AKFA Kite Fly Posts 2018

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 :-)

I nearly always fly one or more of my published designs...

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of printable PDF file downloads. Step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.




AKFA Kite Fly - December 2018

True to the forecast from 4 or even 5 days back, a moderate to fresh breeze ended up pumping in from the SSW...

AKFA Fly DayA typical AKFA Fly Day in progress
AKFA Fly DayA typical AKFA Fly Day in progress

I arrived just after 1pm to find a number of big kites up. All of them feeling the strain of the high gust strength, despite the air flow being quite smooth at flying height. Andy had a gold parafoil lifter with Frog and Crab inflatables underneath. Ian and Elly were flying a Panda flowform with a new Dragon inflatable suspended from the line. The dragon was a long and non-lifting design, inspired by traditional Chinese depictions. Impressive! Mike had his red pilot kite up with a blue Octopus flying underneath.

With a few photos taken, some minutes were spent adjusting the bridle on the Fresh Wind Sled to keep it straight and true. So after a few short, low flights, the kite was let up high.

Of course, wind speeds were even higher up at 150 feet. After tying the line to the fence railing I looked up to spot the kite dipping low to the right, over the busy car park. Not good! Back on a safer length of line, the Fresh Wind Sled hovered over the grass for the rest of the afternoon's flying.

Meanwhile, more kites were going up. Large and small. Allison and Neville had a Trilobyte up over the sand, with a large inflatable underneath. Andy swapped out the gold parafoil for a blue one which did better in the fresh wind strength. Mark arrived and soon had his trusty old delta conyne fluttering away - but holding station well - in the stiff breeze. The Lester's Legs inflatable got some air time too, but had a harder time of it, rolling onto the grass a few times. Henry and Fiona joined in with the white parafoil and an inflatable I'll just call 'that ribbed thingy'.

By this time the grassed area was getting rather crowded! The flying flotilla was drawing quite some attention from people walking past or going to and fro from the beach.

Finally, Simon put up a small delta conyne. Talking of smaller kites, there were a couple of novelty parafoils with tubular tails over the grass. Also, several other small kites being flown by members of the public down on the beach.

There was plenty of action at this kite fly!


AKFA Kite Fly - November 2018

It was back to the usual Semaphore Park location this month...

True to the weather site prediction, a Gentle-strength breeze was coming off the ocean after mid-day. The direction was much more southerly than predicted though. But this was OK, since it gave us considerably more flying space over the grassed area adjacent to the sandy beach. With breezes due west from the sea, there's only the width of the long grassed area in which to fly.

There wasn't much cloud cover to block the sun. With temperatures around 30 degrees C the weather was pretty much perfect to fly a kite or 3. That sentence came out more poetic than intended. (Or, 'I'm a poet and don't know it' - a time-honored Daddy Joke...)

Elly and Julie were flying a large orange parafoil with a purple Dragon slung underneath. Andy had been flying his large Trilobyte with Tiger and Dog inflatables underneath - since 10:30 in the morning! Mike put up a large multi-colored parafoil with a suspended ball. Great entertainment for any kids who wanted to play or experiment with the chaotic motions of the ball when hit or thrown! After taking a few photos and a video I wasted no time putting up my Tyvek Roller. The Roller stayed in roughly the same spot at around 100 feet up, for the next 1 1/2 hours or so. What a great breeze!

Some guy down on the well-populated beach was flying a colorful rotating box kite. The kite was more like a rolling drum than a traditional box. The drum/tube appeared to be bridled from the nose and was holding a respectable line angle. A cool kite indeed, as noted by several of us from the club.

A family on the grassed area had a small para-sled floating around for much of the afternoon as well. The simple kid's kite couldn't have been more than 30cm (1ft) across, in flight, but it certainly was reliable.

The fly day had a somewhat lower turnout than our best, but still, a good fly was had by all.


AKFA Kite Fly - October 2018

This month, the club fly day happened to coincide with a community event at the St. Kilda Adventure Playground. So it was decided to combine the two...

For more than a week, forecasts were predicting strong wind on the day of the event. And so it turned out. When we arrived on Sunday afternoon, several large parafoils were listing this way and that. One parafoil had actually broken it's flying line and had to be rescued from the adjacent car park!

Members of the public were flying small kites with limited success. We observed plenty of very bent fiberglass and flapping rip-stop nylon.

