Some Great Kites In 2008

At The Adelaide Int. Kite Festival

As in previous years, there were some really great kites in 2008. Hence we've decided to put up a page devoted just to the select few that really caught our attention!

Haven't had anything to do with kites since you put up a crude brown-paper and string thing in your childhood? Prepare to be awe-struck at the lengths kite designers go to these days!

Fantastic flying fabric creations which are true works of art, using advanced materials technology.

Quite impressive inflatables like this Blue Sky Vader Octopus Kite on Amazon are cheaper than you might think.

The photos on this page are deliberately quite big, in order to show as much detail as possible. Hence this page will load into your browser a little slower than you might expect. Here's some of the great kites in 2008...

The Dragon Inflatable Kite

Of all the great kites we saw in 2008, this Dragon Inflatable was my favorite!

This was my personal favorite to look at, although I would never think of owning or flying one of these. I snapped off 3 frames on our camera while this air creation rose majestically from the sand. Truly, one of the great kites in 2008 at the Adelaide kite festival! The color and detail was just stunning, not to mention the sheer length of this beautiful inflatable. It's amazing that these can be designed and bridled to keep their shape and fly as a fully functional kite. Not like 'line-laundry' creations which merely hang off another kite's flying line!

The Sea-horse Inflatable Kite

It was hard to miss this Sea-horse Inflatable with its garish colors!

Some of the comments about the Dragon apply to this creation as well. The sheer size of the Sea-horse is impressive, as it sits upright in the air fully inflated. The photo shows it tilted forward quite a bit, but I do remember it sitting completely upright. This gives a much better impression, since that's how real sea-horses appear in a fish tank!

The interesting thing about this design is its form or shape, rather than any fancy detail in terms of pattern or coloring. From the refining of the initial concept, through to the final cutting, sewing and testing, hundreds of hours can go into the production of this kind of kite. All those complex shapes require a lot of small flat panels!

The Malaysian Wau Kite

A simply magnificent Malaysian Wau Bulan.

Wau is pronounced Wow, which happens to be absolutely appropriate in this case! This traditional design was a spectacular and unusual sight amongst all the other mainly Western designs in the sky. Another example of great kites in 2008 at the Festival. In terms of Western kite design, it has similarities to the Pearson Roller, with its large upper and smaller lower sails. However, the curved outlines of the Wau's sails make it quite distinctive. It could never be confused with a Roller! Also, if you know a bit about kites, the horizontal spars are bowed like a Rok rather than constructed with dihedral.

Apparently, every province in Malaysia has a variation on the Wau. I was surprised at the efficiency of this kite, since it managed to hold higher line angles than most others in the sky! That includes large deltas which are known for their high flying angle. Occasionally, the Wau was upset by rough air, and we saw it gently spear into the dunes at one stage. It was undamaged, and was soon relaunched.

The Malaysian kite master who was doing the flying had another large Wau as well, which seemed to be there as a backup. This expert and his wife, also an expert I believe, were sponsored by Malaysian Airlines to attend the Festival. They brought with them a number of small non-flying display versions of the Wau for sale. Just like in China, it seems that Malaysian kites have been used for both art and recreation, for centuries.

A Sunflower Kite

How about this Sunflower kite for a touch of humor...

This kite was a captivating sight because it had an element of humor. A flying sunflower, complete with stem, leaves and pot! The clever thing about it was how every part fitted perfectly with a standard piece of kite structure.

The face of the flower was flat and lent itself to working like any flat kite. The stem was long, flexible and thin, hence functioned naturally as a tail. Finally, the pot was very close to the shape of a drogue, and worked perfectly adding extra drag and hence directional stability to the whole piece. All in all, a kite to make you smile! Perhaps helped by the fact the sunflower is smiling back at you too...

Although attached to another kite's flying line, it appears that the Sunflower is capable of flying by itself. Otherwise, it wouldn't be featured here as one of the great kites in 2008!

Two More Seen But Not Photographed

Finally, special mention must go to a couple of other flying creations that we'll try to get decent photos of next year perhaps!

Somebody had an extremely realistic White Pointer Shark inflatable aloft, on at least one of the flying days of the Festival. Not only were the outlines, shape and coloring just like the real thing, this 'creature' swam very convincingly in the air!

Also, there was an eye-catching Fan design. In a way, this was similar to the Sunflower in that the designer had a non-flying object in mind. However, there was nothing funny about the Fan. It was simply an exquisite piece of flying art! It's small size compared to many of the other kites did not seem to take away from this quality. The sail was constructed like an actual oriental fan. It wasn't just a nice picture on a flat sail.

That's it for now on the great kites in 2008 that stood out to us. Next year we will probably use an even better camera to zoom in on many more individual kites as they decorate the sky above Semaphore.

Treat yourself to a Blue Sky Vader Octopus Kite or something similar if you want to own an eye-catching inflatable without going broke.

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For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

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And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Carbon Diamond High Wind Experiment

    Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM

    This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.

    The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.

    For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.

    At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!

    And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.

    Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe the value on offer in that message series!

    Read More

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