Kites: Site Blog

Welcome to this Site Blog on kites. The bigger the better in our view! Are you keen on KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) in particular?

This page will keep you right up to date with our Flight Report posts, new KAP pages added to the site and occasional contributions from visitors. Visitors sometimes include photos or links to videos too.

My own Flight Report videos pop up on the MBK Facebook page nearly every week.

Clicking on the orange button up there on the left will ensure you never miss a post. Running your cursor over that button will also bring up alternative ways to subscribe. Use whatever is most familiar to you.

Mobile users: You'll need to scroll right down or click the navigation button to find the orange RSS button.

(P.S. Just once a week, a good quality older page will pop up here too, so it doesn't stay buried forever. I'm sure you'll find them to be a good read!)

Here's all the latest posts - enjoy....

Sep 18, 2014

Rough Moderate Winds - No Problem!

An old flight report, detailing the remarkable reliability of the original 3-sparred Allison Sled kite. Mine is a much smaller version, made from plastic sheet, tape and bamboo skewers...

Continue reading "Rough Moderate Winds - No Problem!"

Sep 17, 2014

Flight Report:
Dowel Barn Door Rides Inland Gusts

Well, it was the same reserve and a similar time of day. A bit closer to sun-down perhaps. Only the kite was different - the Dowel Barn Door kite this time, chosen to suit the 'gentle' strength wind gusts of between 15 and 20 kph.

The first flight went well, with the kite soaring straight up on around 45 meters (150 feet) of line. The late afternoon sun glinting off the panels as the kite moved about at steep line angles. In the gusts and lulls, the kite had a tendency to pull to the right at times.

As I was taking the kite down to do a bridle adjustment, the main problem became apparent. The horizontal spar had pushed through the tip-tape on the right corner of the sail, drastically reducing the sail area to the right of center. It was actually surprising how well the kite was still flying, given the gross problem with the sail!

On a second flight, with the tip repaired, there still appeared to be a slight pull to the right. So, after taking some video footage of the Barn Door's antics, it was brought down once again. This time the bridle knot was taken across by about a centimeter (1/2"). That was better! The 1.2 meter (4 feet) span pale orange kite shot right back up, showing much less tendency to pull across when under pressure.

After some more video was taken, with the kite soaring around almost directly overhead at times, it seemed safe enough to let out more line. It was surprising to feel the flying line touching my jeans while it was anchored under-foot! How much rising air can there be at this time of day? At the time I was concentrating on keeping the wandering kite in-frame as I took video.

Finally, after enjoying the kite doing its thing on over 60 meters (200 feet) of line, it came time to pull the Dowel Barn Door down. When within 30 feet or so of the ground it started to float and sink face-down. Then it was an easy matter to pull in the remaining few meters of line, keeping the kite flying until the bridle lines were in hand.

Weather stations were reporting around 10kph average wind speeds with gusts almost to 20kph.

"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 what's on offer in that message series!

Sep 16, 2014

Flight Report:
Dowel Box Kite Rides Inland Gusts

A recent bout of sickness has left me with double vision for a while, which rules out driving the car anywhere. So it was time for a return visit to the small grassy reserve where many of the 1-skewer designs made their debut years ago. The easy walking distance from home was the main thing!

Looking out the window, the breeze shifting the tree tops around seemed capable of supporting the Dowel Box kite. The Fresh Wind version with its smaller sail panels. Sure enough, down at the reserve, the kite managed to grip enough air around 50 feet to stay up fairly comfortably. A couple of times I had to interrupt some movie-taking to coax the kite higher as it threatened to sink right back to the grass.

After 20 minutes or so of flying near the lower end of the kite's wind range, a period of fresher breezes began. In the somewhat sheltered location where I stood, the wind meter showed around 8 kph gusting to over 12 kph. However, the breeze was clearly over 20 kph higher up. The firm pull on the flying line was one indication!

Isolated rain showers had been forecast for the area, so fairly low cumulus clouds were everywhere. No rain had fallen all day in our suburb though.

The cloudy sky-scape made for some attractive footage of the 2-celled Box surging about in the gusts, lulls and wind-shifts. Due to the small size of the reserve, it was wise to not let the kite fly on more than about 45m (150 feet) of line. But that was enough to let it take full advantage of the moderate-strength (20kph+) airflow over the treetops.

