The Dizzy Camera On The PLT

by Craig E.
(Newport, OR, USA)

A preflight view

A preflight view

A preflight view
The first real outing at about 150 feet
The video shoot at Nye Beach
The big picture at Nye Beach about half way up.

Last year, I found plans for a "Peter Lynn Box Kite." At first, I discounted it thinking it looked too complex. Still, I kept running across this design in different books until the lure of this strange, equilateral, multifaceted kite got the best of me.

After successfully building and flying a Pearson Roller, I felt confident enough to build a more complex kite. However, I was tied between the Peter Lynn Kite and the Rogallo Corner Kite. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

According to the book, the Corner Kite is much simpler to build but it requires more wind to stay aloft. On the other hand, the Peter Lynn Box Kite or "PLT" for short is a bit more complex but is also better suited for the lighter inland breezes here in Oregon. It only needs about 8 mph to stay up. Anything over 12-15 will most likely break it hence the thicker 5/16" framework. I also wanted something that was capable of carrying a small video camera up to a few hundred feet with ease. This kite fit the bill quite nicely.

Construction was of 5/16" hardwood dowel for the frame and ripstop for the sails. After some experimenting with different lines, I found that heavy gauge fishing line was a good fit for bow lines and the diagonal flying wires that I chose to add to the design.

The sails took one evening to cut, 45 minutes to get them to match, and another three hours to sew them straight (by manually turning my machine) because the tension on my ancient machine got real finicky and jammed every ten stitches on me. Problematic as it was, I still finished it in about 8 hours.

The first time out was a good trip with 10-12 mph winds and some pretty high gusts. It flew good, but had a tendency to lean to the left due to a loose sail. Even so it was very stable at two hundred feet coping with a large wind range as well.

The second time out was at Nye Beach in Newport, Oregon. I wanted to try lofting up a video camera this time out. Winds were at 10 mph from the NE, which was more than enough to keep the kite up with the six-ounce video camera hanging on for dear life. Unfortunately, I didn't think to mount the camera solid to the frame so it was quite dizzying to watch the video after it came back down. I did get a very picturesque video of Nye Beach along with the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

I thought it was great to see "through the eyes of the kite" for a change. I hope I can get some still shots from the video. After about four minutes, the kite landed rather abruptly breaking a homemade splice joint that I had put together. No worries, I would rather lose a splice than the whole spar, just as long as I bring some extra splices next time.

There was a problem with the lateral balance since I left the camera hanging rather than mounted on the frame. It was a good outing overall... Short, but good to try something new.

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Feb 28, 2012
Great post
by: Tim Parish

Thanks for your very substantial post Craig! The pictures really add some interest too. Took a look at your video - when the spinning stops, each way, the views get pretty good I must say. Using the pause button is a must ;-)

Hope you get some really great footage when the mounting issues are sorted out...

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Sea-sick Barn Door Kite

    Jul 28, 14 05:06 AM

    This was an experiment with mounting a camera directly onto the kite. With winds gusting to over 30kph up high, the Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was selected...

    In a word, it was tricky. I mounted the camera as close as possible to the center of gravity of the kite, but it still ended up quite a few cm closer to the trailing edge than I would have liked. It was only practical to mount he camera - on its bendy tripod (!) - near the diagonal spars crossing point. Electrical tape secured 2 short tripod legs to the diagonal spars, holding the camera upright with the kite sitting on its trailing edge.

    It was a struggle to get enough lift to gain much height, and the kite swung dangerously from side to side. Might try the drogues next time! I did my best to urge the kite higher in mid-swing.

    Eventually, for a few seconds, the kite got to around 100 feet on almost 200 feet of 200 pound Dacron.

    A video clip will of course be forthcoming on Facebook. And only seasoned kite fliers will bother watching it all the whole way through, possibly wrestling with sea-sickness all the while. Hence the title of this post. Still, it was an interesting, if slightly nerve-wracking, outing! At shoulder level, the breeze measured around 9kph gusting to 18.5kph. Some low cloud over the hills was absolutely tearing along, perhaps up around 40kph.

    Huge Homemade Kites And Aerial Photography: This is often the topic for posts which appear here. New things are always being tried so sign up for my newsletter to stay right up to date with the latest developments!

    Read More

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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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