These short flight reports once appeared in the site blog page - that's the one you enter via the 'what's new!' site navigation link. Just scroll down and stop at any kiting detail that appeals :-) There's a photo with most of the reports, taken on the day...
When the weather's good and you have the time, it's great to get out with a kite or 3. But what about on bad weather days? Then it's time to pull out...
"Kites Up!" - my downloadable kite-flying board game! Apart from towing indoor kites, doing a spot of imaginary flying is the next best thing :-)
Kite Club Tested
Once again, local club fliers were invited to a large public event which coincided with our regular monthly fly...
The large Myponga Reservoir south of Adelaide was being opened up to public access. It was a significant event complete with news crews, politicians, stalls and live music. But this report will stick to the kites of course :-)
To begin with there was a lot of standing around while other happenings took precedence over the launching of large kites. Mind you, the kids got going early with a stall offering cheap mass-produced deltas. Many of the pure white kites were being towed around near the stall that sold them. A few got dragged roughly over the ground, making a few of us more experienced fliers wince. Why all the towing? There was practically no wind!
Gradually, thermal activity started to kick in. The warmed air at least provided a bit of a soft puff now and again, from different directions...
A few of us took out our best light-wind kites and did a whole lot of line-working to try and get some air time.
As thermals got stronger, I managed to loft my 2m (7ft) span Carbon Diamond right under a developing cloud. Unusually, the lift region stayed put since there was so little breeze to drift it off downwind. Hence the big diamond cruised around right overhead on the full 250 feet length from the reel. For minutes on end! It was fascinating to watch, with great ripples and bows forming in the 200 pound Dacron line as the kite moved around.
A couple of large soaring birds joined the kite, but soon the creatures were 1000 feet or more above it. The birds circled, climbing steadily in the invisible bubble of warm air. Not a flap the whole time.
Finally some more consistent breeze came through and other club members started to join in with large header kites and inflatables. However, the very active conditions meant there was often turbulence and very pronounced lulls in the breeze. During each one of those, everything came down! At least the crowd got to see a decent glimpse of a number of large show kites in action. From time to time :-|
The event was a bit disappointing from a kite-fliers perspective but the crowd definitely got to see some spectacle!
Club Demo At Yorketown
The local club had been invited to demonstrate kiting at Yorketown, a town on the peninsula across the gulf from the city of Adelaide.
Chinese Dragon over Yorktown oval
Chinese Dragon over Yorktown oval
On arrival we found the large oval was strewn with large kites either struggling to stay up or lying on the ground. A light breeze was flowing through, but this was an inland location. You have to be prepared for a little chaos! Buildings and grandstands were also casting a long wind shadow over the middle of the field.
Mark had a couple of deltas up that were doing OK. Plus a double-delta-conyne.
Ian and Elly had given up on the big dragon inflatable for a while, and their Panda flow-form was struggling. Great swirls from those obstacles upwind would occasionally upset the soft lifting kites. They would list to one side, collapse, flop to the ground then minutes later re-inflate and up again!
Andy had his pilot kite up but was having no luck getting the big octopus off the deck. Talking about swirls, Andy's huge Caterpillar inflatable did a quick barrel-roll around the main flying line!
Henry and Fiona were flying the large white parafoil as usual. This light-wind kite also succumbed to the erratic conditions at times.
A couple of new members, Dean and Justine, had another big 4-cell parafoil up. With plenty of line laundry waiting to fly.
Shah had found a good spot to demonstrate his flair for flying 4-line stunt kites. He also pulled out a light-wind 2-liner.
Then the breeze died completely and all kites sank to the grass and stayed there for an hour or 2.
Quite suddenly, over just 2 or 3 minutes it seemed, the breeze was back. And somewhat smoother now. It wasn't long before just about every big show kite was up - with a full complement of non-flying or semi-flying inflatables suspended from each line. Dragons, dogs, fish, tigers you name it! Besides the Octopus there was a large Ray and Cuttlefish floating well clear of the grass.
I had the 2.4m (8ft) span Multi-Dowel Barndoor ready so it was soon in the air. My bamboo-skewer KAP rig dangled from the line as I took a couple of series of aerial photos.
