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About Mikefule

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  • Favorite Kite(s)
    Various box kites
  • Flying Since
    Childhood, on and off
  • Location
    Lincolnshire, UK
  • Interests
    Morris dancing, concertina, Moto Guzzi motorbike, boating

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  1. My largest kite is an 11 ft delta. I have had it pulling so hard that I have struggled to bring it back down, but I have never had it drag me along the ground or lift me. A lot will depend on the characteristics of the kite: does it fly high or low? Will it provide powerful lift, like a Cody, or lots of horizontal drag like a power kite? Can you adjust the angle of attack? Also, a lot will depend on the wind conditions. I fly my 11 ft delta in light breezes on a light line, and in stiffer breezes on a stronger line. TBH, I have never been aware of the breaking strength of my various lines. I have about 15 kites in my bag and about 6 or 8 reels of line. It certainly makes sense to have at least one line that meets the manufacturer's recommendations, but that does not mean that you can't use a lighter line in lighter winds - or even use a stronger line on a very gusty day. Think what that breaking strain means in terms of your own weight. You could swing from a 500 lb line if you tied it to a tree - not that you would, but I mean that's how strong it is. However, the line is around half as strong at any knot.
  2. I have replied to this thread before about a paper diamond my dad made for me, so logically one of the two was not my very first kite. The first shop bought kite I can remember was a type that was very common in the 1970s but has (thankfully?) died out. It was a square about 16" or so across. It flew with the straight edge to the ground, like a diamond. The bridle was 3 legged, with one leg to each of the two top corners and one to the centre where the spars crossed. Such a design was very unstable and the manufacturers dealt with this by adding a multi-streamer tail, hanging from a 2 legged yoke - one leg to each of the two bottom corners of the square. As a kid with no idea of aerodynamics, but a crude idea of physics, I tried to stop the kite doing the death spiral by adding heavier and heavier weights to the end of the tail. This reached the stage of tying huge bunches of grass stalks and quite heavy sticks to the tail, but it still spiralled and crashed. I cannot remember the kite ever flying for a sustained period. I remember two of these kites, one with a multicoloured geometric pattern, and one with a Welsh flag (white and green with a red dragon) and the words "Cymru am byth" which I was told meant "Wales forever" but which I now suspect means "Make this fly, you English b***ard."
  3. One of the kites I struggled and gave up with because of the crowds was a small and rather heavy Conyne which needs quite a stiff wind to get it up, but is quite sensitive to how the bridle is trimmed. It was the one that was in the death loops. Today i took it to my local field and there was a fitful breeze, with gusts at tree top height. After a lot of careful nursing, I got the kite up to the full length of the string but it was seriously unstable, looping and whirling, and I was having to move backwards and forwards like a caffeinated fencer to keep the tension on the line just right. So I walked the kite down, trimmed the bridle (2 or 3 attempts) and then nursed it back up. The steeper bridle angle made it harder work in the low wind zone, but once it got up there it was like it was nailed to the sky, pulling but rock steady. I even allowed a passing child to hold the reel - while I had my hand circling the line to catch the reel if he let go. It was pulling strongly enough that the kid couldn't stand stlll. This is the sort of single line flying I enjoy: spending the time, adjusting and tweaking, and nursing the kite up, fishing for the wind.
  4. Back to the three-looped slip knot shown in the video. I tried this today. I don't use carabiners, and I'm usually flying on local sports fields so I cannot use long or wide stakes that might damage the playing surface. Therefore, I use tent pegs. One advantage of the three loop slip knot is that you can spread the loops and anchor your kite to 3 small pegs rather than 1 large peg. Another advantage is that it unties very easily, being a slip knot. Therefore, thank you. It's a useful addition to my repertoire.
  5. I went to a local fly in yesterday. I am not a club member at the moment, but it was local and I had an hour or so to spare so I popped along. It was very windy, gusty, and turbulent - the sort of day and the type of site where one moment your kite is pulling like a train and the next moment the wind has got behind it and it is tumbling - then the kite catches the wind again and roars back up, then goes into a swooping spiral. It was the sort of day where, if I had been alone, I may have spent half an hour with each kite tinkering with the bridle, adding or changing a tail, and then been pleased to have achieved a sustained and reasonably stable flight. I gave up and left the site after half an hour or so because I was concerned about safety. There were members of the public, including children, walking gaily under the kites, and some of the kite flyers were standing chatting within the radius of a fast swooping kite. When you think your kite is stable then it suddenly goes into fast death loops and skims within a metre of the ground, you don't want anyone near. I couldn't really move as flyers were dotted about the field so that almost any move up or downwind, or across the wind, would have caused interference. Even my small Conyne, with its GRP spars, could cause a lot of injury at full speed. I think I'm a reasonably experience kite flyer (this was my 38th flying day since late March this year) and it was the first time I've found myself frightened that someone was going to get hurt. Theres not much we can do to stop members of the public walking under our kites (although maybe a club could have posted warnings or even roped off an area) but it was surprising to see some of the flyers so blasé about what was going on overhead. Individually, none of us wants to cause or suffer an injury, and as a group we don't want to find ourselves banned from public sports fields and the like. Take care, folks.