I had second thoughts about pulling out the 10-cell tetrahedral, since it was new and completely untested. No point in destroying it on it's first flight! So we walked across to the tether vehicles with the trusty Fresh Wind Sled instead. But even this kite soon had troubles when it bit into the full force of the breeze...

A gust to 41kph had been recorded minutes earlier, but up high there would have been even more! The big sled powered far to the left and right, it's twin orange drogues helpless to steady things down. Meanwhile I took a wrap of 100 pound Dacron line around my body to keep the pull force on my hands manageable.

Mike's red pilot kite, with whale inflatable below, seemed to be flying straightest. The other large parafoils owned by Ian, Elly, Allison and Neville were right on their limits, even being forced low to one side.

The nor-easterly was rough, seemingly gusting in many different directions, both horizontal and vertical. Despite the sheer wind speed, my sled surged almost overhead once or twice, in rising gusts. At other times the kite was forced close to the ground and nearby trees.

Clearly, soon after starting, it was time to stop! As if to emphasize the point, rain drops started to fall. A rain band was approaching rapidly from the north. Not long after, lightning flashed in the distance. Naturally, we then got all the kites down in a hurry.

And so the event came to a premature end. People were streaming towards the car parks as the rain intensified and thunder rumbled across the huge playground.

Despite all this, the brief appearance of several large kites had grabbed people's attention. Also, the colorful floating display had acted as a clear indication of the location of the event, for arriving visitors. Including the be-suited Mayor of Salisbury, who walked away knowing a little more about lifter kites and inflatables than when he first arrived...


AKFA Kite Fly - September 2018

There had been a run of windy and wet weather, but it was all supposed to come good abruptly on the fly-day...

Well, not quite, as it turned out. The stiff winds persisted until soon after mid-day and the sky was almost overcast. Very occasionally, bright sunshine would peep through a small gap in the cloud cover.

A couple of large club kites were up when we arrived...

Henry had launched the big white light-wind parafoil, which although uncomfortable at times seemed to be coping with the wind strength. That's the nice thing about big parafoils - great wind range! A marine inflatable had been attached below.

Close by was another club kite - an even wider multi-colored parafoil, trailing a very long stripey tubular tail. Mike was responsible for those and he had also attached a Shark inflatable below.

Ian and Elly contributed their big orange Pilot kite. Another parafoil. Before long, the big orange lifter was helping a large purple Dragon inflatable into the air as well.

Tony had a Japanese-inspired lo-aspect ratio kite, flying from the nose with a single attachment point. A very steady flier, as you would expect.

Things were a little crowded on the grass so I went down to the sand and methodically put up a 6-Diamond train. This time I tried a new attachment method, passing the winder through the middle instead of using the fittings on the nose of each kite. In 16kph the kites were swinging about quite a lot so the next thing to try will be to add a meter of line between the tail end of each kite and the drogue's bridle. Right now the drogue bridles are tied directly to the vertical spars.

As the afternoon progressed, the wind strength died away. The Diamond train settled down and eventually the large parafoils started to lose height.

Finally, after the large kites and fliers were gone, I took down the Diamond train just as a minor rain squall hit! A sudden surge in breeze strength and a couple of minutes of very light rain was all it was. Oh and the air temperature seemed to drop by a few degrees as well. Perhaps that was just 'wind chill'.

Despite there only being a few bursts of decent sunshine, a good fly was had by all. A solid Winter display of kite-flying for the onlookers walking past.


AKFA Kite Fly - August 2018

The local club fly got off to a great start, there being adequate breeze for the big inflatables and parafoils...

The forecast was for 'showers decreasing' and sure enough, in various directions there were distant clumps of dark cloud. Some of the cloud cover was dumping rain over the sea or further inland. But nothing was close enough to be a bother, so we all kept flying.

Ian and Elly had the orange parafoil as a pilot for their purple Dragon inflatable. Andy had a giant Teddy inflatable under a yellow pilot kite. Mike was flying his red pilot kite with a Hammerhead Shark inflatable underneath. Steve had a stylized 747 inflatable under a multi-colored pilot parafoil. Henry was flying the white light-wind pilot kite with a Gecko inflatable hanging off the line.

At some point a giant Ball ground-based inflatable made an appearance while Aren and I went down to the sand...

