The Dowel Diamond kite has recently been re-designed for quicker set-up
and flying in lighter winds. With hardly any wind outside, it seemed
like a pretty good time to take the kite out. However, if I waited too
long, the thermals could get a bit savage and make things interesting!
Down at the reserve, winds had already picked up a little with moderate strength gusts rippling the tops of the gum trees.
Within a couple of minutes the Diamond was rigged, attached to the 50 pound flying line and raring to go.
was only a moment before the first gust came through. The relatively
un-tested Diamond shot up and willingly climbed out as I quickly let out
line. Being engrossed in observing the kite and getting it even higher,
I just forgot the usual low-altitude photo and video session!
Dowel Diamond kite flew well, although the increasingly strong thermal
activity was starting to punish it from time to time. At least the kite
was well balanced, since it didn't show a definite preference for moving
off in one direction or the other!
This bridle on this new Diamond is attached at 2 points on the
horizontal spar. Hence I did not expect any of the wing-waggle so
typical of Diamonds. Surprisingly though, at a particular wind strength
it did start to waggle.
With even more wind speed, curvature appeared in the sail outline and the kite started to fish-tail furiously.
At the highest wind speeds the kite actually became more stable due to the extra billow in the sail.
thermal activity was now forcing the kite all over the place, including
a 70 degree line angle overhead! It became far too risky to let out
more than about 50 meters of line. Kite-grabbing trees were everywhere,
past that distance! Another evidence of the very active air was when the
Dowel Diamond kite suddenly lost height, just floating down on its
face. Sinking air. What goes up must come down somewhere else.
In between thermals, some smoother air allowed the kite to show off its light-wind capabilities.
really looking forward to flying this kite in smoother and lighter
conditions! After 2 outings, it still hasn't been to 400 feet...
lunch time drawing near, I brought the kite down to 50 feet or so to
snap off some photos and get some video. The video shows the kite's
light wind behavior, just before the wing-waggling sets in!
my previous experience with the Dowel Roller, it was clear that this
Diamond would benefit from a little extra weight near the bottom sail
pocket. At the expense of a tiny amount of light-wind performance, which
would be hardly noticed. It would help prevent those long sideways
excursions near the middle of its wind range, where the Dowel Diamond kite just flies
along on its side and is slow to correct.
The story above was an actual flying experience with the described kite.
My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!