  6. I can see why you might use a climbing figure of 8 if you want to use metal hardware. It is smooth, wide and strong. Knots are the weakest point in a line, and the tighter the radius of any bend in the line, the weaker the line is. I don't like using carabiners. With a hinge, a gate, and that little hook, there's too much to snag. As a boating enthusiast, I have always found that the right knot for the job is less fuss than adding the complexity of extra components. The video shows an interesting knot - I haven't come across it before. I can't help feeling that if the pull on the line is weak enough to allow you to tie this knot, you probably don't need this complexity. I guess that if the kite was pulling too hard, you'd probably have a friend to help create some slack while you tied the knot. I find that the clove hitch is the quickest and easiest way to attach a line to a stake. You can ether tie the clove hitch or you can make it as 2 loops and drop it on. Although a conventional clove hitch is made of only 2 loops, it is easy to add a 3rd or 4th. Later, it is easy to remove. If all else fails, you can pull the stake out and slide the clove hitch off the bottom. For safety, on a windy day or with a kite that pulls hard, I may put 2 or more stakes in series.
  7. OK, so maybe I'm reinventing the wheel and you all know this trick, but I hadn't thought of this before in 30+ years of flying kites. The situation: you have a medium/large kite up and it is pulling quite hard. You want to bring it down under control without winding in the line. Maybe you need to get the kite down quickly for safety reasons, or perhaps you want to make a small adjustment to the bridle, or add or remove a tail, or line laundry. Either someone is holding the reel or the reel is attached to a stake. For years, I have walked my hands along the line, pulling the kite down a bit at a time, keeping the tension on both ends of the line. Today, on a whim, I took a tent peg out of my kit bag, hooked it over the line and then held onto the peg and walked towards the kite. Result: the kite came down under control and there was never any danger of cutting or burning myself on the line. (Only a couple of weeks ago i burned holes in my glove when I was bringing down a big kite on a gusty day.) As I was doing this, I thought that a tent peg extractor would be even better as it has a T grip handle. This type of thing: https://www.outdooraction.co.uk/camping-tent-accessories-tent-pegs-and-hammers/vango/vango-round-handled-peg-extractor-pd-10668.php?gclid=CKO4yfHgnNQCFekp0wodAS8K7w The only down side to tis technique is if you let go of the tent peg when the line is under tension, the tent peg (extractor) may go a considerable distance!
  8. Amazing stories to share. Thank you. I like box kites. I have a square box, winged square box, a winged hex box, a Cody and a Conyne in my bag - all commercially made. My biggest kite is an 11 foot span delta and that pulls like a train when the wind is up. I can't imagine handling a 15 foot box kite! Book illustrations and childhood memory say that diamond kites are normally tall and thin, I agree. The British "standard" is probably the Bookite keel diamond. I prefer a bridle I can tinker with (that is, make fine technical adjustments to...) but having read the 25% rule for a single point bridle, I wanted to try it.
  9. According to the patent, an Eddy has equal length spine and spar, and these cross 19% of the way down the spine. It has a 2 leg bridle and a bow for stability, and flies with no tail. Part of the Eddy's stability comes from having a very loose fitting sail so that, in addition to the bow, it curves back either side of the spine to give the effect of a keel. The "standing wave" kite in question is not an Eddy. It is a diamond. I read that if you use equal length spine and spar and cross 25% of the way down the spine, you can bridle directly to the intersection with a single point, and this is what I did. Rather than a bow, you use a tail. This particular kite follows this pattern. It is very sensitive to what tail is attached. Because it is a paper kite, it is very stiff and flat in configuration. If I had used plastic sheeting or cloth it may have been more flexible and therefore more stable. Over the last few weeks, I have made an Eddy and a diamond using the same length of spars - each kite using two 18" garden canes. The Eddy has a plastic sail and has spar pockets so it can be dismantled. The diamond is a permanent structure with the spars taped into place. The Eddy flies like it's pinned to the sky. The diamond dances. Unfortunately, it does not always dance prettily. Sometimes it dances like a drunken uncle at a wedding. My personal preference is for kites without tails, and I also prefer "demountable"kites as I carry a bag with about 15 kites in it. I took early retirement a month or so ago and I have taken the opportunity to get out my old kites and give them a good airing, and I have also started to experiment with making a few.