After half-filling a green calico shopping bag with sand, I set about putting up my 9 - no, 10 - kite Diamond train. Last month the kites had swirled about with rather too much gusto. So this time, I had added a meter of line between the tail-end of each kite and it's drogue bridle lines. That settled things down!

The train flew beautifully stable as the breeze hovered around 14kph gusting up to 18kph. Yep, measured it with the wind meter.

Aren had noticed how a couple of rain showers had scooted along the horizon. More concerning was a rain band visible on the sea directly upwind of us! The rain looked barely 15 minutes off, so we hurriedly started taking down the train. Sure enough, the last kite was stacked on the pile as rain drops started to fall.

It didn't turn out to be much of a shower, but by that stage, everyone had got busy taking down kites.

Haste makes waste and a couple of us managed to lodge a large parafoil high up in a car-park tree. :-( But thanks to an heroic effort by Henry, the tree was scaled, bridle lines removed and kite retrieved unscathed! A quick check-flight on the bridle lines confirmed the kite was still airworthy. Phew.

A club fly to remember, if not for all the right reasons!


AKFA Kite Fly - July 2018

Up at Semaphore Park, the breeze was ample - on average - but the direction was a problem...

On arrival, a couple of large pilot kites were soon in the air. Courtesy of Andy, Ian and Elly. However, the usually sedate 4-cell parafoils were having trouble staying up! And it wasn't lack of wind. Being from the NE, the breeze was tumbling and swirling through our flying area. After passing over and around many large obstacles inland.

A kite would be stable one moment and then list heavily to one side the next. Sometimes the air would slow so dramatically in just a few seconds that the kite would collapse and start to fall earthwards.

I put up a mid-sized Diamond with a drogue since the other kites in the car were more suited to light wind. The Diamond did OK but was forced into loops from time to time by the freshest gusts.

To correct the looping without adding a tip-tail, I put a very narrow gather into the Tyvek sail on one side, to tighten that side a little. Sticky tape on the back of the sail held the gather in place. It worked a little too well, forcing the kite into loops in the opposite direction when pushed hard by the breeze!

All the while, one of the big parafoils was collapsing to the sand, rolling over a few times then re-launching itself. Not typical beach flying.

Mark put up a variety of kites but the weather was not kind to them. Eventually he put his Delta Conyne up high where the air was more constant. KAP rig dangling.

Mike experimented with a small high-wind parafoil. In fact various experiments were going on with kites and inflatables large and small. Mostly with limited success due to the challenging conditions.

A large Ball broke free and ended up being saved from a possible dunking by a large bush near the fence-line. My own little MBK Parachute absorbed the fresh gusts but didn't like the turbulence at all.

Sometimes interesting but often frustrating flying it was...


AKFA Kite Fly - June 2018

There seemed to be ample breeze all day...

Except, of course, when I arrived at big Knox Park with the 3-kite Animal Train and the latest Paper Delta. Within minutes, the breeze had largely died away.

A friend had his Dowel Delta up and away after a couple of attempts. My intention was to put up the Animal Train kite by kite.

The first step was to take the Cow Diamond and loft it on 100 pound line. Being the top kite in the train, I have it equipped with more tail plastic than the others. This does make it a tad heavier and therefore more reluctant to fly in marginal air. As was the case today. Several long tows failed to keep the kite up, so I went for the lightest kite. The Dalmatian Diamond, which has the least amount of tail plastic, since I normally fly it at the bottom of the train.

The Dalmatian Diamond also struggled, so the last step possible was to change over from 100 pound line to 50 pound line. It makes a difference!

Sure enough, with over 90 meters (300 feet) of lighter line out, the kite managed to float around indefinitely. Mind you, the line was sagging and the kite never rose up to it's more usual 50 degrees or so of line angle. There was no point in trying to add the other 2 kites since they were slightly heavier and would surely bring the train down. After a while I let out another 30 meters of line, just to ensure the kite would fly through the lulls.

Meanwhile, Trev had put up another delta - one of those yellow Smiley Face ones that seem to have sold in large numbers. They turn up in imagery on the Web, at kite festivals and at other events. As the sunlight dwindled, the small LED device attached to the delta's keel flashed brighter. We also experimented with dangling an Aussie flag from the flying line. With a small but weighty carabiner through one of the flag's eyelets, the flag flew quite successfully in the sporadic light breeze.

Not a bad outing. Just enough wind is enough wind! Although today it was only to be found above 150 feet over the grass....


