This homey little kite altitude record page has a similar format to the old kite flying
log. In fact, most of the entries here were taken from the flying log. If
more than one kite was flown on the day, I edited it down to just feature
the record-breaking kite and its flight.
As you will notice, all this is quite old now - so there's no mention of Dowel Series kites, or Soft ... or Paper ... Heck, I don't think even the Skewer Series was complete!
The Making Skewer Kites e-book was published soon after the 2-Skewer Dopero had proved itself in flight.
Bamboo BBQ skewers are generally bought in packs of 100, so these kites are exceptionally cheap to make.
Date: Sat 22 Sep 2007
Location: Old Reynella (reserve next to school)
Weather: moderate gusty breeze, blue sky
Kite: MBK Skewer Diamond prototype 2 and Delta prototype 2, Windjam07 Kite
Altitude: 102 meters (335 feet)
Comments: We thought we'd try a new flying ground today, after
checking out all the nearby reserves in the street directory. A short
drive away, we parked the car and headed over to the reserve next to
Reynella Primary School. Even before we got through the tree line
surrounding the park, it was clear that we had found a very good spot
for kite flying!
In no time, I had the diamond out but had trouble hooking
in the paper clip. Thanks to advancing age and no reading glasses... May
did it for me, then started the photo-shoot while I test flew the kite
close to the ground. After a while, I took the camera and by some fluke
took a fascinating shot of the brightly back lit kite hovering over our
little son like an angelic being.
Once we had plenty of shots taken, I headed out towards
the center of the grounds, letting the diamond take out line at a great
pace. 50 meters, then 100 meters, and the kite was flying beautifully.
With the fresh breeze up aloft, the kite showed signs of wanting a more
forward attachment point, but still flew around the 45 - 50 degree mark.
With the late afternoon sunlight glinting off its
fluttering shoulders and brightly illuminating the snaking tail, it was
quite a sight. Quite a satisfying sight actually, since I have been
painstakingly documenting and photographing its construction for a few
days! Newsletter subscribers will find a link to the relevant page on
the website at the end of the month.
With the extra room available in the reserve, I let out
another 50 meters of monofilament. So finally, the little diamond was
just a dot in the sky with the ripples in its bright shimmering tail
making it a bit easier to spot. It managed to reach about 45 degrees,
with a line angle from my hand of about 25 degrees. It might do better
with the bridle adjusted better, but 150 meters is a lot of line for
such a small kite. I might eventually try it on even finer line.
So, here's the calculations for its height. I quick look
on the Web brought up a diagram which told me that the line sag I had
today would correspond to about a 4.5% error in altitude. OK.
= line-length * sin(line-angle)
= 150 meters * sin(45)
= 106.5 meters
adjusting for line sag...
= 106.5 - 4.8
= 101.7 meters, or 334 feet
Let's round that up to 102 meters, I'm sure line stretch
would account for that anyway. A new altitude record, more than doubling
the last one!
That 45 degrees was just an eye-estimate. However, we will
be more accurate from now on, as we just went out and purchased a small
protractor. By hanging a small weight from its center, we will be able
to sight the kite along the top edge and then read off the angle from
the scale, to within half a degree or so. No more doing just a rough
guess to the nearest 5 degrees!
Date: Wed 15 Aug 2007
Location: Old Reynella (reserve)
Weather: Moderate/fresh breeze, variable
Kite: MBK Skewer Diamond prototype 2
Altitude: 48 meters (157 feet)
Comments: Plenty of wind about, so Aren and I went down to the
reserve. In the ample breeze, the delta was soon laying out line into
the sky. Being a bit tricky in gusty wind, it ended up on the ground a
few times. Nearly every time, I managed to relaunch without walking out
to it, as described in an earlier log entry.
Finally, it was nice and high and I let the reel spin out
to just past the 50 meter mark, let's say 51 meters. As I hoped, it got
up to a very high angle once or twice. With the help of some thermal
activity I'm pretty sure. That was the altitude record broken, simply
due to the very high line angle which I estimated to be about 70
degrees. With not much sag in the line at all I might add. Let's see...
calculate, calculate ... that means the kite was about 48 meters off the
ground, not even allowing for any line stretch!
When the wind got a bit strong from time to time, I
discovered another of its characteristics. It would start to loop very
tightly, with its 4 meter tail forming a 3 or 4 loop corkscrew shape.
Seems like when it got like this, the tail wasn't doing its job very
well. The fix was to walk quickly toward the kite to de-power it
completely. Then it would recover and race away in one direction or
another, before eventually climbing high again. Maybe using 2 or 3
shorter tails instead of one long one will fix this looping problem?