That was Saturday. Sunday turned out much windier, but still pretty tricky for the kites due to the roughness of the air. And still no sun! With limited space to fly it was not possible to place all the kites above 200 feet where they would find much less turbulence.
All the same, Sunday's weather did enable a nearly complete showing of all the kites and line laundry the club members had brought along. Aren and I pulled out the Peter Powell MkIII for some stunt flying. May had a go as well.
Regarding the whole event, the organizers had no complaints :-) The highest kites were visible from all over town.
Kites In The Playground
It wasn't what you're thinking ;-) ...
Each year, the huge St. Kilda Playground at the northern fringe of Adelaide is the venue for Salisbury Plays. A large event which draws the public in for a variety of leisure activities. Including ... kite-flying, of course.
Not quite enough wind!
Not quite enough wind!
The local club was there to demo large show kites, plus some others. Like my 2.4m (8ft) Multi-Dowel Barn Door. This kite is often used for KAP (Kite Aerial Photography - on sunnier days :-|
From mid-morning onwards, the light breeze was on and off, but the large inflatable kites got just enough air time to impress the crowd. These conditions can be a bit frustrating for the 'serious' kite fliers since it involves a lot of walking back and forth re-launching the lifters. And when those big parafoil lifters go up, you can't miss 'em - from kilometers away, driving towards or past the field.
A local kite business was selling small kites to kids and adults. Good sound designs that could be seen flying here and there in the large grassed area adjacent to the play equipment and slides...
Some people came up to us with an Eagle kite that apparently had no assembly instructions included. It took a few minutes of head-scratching but soon we had all the right bits threaded through all the right loops and poked into all the right pockets. There was a bit more to it than just inserting a simple delta spreader! I got the kite to about 50 feet before handing the winder back to it's satisfied owner.
Finally the breeze dropped out almost completely and rain drops started to fall. The big show kites and other inflatables were packed away.
And then, while optimistically rigging the Barn Door, the weather turned. Firstly the spitting rain became a constant light drizzle. But then the breeze came up from the west and strengthened somewhat. And the rain went away. So despite a complete lack of direct sunlight, the big blue Barn Door ended up having a great flight. First on about 45 meters (150 feet) of line but later on more than 60 meters (200 feet) of the 200 pound braided Dacron. Aren had a hold for a few minutes.
A so-so fly for the club but at least the organizers were happy!
Fickle Winds At Community Event
The local kite club was invited to demonstrate and help out with the kite-flying component of a community event...
On turning up, it was evident that conditions would be challenging. Tall trees with massive amounts of foliage surrounded the clearing in the southern Adelaide park-lands. A fitful breeze tumbled through that was sufficient to launch a kite one moment - and not the next. Some time was spent, rather optimistically, trying to loft my Tyvek diamond on a 50 pound line.
A custom-made Cody box kite
A custom-made Cody box kite
Kids were doing the short-line tow-it-around thing with some success. Us 'experts' weren't having much luck getting anything at all to stay above tree-top height!
Mike demonstrated a long-line launch with his large Phoenix delta. The kite swooped up high then glided back down, which was much appreciated by the small crowd!
Mark flew one of his large deltas from an adjacent clearing to get aerial photos of the whole event.
Mike also pulled out a colorful club parafoil for a brief tow-up or 2.
Jason, after much persistence, had his big custom Cody kite soaring above the trees for a while.
I made a switch from the diamond to a more capable light-wind kite - the 2-Skewer Rokkaku. The little Rok happily did it's thing on around 150 feet of line for an extended period of time.
All the while, small groups of adults and kids were having a go with a small white delta design that the organizers had made available. During breezier periods, some of these little deltas did quite well, soaring high above tree-top height for a while.
Despite the kite-flying difficulties, it ended up being a fair result for the organizers, helped along by the kite club.
Kites And Kids On School Premises
The venue turned out to be a relatively small fenced off area surrounded by houses and trees. With the early afternoon thermals lifting off with a vengeance, it was going to be interesting...
Identical deltas - equal fun for everyone!
A local charitable organization had arranged this kite-flying event for kids at a school. As a member of the Adelaide Kite Flyers Association, I was invited to help out. Anglicare had provided a number of identical delta kites for the kids, while I brought along a few small to medium sized kites to demo.
