The big red gecko
The Murray Bridge Kite Festival 2016 experienced increasing wind
strength through the morning and into the early afternoon. Mixed into
the mostly sunny weather were a couple of dead periods, which saw nearly
all the kites descend to the grass.
Quite a number of Adelaide Kite Flyers Association (AKFA) members were
kept busy helping the public with their kites and also keeping an eye on
some of the bigger show kites on display. The most prominent of these
would have to have been the big red parafoil suspending a large red
gecko inflatable. This duo was the centerpiece to the whole show
really, literally and figuratively.
As usual, there was a plethora of small deltas and diamonds. Stunt kites
were also in evidence, revelling in the ample breeze strength later in
Particularly in the morning, many first-time kite flyers had to be
coaxed out of the wind shadow of tall trees. Once closer to the middle
of the field, they found it a lot easier to succeed with launching their
From time to time, as the skyscape of flying kites changed, I took a few photos to capture the variety.
I've only mentioned some highlights so far, but here are images of a few more kites that we saw on the day. Each thumbnail image below is clickable so you can fill your desktop or tablet screen with a much larger version:
We brought a small selection of kites to the event, designed to cope with the expected wide range of wind speeds on the day. The wind certainly got "wild and woolly" at times, testing all our kites to the limit.
MBK Soft Sled
Strong thermal activity got going in the late morning. A large group
of hawks was observed climbing away in rising air, high above all the
kiting action. A lone pelican also cruised through at low level.
First up, in the rather light and variable mid-morning breeze, was the MBK Soft Sled.
It's a 60-cm (48-in.) tall kite based on the popular Pocket Sled which relies on
pressure-filled cells instead of rigid spars to keep the kite in shape
The Soft Sled had a good series of flights despite
getting hung up on another flying line as wind conditions became more
Not long after the Soft Sled went up, a small 25-cm (10-in.)
tall version was launched. This was actually made first, to check the
concept of using straight-line cuts only, plus plastic-and-tape
Today, the tiny kite again proved itself as it
flitted about on the end of a 20-pound Dacron line. On a thin, long
line, such a kite gives the impression of something flying much higher up!
My ultimate aim for the day was to put up a long and impressive train of Multi-Fly Diamonds.
However, by early afternoon the winds were gusting very strongly, and it
was decided to fly just two kites on the one line. That was a good decision it
turned out, since the top kite soon started performing wide loops!
Some extra tail would have settled it somewhat. But at this point the
mini-train was taken down as a couple of us went to the aid of a
stranded pterodactyl kite in a tree.
In preparing for this
event there were also thoughts of putting up a camera to take some
aerial shots. Our Fresh Wind Barn Door kite was in the car. However, I
wasn't keen to loft the trusty Canon Optio in such rough air. It was better to
quit while ahead!