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How to determine wind speed


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How do y'all figure out the wind speed when you're flying? The best I can do if check my Windy app for current conditions, but that is extremely approximate. I'd like to know what winds I'm flying, to better judge what to pull out next time I go out.

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I have two different wind meters that I use or used to at least. Usually I look at a weather app like you do but you will learn by looking at different things like flags, tree branches or tall grass. Even be able to judge it pretty well just by the feel of it hitting your body. Depending on terrain and your location it usually picks up a little higher off the ground.

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There are a bunch of forecast sites, and I refer to them almost every week. Some give a single number, others a range of data. Weather forecasts are a guide for the region, but every location is different. Trees and landscape make wind shadows and wind funnels, dead spots and windy spots that aren't on the forecast. 

A good meter will let you know the number at the moment you measure it, but even then wind is variable. You can see how the location matches the forecasts.

With practice measuring you learn what speeds feel like like by watching everything around you and feeling wind against you. 

And with being unable to launch or breaking equipment you learn what kites can handle. 

You can learn how your specific location varies from forecasts. 

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26 minutes ago, frob said:

unable to launch or breaking equipment you learn what kites can handle. 

Thought I was pretty good at judging wind until I started flying kites. My wind meter is always in my pocket. Forecast gives me a general idea on preparing for the days flying. I've got a tendancy when in the groove to just go with the flow and take some of my kites to they're limits. Not good. More  often in the spring/summer but winds at 10:30 can be between 5 and 10 mph. By 2:00 pm hitting 15 to 20. Deal with a lot of gusty winds. Measuring those peaks and how rapidly they cycle determines how I'll attempt to fly.  Last Sat. winds would cycle from 5 to a bit over 20 at times within 10 or 15 seconds. They'd change direction by about 20 degrees too. Really difficult stuff. I wandered around for an hour with my meter getting the moxy to fly. Excellent day and didn't break my kite. Wednesday same type of winds but somewhat lower and a tad smoother. 3 times I went out to fly. Nope no moxy. 2 years ago I would have bulled my way thru and probably broke something. For whatever reason when winds are nasty I depend on watching my meter to focus. Envisioning  moves as I watch the ebb and flow of the wind. Somedays though I just go back to the house and pout a bit.

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Wind meters work well and do what they are meant to do. With time you just develop a feel for which kite can handle existing wind. I've never seen JB look at a meter. He probably has one; maybe he doesn't. Once you become one with the kite and the wind there's no need to check a gauge. People who drive all day can tell you how fast the car is going without looking at the speedometer. The more you fly, the less you consult a meter. It's a natural progression.

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I'll look at the wind forecast if I'm on the coast. If I'm inland I just get out of the truck and deal with it. 10-18 mph. I flew the super blast and the mesh on the same day. I need to build a few more meshes.

roof top.jpg

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I've got a small fan impeller type and it is good for a quick read BUT it can quite direction specific. The vane types don't need to be orientated with the wind BUT they cost a little more.

 

Measuring wind speed at 6 feet can be a little deceiving as the upper wind can be a bit more. Use the anemometer to get you in the ball park but always tune to the kite.

 

Sent from my SM-G970F using KiteLife mobile app

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, makatakam said:

I've never seen JB look at a meter.

Doesn't need to anymore. He's flown so much a organic one grew inside his left ear that actually TALKS to him . Using my meter has become a headology thing(Granny Weatherwax). I'm not as bold as JB though. Something starts growing in my ear it's getting cut out.

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Get a wind meter. By the time the first battery dies, you won't need it anymore. It took about 2 years for the battery to die in mine, and I really didn't feel the need to take it out anymore, anyway...

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I don’t feel the need to know the wind speed when arriving at the field (I feel the “need” to hurry up getting started  though). It is more like feel the wind and chose the appropriate kite for it. When choosing what kites to bring to the session – have a look at the trees, listen to the wind and have a look at the forecast. It is not until you need to communicate with someone else that the actual measured wind speed would become a thing I suppose. If the one you are talking to knows the kite model that you are using, the choice of kite becomes a measure of the wind. If you feel the need to be preciser you can describe how the kite behaved in the wind.

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How to judge wind speed? Built in wind meter called the hair on my neck! Or is it my ears?  I don't think I ever owned a meter and don't now. The more you fly, the more you will be able to "fit" a kite selection to the conditions. For me, the worst that can happen is I need to change kites. Already got the lines out and that is the biggest part. Just go with the flow.....! 

But Rob has the right idea if you really want/need a meter. By that second battery, you should be able to guess, pretty much.

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11 hours ago, Exult said:

I don’t feel the need to know the wind speed when arriving at the field (I feel the “need” to hurry up getting started  though). It is more like feel the wind and chose the appropriate kite for it.