Definitely something to try later! It's easy to change tails on MBK
Date: Sun 22 Jul 2007
Location: Old Reynella (reserve)
Weather: Light/Moderate breeze, variable
Kite: MBK Skewer Diamond prototype 1
Altitude: 38 meters (125 feet)
Comments: After the wind picked up a bit out at the reserve,
we cracked out the skewer diamond kite. Things got a bit hectic with
toddler Aren trying to get in on the action. On top of that, a very
enthusiastic 11 year old boy tried to 'help' me, as they do. He also
knew more than me, as they do ;-) Funny, he kept holding the kite
up-side-down every time I went to launch it... While the wind was still a
bit on the light side, with turbulence swirling past the trees, the
result was a few short flights. Eventually, we got some slightly better
air a few meters up and the little diamond was happily unreeling the 3
kg fishing line from its reel. 'Cool!' said the kid.
I think a smile must have crossed my face as I realized
the first 50m marker I attached to the line a few weeks ago would soon
appear. Yep, there it was, and I decided that was enough. Much more, and
there just wasn't enough space in the reserve, should the wind drop
suddenly. A tree landing would be tragic. The kid pretended to do
aerobatics by swishing the line around. The kite would do the occasional
loop, in response to the sudden increases in its airspeed.
In fact, the wind picked up a little more again, and the kite was then near its limit most
of the time. It was darting horizontally left and right, with a loop or
2 now and again. The kid gave some violent tugs on the line to see what
would happen. Grrr. The considerable stretch of the nylon line saved
the kite I think. If it was Dyneema, something would have snapped, I'm
sure! Maybe even something on the kite... ;-)
With 50m of line out, I was pleasantly surprised to notice
that there was very little sag in the line. The difference in angle
between where it left my hand and where it attached to the kite would
have been less than 5 degrees. That means this little kite is going to
go a lot higher when we take it somewhere with some more room to
move. One problem, though. With its small size and construction from
see-through freezer bag plastic, including the tail, it was nearly
invisible against white cloud, just 50m out! We might have to add some
brightly colored plastic to the tail, just to keep it in view.
24 minutes after launch, the kite was on the ground again,
after the wind died down completely for a few minutes. I ended up at
the foot of the trees on one side of the reserve, winding line onto the
reel as fast as I could. Best flight yet for the little diamond kite.
Date: Sat 19 May 2007
Location: Holden Hill (reserve off NE Road)
Weather: Strong breeze, gusty
Kite: Modified Baby Sled
Altitude: 14 meters (46 feet)
Comments: Wintry day, cool wet weather. Strong breeze up
higher, but lots of turbulence down low due to large trees. The little
sled had a wild ride. Saw the effect of large-scale wind swirls from the
trees. That is, large changes in direction, sudden climbs and sudden
descents, all with plenty of pull on the line. It was still pointing
straight up during those descents! At other times it did loop and dive
due to really strong wind pressure. Plus a little thermal activity due
to sunny patches opening up once in a while. The long tail floating up
behind the kite. Reached the limits of this kite on its standard cotton
line! Reached a maximum of about 50 degrees from horizontal. I could
have probably added a meter or so of line stretch due to the strength of
the wind, when calculating the max height. Wondered if something might
snap actually, I guess one day we might lose it!
Date: Sun 21 Apr 2007
Location: Old Reynella (vacant block)
Weather: Moderate breeze, gusty
Kite: Baby Sled
Altitude: 10 meters (33 feet)
Comments: Best day yet to fly the little sled, although the
gusts kept putting it into unstable spins. Ended up on the ground a few
times. Eventually got all the line out, that's 18 meters (60 feet) of
stretchy cotton, with the kite up at just over 30 degrees. If it had
stayed stable a few seconds longer, it would have reached around 45
degrees, we've seen it do it on shorter line lengths. To break this
record, we might add some more tail and try some light nylon line.
Date: Sat 24 Mar 2007
Location: Semaphore Beach (adjacent reserve)
Weather: Cloudy, strong breeze
Kite: Baby Sled
Altitude: roughly 5 meters (16 feet)
Comments: Just an excuse to get this page started, basically.
:-) This was when we had just bought the baby sled, and my wife flew it
in the park on our way back to the car. The breeze was so strong,
the little sled flew in circles most of the time. Occasionally it would
straighten just long enough to get up to a 30 degree angle or so on its
short cotton line. We will break this record the next time we go out.