Exult

Reflexes on kites

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There are a few topics about putting LEDs on your kites but to my knowledge none about putting reflexes on the kites. This is not anything I've tested (when I no longer can see a kite it has been time to go home), so I can only share ideas (for what they are worth) and listen to others suggestions/experiences.

HotStripe_XL_Reflex.jpg

When I saw this kite being offered, Hot Stripe XL Reflex (3.4m) by Space Kites I started to think about the matter. If you don't happen to have a kite that got band/ribbon of reflex material already sewed into every seam you would need to attach some reflexes yourself. To see the reflexes you would need a light source close to your eyes - a headlamp with a not too focused light cone would be the option I suppose. If the light cone is too narrow and is not adjustable, perhaps a transparent but frosted piece of tape could do that? Why? - To diffuse the light so that the demands on head angle to kite gets relaxed.

So what to use for reflexes then? Reflex stickers would be quick and not demand any sewing/holes to be put in the sail. Of course you wouldn't like to leave any glue residues from reflex stickers or tape on the sail. Therefore I'd suggest the special tape type for construction sites when taping polyethene/polyethylene films. This tape has to my experience not left any residues. The sticky adhesive has never aged and never hardened even though the patch was sitting on the wall for more than a year. I have reused (for non-kiting purposes) these tape patches for several years. On the data sheet of one of these tapes it states that it should be UV resistant for three months. On the negative side of this tape (figuratively speaking) is that it is somewhat less sticky than ordinary tapes - when I've tried to protect the LE with it it didn't last for so long time. I think that it has to do with another limitation of this tape - when going around small radius convex surfaces one side of the tape would lose contact with the surface and start to peel off.

The way I imagine using it, is to use the special tape to hold thin stickers attached to the sail by covering the sticker by a larger patch of tape. Obviously you would need to use the transparent version of the tape. The glue of the sticker needs to be destroyed or covered - we don't want stains remaining on the sail. These combined sticker/patches could be transferred between the  kites and be stored attached to a somewhat stiff sheet of plastic or perhaps a piece of card board covered/wound with cheap packaging tape.

Some bonuses would be that there is only one lamp's batteries to keep track of - the one attaches to your forehead. Having a good headlamp should also make it easier to disassemble and pack the kite and gear in the darkness afterwards.
Another characteristics would be that the reflexes are more stealthy than LEDs in that you need to direct light origination from an observer for them to be visible. On the other hand if a powerful light source, such as the head lights of a car would be used, they would be very visible from that car. More advantages would be that light is reflected from a large area and that the reflexes can be rather bright all over the surface. I'm not realising the reflex stuff now, after all, the days are getting longer in the northern hemisphere and the nights here are going really short soon. This is more handing over my current thoughts in case it would be of use for anyone.

Now if I only could be more persuasive so that my children also wore the reflexes to a higher degree to be more visible in traffic and darkness. To defuse the argument "but you are not doing it!" I wear them more than necessary.

I got permission from Space Kites to use the kite images there here by e-mailing them. The method I used was to use the e-mail address they give in their web page (and wait), while I haven't had any luck with the contact form (of course I can't 100% exclude the possibility that it could have been my spam filter, but I don't think so).

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I've seen this effect done perfectly with the reflective tape from a fireman's suit.  It was a red sailed genki with red tape, but when lit up at night (by a hand-held spot-light) it was Tinkerbell and her special flying pixie dust being sprinkled behind the kite (on a tail) from her magic wand.  Red becomes black in the absence of light

Olivier Redmond/swiss kite builder

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6 hours ago, Paul LaMasters said:

I've seen this effect done perfectly with the reflective tape from a fireman's suit.  ........  Red becomes black in the absence of light

Probably it is a high performing reflex. An ideal reflex would send all light (in this case red light - the other colours would be filtered out) reaching it back to the light source and only in that direction. If there is no light coming from a viewers direction (the viewer is in darkness with no light sources), the ideal reflex would appear pitch black (as most likely known).

6 hours ago, Paul LaMasters said:

It was a red sailed genki with red tape, but when lit up at night (by a hand-held spot-light) it was Tinkerbell and her special flying pixie dust being sprinkled behind the kite (on a tail) from her magic wand.

I'm sure that it was an impressive sight of a rare kiting event. For once a flash from the camera would be of some use when taking pictures of non-near objects in dim light/darkness. Any hope of an image?

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