Adelaide Kite Flyers Association (AKFA). Every second Sunday of the month is a social fly day when (weather permitting) members meet to fly kites at Semaphore South.
These short flight reports once appeared in the site blog page, although that blog is no longer being published. Just scroll down and stop at any kiting detail that appeals :-) There's a photo gallery down near the bottom of this page, too.
On this site, there's more kite-making info than you can poke a stick at :-)
Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads—printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.
Every kite in every MBK series.
AKFA Kite Fly—December 2018
True to the forecast from four or even five days back, a moderate-to-fresh breeze ended up pumping in from the SSW.
arrived just after 1 pm to find a number of big kites up. All of them
were feeling the strain of the high gust strength, despite the airflow 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 my 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 were 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 South location this month.
to the weather-site prediction, a gentle-strength breeze was coming off
the ocean after midday. 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 three. 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. The ball was great entertainment for any kids who wanted to play or experiment with its chaotic motions 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. It was 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 30 cm (12 in.) 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 its 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 ripstop nylon.
I had second thoughts about pulling out the 10-cell tetrahedral, since it was new and completely untested. There would be no point in destroying it on its 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 41 kph had been recorded minutes earlier, but up high there would have been even more! The big sled powered far to the left and right, its 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 northeasterly 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 toward 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. This included 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 midday, 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 low-aspect-ratio kite, flying from the nose with a single attachment point. It was a very steady flyer, as you would expect.
Things were a little crowded on the grass so I went down to the sand and methodically put up a six-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 16 kph 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 their flyers 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. It was 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 ground-based ball 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 nine—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 its drogue bridle lines. That settled things down!
The train flew beautifully stable as the breeze hovered around 14 kph gusting up to 18 kph. Yep, it was measured 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.
It was a club fly to remember, if not for all the right reasons!
AKFA Kite Fly—July 2018
Up at Semaphore South, 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 four-cell parafoils were having trouble staying up! And it wasn't due to a lack of wind. Being from the northeast, the breeze was tumbling and swirling through our flying area. This was 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 earthward.
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 relaunching itself. This wasn't 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. It was mostly with limited success due to the challenging conditions.
The large ball broke free and ended up being saved from a possible dunking by a big bush near the fence line. My own little MBK Parachute absorbed the fresh gusts but didn't like the turbulence at all.
A sometimes interesting but often frustrating kite-fly 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 three-kite Animal Train and the latest MBK 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. That was 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 its more usual 50 degrees or so of line angle. There was no point in trying to add the other two 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.
It wasn't a bad outing. Just enough wind is enough wind! Although today, such wind 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 19 kph gusting to 21 kph.
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. That is, the "piping shrike" logo on an otherwise standard Aussie flag.
I made my way to the sand and put up seven of my nine Tyvek diamonds with drogues on a 100-pound line. I love the drogues—they don't tangle around the flying line! Anchored by a calico shopping bag with plenty of sand, the bottom two thirds of the train took to swishing from side to side constantly.
Alli, Nev, and Henry had large parafoils up with other inflatables—including Ian and Elly'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, that was 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 seven out the nine were tried 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. That's not to mention having 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, people having bought them from the designer Robert Brasington. Tony was flying a small train of three deltas with graceful curved lines—the outlines that is, not the flying lines or bridles! Also flying well was Tony's light-wind delta.
Cristina had another Brasington delta up. It had vibrant colors, was fairly large, and sported triple matching streamer tails. On close inspection, quality, quality, quality was evident.
I eventually added on the final two kites to my train—making nine diamonds in all, reaching up to about 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 1 pm the air was gusting well into the moderate range. That is, the high 20s 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 its erratic flight path around the local airspace before it finally returned to its launch point!
Talking about large kites, the biggest was Andy's trilobyte, which was also doing some lifting. A bol rotated slowly, halfway between the trilobyte 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. They were 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 31 kph gusting up to 37 kph. 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, this sled on its 200-pound Dacron line had a bamboo camera rig dangling on a 20-pound suspension line in a half-Picavet arrangement. Two sets of photos were taken looking north at the kites, and another set was taken looking south back toward the cafe.
It was 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-20s and a sea breeze averaged around 20 kph, making for absolutely ideal kite-flying conditions last Sunday at Semaphore South.
Most of us arrived around 1 pm 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 two 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 four Tyvek diamonds. Not being able to use my broken winder with its 100-pound line, I ended up using 50-pound Dacron for the diamond train. Four kites were plenty in the moderate breeze that was already causing the tightly stretched line to sing!
A little further up the beach a couple of soft two-line stunt kites were being put through some aerobatics.
I've probably missed a kite or two, 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 South here in Adelaide S.A., right alongside the beach, a number of local flyers turned up to take advantage of the sunny breezy weather.
There was plenty of kite variety on show for the walkers and joggers. That's 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 its 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 had 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 its twin orange drogues. This three-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 two-line kites were also being flown, of both the soft and sparred variety. They were a real blast in the smooth fresh conditions!
In summary, it was great weather (if a little strong), and a plethora of kites made it into the air. There was an average of about two kites per flyer it would seem.
Tap or click on any image below to start the gallery:
As mentioned earlier, there's more kite-making on this site than you can poke a stick at :-)
Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads—printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.
Every kite in every MBK series.