Original Multi-Dowel Rokkaku
A number of small changes had been made, based on the experiences of the
first outing! A stiffener had been added to the central vertical spar-piece, and a longer bridle line fitted. That is, the piece that connects
the upper and lower bridle loops. Also, the lower bridle legs had been
shifted apart more, to 50% of the horizontal spar length on each side.
While rigging, the sail's top corner strap snapped apart. That sure
hadn't lasted long! However, it only took a minute or two to fit a new
one. This time it was done using the full width of the packing tape, rather than trimming it down.
At this time, the wind at shoulder height was measured at 4.7 kph gusting up to around 8 kph.
wasn't long after the flying line was attached that the huge rok
wallowed up into the darkening sky. Rays of the late afternoon sun
played on the thin garden plastic, from one side.
Wind speed had really
dropped a lot over the preceding hour or so, making it a challenge to
keep the kite up there at all. Flying with only about 10 meters (35
feet) of line out, I managed to take a few still photos and a couple of
short videos. This required two hands for the camera, so the line was
conveniently secured under one foot!
Despite the imposing size of
the Multi-Dowel Rokkaku kite, it only seemed to be pulling about 1 to 2
kg (2 to 5 lbs.) of tension. Out of curiosity, I pulled the spring
scales out, put a few turns of line around the hook and checked the
reading. Yep—there were just 1 or 2 kilos (about 4 pounds) of tension in the 200-pound flying line!
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With all the camera work out of the way, it was time for some fun.
climb this beast as high as possible before the sun goes down, I thought! It was
tricky. Several minutes went by before a slightly stronger gust enabled
line to be carefully let out for a few meters at a time. From time to
time, as tension came on the line, I would let the kite out further and
The line angle stayed pretty constant (at around 45
degrees) the whole time. That's not particularly efficient for a kite of
this size, but some more changes which will stiffen the kite even
further should help that. Also, the average wind speed would have been
somewhat lower than optimum.
Finally, I had the pleasure of watching the huge rokkaku float almost motionless up at around 250 feet, on 90 meters (300 feet) of line. Up there, the breeze felt like a constant 7 or 8 kph. A quick check with the Windtronic wind meter at shoulder height showed roughly 4 kph gusting to 6 kph. The only movement was camera shake really :-) All too soon it was time to take the kite down.
The sun touched the horizon as I walked downwind, sliding my hand over the line to shorten the flying length. Soon, there it was, the 3 meter (10 feet) tall kite descending belly first like a spaceship. The Multi-Dowel Rokkaku kite was utterly steady as it was guided to a very soft tail-first touchdown on the shortly-cut grass and weeds.
It was a nice flight, but there's still work to do! As it is right now, this kite still has a rather tiny wind range. I'm hoping a thicker vertical spar and the addition of bridle lines to the upper and lower corners will sort that out. A wind range of between 6 and 25 kph would be great!