+1

Never had or used one as I was very, very fortunate to learn about kites and wind from Mr. Ray Bethell. He also stressed the gear...so I always take enough kites and line sets to cover all bases as conditions can change in an instant. You must also know your kite(s) and line(s) well enough to make the appropriate choice(s) and this comes with a lot of time (and loot) invested...but what a great way to spend time (and loot)!!  

I live right across the street from the ocean so obviously the waves will let me know how windy or not it is. Now don`t go "oooh those lab grade ocean winds" as they certainly are not!!!

Things also get to the point in wherever you are...you are aware of the wind and imagine what kite you would be flying...

bt

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/26/2020 at 11:02 AM, makatakam said:

I've never seen JB look at a meter. He probably has one; maybe he doesn't. Once you become one with the kite and the wind there's no need to check a gauge.

Yeah, no meters for me.

Don't trim all your ear hair and stand in the wind for 30 years - my ear fuzz, skin temperature (sides) and other senses generally give me within 2-3mph accuracy in judging wind speed. ;)

But I also don't look at wind the same way - for me, it's like the sensation of being in a tub of water - you can feel it's 360 movement, fluid, somewhat mercurial, breathing hot and cold, changing it's mind, and different ribbons of air at various altitudes... It's all quite enchanting. ❤️

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I also use a "plus/minus" approach, having trained extensively and consciously to understand what it feels like (and how) to add or remove 3, 5, 10, 20 mph to my apparent wind with arm and body movement, all for various tasks and intensity.

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Tues. morning wind forecast was up to 50 mph gust in the afternoon. Figured I'd be fine and headed for town. Went over a slight rise about 4 miles from my house and a wall of dirt was headed right at me. Lasted about 3 minutes blasting the front of my car. No paint left on the license plate, pitted and broke the windshield in 4 places (replaced) and broke left headlight lense. Off to the body shop this week. Don't know how high that straightline hit was but guessing 70+. Sure glad I was sheltered. If I'd hung my ear out there it'd come back a nub. Still be digging dirt out of the hole LOL.

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OP here. I've enjoyed all the interesting points y'all have been making. And I realized that I didn't really ask my question in the right way -- or at least the motivation for my question was missing. My issue is that I'll check the wind forecast on Windy, go to the beach, and then be like -- so what is the actual wind speed and how does that compare with what I read on Windy so I know what to expect next time?

And it seems like I'm better at remembering numbers than feelings.

But I'm resisting the urge to get a new gadget and will just try to pay better attention. And carry two kites unless I'm very sure about what I'll be facing.

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59 minutes ago, DannyB said:

...so what is the actual wind speed and how does that compare with what I read on Windy so I know what to expect next time?

Exactly.  I see the forecast, and I can get out and fly and feel the wind and watch the trees move, but I don't have a number for actual wind speed at the field.  I don't necessarily need that number - until I want to communicate with other fliers about it.  Then I need a standard.

Imagine never having seen a ruler and trying to talk about how long something is.  You need some way to learn the scale, be it a ruler or a friend who already knows it. Once you develop you own sense, you won't need the ruler anymore.  But you have to start somewhere.

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3 hours ago, DannyB said:

And carry two kites unless I'm very sure about what I'll be facing.

Only two? Many people here bring out a bag of kites that cover the entire range, from still air to raging gale. No matter the condition they are prepared. 

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I'll usually carry at least two kites, more likely three or four because whatever the wind is when you decide to go, it will probably change by the time you get there. I live in the Chicago area and the only part of weather you can count on is that it will change, soon. I had meters but ended up using them so infrequently that I gave them away. It's nice to have one early in the game, but as you gain experience you check it less often.

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22 hours ago, DonFibonacci said:

Exactly.  I see the forecast, and I can get out and fly and feel the wind and watch the trees move, but I don't have a number for actual wind speed at the field.  I don't necessarily need that number - until I want to communicate with other fliers about it.  Then I need a standard.

Imagine never having seen a ruler and trying to talk about how long something is.  You need some way to learn the scale, be it a ruler or a friend who already knows it. Once you develop you own sense, you won't need the ruler anymore.  But you have to start somewhere.

this post reminds me of last fall when about a dozen local fliers met at Vista Park on the Columbia River, located halfway on the drive from Portland/Vancouver to Long Beach...in retrospect we should have just gone on to Long Beach where its almost always flyable instead of standing around watching a single one liner  trying to stay up. one of the guys had a wind meter which being a newbie was fascinating to me...anyway as we stood there with our backs to the wind we saw the readout rising and falling from about 1mph which i could just begin to feel on the back of my neck to about 2mph which i could definitely feel.

well i took off to get my Zephyr which as everybody knows will fly at 1mph but thats another story. i learned 2 lessons that day...what unflyable/barely flyable feels like and add some kentuckey windage to a kites low wind range. nowadays when i get to a  flying  spot i stand with my back to the wind and its like being back at Vista Park...then i pull out my wind meter  cuz im a gear guy.

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