With moderate strength gusts coming through, launching the kites was not difficult. Being a very well-proven design, the supplied deltas were soon floating about on fairly short lines. Soon the available airspace was somewhat crowded but everyone involved did a good job of being aware of other kites. Crossed lines and the odd rooftop landing did happen, but the amount of trouble was minor compared to the potential!
Before we all moved to the main oval, I joined the action with the bright-orange 2-Skewer Rokkaku. In the testing gusts and warm air I had to bring my kite down eventually to re-tape some slipping sail corners.
Out on the main oval everyone was able to find a good spot and fly in a more relaxed manner. All the strings were out to their fullest extent! Thermal lift would pass through occasionally and lift most of the kites almost vertical.
By this stage I had pulled out a couple of Multi-Fly Diamonds which are designed to share a flying line. Although gusty, the wind strengths were quite ideal and the 2 kites flew high and steady once out of low-level rough air.
Much fun was had by all!
Kites On Show
The local kite club was again invited to help draw a crowd at a Council-run event...
'Salisbury Plays' was put on to highlight various activities and facilities at or near the St Kilda Adventure Playground in Adelaide's north.
To cover all eventualities, we had piled a variety of kites into the car. A large carbon-framed Diamond for light-to-gentle breezes. A colorful train of soft-Tyvek Diamonds for gentle-to-moderate winds and a dirty great Box kite for moderate to fresh wind!
As it turned out, the wind was not lacking, you could say. In the car park, half a minute of holding up the wind meter showed gusts to 30kph. Who knows what it was doing at 100 feet off the grass. I really, really should get around to making a decent big Tetrahedral kite from dowel and plastic. The kind of kite that justs sits up there nice and steady in a gale!
As we approached the area reserved for flying, Henry was dealing with his big white delta that was showing the strain at the top end of it's wind range. Cristina had already given up on her smaller deltas.
Mike and others had large inflatables in the air that were doing OK. Sort of - a big Trilobyte decided to wander off to the right several times, causing some concern! The pilot kite and Cuttlefish beneath it were coping a little better. These kites were tied off to large vehicles.
A couple of small circular parafoils (ladybugs??) were staying in place, although blown down to modest line angles. A great test for the stakes which been driven into the grassy ground. You could see them bend with every gust or swirl of turbulence!
Shortly after arriving, I put up the Multi-Dowel Box on a fairly short line. Usually the big Box flies steady and steep in fresh wind on a long line. But today the line length had to be kept shorter due to lack of space and also a fairly crowded sky.
More than once, the box kite scooted far off to the left or right. With kite lines to the left and a road with cars to the right, I could not leave the kite to it's own devices. Hence the flight was cut short and I landed it in wind-shadow behind some bushes for an easier de-rig.
While spending some time with May and Aren around the playground later, I had a person come up and express how impressed they were with the kites. Mission accomplished by all the kite-fliers!
Open Day Enlivened With Kites
October 2017. The local kite club was invited to put on a display at a local Open Day for a new playground complex...
Kites big and small at the Point Malcolm Open Day
Arriving fairly close to the official starting time, we soon caught sight of Mike's big red Parafoil and some associated line laundry. Including a very eye-catching Cuttlefish inflatable. Also aloft was a small kid's Delta flown by Cristina.
The breeze at this time was fickle, being Gentle in strength but not too smooth. A couple of tall blocks of buildings directly upwind had much to do with it, we suspected!
I wasted no time getting the MBK Octopus up. To settle it down a bit, I added a small drogue to the tips of the 2 middle tails. Very steady flying ensued, albeit with flailing octo tentacles on the sides.
The MBK Parafoil followed, perhaps 30 minutes later.
The organizers had done their promotions well it appeared. People everywhere were taking in the great weather and supervising their kids on the multitude of swings, trampolines and climbing bars. Not to mention the obligatory Flying Fox which any decent Aussie playground needs to have these days. The occasional car would enter the car park which was soon near capacity.
Other kites were put up including a colorful MnM with legs! Speaking of legs, a set of classic Lester's Legs took to the air as well, flown by Mark. Initially, they struggled a bit in the lulls, but it seemed the breeze was gradually freshening.
Cristina also had her great-looking purple Rokkaku, which was duly launched. The Rok coped well with the occasionally rough air below 100 feet.