So, some enjoyable box kite flying today, with the 50 pound Dacron feeling like thread compared to the 200 pound variety with which I do most flying these days!

About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.

Sep 11, 2014

Awesome Performer In Moderate Winds

An old flight report, written after a great late-evening flight with the 1.2m (4ft) span Dowel Barn Door kite...

Continue reading "Awesome Performer In Moderate Winds"

Sep 09, 2014

Flight Report:
Multi-Dowel Box Kite Lures Pelican

Although the afternoon held a threat of isolated thunderstorms, the morning sky was almost cloud-free. The air was pleasantly cool and moving at a moderate pace. So I opted for the big Box kite and headed down to Christie's Beach near Noarlunga.

A bit of shelter from the wind makes rigging this kite a lot easier. Hence it was decided to just do it as close as possible to the steep rock face which went right down to the sand, from the roadway above.

Finally, the kite was floating over the sand, itching to get away. There was not a lot of space between rocks and sea, but at least the breeze was almost directly down the beach from the North.

Soon, the big blue kite with its hefty horizontal cross-pieces was flying on 30 meters (100 feet) of line, anchored by two wraps around my shoe and the weight of my body. This allowed me to pull out the wind meter and the spring scales at different times. Not to mention the the camera, of course...

At shoulder height over the sand, the breeze was averaging 10.5kph while gusting up around 17kph. Just enough to get the kite in the air. The online weather station was recording gusts to over 30kph however. A quick check with the spring scales was made easier by simply slipping the hook through one of the KAP rig attachment loops in the line...

The line tension was bouncing around between 2 and 5 kilograms. Rough air! Directly upwind, the cause was clear - a jutting piece of coastline and a few trees. At this location the sand is several meters below the 'ground-level' further inland. A lone pelican soared past, heading upwind and taking a look at the kite on its way.

The kite was behaving well, so another 30 meters of line was let out. The smoother stronger airflow up there transformed the coils of kite line around my hand into a thin boa-constrictor. A bit squeezy! The spring scales told the story - a steady 4 to 5 kg of tension which occasionally popped to 7kg. After enjoying seeing the kite nailed up there steeply on 60 meters (200 feet) for 15 minutes or so, it was time to head back home. But not before whipping out the camera for another half a minute of video.

"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 what's on offer in that message series!

Sep 06, 2014

Flight Report:
Carbon Diamond Hoists Camera Inland

With the wife busy at the nearby supermarket, there was a small window for some kite flying and KAP. We had both been sick pretty much all week - having survived the entire Winter unscathed up until then.

The 2 meter (8ft) span carbon and Tyvek Diamond goes together fairly quickly and even the KAP rig setup seems to be getting easier these days. Must be the practice! A Half-Picavet suspension seems perfectly adequate since the big super-rigid Diamond has almost zero side-to-side sway in flight.

Winds today were almost too light, but the Diamond got away successfully, out to just over 60 meters (200 feet) of line. The camera was hanging just 15m (50ft) from the kite this time, rather than the usual 30m (100ft). No problems ensued, despite the uneven wind speed and gentle thermal gusts. Nice! We'll be getting slightly higher KAP shots from now on, while keeping the kite altitude legal.

ISO was set to auto, over the range 125 - 200. EV was left on 0.0 for the first flight. Although the camera never got much higher than 150 feet off the grass, some of the photos just caught a glimpse of the sea, several kilometers away.

Unfortunately, there was a delay of quite a few minutes in getting the rig in the air for a second photo session. Hence no usable photos were obtained, which had been set to -1.0 EV for comparison with the first lot. There were plenty of nice close-ups of grass growing though ;-) The wind had died to almost nothing in between the small thermals which lofted the occasional butterfly up towards the kite.

At least something made it into the air this week. Better than nothing!

About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.

Sep 04, 2014

Finally, Much Higher & Longer Flights

An old flight report, detailing what happened after I went out to fly a re-designed 1.2m (4ft) tall Dowel Sled kite - in thermal conditions ...

Continue reading "Finally, Much Higher & Longer Flights"

Aug 28, 2014

Sode Kites

A survey of all the MBK Sode kites, illustrated with photos and video.

Continue reading "Sode Kites"

 

New! Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!

 

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