AKFA - Adelaide Kite Flyers Association. Every second Sunday of the month is a Fly Day when - weather permitting - members meet to fly kites.
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 :-)
AKFA Kite Fly - December 2015
Warm weather and quite a lot of thin cloud cover persisted for most of the afternoon. The breeze was almost southerly and remained in the 'gentle' range the whole time we were there. An actual wind meter reading was 11kph gusting to 16kph - and it didn't vary a lot either up or down from there. Just about anything will fly in that!
The Multi-Fly Diamond train I put up sat fairly low at around 30 degrees. It would have liked a few more kph. When carefully trimmed, these kites will stay in the air in 50kph gusts.
Other AKFA kites included a sled with inflatable spars, a heart-shaped parafoil being flown on the sled's line, a large white parafoil, two delta conynes and a 4-line traction kite. There was even an inflatable monkey and tortoise by the end of the session, being lifted by the big parafoil.
Also enjoying the easy flying conditions was a small pterodactyl, a 2-line sport kite, a couple of ship kites, a small dopero kite plus a few others further away towards the water.
In general, all the kites were uncharacteristically devoid of much motion. Due to a combination of very smooth air from across the water and fairly low wind speed.
It all made for a very pleasant afternoon of flying for those of us who turned up. Not to mention the fliers closer to the lapping water who were not associated with AKFA. Perhaps they got enthused by seeing what happens down here every few weeks..
AKFA Kite Fly - November 2015
According to the forecast when I had last seen it, winds were expected to be in the 'gentle' range - that is, between about 12 and 20 kph. Pretty ideal! However, it turned out to be much lighter. Never mind. Three AKFA optimists, including yours truly, turned up...
On stepping out of the car and hearing how marginal the breeze had been for some time, I instantly regretted not taking along an extremely light-wind Diamond design that I had left hanging in the shed. 5mm dowels, an almost weightless plastic sail and no tail. The 2 meter (7ft) Carbon Diamond in the back of the car would have to do.
So out came the big Tyvek-sailed diamond, only for it to yo-yo up and down on 10 or 20 meters of line. At least it was a good exercise in kite-control. Trying to make the most of 'gusts' that were traveling at around walking pace!
Finally, there came a brief period of reasonable breeze strength. The first clue was a colorful Delta further down the coast which seemed to be having an easy time of it. We realized why, when the wind strength suddenly picked up by 5 - 10 kph!
Within minutes we had all our kites up, some of them hand-flown and others tied off to the wire of a brush fence. I got busy with the camera, and managed to get a parachutist in the same frame as a large red parafoil. The sky divers seem to use this beach on a regular basis.
Disappointingly, the light breeze didn't last. But at least everything flew for a while, and plenty of onlookers would have become aware of AKFA's existence. The OzFeather banner helped!
AKFA Kite Fly - October 2015
Last Sunday afternoon saw great sunny weather for kite flying on the beach near Fort Glanville. With smooth winds peaking at 20 kph, a really wide variety of kites were able to stay aloft. To begin with just a couple of large parafoils were up, but by the mid-afternoon, the action over the sandy stretch resembled a small kite festival! I'm not even going to try and list them all here.
There were single-liners, as usual, both home-made and commercial. Less common on these days, there was some 2-liner flying going on. Even a demo of what quads (4-line control) can do.
Personally, I first put up a black Tyvek diamond trailing a long bowed tail in alternating colors. Later, I tried three white Tyvek diamonds in a train, leaving around 15 meters (50 feet) of line between each. This spacing allowed the kites to move around fairly independently, making a more dynamic display than closely-spaced kites would do. I guess everyone has their own preferences when it comes to kite trains though.
To the satisfaction of us AKFA members, many onlookers were taking in the spectacle from all angles. From up and down the beach, and from the dunes that lined the beach. Could there be a future member or three among them? Quite possibly.
AKFA Kite Fly - September 2015
It was a brilliant day for kite flying yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. At Fort Glannville as usual. Winds were quite fresh early on, gusting up to the high 30s (kph). This caused problems for quite a few kites! But then later the breeze moderated, before coming on again back into the mid-twenties (kph).
Due to the roughly northerly direction, the occasional mighty swirl would reach far downwind from some tall trees and large buildings further along the coast. After a couple of seconds, the kites would recover again in smoother air.
At first I just walked around taking video and stills to document the event. Later, I put up a carbon and Tyvek diamond complete with traditional-style bowed tail. A long tail, to help keep the kite off the sand in the fresh breeze.
