Rain and strengthening winds had been forecast for the next few days.
So, with the sun still shining, it was time to head out for some KAP.
Beach had been visited a couple of times before, but without success.
Oh, I got a short-format Flight Report or two out of the trips, but no
great series of KAP photos! For one reason or another.
going by online weather reports, wind gusts of up to around 20kph could
be expected. That was at the airport station, a couple of suburbs away
from Brighton. It looked like an afternoon for the big Multi-Dowel Barn
The Multi-Dowel Sled was selected as the backup
kite, in case the breeze got too light for the Barn Door. On the other
hand, if things got fresher, the Fresh Wind Barn Door also happened to
be in the car. It pays to be well prepared.
Well, the breeze did start to look lighter on the way to the beach! As it turned out, the wind lightened up even further throughout the session...
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.
The panorama below shows the beach from where I was flying. In the enlarged image, see if you can spot the person walking their dog, who managed to appear in both frames 1 and 2! It takes me a few seconds to line up each of the three shots you see. In the meantime, objects move about...
Cloud cover was extensive but fairly thin by the time the kite flew. To
my relief, fairly strong sunshine was peeping through from time to time.
At least a few frames would be able to take advantage, as they fired
off every 10 seconds.
Air temperature had peaked at around 30 degrees earlier in the day. With all the cloud around, it was not much cooler by late afternoon when the KAP rig was aloft.
A light SSW breeze gusted in from over the sea, reaching perhaps 12kph at first but gradually lightening up as time passed. In fact, the breeze was extremely light at times, at ground level. After packing up, a quick check with the meter showed only 3.3kph gusting to 3.8kph!
MBK Multi-Dowel Sled
Lifter: The Multi-Dowel Sled kite, with drogues attached.
Interestingly, the kite did not take kindly to having the KAP rig only
15m (50ft) away today. Instead of my usual 30m (100ft). I hate to think
what might have happened if the drogues had not been attached! Despite some excessive swinging around, fast shutter speeds still saved the day. All the shots were sharp.
Take a look at my e-book Making Dowel Kites, if you would like to put together your own big sled. Or some other design - the barn door kite is a good KAP workhorse too.
Bamboo skewer cage with glued-in paddle-pop sticks behind the camera to
incline the field of view down a little. Half-Picavet suspension as
usual these days. On the second flight, I adjusted the camera's
direction a little since it seemed to be pointing too far inland.
Pentax Optio WG-2 with built-in intervalometer. Two sets of 20 shots,
at 10 second intervals, were done today. EV was at first set to -0.3 and
then changed to -1.0. ISO was fixed on 200. Focus was fixed on
The first image below is from the first flight, while the others are from the second flight of the big Sled kite. They show the camera's view from various altitudes, looking straight up the beach mainly. Except when some rig-swing brought the jetty into view!
The highest view was from just over 200 feet above the sand.
Click on a thumbnail image below to see it much larger...
The usual flying line storage for KAP has been my trusty but awkward-to-carry hose reel. Loaded with 200 pound braided Dacron, which is more than ample in strength for any of my kites. Today it was decided to fly on 90 pound Dacron, on a flat winder. Not so convenient to get the line out quickly, but it could be carried onto the beach inside my gear bag. Strength-wise, it would be fine in the very light breeze - even with 'Horse' (the big Sled) stretching it taut!
After selecting a launch site on the sand, I got busy with taking
several panoramas. Three frames each, stitched together by the camera.
The little marked chair helping with camera alignment as usual.
the suspension lines were hooked on and camera inserted into the
cradle. As always, the Sled was easy to rig. Including securing each
drogue line to a lower corner of the kite with a single half-hitch.
Holding the kite on 15m (50ft) of line, I used an elbow and an arm to
tweak the cradle around until it faced the proper direction. Straight
down the beach, in a roughly downwind direction. There would be no
flying line making an appearance in these shots!
This was the
first flight of the cradle with paddle-pop sticks taking the place of
the usual thickly-folded piece of paper. The permanently mounted sticks
performed the same function - tilting the field of view down a little so
more ground than sky would fill the frame for most shots.
The camera was set to a fixed ISO of 200 and EV of -0.3.
half a minute it was clear that the big Sled did not like the
suspension point being just 15m (50 feet) from the kite - at least in
fairly light air. The cradle hardly stopped it's pronounced swinging
during the ascent. Despite decent line tension and the twin drogues
doing their best to stop the kite's tail end from moving side-to-side.
oscillations didn't get any worse, so I continued with the flight. Out
to 90m (300ft) of line and a 45 degree flight angle. With more line out,
the situation improved a little. But only a little.
allowed plenty of time for the camera to stop shooting, the kite was
brought in. It happily flew on 15m (50ft) from 3 turns around my left
shoe while I changed the camera's EV setting to -1.0 for the second
flight. This time I managed to get the camera away a bit quicker,
bringing it to near maximum height before the four-minute initial delay
timed out. After that it was taking one photo every ten seconds as
This time I backed away right to the water's edge and let
out a few extra meters of line. So, the kite was flying on roughly 100m
(330ft) and still at about 45 degrees of angle. Or a fraction less, as
the wind speed was now very marginal. I was so glad the Sled was up! The
Barn Door would have really started to struggle by this stage.
the swinging camera was brought down and removed from the cradle with
no problems. Finally relieved of the KAP rig pendulum, the Sled just
parked itself at a high angle on the short line, almost motionless above
the sand. The tide was coming in. After the briefest of thoughts about
doing a third flight it instead seemed like a good decision to 'quit
while I was ahead'.
A guy walked over, inquiring about the kind
of kite which was now laid out on the sand. 'An Allison Sled' was my
reply. On getting closer and taking a look, he said - 'OH - a home-made
job!'. After a short conversation, I handed him a small flyer which
identified myself and the website.
Not long afterwards the phone
in my pocket vibrated as the kite widow tried to make contact. Just
kidding - although she could not be called a kiting enthusiast, my wife
May did actually fly her own $5 ship kite the other day...
It was a fairly relaxed KAP session in the end, despite the initial concerns about the swinging rig!
The story or stories above document actual flying experiences.
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!
As mentioned earlier, there's more kite-making info here 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.