A light aircraft or 2 flew past while all this was going on. Plus a helicopter, which sensibly didn't get too close. Those things really make a mess of the air around them!
By the time I got around to doing some KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) the breeze had started to shift a little to the West. A welcome change with more wind speed but also smoother air.
My Fresh Wind Sled strained away at high line angles, hardly feeling the weight of the camera and rig on the line. Two sequences were shot. One looking across at the kites and the other looking South over the entire event. From a higher altitude of between 150 and 200 feet.
Making the most of the freshening wind, a couple of 2-line foils took to the air, carving shapes through the largely blue sky. I noticed a little single-line foil as well, having no trouble at all on quite a long line.
Kites And Golf At Warooka
More officially, this was the Sandbar Golf Classic and Family Fun Day at Flaherty's Beach, on York Peninsula...
One AKFA member outdid himself!
One AKFA member outdid himself!
AKFA (Adelaide Kite Fliers Association) had once again been invited to put on a colorful show to help draw a crowd. An unusual event for sure, with no golf greens - only sandy browns!
After missing the turnoff and then finding our way back to the beach from Warooka, a kite or two appeared just above the horizon. A good clue that we were on the right gravel track as we drove through the thick scrub towards the sand.
A short trudge over a dune and there it was - tents, vehicles, people and ... kites! Nothing huge, but a head-turner for those whose last involvement was making a simple newspaper diamond in their youth. So far, struggling in marginal winds was a flat Parafoil, a Delta Conyne and a novelty inflatable shaped like an elephant's face and trunk. Plus a few thin banners and tails hanging from lines and kites.
Soon we had the red Tyvek Roller in the air. A lot of line was let out with the kite hanging close to the sand. But finally a few tugs succeeded in urging the Roller up into faster air. And there it hung for a couple of hours at 200 ft while I got busy with some KAP (Kite Aerial Photography)...
As the afternoon wore on, the on-and-off very light conditions freshened into a decent gentle-to-moderate sea breeze. Several KAP flights were done with my big 2m (7ft) tall Carbon Diamond. The kite needed some careful trimming to stay centered since it was a light-wind design flying near the top of it's wind range. Camera direction and height were varied from flight to flight. Also, some walking up and down the beach gave different perspectives of all the activity.
Finally, we put up a 9-Diamond train which flew steep and steady in the smooth airflow. Due to the almost constant wind speed up the entire length of the train, it pulled like never before! The spring scales showed 4.5 to 5 kg.
Before we AKFA people left, it became clear from short conversations with locals that the kiting display had definitely been appreciated!
Kites And Whales
AKFA displayed a Whale too!
AKFA displayed a Whale too!
The connection, yesterday (Sunday)? The "Whale Time Play Time Festival" down at Victor Harbour, to celebrate the start of the whale-watching season. AKFA was invited to show off a few big kites and hence help to draw a crowd.
Hoping that there would be ample space along the beach, we came prepared with a sizeable stack of Multi-Fly Diamonds. Also, the Dowel Sode was brought along in case the breeze lightened off a lot...
However, on arrival we discovered that kite flying had been restricted to a rather small patch of grass and paths, thanks to high tides and camel rides. Camels and small ponies were being led along the foreshore, with passengers young and old.
Anyway, I managed to fly a single Diamond for a while, in the not-so-smooth moderate breeze coming off the water and over an embankment. With tall trees close by, not to mention other kites, letting out line to the usual 3 or 400 feet was not an option. It was more like 50 feet today.
The Diamond was being pushed to the right from time to time so I unhitched a tail loop from the right tip and hitched it onto the left side, to compensate. This had a noticeable positive effect. All the same, I ended up taking the kite down so we could check out the Whale Time festival nearby.
The public certainly seemed to appreciate seeing large kites and appropriately marine line-laundry up close!
Flying Kites For Melanoma Awareness
Yesterday saw hundreds of people converge on a park alongside Henley Beach, to take part in an event designed to raise awareness of Melanoma issues. Skin cancer in other words, which is a significant problem in our very sunny country of Australia.
Some good-looking kites - both soft and sparred
Some good-looking kites - both soft and sparred
The local kite club was invited to provide some entertainment for the crowd. So quite a few of us turned up with our best tethered craft.
