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Flying Dowels & Plastic, Nov 2012 - KAP Progress - Kite and Camera
November 27, 2012

Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News


Had a great flight with the Dowel Sode earlier this month. More on that later, naturally. Unfortunately, the weather has been very windy for the last week or so. Day after day. Not good for a stable of mainly light wind kites!

Much progress has been made on the KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) front though. No actual photos from the air just yet, but the camera has been exercising its advanced intervalometer functions 'on the bench'. You know me, I've also been carefully documenting every step of this and other relevant camera features for a future e-book on the topic! More on this in the KAP section of this newsletter.

Initial KAP experiments will be done in light winds, so a 2-Dowel Rokkaku has been designed. Yep, a giant sibling for the 2.4m (8 feet) tall 2-Dowel Sled. All the required materials are ready. Once it is all tested and proven, this huge Rok will join the other bonus kites in the Making Dowel Kites e-book. Like the 2-Dowel Sled and other smaller Dowel Series kites, it will also have its own e-book.

Now is a good time to wish you a happy and safe Christmas! The last Tuesday of December actually falls on Christmas Day itself, but I don't think many people will complain (or unsubscribe!) if the newsletter arrives on Boxing Day instead...

Tim P.

"Every new kite is an adventure!"

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Table of Contents

  1. Visitor Contribution Of The Month
  2. Flight Report Of The Month
  3. MBK Kite Making News
  4. KAP Corner
  5. MBK Books

Visitor Contribution Of The Month

A number of interesting contributions came in this month, and that includes a couple of questions on the 'ask Tim' page. However, one short but inspiring post was made by someone who had made an MBK Dowel Barndoor kite. What you might really like is the rather neat idea in that story that seems much less complex than making a traditional 'kite messenger'. But it sounds like it might generate 100% of the fun! Curious?

Here's Bill's post, where he brings back Barn Door Kite Memories. Must try it one day, with one of the Dowel series kites... 6 yr old Aren would surely be interested!

Flight Report Of The Month

As hinted at in the editorial, the Dowel Sode was taken out for a fly before the really windy weather set in. I like to think of this kite as being the most often overlooked or under-rated Dowel kite on the MBK site. Just going by stats and sales figures! It is really an awesome performer in light winds through to the lower end of moderate. Here's the short-form report...

"Dowel Sode Soars High, Pulls Hard.

A quick check of the weather site confirmed that the wind was around the gentle / moderate boundary. 16kph gusting to nearly 25kph. Tolerable for the more robust of my light-wind Dowel kites - the Barn Door, Sode and Dopero. The Barn Door is still in the tree that claimed it months ago and pure laziness eliminated the Dopero. Well, time was a little tight as well, so the Sode it was!

A gusty Westerly disturbed the tree leaves from time to time as I set up the Sode. In a few minutes it was rigged and tugging away at the line, buffeted by the wake of trees and buildings. Soon, it was straining away on 30 meters (100 feet) of line. Less turbulence up there, but still plenty of thermal activity moving the kite around. I just observed it for a while, looking for any signs of leaning one way or the other. But no, the trim seemed fine, so out went more line to 60 meters (200 feet).

In no time at all, the kite contacted some rising air and went up like an elevator. Almost a couple of minutes were spent directly overhead. At one point it threatened to keep going past vertical! This was slightly uncomfortable since in some directions the trees were quite close. But the kite behaved impeccably.

Next stop - 90 meters (300 feet). However, I didn't notice the 90 meter flag going out and ended up with 120 meters (400 feet) out instead! Again, within just a few minutes, the kite shot straight overhead and wandered about with the line sometimes tight and sometimes with a little slack in it.

I wished I had the camera, because there was an ice crystal weather effect. Like a huge but faint rainbow completely encircling the sun. The big Sode moved in and out of the rainbow as it flew overhead. Spectacular!