AKFA Kite Fly - May 2018

'Smooth As'. That's what it is, when you raise the wind meter and it reads 19kph gusting to 21kph...

It was the monthly club kite fly and several large inflatables and parafoils were already up when we arrived. During the course of the afternoon, several pieces of line laundry were added to the main flying lines. A star Box, a Fish and a Monkey to name a few.

Mike had the Red parafoil up, trailing the South Australian flag. The 'Piping Shrike' logo on an otherwise standard Aussie flag.

I made my way to the sand and put up 7 of my 9 Tyvek Diamonds with drogues on a 100 pound line. Love the drogues - they don't tangle around the flying line! Anchored by a calico shopping bag with plenty of sand, the bottom 2/3 of the train took to swishing from side to side constantly.

Alli, Kev and Henry had large parafoils up with other inflatables - including Ian and Ellie's new Dragon.

Mark put up the Lester's Legs for a while, which no doubt amused a few pedestrians. On this occasion the wind wasn't too strong for the light parafoil with kicking legs.

Tony brought a light wind Delta which braved the chop coming from the dunes, on a few meters of line.

With bright sunlight streaming down from a largely blue sky and the smooth breeze, it was a very pleasant couple of hours of kite flying!



AKFA Kite Fly - April 2018

According to the weather stations online, winds were going to be rather fresh for yesterday's club fly up at Semaphore...

Instead, a Gentle-strength Southerly was blowing along the sand. Perfect for most kites! On top of that, the expected temperature maximum of 34 degrees C didn't eventuate either. Again, very pleasant. So, although numbers were down, those of us who chose to fly had glorious weather for it.

Initially I just wandered around getting photos. It pays to do that first. Otherwise time flies and people start pulling down kites before you realize - oops - get the camera!

After capturing everything that was in the air, I wasted no time putting up my longer Multi-Fly Diamond train. Just 7 out the 9 at first to see how it went. Flying drogues on short bridles instead of long plastic tails is so much easier and convenient! This makes it much quicker to setup and pull-down/pack away. Not to mention less trouble during flight!

The train had a few minor problems at the Saturday of the kite festival on the previous weekend. Having fixed those, Monday unfortunately turned out too fresh to fly the longer train by the time other things had been done. Hence yesterday was an opportunity to check the results of the tweaking.

There were some quality kites up, having been bought from the designer Robert Brasington. Tony was flying a small train of 3 Deltas with graceful curved lines. The outlines that is, not flying lines or bridles! Also flying well was Tony's light-wind Delta.

Cristina had another Brasington Delta up. Vibrant colors, fairly large and sporting triple matching streamer tails. On close inspection - quality, quality, quality.

I eventually added on the final 2 kites to my train - making 9 Diamonds in all, reaching up to around 100 feet off the sand.

Without Andy on the field, Mike was flying the biggest kite on this occasion. A red Peter Lynn Pilot parafoil hoisting the Aussie flag. The flying line was also suspending a small ball on a separate line, just a meter or so off the ground most of the time. This provided plenty of entertainment for kids young and old... The idea was to hurl or kick the ball away and see it take a random path all over the place before returning!

It was a good club fly, with perfect co-operation from the weather.


AKFA Kite Fly - March 2018

There was a stiff breeze, causing much listing. 'Listing' is more of a nautical term, but it seemed appropriate for large inflatable kites...

Yesterday was the club kite fly and a fresh Southerly was pumping in - or rather, along - the beach. We had kites in the air over a grassy area right next to the dunes.

Not long after 1pm the air was gusting well into the Moderate range. The high 20's in kph.

Two large parafoils were the first things most people would see when approaching the area. A yellow Peter Lynn pilot kite was suspending Tiger and Dog inflatables.

Mike's red pilot kite just had a small ball suspended from the flying line. The ball hovered close to the ground most of the time. This ball provided much entertainment for several kids and adults. It was fun to fling or even kick the ball away and then watch it's erratic flight path around the local airspace before it finally returned to it's launch point!

Talking about large kites, the biggest was Andy's Trilobite which was also doing some lifting. A bol rotated slowly, halfway between the Trilobite and the grass below.

Further downwind, a pair of Elephant parafoils writhed about in the increasingly fresh air stream. Aren was with me, and he had a chuckle at the 'trunks' swaying in the breeze. Complete with nipper bits at the end - you know how elephants can pluck a blade of grass with the tips of their trunks.

