delta flight in very light air and a tale about the Multi-Dowel Sled lifting the KAP test weight. The latter story also has a couple of small surprises in it, so it was the one to feature here.

A short-format Flight Report this time, titled...

MD Sled Trimmed Straight, With A Payload

"The weather outside, not to mention the nearest weather stations, indicated a good chance of flying the huge Multi-Dowel Sled. At somewhat above its minimum wind-speed requirements. This would be handy for trimming out the leftwards lean which became apparent on its last outing!

Down at the reserve the low-level winds were actually pretty light. A police officer cruised slowly past, down the access road, with a mildly shocked look on his face. Did my gun-metal colored wind meter appear to be a firearm, as I handled it? Did the rolled-up blue plastic kite look like a grenade-launcher in a weather-proof bag? After parking a safe distance away, he eventually tweaked that I was as harmless as the local field-mice.

On perhaps the fourth attempt, the big blue Sled stayed up for a while. In the stronger gusts, the lean was there again, so down came the kite for an adjustment. With the bridle knot several centimeters across, the kite became much more eager to soar straight up rather than curving around or leaning from time to time.

But it was time to bring the kite down anyway, for the very first weight-bearing experiment. A 2 meter line tied to a plastic bag of used batteries now swung from the flying line. About 15 meters (50 feet) from the kite, and weighing 280gm. Enough to simulate my Pentax Optio WG-2 in a light cage. Or perhaps something lighter and cheaper ;-)

As expected, the hard-pulling Sled coped with the weight effortlessly. Even soaring directly overhead in light lift, on 75 meters (250 feet) of line. At these line angles, the payload actually lightens the tension in the line, since it is acting against the lift force of the kite.

An interesting experience, with one or two small lessons learned along the way.

Wind was averaging 5kph and gusted to 12.8kph at one point. Aloft, perhaps some gusts were close to 20kph.

The Multi-Dowel Sled kite is the bonus design in the e-book Making The MBK Dowel Sled Kite."

3. MBK Kite-Making News

A new Dowel kite was made this month to replace the Barn Door which was lost quite some time ago. The reason for re-making this kite was more than just to fill the vacant spot in the row of Dowel kites in the shed...

The How To... instructions for the bridles of all the Dowel kites are being updated, one by one. The Barn Door is next, and I needed a new kite to double-check all the bridle line lengths. I figure that since many people struggle to get a home-made kite to fly simply due to an incorrectly adjusted bridle, this topic should get special attention. Fool-proof instructions = happy kite makers = more kite-related activity on this website for all visitors to enjoy.

Making this Dowel design again reminded me of just how quicker it is to put together a smaller kite! For example, although it is a straightforward task, compare cutting out a 1.2 meter (4 feet) sail with doing the same for a 2.4 meter (8 feet) sail. Not to mention the extra work involved in joining 2-piece spars together in the Multi-Dowel designs.

4. KAP Corner

As expected, an MBK Flight Reporter put up a test weight earlier this month, under the Multi-Dowel Barn Door. And a good choice of kite for it, I would say! At least from an aerodynamic point of view.

I have also put up my test weight on a couple of occasions this month. Once under the Multi-Dowel Sled and once under the Multi-Dowel Rokkaku. Actually, the Rok flight was earlier today!

It's not hard to see the attraction of the 'soft' kites used by serious KAPers though. So simple to set up and fly, but of course you pay a premium for a large, quality kite. As camera technology gets smaller, the kite size required is getting smaller and hence cheaper. As another alternative, there will one day be such a thing as an MBK No-sew Flowform for KAP. Could be a while though ;-)

Don't forget, if you have recently (or ever!) done any KAP, there is a place to share it - the Kite Aerial Photography page. There are a few older entries in there already.

5. MBK Books

These are advertised in the right hand columns of the My Best Kite website, and occasionally referenced in the body text of some pages.

Also, have you seen the Book Catalog page?

In recent months, the number of people accessing e-books on all kinds of topics has exploded, thanks largely to the Amazon company and its increasingly popular Kindle e-reader. In fact, the term 'e-book' 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...

A PDF file, containing text and photos, can be downloaded to your computer's hard drive. These 'e-books' are handy for either reading on-screen at any print size you want, 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 Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite.

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.

Why not tell a friend about this kiting newsletter.

Issued on Tuesday, July 30th 2013 Issue #0072
My Best Kite
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia

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