Meanwhile, the wind meter, sitting near the ground, recorded just over 4.5kph gusting to 13.1kph. Higher up, it felt very much like the 20ish wind speeds displayed at the weather site a little earlier in the day.

It took a good 10 minutes to get the kite down before rolling it up and setting off to pick Aren up from school..."

Here's how to make the Dowel Sode kite. It won't disappoint, once you get the bridle adjusted with a bit of trial and error. Don't miss the amazing post, linked from that page, by a Swedish guy who made one of these, and posted photos!

MBK Kite-Making News

Well, the next kite has been started, although all the materials are still sitting here on the floor. It's the 2-Dowel Rokakku, which despite being 2.4 meters (8 feet) in span will break down into a compact 1.2 meter (4 feet) long package. Just like the 2-Dowel Sled. I'm hoping that the designed 6-point bridle, with 4 of those on the upper horizontal spar, will keep the kite rigid enough to cope with a decent range of wind speeds.

The horizontal spars are quite light for a dowel kite of this size, since I am hoping that it will lift a 280g camera in quite light winds! Without the complexity of a Dopero - although that day will come, no doubt.

The first draft of the How To e-book is nearly finished. The next step is to start from the top and actually construct the kite from the instructions, and taking photos at each stage. A few more tweaks to the instructions will probably be required as this is done. You can't ask people to pay for such an e-book if it is not clear and correct in all the detail.

I'm looking forward to posting a flight report or 2 in the next few weeks!

KAP Corner

Apart from starting the big Rok, I put a few hours into extracting all the relevant details from the comprehensive paper manual that came with the Pentax Optio WG-2 camera. There turned out to be a number of tweaks that would help get the best possible results when dangling the camera high in the air.

Some existing articles by current KAP enthusiasts were helpful in pointing the way. However, with a camera like the Optio WG-2, the game has changed somewhat. No longer is it necessary to buy special equipment to trigger the camera. Also, special purpose gear from small companies that tend to come and go can be avoided. Here is a quality, mass-produced camera that does everything you need. That has to make it easier for more people to join the KAP Crowd!

My personal aim will be to experiment and document my successes. Result - an 'idiots guide' for cheap KAP, covering the kite-making, kite flying and camera operation. As some have discovered, it often has more to do with the kite-flying than the photography expertise!

By the way, if you have already dabbled in KAP, why not contribute a photo or 2 and type in a few details about how and where it all happened. I know there are a few subscribers to this newsletter who would be most interested in seeing your efforts.

MBK Books

These are advertised in the right hand columns of the My Best Kite website, and occasionally referenced in the body text of some pages. I'm sure you have seen them.

In recent months, the number of people accessing e-books on all kinds of topics has exploded, thanks largely to the Amazon company and its increasingly popular Kindle e-reader. In fact, the term 'e-book' might soon be so well known that I can stop referring to mine as 'downloadable, printable books'!

My books are of the PDF file variety, which you can view and / or print off from PCs, Macs and other computers. A bit 'old-school' now, but still pretty handy. There are even ways to access them on the Kindle. But the way of the future is with hand-held devices that are as easy to read as paper.

A little reminder...

An MBK book is a PDF file containing text and photos which can be downloaded to your computer's hard drive. These 'e-books' are handy for either reading on-screen, or printing off to paper, which is preferable for some. With a PDF, it's very easy to just print out the pages you want. For example, a couple of Appendices plus the instructions for a single kite.

Almost the entire book-published content of this site is contained in the MBK Book Bundle. Of course, the cost is much less than buying all the books separately. Also, as time goes on, the value will increase as new products are added or existing ones extended. For example, the recently-added 3-Skewer A-Frame.

Plenty of people are signing up for the MBK Beginner eCourse. Feel free to reply to this email if you have tried it and have a comment or 2. A more advanced course is in the pipeline.

Why not tell a friend about this kiting newsletter.

Issued on (almost!) Tuesday, November 27th 2012 Issue #0064
My Best Kite
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia

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