  10. Full marks for"distal". You in the medical profession, or aeronautics? I don't have any commercially produced flat kites but I have been making some simple small kites recently. This one is a diamond with the spine and spar of equal length, crossing 25% of the way down the spine. There is a single point bridle at the intersection. The sail is brown paper so it is completely windproof. With a heavy tail and strong wind, the kite "nods vigorously" oscillating about the axis of the horizontal spar. In a light wind, as today, it "shakes its head vigorously", oscillating about the axis of its spine. Weird.
  11. Flying a small diamond kite with a single point bridle today. No bow and probably not quite enough tail. I was also flying it on a line that was rather too heavy for the kite, and there was only barely enough wind. The kite rocked from side to side. This set up a standing wave in the line, which was hanging rather heavily in a catenary curve. A standing wave is where the peaks and troughs have fixed positions. This means that the line has several fixed points along it, with the line between these fixed points oscillating from left to right and back again. I doubt I could have set up the perfect conditions for this deliberately!
  12. Referring to the comment upthread about multiple spools and the line becoming too heavy. Many years ago I flew my red delta from the top of a well known "pointy hill" (not really a mountain) called Thorpe Cloud (Dovedale, Derbyshire, UK) and I daisy chained a series of spools and lines. The kite went very high indeed, and a long way down wind, until I reached the stage where the line was angling down from my hand into the valley, then back up to the kite from the next spool.
  13. I have a good quality 11 foot keeled delta. I have flown it many times in extremely light winds, nursing it up by careful line management. I have also flown it in strong enough winds that I have struggled to bring it back down. I thought I was familiar with it in all its many moods. Today, I was trying to get it to fly in a very fitful teasing breeze. The wind was so weak that I couldn't be quite sure which way it was coming from. I threw tufts of grass in the air and they fell vertically. However, I could see some rustling in the leaves at the top of the nearby trees, so I knew there was something up there if only I could hook it. I therefore went for a long line launch and after several attempts, the kite started to pull reasonably strongly and I was feeding out line carefully and getting some decent height. Within a few minutes, I had it a hundred metres or more up and it was flying at a slightly lower angle than usual. Then suddenly it started to pull and climb, and after a minute or two it was exactly vertically overhead. It was not in a glide (I've had that before) but it was actually pulling. I then realised that it had gone slightly beyond directly overhead - it was slightly behind me. The line was going up in front of me, then curving BACK towards the kite and the kite was still pulling - not hard, but definitely trying to take line and go higher. For the first time in a long time, I found myself worried about something going dangerously wrong. I estimate I had 100 - 150 metres of line out, and I was less than that distance from a road in one direction and houses in another direction. In theory, these were both safely behind me and "up wind" but the kite seemed determined to go that way. To reduce the risk, I walked steadily away from the hazards. The kite continued to pull and remained almost exactly overhead, but sometimes changing its direction of heading. A couple of minutes later, the moment had passed. The wind had dropped and the line was sagging down to a less spectacular angle. I have had a kite glide and over-fly before, but this was not gliding it was pulling. I wondered about thermals, but I was in a grassy field and there were no areas of tarmac, concrete, water, roofs, etc. that might have caused a strong updraft. Has anyone come across this before? Any suggestions? I like to think of myself as an experienced kite flier, but this was outside my experience.
  14. My dad made me a traditional diamond shaped kite. Being a joiner, he used square section spars and I think he even did a "halving joint". The sail was greaseproof paper - just plain grey. As I remember it, the kite was huge: nearly as tall as I was at the time. We flew it briefly on a local field and it pulled so hard that the line snapped and the kite landed on a house roof and was lost. A few weeks ago, I was flying kites on the same field and I'm pretty sure I still know which house it was!
  15. A snatched hour today on a new flying site. Almost no wind, but I got the 11 ft delta up and nursed it ups a bit, down a bit, up a bit more, almost down, caught a breeze, the wind dropped... really challenging and rewarding.
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