Kite Flying Log

Jun 2007

Date: Wed 27 Jun 2007
Location: Old Reynella (vacant lot)
Weather: Moderate/strong breeze, cloudy, cold
Kite(s): MBK Skewer Delta prototype 2

Comments: Finally got around to putting together the 2nd delta prototype. To help with stability I reduced the angle between the left and right main spars to almost 90 degrees. This also allowed the cross bar to go further back. That's good because it puts the balance point further back and also reduces flexing in the wing tips. Hopefully that extra stiffness will result in less misbehavior in strong winds!

For a tail I got creative and cut 5 large freezer bags into 2 cm wide loops, and tied them all together. Each loop looped over itself around the next one. The result was a really long plastic chain! Too long really, I might chop it in half later and make it a double tail.

Took it out for a fly in a rather strong breeze. Told myself off for not putting some paper clips in my pocket because guess what - still too nose heavy! I was amazed at how far off to the side it would fly. No tendency to loop at all, so that's promising.

Date: Sun 24 Jun 2007
Location: Holden Hill (reserve off NE Road)
Weather: Moderate breeze, gusty, cloudy, cold
Kite(s): MBK Skewer Delta prototype 1

Comments: This turned out to be the best flying session yet with the skewer delta. However, it's obvious that it has a rather limited wind speed range. Despite getting it way above some tall trees, as soon as wind strength got too much, it would loop left continuously, until contacting the ground. Usual solution is to walk towards the kite to ease up the strain, but not when it's flying in front of a 20 meter (60 feet) tree! The looping might be due to inaccurate construction or one wing being slightly heavier than the other or one main spar bending more than the other or a bit of all 3 of these factors. When the bugs are worked out of this design, it's just going to fly so high... In fact, I've decided to attach a brightly colored piece of plastic to the tail of the next prototype just to keep it in sight! That's because at the moment it's entirely covered with clear plastic, including the tail.

Date: Tue 19 Jun 2007
Location: Old Reynella (reserve)
Weather: Moderate breeze, gusty, cloudy
Kite(s): MBK Skewer Delta prototype 1

Comments: With a bit of wind blowing around the house and bright sunshine despite some clouds, set out once again with the pram and the delta tucked away in the storage compartment. Soon had the kite in the sky, now with a second tail attached next to the original one. Thought I'd try that first before adding any weight. Anyway, taping the second tail ribbon on added a little weight right where I wanted to add it anyway. With the extra tail, the flight of the kite was promising but it was still prone to looping in large loops. Even in wind strength that should be ideal for it. Still managed to get it up to quite a high angle from time to time, on 10 or 20 meters of line. Time to add weight. Two paper clips right near the attachment point of the tails made quite a difference! It's a really light weight kite. This time it soared up to a much higher height, nearly gave myself line burn with the 3 kg Premium Monofilament flying off the reel! Those long gusts had me worried, I could feel around 2 kg of pull I'm sure, from my little featherweight contraption. A long series of loops finally put the kite on the ground again, before anything broke. If not the line, the spars must have been taking more than half their breaking strain as well! Finally decided to shorten the top bridle string just a little by putting a knot in it. Flew fine, seemed more stable and angle of flight was still very good. All in all, I'm 80% satisfied with this kite now, it probably broke my height record today. With more room, it would have been so easy to let out another 100 meters or so of line! Another Skewer Delta is on the drawing board, stay tuned...

Date: Tue 12 Jun 2007
Location: Old Reynella (reserve)
Weather: Light to moderate breeze, gusty, cloudy
Kite(s): MBK Skewer Delta prototype 1

Comments: Headed out again with the Skewer Delta sporting a cotton bridle with the attachment point shifted back a centimeter or 2. Launched it with the first gust that came through and was pleased to see it rocket straight up to a 70 degree angle or more. Let some line out and it kept climbing. You beauty. Unfortunately, it turned out to be flawed after all. Once on its side, it would continue to fly all the way to the edge of the window and even head back towards the ground. No sign of it correcting, at all. This happened in both directions, a sign of instability. Got home and had a good think, recalling my youth hauling model gliders up on towlines. Aha, I think this kite has its center of gravity too far forward! We'll test that out before long, by adding a little weight near the attachment point of the tail.

Date: Mon 11 Jun 2007
Location: Old Reynella (reserve)
Weather: Moderate breeze, overcast, cold
Kite(s): MBK Skewer Delta prototype 1

Comments: Like my impressively named creation? :-) Spent some time on the glass-topped kitchen table making a little flat delta kite from bamboo skewers, sewing thread, wood glue, freezer bags and sticking tape. No more baby sled for a while, this delta is my new love. Well, it comes at least 4th actually, after the Creator, my wife and toddler son Aren. ;-) Hang on, what about the old Honda Prelude mmmm. Anyway, we took the kite out and discovered that the attachment point is too far forward. It floated up just a few meters then glided down like a model glider. Back to the drawing board.

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