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Flying Dowels & Plastic, Feb 2013 - More BIG Kiting Adventures.
February 26, 2013

Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News


If you have been keeping an eye on the flight reports you might have noticed a few interesting ones this month. As promised, the Multi-Dowel Rok was re-designed and test flown. It's looking much more practical than the first attempt, in terms of wind range. Work on the plans and diagrams is not quite complete so don't go buying the Rokkaku e-book just yet. A few days should see it done, with the Multi-Dowel Rokkaku added as the bonus design.

Easter weekend is not that far away. It would be great to get the KAP rig in the air before then. Imagining some aerial shots of the Adelaide International Kite Festival! That would certainly put a different angle on things when it comes to recording that event each year.

The Multi-Dowel kite for next month will be a Box design, loosely based on the Dowel Box (fresh wind) design. However, it will have a slightly more sophisticated method for keeping tension in the sail panels. I suspect that this kite will get used a lot since it will have a rather wide wind range and should cope with quite strong wind. Thinking even further ahead, perhaps even a big 12-cell Tetrahedral for gale-to-storm force winds :-)

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

One contribution in particular was quite unique. Contributed on the last day of January, and hence after the last newsletter, it kind of issues a challenge to any of us who would continue kiting into old age.

Check this interesting little tale of a scampering kite-flying centenarian, with the slightly misleading title The Best Kite I Ever Saw - In China. However, the author had his reason for the title.

Flight Report Of The Month

As existing subscribers may know, 'The Month' refers to the time interval between this newsletter and the previous one. Today's featured flight took place on the 13th of February. The huge Barn Door was in its element...

MD Barn Door Kite In Rough Air At 300 Feet

"About half an hour before heading out to one of the usual reserves to fly, the weather website was recording 11kph gusting to 18kph. Quite ideal for the big Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite. Also, the flying line was set up to take a Half-Picavet KAP rig. It's time for some weight tests before committing an actual camera to the sky!

On arrival, the breeze was warm and seemed very gusty. Having not had a relaxing high flight from this kite yet, I decided to leave the KAP tests for a bit. Not only that, I had made some more small adjustments to the 5-point bridle and needed to be sure the kite was in good trim.

Launching in the lee of some trees was a little interesting as the huge kite bobbed way over to the left and right. Finally, with some judicious tugging on the line at the right moments, the huge 2.4m (8 feet) span Barn Door soared up into cleaner air. In no time, 30 meters (100 feet) of line was out. So far so good, so I continued to let out line until the 60 meter (200 feet) flag came off the garden-hose reel.

With the line tied around the trunk of a small tree, it was time to just stand and observe the big kite doing its thing up there. It felt rewarding after all the previous constructing, re-designing and adjusting. Despite being buffetted by thermal turbulence and lofted to nearly vertical line angles, the kite behaved rather nicely, never once doing a complete loop. However, the attachment points for the KAP rig looked very close to the kite, being only 10 meters (30 feet) away from the sail. The thought of a camera swinging around in rough air was not very appealing.

Finally, it seemed safe enough to let line out to 90 meters (300 feet). Even so, the huge Barn Door kite promptly went vertical again! Great long ripples slowly twitched the 200 pound Dacron line from side to side. A guy in his car, leaving the reserve, stopped for a while to gawk at it.

Soon after this it was time to pick up Aren from school so the kite was 'walked down' with the aid of a canvas glove.

Close to the ground, and somewhat sheltered, the wind meter recorded an average of 3.6 kph and a maximum gust of 9.3 kph. However, the kite at times was getting 20kph or so, as evidenced by the 4kg pull on the trusty spring scales at one point!"

MBK Kite-Making News

The Multi-Dowel Rokkaku was re-made and proved itself to be a reliable flier with the slightly shorter and therefore stiffer vertical spar. Not mention the slightly thicker lower horizontal spar.

Also, it was an opportunity to switch the sail corner attachment method over to the method used on the MD Barn Door. That is, instead of a tape strap around the spar tip, a length of shoe-lace takes the place of the strap. Since the lace also sits in a deep groove in the end of the dowel, this method is much more secure.

The shoe-lace is attached to the sail by being passed through a tiny hole near the sail corner, where a Double Loop knot prevents the lace from pulling through. The instructions specify that the hole must be pierced through at least 8 layers of packing tape! 2 short pieces of tape wrapped around the sail edge near the corner, overlapping, provides the required 8 layers. Plus 1, if you include the tape edging already present. This gives ample resistance to prevent the shoe-lace tie from pulling through. It hasn't failed yet, on either kite!

My apologies for not having a single photo of the re-made Rokkaku in flight to reproduce here! Maybe next time. In any case, there will be a new flight report page soon, featuring a photo and some video.

The big Rok hasn't had a real workout around the 15 kph wind-speed mark or been to 400 feet altitude just yet. But it looks promising! It's so much better than the prototype that I am in the process of doing the final plans and bridle diagrams. This kite is the Bonus design for the e-book 'Making the MBK Dowel Rokkaku Kite', which will be updated within a week from now.

Perhaps I should also mention that the MD Rok has the most complicated bridle of any MBK kite to date. No less than 8 legs! 4 across the upper horizontal spar, 2 across the lower horizontal spar, plus one to each end of the vertical spar. In this way, the upper horizontal spar has ample support despite being significantly thinner (and therefore lighter) than the rest of the kite's frame.

KAP Corner

Well, in the last issue, I said "The time for initial weight-tests is getting very close!" It certainly is, but hasn't quite happened yet. Despite having the fully made-up test rig in the kite bag, ready to go. The knots are on the flying line too, ready to take the Larks Head knots from the Half-Picavet lines.

Soon, soon, I hope. The MD Barn Door has had a reasonable amount of flying now, so the next time there is more than say a 10kph average up there, the carefully weighed bag of used batteries should fly :-) Just over 200g all up, to allow for a few other bits and pieces besides the camera itself.

After the MD Rokkaku has had a bit more flying time, that kite might be the one to take the test weight up for the first time. It all depends on the weather.

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 Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite.

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 Tuesday, February 26th 2013 Issue #0067
My Best Kite
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia

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