Adelaide Kite Festival 2015

The View From 250 Feet

Yes, at the Adelaide Kite Festival 2015 we finally got around to doing some KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) of the event. You could say that Saturday of the Easter long weekend was 'the main event' since the weather came good in spectacular fashion. Just in time really, after being almost dead calm earlier in the morning.

Of course, we also got around on the sandy beach, taking plenty of photos and video from that perspective too. As usual, a very wide variety of craft were floating about, giving the public an education on the breadth and depth of modern kite making!

This year, we graduated to flying on the North side of the jetty, since I am now a member of AKFA (Adelaide Kite Flyers Association). Our Multi-Dowel designs are large enough to not look out of place over there. All the same, there are no rules on kite size. In fact, some of the most interesting designs this year were relatively small ones!

The public flying area to the South of the jetty was alive with smaller kites. Occasionally, a mishap would occur, sending a colorful piece of ripstop nylon drifting through the registered fliers' area. Sometimes with nylon line attached and sometimes not.

Sunday also turned out well, although we didn't attend. Then the wild weather hit on Monday. Gale force gusts and buckets of hail!

Two More KAP Perspectives

My Pentax Optio camera was set to take 20 images at 10 second intervals. Also, a four minute initial delay gave ample time to launch and climb out the kite. Thanks to the super-steady flight of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon Diamond, just about any of the images could have been used.

Several flights were made. Shown below are the results of tweaking the rig left, then right. Hence both ends of the jetty were captured.

Click on an image to enlarge it. Make sure your browser window is full-screen! Try the image at the top of this page as well.

Photos From Below

My wife and I both walked around with the camera at different times, snapping whatever seemed interesting. Here's a selection, which are also clickable to fill your screen...

Our Day At The
Adelaide Kite Festival 2015

The weather forecasts in previous days were showing ominously little wind. Even on the first morning of the event, a Saturday, the air was practically dead calm. But it turned out to be the calm before the st... stirring of leaves in pleasant light wind. Whew! Actually, the storm did arrive - on Monday, which saw no official flying.

We arrived around midday and set up our little throw-down tent on the sand. Young Aren was tasked with filling sand bags while Dad walked back to the car... Soon to return with an armful of Multi-Dowel kites plus the #2 Carbon Diamond, a 2m (7ft) span design with Tyvek house-wrap sail.

The photos in this section were not taken on the day, but give a close-up view of the kites mentioned...

Adelaide Kite Festival 2015 - Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite.Multi-Dowel Barn Door.

First in the air was the Multi-Dowel Barn Door. The big kite was very straight-forwardly let up to around 300 feet on my hose-reel-mounted 200 pound Dacron line. A sturdy calico shopping bag 1/3 full of sand was adequate to hold the tail-less kite in the fairly smooth 8 to 12kph breeze. Weaving gently from side to side and sometimes straightening up in slightly fresher periods, the Barn Door was slightly downwind of most of the biggest festival kites.

One done, a few more to go! Now it was time to spend a few minutes with family in our little home base on the sand, before wandering off to take photos. And the odd video.

I was determined this year to get some KAP images of the festival. Although the Barn Door is a good reliable workhorse for aerial photography, I chose the Carbon Diamond to hoist my bamboo-skewer rig over the Semaphore sand. Besides being very steady in flight, this Diamond also allows the KAP rig to hang just 15m (50ft) from the kite, with no stability problems. Unlike other kites of mine, which require the rig to be hung 30m (100ft) from the lifter kite!

Again using a calico shopping bag as a sand anchor, a 100 pound line was laid out and the kite rigged. Next came attaching the suspension lines to the flying line and inserting the camera. After setting up the photo sequence and pressing the shutter button, it was time to launch the Diamond and carefully let the KAP cradle rise away.

Soon, there it was, the camera a little black dot in the sky to people watching from the jetty. Capturing all the action from over 250 feet above the beach.

Son Aren's next task was to remind me every 10 or 15 minutes to take down the camera and tweak the direction. In this way, over several flights, 90% of all the activity on the ground and in the air was covered.

In the meantime, we walked around and got to meet a few notable kite people. Including a Japanese kite master who was very approving of the way my Multi-Dowel Barn Door looked and flew. Sort of refreshing really, considering the decidedly home-spun look of most of my kites! Modern designer kites are so hi-tech and arty in comparison.

Adelaide Kite Festival 2015 - Multi-Dowel Diamond kite.Multi-Dowel Diamond

Finally it was decided to put just one more kite up. It seemed prudent to try a short line length this time, as the sky was getting crowded! So, the dark-blue Multi-Dowel Diamond was secured on a short 100 pound line, upwind of the other two. A drogue was added too, just to be on the safe side...

During the afternoon the wind gradually freshened until it was gusting to just over 20kph at shoulder height. With the ideal weather, all three kites behaved themselves immaculately the whole time they were up. The Carbon Diamond needed a small bridle adjustment to stop it hanging left, towards the very big kites. Then it tended ever so slightly to the right, but that wasn't a problem at all.

Around 4:30pm, we took all of our kites down, having been part of possibly one of the best festival days ever. Such great weather this time for the Adelaide Kite Festival 2015!

Adelaide Kite Festival 2015 - black pegasus inflatable kiteMay, my wife, took this great shot of Black Pegasus on her phone

E-book special of the month (25% off)...

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) diameter Parasail kite. This kite performs well in gentle to moderate wind speeds. That's from 12 to 28 kph or from 8 to 18 mph. It pulls hard for it's size, so should not be flown by very small kids!

Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parasail kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Diamond In 'Light Air'

    Apr 29, 17 04:43 AM

    Though overcast and nearly windless outside, there was still a chance the 1.2m Dowel Diamond would stay up...

    I selected my special light wind version, which stays rigged - saving the weight of glue an…

    Read More


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Wind Speeds

Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7