The Effect Of Rising Air
Earlier in the day, things looked fairly calm, but by the time I got out there were windier periods. Down at the reserve, moderate gusts would come through from time to time. Just enough to launch the fresh wind Dowel Box kite it appeared. Sure enough, after a few tows and sink-outs, the blue 'squashed box' design managed to claw its way higher. A bit of timing and working the line helped of course.
MBK Fresh Wind Dowel Box
Passing through 100 feet or so, additional wind
strength made for very ideal conditions for this kite. Climbing
further was a uhhm ... breeze. Initially the sky was rather overcast
and the box kite settled down to a rock-solid position in smooth,
moderate winds. Just over 90 meters (300 feet) of line was out.
A ragged formation of white cockatoos flew across
just down-wind of the field. Flickering specks of pure-white. Later,
a splash of red and yellow shot past me at shoulder height - a
parakeet of some kind, in a hurry to get somewhere downwind of my
Why fly on 90 meters when there is more line on
the winder... Out it went, another 30 meters to 120 meters (400
feet). Not long after this, I noticed that the kite was scooting
around a lot more, and even climbing overhead from time to time.
Well, 80 degrees at least. Thermals had arrived! Indeed, the sun was
now out, not quite at full strength due to thin sheets of cloud here
and there. But the air had responded to the ground's warmth within
minutes. Now I had a big fish on the line, not a barge...
All up, a great flight, with the wind meter
peaking at 9.6 kph at ground level. But somewhere between 15 and 20
kph upstairs, I think.
On this site, there's more kite-making info than you can poke a stick at :-) Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads - printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.
Every kite in every MBK series.
Wind Too Strong
Popped down to Seacliff Beach today with Aren, to
help some Cub Scouts with the kites they made in a workshop with me
the previous week. Unfortunately, the amount of successful flying was
almost nil due to very fresh winds. The poor kids were flying
spinners, not kites! I put my own Tiny Tots Diamond up for a few
minutes. It gamely stayed up on about 6 meters (20 feet) before the
wind speed crept up by another few kph and forced the little kite
down onto the sand.
All the while, some Delta stunt kites were doing
OK and also a couple of single-line retail kites. Fiberglass spars
might be 4 times as heavy as dowel, but they certainly shine in heavy
wind! Being synthetic, they also bend very evenly on both sides of
the kite, keeping it balanced despite the air pressure.
With the punishing wind coming off the ocean, even
my Fresh Wind Box was showing a bit of imbalance, leaning over to the
right. It's getting a bit old and flappy! Even heavy-duty drop-sheet
plastic starts to stretch eventually. It would probably take around a
meter or 2 of tail on the left side to correct it, but I just packed
it away instead.
Near the ground, the Windtronic meter registered
an average of 23kph with a gust to 35kph. That's breezy!
Smooth Air At The Beach
Down at Christies Beach, we found a patch of dry
sand which provided ample space over which to fly. Holding the wind
meter at shoulder height, it registered around 9.5kph gusting to just
over 11kph. Fairly smooth, as was expected since the wind was coming
from across the ocean.
Just like the Roller yesterday, a few small pieces
of tape were required to secure some of the spar tips to the sail.
This kite hadn't been flown for quite a while either!
With the breeze so very smooth, it was possible to
take some video on only 4 or 5 meters (15 feet) of line. This kite
has never been recorded in such clarity before. I'll be posting it on
FB of course ;-)
A couple more videos were taken on 10 meters (35
feet) of line, before I let it out to well over 30 meters (100 feet).
In the process of letting line out and re-climbing
the kite, it became clear that it was slightly out of trim...
At low line angles, with more strain on the sail,
the Rok leaned over and drifted far to the left. As the line angle
became steeper, and line tension eased, the kite smoothly righted
itself and continued to climb straight up. This pattern happened
several times as I let the line out in stages. Never mind, a small
tweak of the upper sliding knot of the bridle should be all it needs.
One of the leaning episodes took the kite far too
close to the esplanade and its traffic. So I had no choice but to
pull in very quickly to clear the road. This forced the kite down
onto the embankment. Fortunately, it was possible, during a slight
lull, to pull the kite off and into the air again. No damage done.
After packing up, another wind check revealed it
had moderated down to 7kph, gusting to 9kph. Ultra-smooth beach
flying makes a change from the somewhat less predictable experience
of flying inland!
How To Stop A Kite Turning
Despite a weather site
showing 1kph gusting to 2kph(!), the neighbor's palm fronds were
indicating differently. Not much out there, but certainly plenty for
the ultra-light-wind Dowel Delta!
Aren and I walked down to
the local small park and it wasn't long before the kite was rigged
and airborne. A gentle gust provided ample lift to get the
pale-orange craft up past tree-top height. Once there, staying up was
For some time now, this kite has
required a short plastic tail-let off one wing-tip to keep it
straight. On 60 meters (200 feet) of line however, it soon became
apparent that a little more correction was required. At one point,
the kite was pressured into doing a very large, slow and graceful
loop to the left. Fortunately, I happened to be one step ahead so a
safe clearance from the nearest tall tree was assured! After passing
within a couple of meters of the grass, the kite soared high once
After bringing the Delta down and attaching a short
length of electrical tape to the end of the tip-tail, another launch
was effected. This time the big pale Delta performed admirably,
holding station much more easily. Despite the changes in wind speed,
the air seemed very smooth. Minutes would go by with the kite almost
parked stationary at a high line angle. Wonderful stuff!
happens with Deltas, small disturbances occasionally pointed the nose
off one way or another. Resulting in a drift to a new position for a
some video taken, much more line was let off the winder. On
around 120 meters (400 feet) of line, the kite was way up there, and
well over 'tiger country'. Places you don't want to land in other
words. But the air was so smooth and the Delta well trimmed by now,
so the risk was minimal. It took quite a few minutes to get the kite
down before Aren and I walked home.
Polka Dot Diamond Drifts
A friend had requested that the traditional bow-ties tail on his Diamond be switched over to a less troublesome drogue...
So yesterday, with a gusty light breeze outside and bonus winter sunshine, it seemed prudent to get the Diamond up for a test fly. Before the weather closed in as forecast.
Down at the reserve, the kite was easily launched and flew briefly on 30m (100 feet) of 50 pound Dacron line. 'Briefly' because the air was quite active despite the time of year. Clearly, it would take more than a short length of line to ensure the kite stayed up, despite it's excellent wind range.
The air certainly wasn't smooth. To my surprise, the drogue line managed to snare in the towing-point fitting. As sometimes happens when flying a supposedly reliable tailed design, I looked up just in time to see trouble... The kite was about to touch down in an unstable configuration! On more line and hence in smoother air it would be unlikely to happen again. And so it turned out...
Moving to a better location on the field, I soon had over 60 meters (200 feet) of line out and the Diamond was doing well. Quite a sight against the blue sky and high-level clouds. Large shifts in wind direction were nudging the kite left and right. Also, sudden decreases and increases in wind speed were causing just as sudden ups and downs in the brightly dotted Diamond's flight path.
After taking a few videos, and soaking up a little more sunshine, it was time to bring the Tyvek-sailed Diamond down. Below 50 feet off the grass the tension eased up and it became much easier to loop the Dacron line onto the winder.
It was test flight complete, with video proof of a coping kite in the rough air!
The story or stories above document actual flying experiences.
My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!
As mentioned earlier, there's more kite-making info here than you can poke a stick at :-)
Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?
The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads - printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small...
Every kite in every MBK series.