There really was a lot of variety in the sky in terms of size and type. One home-built effort defied categorization - a roughly circular rainbow complete with thundercloud and lightning bolt. Not to mention a long and wide flowing tail. The largest on display would have been a big yellow parafoil hoisting an inflatable Peter Lynn tortoise. The smallest? Again, it was probably the very active Pterodactyl. Darting about near the top of its wind range.
As usual, there were a number of small and medium sized Deltas. Also parafoils. A colorful Brasington-designed train sat steadily at a modest line angle, shifting around with subtlety. All up, there was plenty for the beach crowd to gawk at!
AKFA Kite Fly - August 2015
I was one of the first to arrive, just after 12pm up at Fort Glanville. The breeze was pumping in from the North at 28kph with gusts to 35kph. 'Box kite weather' so it wasn't long before two MBK Dowel box kites were aloft over the sand. Both of us employed calico bags half-filled with sand to anchor our kites.
Others eventually arrived and contributed a decent variety of kite types for onlookers to enjoy. I went to the car and then returned with my Fresh Wind Sled which duly took to the sky trailing its twin orange drogues. At first the dark blue Sled arced straight back into the sand several times before we discovered the bridle had a completely accidental knot in it! After freeing that small tangle, up the kite shot, straight as a die. No problems at all since it was designed specifically for a hefty breeze.
At one point my Box had an unfortunate nose-in which broke both side longerons in the upper cell. Not to worry - I soon had it replaced with a white soft Tyvek and carbon tubed Diamond. This kite needed the tail length doubled before it would stay up in the fresh breeze. But once it was up there, it stayed up, putting in a plug for the most traditional of Western kite designs.
Later in the afternoon, several soft stunters and a 4-line traction kite went up. A spot of kite-gliding from the dunes was duly recorded for later publishing on social media.
After many very cold and rainy days, this Winter afternoon was pleasant enough. There were even periods of bright sunshine. About time!
A good outing, featuring kites of all sizes except the mega-monoliths you might see at a festival.
AKFA Kite Fly - June 2015
Rainy weather was approaching but it seemed far enough away to make the trip to Fort Glanville worthwhile. A nearby weather station was indicating gusts to 19kph, so I came prepared with some large kites that would enjoy that middling amount of air movement. However, it all looked a bit light on arrival. Fortunately I had tossed in the 2-Skewer Rokkaku as well, just in case...
A number of light-wind kites were already aloft. Most were flying very steadily indeed, in the smooth Northerly that was drifting down the beach. In particular, a large indoor Delta appeared to be almost motionless. Good for lifting some light-weight KAP gear, some of us thought!
It seemed easiest to just put the small Rok up first, which was soon accomplished on 60 meters (200 ft) of 20 pound Dacron. The carry-bag with spare winders and bits of gear served as an anchor with the flying line simply passed beneath it on the sand.
Next came a photo session where I documented as many kites as possible in stills and short movie clips. With that job out of the way, it was time to kick a soccer ball around with my young son, amongst the huge piles of dried seaweed.
Meanwhile the colorful array of kites caught the attention of various people who were strolling down the beach.
So far, we had seen in the air a small hawk kite, a more stylized bird kite, a very large carbon and ripstop Rokkaku, my 2-Skewer Rokkaku, a Korean fighter, a large carbon Genki and that still-as-a-statue indoor Delta mentioned earlier. I had been anticipating adding my big Multi-Dowel Barn Door to this varied mix but unfortunately there were now signs of a slowly dying breeze. Several times, we had to rescue one kite or another. They had sunk very low in lulls and had to be urged back up to slightly faster air by some firm pulls on the line.
Finally, after several kites had descended all the way to the sand, it was clearly time to call it a day. Yet again, it had paid off to bring along kites for a wide spectrum of wind speeds. You so often end up flying the 'backup kite'!
MBK Kite Fly - May 2015
Despite missing altogether last month due to bad weather, the turnout for the last Saturday this month was the most ever. Mainly thanks to a contingent of AKFA fliers who generously ventured a fair way South to fly here at Knox Park in Morphett Vale.
Whether it was the sight of the huge purple parafoil or word of mouth down this way, a number of local vehicles made brief visits to the car park to see from there what was going on. Somebody else materialized out of the surrounding suburbia to fly a small tail-less Diamond.
Others just walked through, taking in the aerial sights floating far above the thoroughly wet grass. It had rained at least a couple of times earlier in the day. Inconvenient for rigging kites and wetting everyone's shoes. But never mind - it was like a mini-festival up there!
I feel a list coming on. In no particular order, here are nearly all the kites that flew...
