During an earlier outing with the re-designed 2 Skewer Sode kite, the 3-leg bridle was a disaster. With a single attachment point near the nose of the kite, the upper horizontal spar flexed too much and made the kite wildly unstable.
MBK 2-Skewer Sode
MBK 2-Skewer Sode
So, for today, the bridle was swapped around. This put two lines onto the upper
horizontal spar and one onto the vertical spar, close to the middle of
the kite. An arrangement which has given great results with the 2-Skewer
Rokkaku: another kite which employs two horizontal spars of equal length.
Sodes have a square shape near the tail end, which is a natural fit for attaching a looped tail.
Not only are looped tails more effective for the same amount of material, but they are also more compact and hence convenient to handle. They are just half as long in the air.
This new Sode returns to the traditional proportions, compared to the somewhat longer 2-Skewer Sode that you might have spotted in older photos on this site.
Not sure how traditional a looped tail is though!
Winds were much lighter and smoother this evening, compared to the first outing. On that occasion the Sode trying to fly in rough air which was gusting well into the moderate range.
Also, the field I was flying from this time had a lot of open country in the upwind direction. Very few trees or houses, and the open ocean just a few km beyond that. More convenient for launching kites!
After launching it was immediately apparent that the 2 Skewer Sode kite was more well-behaved than previously, even taking the lower wind speed into account. With 30 meters (100 feet) of line out, I lost no time in whipping out the camera and taking quite a few stills and some video...
It was late and the sun would be losing much more brightness pretty soon. For kite photography, the more natural sunlight strength the better! There was some low level cloud about and quite a bit of cirrus up much higher. But still plenty of sunshine to light up the sail.
Since the wind speed was so light for most of the time, the kite took to bobbing left and right as it struggled to maintain height. At least one photo should show it in a reasonable pose with the tail flowing out straight behind.
There was plenty of room upwind across the grassy field, so I took advantage of that to walk back and get the kite up higher. Letting line slip out as I went. Soon the bright orange Sode was pulling slightly stronger in the couple of extra kph of wind speed that was up there.
Around this time a passenger jet went overhead at several thousand feet, having taken off from Adelaide airport a few minutes earlier. The 2 Skewer Sode kite was still not quite comfortable with the low wind speed, so the side to side rocking continued. However, now and again a gentle gust would come through. The few extra kph tended to smooth out the kite's motion, resulting in stately climbs with a motionless tail loop hanging below.
Seven year old Aren took the line and felt the rather light pull and said so. Perhaps he was remembering the firmer tension of some of the Dowel kites, which have four times the sail area, on average.
The modest-sized Sode kite was achieving a little less than 45 degree line angles today, due to lack of wind speed. Or was it - see the end of this report! I ended up letting the 20 pound Dacron line out to 120 meters (400 feet) That would make the kite very small in a camera lens at that distance. Despite the wind being a little less than ideal in strength, this flight was turning out well. Nothing like seeing a home-made kite do its thing way up there!
It seemed that the 4SL (length of four skewers) looped tail was only just enough. The 2 Skewer Sode kite really would fly better with a little more plastic dragging away at the air behind. I might recommend a 6SL length in the instructions.
Aren volunteered to bring the kite down. Off he ran, towards the kite, running the line under his hand. I wound in as well, since the kite could come down over roofs at the current length! After a few minutes the kite had flopped to the grass.
A good long and high flight, with the photos and video taken in good lighting. An achievement, considering the amount of cloud cover and rain we have been getting around here lately!
Just on impulse, I put the Sode up again for a few minutes, with the bridle knot adjusted lower by a few mm (1/4"). This time, the kite line surged over 45 degrees and stayed there! What a small bridle adjustment can do.
Finally, I picked up the wind meter which had been parked on flat post-top the whole time. The reading was an average of 3.1kph, gusting to 9.2kph. And that gust was probably recorded not long after we arrived.
If you download "Making Skewer Kites" today, you could be flying one of the many designs in that e-book by tomorrow! All you need is a packet of those thin 30cm (12") bamboo skewers and some light bag plastic. Oh, and some sticky tape - who doesn't have that?
The story above was an actual flying experience with the described kite.
My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!