For the first hour or so, there seemed to be a near miss every few minutes! Big parafoils collapsing, lines crossing, normally stable kites making hair-raising swoops close to the sand, tails getting draped over lines and so on. The up-side? Even better entertainment for the crowd!
My large Multi-Dowel Delta was a real handful until it climbed out to 100 feet or so. Even then, after hand-flying it for a few minutes, it was decided to play safe and take it down.
My best kite (haha) on the day turned out to be the Multi-Dowel Diamond. With a bright orange drogue 'chute in tow, the big blue Diamond coped well with the rather difficult off-shore winds at first. Later, the breeze gradually swung around to the North and freshened slightly, making things a lot easier for all the big kites on show. At that point I measured a smooth 12 to 15 kph with the Windtronic meter.
A very enjoyable outing in the end, with my boy playing in the sand and wife helping out with some of the photography. Many of the public experienced something of the breadth of modern kite-flying for the first time, judging by comments overheard.
The Big Kites Fly At Meningie
Last weekend we were invited down to Meningie (south of Adelaide in South Australia) to put on a kiting demonstration, as part of a local fair.
The black one? Look at the wing tips!
The black one? Look at the wing tips!
Our host, Vern, also contributed by printing up a set of instructions and pre-printed A4 (similar to Letter size) kites for kids to make up on the spot.
After parking on the oval near the club-rooms, we soon had a colorful windsock erected on a fiberglass fishing pole. Posters of the MBK Multi-Dowel Box and Barn Door kites adorned Vern's ute (pick-up). Slipped under the wiper-blades on the wind-screen!
After a while there were dozens of people walking around the stalls. Meanwhile, we had lofted a number of kites. Including the big Multi-Dowel Sled. Quick to rig and pulls like a horse even in light breezes. Although winds over the grass were light at times, the gusts higher up seemed to be quite robust. Hence the Fresh Wind Barn Door was later rigged and launched. It was just left to its own devices for quite a while, lashed to the iron railing which surrounded the oval.
A less windy period towards the middle of the day saw us launch the bigger Multi-Dowel Barn Door, since its fresh-wind cousin kept sinking out to the grass! We even tried the big Multi-Dowel Delta at one point, but the gusts proved too strong and it was taken down before any damage occurred.
Finally, the KAP rig was put up under the Sled for a couple of 20-shot sequences. Unfortunately, most people had left by this time. But at least there were some half-decent aerial shots of the parked cars and club house area.
Nice weather, nice place - we'll remember it for quite a while!
All Ages Come And Try Kite Flying Day
A long but apt title for the event, hosted by AKFA (the Adelaide Kite Flyers Association). Held at Fort Glanville beach last Sunday. Just hundreds of meters south of the Semaphore jetty, this local event attracted a sizeable crowd.
The AKFA president and his helpers were run off their feet making simple kites and handing out free kite kits for the kids. Several large kites normally only seen at the annual festival were floating about, helping to attract yet more of the public from the surrounding area. Wind speed: 14 to 17kph. In the 'Gentle' range, technically speaking.
Soon after arrival I put up the 2-Skewer Delta on just 30 or 40 meters (100ft+) of 20 pound Dacron. It seemed quite happy in the fairly constant breeze, so I left it tethered to a small sand-bag. After that, it was time to wander around, snapping photos of the various kites being flown. Plus a shot or two of the larger show kites as a group.
A friend of mine dropped in, using his superior camera to zoom in on various targets. Some of those images might bob up on the MBK site soon!
Later in the afternoon, we put up the big Fresh Wind Barn Door kite. The breeze, which had now strengthened considerably to 18kph with 22kph gusts, was adequate to keep the Barn Door high with camera rig dangling from the line. By the time I had completed a second flight for more photos, the breeze had increased again to 24kph gusting to 27kph. Probably well over 30kph at flying height.
The highlight for me was seeing a great-looking blue and white Genki in flight at around 300 feet. A very efficient high-aspect-ratio kite which looks something like an aircraft wing in flight.
As mentioned earlier, there's another alternative to towing indoor kites if it's just not possible to fly outdoors...
"Kites Up!" is my downloadable board game. It's a PDF file which has all the documentation for the game plus images for all the components. Tokens, cards, the board itself and so on. Anyway, just click that link to see more info :-)