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 :-)
Dowel Dopero Down!
Well, sometimes you get deceived by the weather stations! It was supposed to be relatively light down near Noarlunga this morning. Hence I had the Dowel Delta in the car, with the Dowel Dopero brought along just in case things got breezier. They sure did...
During set-up there was very little air movement. In fact, on the way to the launch spot, several handfuls of dry grass had to be thrown up to get some idea of the wind direction! The situation soon changed however.
Bright sunlight was warming the ground and it was clear that large thermals were lifting off from time to time. Combined with this was the somewhat hilly location, with a noticeable decrease in ground height in the upwind direction. Even further upwind lay a flat area right next to the coast. A recipe for real bursts of wind speed from time to time!
Not to worry, since the Dowel Dopero handles a wide range of wind for a light-wind kite. Several flights were done on a short line while I took some video. Annoyingly, the wind direction and the sun's position in the sky conspired to make most of the movies unusable. The kite spent most of the time with the sun directly behind it!
Now it was time to let the kite up much higher. You know me - long line flying is the best! A couple of attempts were made to trim the Dopero straighter. But it was difficult. Even a tiny difference in trim would make it lean first one way, then the other when adjustments were tried. The kite was straining right at the limit of its wind range.
Holding the wind meter up for a while, it registered 22kph, gusting to 31 kph. Box kite weather really!
The spring scales came out for a while and registered peak line tensions of around 3.5kg. Not bad for a 1.2m (4ft) light-wind kite.
Sure enough, while taking the last video on 60m (200ft) of line, a tip tape gave way. The Dopero lazily spun round and round before coming to rest on the dirt and dry grass.
Anyway, the weather was pleasant, even if the flying was not too relaxed!
Dowel Dopero Dusted Off
With little sunlight for any half-decent KAP photos and almost zero wind, it was a day for pulling out a super light-wind design from the back shed.
The 1.2m (4 ft) Dowel Dopero, although having a slightly higher wing-loading than simpler Dowel kites, has always been a delight to fly in light conditions. The 4-point bridle keeps it steady in moderate winds too, giving it a very respectable wind range for something made from wood, plastic and ordinary electrical insulation tape. Talking of which, a couple of spar tips needed a bit of extra tape since they were showing their age...
After the spar tips were restored to air-worthiness and 20 pound, yes 20 pound flying line connected, a tow-up was attempted. This went on for quite a while since the Dopero insisted on sinking out very slowly every time I stopped. Simply not enough breeze!
The reserve was fairly large so it was possible to keep working the kite up from time to time, while walking to the far side. This was the very first time this kite had been flown on such light line.
With every long pull-up, the stretch of the thin Dacron was most obvious. Nothing would happen for a half-second or so, before the kite would start to accelerate upwards.
Eventually, the kite gripped when at about 100 feet off the wet grass. Leaves were barely moving at all at ground level. The wind could be felt against my cheek only occasionally. But now the pale orange Dopero kite was accelerating slowly upwards on its own.
The kite soon found a steep line angle and parked itself there, displaying just the occasional nose-twitch caused by its twin tail-keels.
The line was secured to a handy park bench arm-rest while I pulled out the camera. However, the breeze started to die even further as the sky darkened and dusk approached. After a hasty photo or two, I was busy trying to keep the kite out of trouble. A wind shift had taken it over some trees and saplings.
A short but enjoyable outing!
Dowel Dopero As Good As Ever
With 6 year-old Aren at soccer practice for 45 minutes, and a gusty breeze tickling the tree tops, it was a chance to pull out the Dowel Dopero. This kite has had a good break from flying, so I had a quick check of all the tape spar caps, after rigging. The ones on the lower horizontal spar were a little suspect, but would hold up for a while. I hoped.
The next 20 minutes or so were spent with short flights, walking out to bring the kite down, re-adjusting the upper bridle loop, and re-launching. After about 3 tries, the Dopero flew straight and true. This kite responds very predictably to the knot position. Knot right, turns to the right, and vice versa.
Given the limited time available for flying, it was sensible to stay under a 60 meter (200 feet) line length. The air was rough up there, causing the normally sedate kite to twitch its tail and accelerate upwards suddenly from time to time. 5 turns of line around a smooth-barked sapling was enough to hold the strain, as it held a high line angle in the cool breeze.
The efficiency of this design is just amazing. No thermal activity to speak of, and yet it kept bobbing up to high angles, pulling like a horse. A check of the Windtronic meter showed an average wind strength of just 1.4 kph and a peak gust to 3.6 kph. However, there was a dense row of pine trees upwind. The clouds moving overhead indicated moderate strength winds higher up. So did the very taut flying line!
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