The breeze had been ample for all the kites just before 3pm, but the average speed dwindled steadily as the afternoon wore on. My big Rok saved itself several times before finally settling on the grass. One by one, most other kites did the same, although some we took down in anticipation of leaving the field.
All up, a good time was had with a great variety of kites!
AKFA Kite Fly - March 2015
A weather station was showing 20kph winds gusting to 30kph near the Adelaide Airport. Not exactly the Kite Fly location, but an indication of the weather up there anyway. So, we arrived, loaded with kites which suited a 'more-or-less moderate' range of wind speeds. It turned out to be 'less', very definitely...
Quite a few kites were up, so I wandered around for a while just taking video. A large blue parafoil hoisting inflatable fish and a scuba-diver. A red parafoil hoisting a large red heart-shaped inflatable. Several soft stunt kites were zipping around, further down the beach.
But then the breeze started to falter, allowing a large 'kicking legs' inflatable to almost touch the sand. The stunt fliers had to quit for a while.
Meanwhile, the Multi-Dowel Barn Door was the nearest thing to a light-wind kite I had available. The big light-blue hexagon was comfortable up at 300 feet, but was only just holding its 55 - 60 degree line angle. One measurement with the wind meter showed around 11kph gusting to 13kph.
Thankfully, some time later the breeze picked up once more. All of a sudden the Fort Glanville stretch of sand was filled with kites of all kinds. There was a definite mini-festival feel about it! Unusual kite of the day would have been the carbon-sparred pure white design that looked like a giant pair of lips.
Not long after this, we needed to leave for another destination - but it had turned out to be a very good Kite Fly.
AKFA Kite Fly - February 2015
According to weather site predictions, a windy afternoon could be expected, despite milder winds for several days either side. It certainly turned out to be so!
A head-level wind meter check around 2pm recorded a 29kph breeze gusting to 41kph. That would mean mid-forties at least up at several hundred feet. 'Box kite weather' as I'm fond of saying.
Perhaps the high winds had discouraged others from flying, since only three of us were there. Mike was packing up his surfing kite, after experiencing almost perfect white-cap conditions out on the water. AKFA President Tony had tried a train of art kites. They eventually ended up on the sand after straining bravely away in the slowly freshening gale from the South.
Not wanting to leave without at least an attempt to fly, I rigged the Multi-Dowel Box kite next to the car in the car park. A handy bit of wind-shadow you see. Soon the big blue Box was ready to fly, and I moved out to the grassed area.
It was all a bit hairy, the Box rushing from side to side in the breeze which was not as smooth as down on the unobstructed sand. The line strain was horrendous at times, to the point where I resorted to taking a half-wrap of line round my body to keep control. The main spars took on gentle curves like an hour-glass. But what really stopped the show was a rip appearing in the leading edge of a lower cell panel. Time to call it a day! With help from my wife and young son, we got the kite down and de-rigged.
Meanwhile, Mike's red parafoil with the Boxing Kangaroo flag half-way up the line had weathered the conditions pretty well.
So, not the most relaxed kite flying ever, but it's all experience!
AKFA Kite Fly – January 2015
Aren and I arrived quite late due to family commitments, to find that all the larger kites had gone. However, a small soft stunt kite was still flying around, although drops in wind speed were making it a bit of a struggle at times. A handful of AKFA members were sitting around discussing ... well, kites of course. I inevitably learn something more every time I listen in to other kite-fliers.
Although the breeze was fitful at low level, the online weather station had indicated gusts into the high 20's this afternoon.
Sure enough, we didn't have much trouble getting the 1.5m tall Fresh Wind Sled up and away over the dunes. While under 50 feet, it's limited stability without drogues or tails attached was evident, in the gusty off-shore air. Not to the point of looping though, just the odd dive to one side or another. At least this kite was trimmed out this time, with no strong preference for left or right!
The big Sled settled down quite a bit when 30 meters (100 feet) of line was out. As fresher gusts came through, the Sled pulled very firmly and soared high overhead. Probably with a touch over 60 degrees of line angle.
Eventually we needed to make time for Aren to see our $10 stunt kite in action again. So he got to work with the steel carabiner he got me for Christmas, walking it along the line to bring the Sled down. A bit of a job for a small boy, against all that line tension!
After a brief few flights with the stunt kite down on the sand, we said our goodbyes, packed up and left. Despite the beach location, the gustiness of the off-shore breeze had stalled the kite often, making it float back to the sand nearly every time. Aren never got a go, poor fella.
A check with the wind meter for a minute or so confirmed the online report - 13kph with a max gust to 25kph at shoulder level. The Sled probably flew in near to 30kph at times, over 80 feet up.
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