It's an archive of sorts, although there are no dates and times. Kite flying is timeless, don't you agree? I trust there is plenty in here to educate, inform and often entertain!
These short flight reports once appeared in the site blog page - that's the one you enter via the 'what's new!' site navigation link. Just scroll down and stop at any heading that appeals :-)
Barndoor Soars In Winter Sun
Down near the big shopping complex down in Noarlunga, an opportunity came up for the two males in the family to do something other than shopping...
Bike-riding for the younger one, while the (much) older one flew a small bright-orange Barndoor kite over a grassy knoll. Yes, an actual knoll in the lush green field, although I suspect this one was originally created by a bull-dozer! Aren had fun riding down the steep side, carving prominent tracks into the clover and grass.
Just before launching the kite, the wind meter was showing a 5 kph average with a gust to 10.8 kph. Perfect for just about any 2-Skewer kite of mine. The small Barndoor twisted and turnd in the rough air down low before rising up easily into smoother air. On about 60 meters (200 feet) of line, the kite performed for the camera, the Winter sun flashing off the brightly lit plastic sail.
Later, with the line out to 120 meters (400 feet), some sag started to develop due to the length. Occasionally though, gusts would pull hard at the kite, taking most of the sag out. Just for a few seconds at a time.
A bird flew past, just missing the line, quite close to the anchor point. 20 pound line is sometimes hard to see - even for the birds!
Since the breeze up high was now pushing the small kite hard, a few adjustments to the bridle were necessary. Several times, I brought the kite all the way down to tweak the Prusik knot across one way or the other. It seems that any kite with spars on a diagonal responds very precisely to sideways movement of the towing point.
The final flight today went high and straight. However, with enough wind speed, you can get to a point where the kite will be forced into instability. It will start to loop in an unpredictable direction, despite being perfectly trimmed.
For a while it was a pleasure seeing the kite coping well on a long line. Exploring the sky at the upper end of its wind speed envelope.
Finally, my son Aren pulled in the line while I wound it onto the wooden winder, to avoid excessive tension. With the sun out, Winter flying can be pleasant enough!
New 2-Skewer Barn Door Has A Wild Ride!
The 2-Skewer Barn Door has recently been re-made, mainly to improve the How To instructions and bring them up to date. I did take the opportunity to re-design the bridle though, making it about half as long as the original. Together with increasing the amount of dihedral, these changes had a great test today in gusty moderate winds. The aim was to extend the upper limit of the wind range for this kite!
A few photos were snapped off while the Barn Door was on a fairly short line. As often happens, the very first image was the best. Took quite a few as the kite darted about in the swirling gusts near the ground. At least there was bright sunshine from time to time as the clouds swept by overhead.
With 30 meters (100 feet) of line out, all was well, with no consistent turning in one direction or the other. However, like many of my small Barn Doors, this kite seems to like taking long excursions across the sky from one side to the other! Just from time to time.
While flying on 60 meters (200 feet) of line, the kite was gripped by a strong patch of rising air. So, I shook line off the winder while the bright orange kite rapidly got smaller - almost straight up! In a matter of seconds, the 90 meter (300 feet) flag was out and I decided to stop the climb there.
All up, a great outing with fairly light tension on the line despite the breezy conditions. That short bridle you see...
The wind meter, sitting near the ground, recorded just over 7kph, gusting to 17.5kph. Higher up, it would have been more like 15 to 25kph for much of the time.
Barndoor Battles Thermic Chop
Yep, choppy conditions and heaps of rising and sinking air today...
Realizing that I've done precious little flying this month - and the newsletter's due out tomorrow :-0 - it was time to grab something and go fly...
Wind readings in the metro area were all over the place. At the intended flying spot, or close to it, the weather site was saying 7 - 9kph. OK, pretty light. Just a few km further north, at Adelaide airport, the figures were 24kph gusting to 39kph! So, I grabbed the little 2-Skewer Barn Door kite. Good in light winds but also strong enough to hold together in the rough stuff.
As it turned out, winds at the field were around 18kph gusting to 24kph. Low down, wind shadow from tall trees caused an almost complete lack of breeze from time to time. Hence the first 2 short videos I took showed the 6-sided orange kite sagging to the grass. The line was short so as to get good quality footage with the camera. However, it was necessary to let out more line to get the kite to stay up...
There was more success this time. As far as imagery went - nothing a bit of optical zoom wouldn't fix! After getting some great footage, it was time to let out more line and have some fun...
The kite lapped up the gusty gentle-to-moderate breeze, pulling firmly and making it's way all around the sky. As Barn Doors do, the kite traversed far off to left and right when near it's wind speed limit. Rising air sent the kite soaring to near-90 degree angles, more than once. What goes up must come down however, so at another time the kite hung low over a large downwind tree - pulling hard but going nowhere in the descending air! Eventually, line angles returned to normal.
It was a short but pleasant outing, seeing the dusted-off kite do it's thing at over 200 feet off the grass. 20-pound line stretched tight. The sail back-lit by brilliant sunshine.
2-Skewer Barn Door At Local Event
A local kite business put on a public event yesterday titled 'Kites, Bikes and Picnics'. Kites were indeed there in abundance, most having been purchased from a display beside the grassy field. The field being the Henley Grange Memorial Oval here in Adelaide, South Australia.
Aren and I turned up for a fairly short visit since we needed to be home again by a certain time. Never the less, it was enjoyable seeing a dozen or so small kids and parents having reasonable success with their kites.
As we wandered about taking photos and video, numbers swelled with more families walking or driving in. Aren got enthused and asked to go back to the car to grab a kite. So, out we came with the 2-Skewer Barn Door, which proceeded to float into the air without much trouble. The six-sided bright orange kite ended up flying at around 100 feet for much of the time.
Winds, however, were quite variable. Occasionally the breeze would really die off, sending all the kites to the grass.
Three AKFA members, including myself, were present although I had brought no large kites on this occasion. A fairly large single-line parafoil was up there though, trailing long twin tails and making a statement... 'Single-line kites aren't just for kids - check this out!'.
A permanent page on the website is coming soon, which will feature a clickable photo gallery illustrating this event.
Barely A Breeze For Bright Barn Door
The weather site was indicating winds over 10kph so the 2-Skewer Barn Door kite seemed a perfect choice. Even in a much lighter breeze, the light-weight skewer-and-plastic construction would ensure that the bright-orange kite would fly. Well, it did, but only just!
Dangling the kite from an outstretched arm just wasn't going to work, so the winder was tossed on the ground. Walking towards the middle of the reserve with the small Barn Door, loop after loop of flying line came off the winder as it tumbled around in the grass. Untidy but it works. With about 30 m (100 feet) of line out, I walked briskly back to the winder, running the line through my hand. With a little bit of grip applied, the kite rose up willingly enough. Only to lose height immediately, wafting face-down towards the ground.
For the next 20 minutes or so, it was one of those ultra-light-wind skill-building sessions. Tow up, pull in, let out, pull in again, let out during another tantalizing gust and so on. The idea being to keep the kite in the air as long as possible.
Finally, after several pull-launches off the grass on a long line, the kite found some faster air above 200 feet. That's more like it! Now it was possible to just stand back and enjoy the sight and feel of the kite in adequate air pressure. Soon, the orange Barn Door kite was cruising about at steep line angles, staying around 300 feet above the reserve. A lot of motorists on South Road would have noticed it too.
Nice flight, after a somewhat slow start!
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