These kite train posts once appeared in the site blog page - that's the one you enter via the 'what's new!' site navigation link. Just scroll down and stop at any heading that appeals :-)
Influential Rain Clouds
The crazy winds and rain of the last 3 days had duly ceased, as foreseen by the weather forecasters...
Today's flying was pre-arranged with another local kite club member, Mark. Such was the strength of some of the gusts around our house in the morning, that I stowed the Multi-Dowel Box in the car. Just in case the breeze was too much for the 5 Tyvek and carbon diamonds I had also packed. On arrival at the reserve, the gusts were indeed pretty healthy. But it was nothing that the diamonds couldn't cope with, so out they came.
Soon after the diamonds made it to around 200 feet, Mark arrived and started to launch a large yellow parafoil. But the air was tricky. After a promising gust pushed through the trees and boosted the kite up, rough patches would collapse the kite. At one point the kite went charging off to the side, parallel with the ground. Fortunately the flying line was just short enough to miss my diamond train's line!
Other attempts were made, but the air was just too volatile to keep the big parafoil fully inflated.
Meanwhile, lulls were causing trouble with the train, allowing the drogues to occasionally wrap around the flying line. This would force me to take down the train, fix the situation and then get the 5 kites away again. Tedious. I never seem to learn - thermic conditions and kite trains don't mix, no matter how bomb-proof you think you've made it! All the same, drogues are vastly less trouble on a train than conventional tails.
A large dark cloud that was initially overhead headed off downwind. As it departed, wind speeds started to moderate too. By the time the 5-kite diamond train had been up for half an hour or so, the average breeze strength was much reduced. As the sky went blue overhead, it became a real exercise in light-wind flying.
By this stage, Mark was having some success with a big fiberglass and rip-stop delta. Even that kite ended up on the grass several times. In between thermal gusts ruffling the tree-tops, there was now almost nothing to fly in.
Finally I decided to call it a day and go home for lunch. At least the train had spent quite a few glorious minutes flying high and stable over the field. A spectacle for all the car drivers passing the field on South Road.
As we packed up, more clouds started to form, filling in the blue areas of sky. And the trees started to wave...
Animal Train Experiment
The day started off windy, but was forecast to moderate right down to Light winds by the evening...
With thoughts of a new long diamond train for the next Adelaide Kite Festival, my aim today was to experiment a bit with the attachment method.
The Multi-Fly Diamonds have fittings which allow them to be added and removed from the line in an ad-hoc manner. Without passing the winder through the middle. However, in practice, the kites tend to be added and removed in order and perhaps a straight-through approach would still prove practical.
At a nearby school oval someone already had a diamond kite in the air! The breeze was inconsistent low down which thwarted efforts to put up my train kite-by-kite with only a few meters in between. So, I went with 'far apart' spacing instead.
Threading the line through the fitting was fiddly at first while other kites were up. But it's the kind of thing that would very quickly get easier with a bit of practice. As well as that, the kites were definitely easier to handle during the attachment process than the originally designed method. Even though the winder was now being passed right through the central hole in the kite sail.
The guy with the other kite came round and made a few comments. Apparently he and his very young boy had been inspired by the last Adelaide Kite Festival and had gone out and bought a $5 diamond.
The 3-kite Animal Train flew high in the late afternoon sunshine, weaving and being pushed close to looping once in a while by stiffer gusts aloft.
After taking some video footage and enjoying the show for a few minutes, I started bringing the kites down.
Again, it was a little tricky at first getting the line out from the slots in the fitting while flying the remaining kites from one hand. But it looks promising. Another try down at the beach in smoother wind should be interesting. And then it might be time to try the technique on the hard-pulling 9-kite train!
Sadly, on leaving the oval, I noticed the $5 diamond dangling forlornly from an enormous tree near the perimeter, high up...
Two Outa Three Ain't Bad
After rain, excessive wind and general Winter dreariness, conditions finally improved near the end of the day....
Down at Knox Park, a large square field in the next suburb, a lone kite flyer was enjoying the antics of his attractive big Diamond. The kite, with a long dark tail, was swirling around in moderate wind speeds up around 300 feet. Nice!
We didn't waste any time getting out my Animal Train - consisting of Cow, Zebra and Dalmatian Diamond kites. Suitably painted up in black acrylic over white soft Tyvek. We flew this train at the Adelaide International Kite Festival back in April.
Damp sails and damp 100 pound Dacron line contributed to some difficulties in getting the Zebra kite airborne. Eventually, up it went, after launching on a long line from the middle of the field. Above 100 feet there was ample breeze!
Initially a second kite was added a long distance from the Zebra. It was taking ages to get the second kite high enough to grab some air, so I ended up grounding it and shifting it a lot closer to the Zebra Diamond. This had the desired effect and soon both kites were cavorting about the sky, pulling most of the sag out of the line. In fact, the Zebra Diamond on top was getting a bit too much wind speed and was being forced into loops to the left from time to time.
I didn't bother with a third kite, hence the title of this post!
For a few minutes we just watched, as the setting sun gave an eerie yellow sheen to the Tyvek sails curving around in the fast moving cold air. All else was darkening - just the kites and a bank of distant cloud was being lit up in slowly fading sunlight.
Not a bad little outing. Quite spontaneous and we just got back in time for tea, headlights gleaming...