The breeze was fresh alright. Holding up the wind meter again, it now registered 31kph gusting up to 37kph. Both the pilot kites were listing to the right and sometimes dipped perilously low. But the operators knew what they were doing and had the kites just short of trouble.

The Tiger had great muscle tone, being pumped so hard with air!

My own contribution was to put up the MBK Fresh Wind Sled. A simple reliable lifter, the Sled on it's 200 pound Dacron line had a bamboo camera rig dangling on a 20 pound suspension line in a Half-Picavet arrangement. 2 sets of photos were taken looking north at the kites and another set was taken looking south back towards the cafe.

Great weather with comfortable temperatures and an ample breeze!


AKFA Kite Fly - February 2018

Weather prediction and reality came together perfectly...

The temperature was in the mid-20's and a sea-breeze averaged around 20 kph, making for absolutely ideal kite-flying conditions last Sunday at Semaphore Park.

Most of us arrived around 1pm and soon had kites in the air with ridiculous ease. Anything would fly in this wind!

First up were a couple of large parafoils. Red and yellow 8 square-meter Peter Lynn Pilot kites. Mark put up the yellow kite while Mike added a large inflatable Hammerhead Shark as line laundry under the red parafoil.

I soon had the little MBK Parachute waving about on just enough line to stay clear of a tree downwind - and the 2 parafoils. Trev also joined in with the small Pterodactyl, tip tails gleaming in the sun. Mark had also added a purple Elephant foil to the fray. OK, the foil was rather stylized, the most recognizable elephantine feature being the trunk/tail! Eyes and tusks were mere graphics and don't even ask about the 'ears'. Anyhow, the purple curiosity flew well enough and helped entertain the pedestrians along the footpath. Cristina had a foil Bird kite in the air on quite a short line.

By this time, the odd mobile phone was making an appearance, with people snapping pictures of the colorful aerial show.

Since the grassy area was becoming crowded with kite lines, some of us retreated to the sandy beach with more kites...

With Aren's help, I used a calico shopping bag as a sand anchor and put up 4 Tyvek Diamonds. Not being able to use my broken winder with it's 100 pound line, I ended up using 50 pound Dacron for the Diamond train. Four kites was plenty in the Moderate breeze, which was already causing the tightly stretched line to sing!

A little further up the beach a couple of soft 2-line stunt kites were being put through some aerobatics.

I've probably missed a kite or 2 but it was a great outing for the club. Perfect weather prevailed and nearly everyone had several kites up at once.


AKFA Kite Fly - January 2018

Last Sunday afternoon... Up at Semaphore Park here in Adelaide S.A., right alongside the beach, a number of local fliers turned up to take advantage of the sunny breezy weather.

There was plenty of kite variety on show for the walkers and joggers. Not to mention all those making their way to and from the sand.

Mike had his large red Parafoil hoisting a Whale inflatable, which was later joined by Monkey and Banana inflatables. Trev had his MBK Fresh Wind Dowel Box up on 15 meters or so of line. Mark had the huge Bouncing Ball doing it's thing with vigor in the hefty breeze. The Lester's Legs were near the top of their wind range, occasionally coming to ground to the left or right.

Numerous small kites were also flying about. Cristina and crew with a couple of small single-line parafoils and a larger parafoil sporting a cartoon Bird image on the underside. Other people unknown to our group were further away with various kids' retail kites. Many of the smaller kites were struggling with the wind speed.

I went upwind a little on the grass and put up the MBK Fresh Wind Sled trailing it's twin orange drogues. This 3-spar sled was specifically designed to stay up in wind too strong for most kites, so it sat comfortably even as the wind gusts crept past 40 kph.

Several 2-line kites were also being flown, of both the soft and sparred variety. A real blast in the smooth fresh conditions!

In summary - great weather, if a little strong, and a plethora of kites in the air. Averaging around 2 kites per flier it would seem.

And finally, don't forget...

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of printable PDF file downloads. Step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.


Don't miss your free download...

Could you do me just a small favor though?

Here's a page with reviews for that e-book, plus a sign-up form for my free monthly publication, "Tethered Flying". The e-book download becomes available once you sign up.

Thanks so much, and happy flying!



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Wind Speeds

Light Air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2

Gentle ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7

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