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Biplane Kite Problems


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Folks,

I have a single line nylon kite in the shape of a biplane. It has a five foot wingspan and the frame is carbon fiber. The nose is open like a windsock but the tail is closed. There are pockets in the wing tips. The name on the tag is Top of the Line.

This kite used to fly effortlessly in any wind conditions but it sat in my barn for almost 15 years and the bridle lines deteriorated. I foolishly tried to replicate the bridle without first getting measurements of the old set-up and now I can't get the kite to fly.

The main line connects to the nose hoop and two lines run from the ersatz landing gear to the main. I've tried all manner of configurations but can't seem to achieve the proper attitude or angle of attack. Is there a bridle formula or rule of thumb for bipe kites?

Also, adjusting the bridle would be a lot easier if there were a way to tie the side lines to the main with a knot that's adjustable but won't slip.

I'd love to get this glorious old kite in the air again. Any advice?

Thanks for any ideas you may have.

Respectfully,

Bud

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Bud,

I don't know about biplane kites specifically, but it sounds like a species of foil. In general, when you lift an airfoil off a flat surface by the main flight line, it should make about a 15degree angle up from the table. Then you fiddle by a few degrees at a time from there. You make it sound as though the flight line would be leading the kite by the nose, but I suspect you mean the nose line leads back to meet the two back lines in triange under the kite. Also, heavier kites need more of a lead, that is to say the triangle hangs farther from the lowest point of the kite. What many do when they are experimenting with this sort of thing is they use one line for the back two attachments that are tied into a loop. That back loop can be larks headed behind knots tied at intervals in the forward part of the bridle. So you try it. Not enough lift? Undo the larks head and tie it farther from the front of kite. Longer front bridle line so the kite hangs at a flatter angle from the horizontal. up in the sky with the line below it, the nose points up more. More lift. Hope I'm being clear.

Mitch

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Thanks for your responses, guys. Here are some snaps of the bipe.

Mitch, your 15 degree angle from horizontal might be exactly what I need. But there's still the matter of adjustable knots. I Googled larks head knot and got some good information on that.

I won't be able to try it out until tomorrow.

If you guys see anything in the photos worth mentioning - please do.

Really, thank you.

Peace,

Bud

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I think I have that kite.. 58" wing span, its a 3 point bridle, the two off the wheels meet the one off the nose at 22 inches from each wheel.

the tow point ring on mine is at s 33 inches from the nose.

the nose bridle is 44" long from nose to the other two bridle lines..

the tow point ring is larks headed to the line for adjustment...

hope that helps

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Bill,

Boy, am I glad you chimed in. That's the exact same kite!

The lines from the "wheels" are still intact and they do in fact measure 22 inches each.

Here's where I'm confused: You say the tow point ring is 33" from the nose. I can arrange that.

But then you say the nose bridle is 44" long from the nose to the other two bridle lines. What does that mean?

Do I tie the two 22" lines to the main line 44" from the nose and then tie the actual kite line to the ring that is 33" from the nose?

I appreciate your patience with this.

Bud

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John,

I appreciate the link to the Kitebuilder forums and I plan to spend some time getting educated there. But BillLamm owns the actual kite that I have so I'm hoping he'll be able to provide me with the bridle specs that are specific to this particular kite.

He is the "horse's mouth", if you will.

Bill,

Do I have the connection sequence right?

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John,

I appreciate the link to the Kitebuilder forums and I plan to spend some time getting educated there. But BillLamm owns the actual kite that I have so I'm hoping he'll be able to provide me with the bridle specs that are specific to this particular kite.

He is the "horse's mouth", if you will.

Bill,

Do I have the connection sequence right?

yes, the tow point is set (currently) at 33" from the nose on a 44" bridal line... the tow point needs to be movable to adjust for different wind conditions... that black ring is the tow point.. looks like its larksheaded already..

I think the factory bridal is set at 44" and two 22" lines but having the ability to adjust the long line right to left on the line between wheels may help with some adjustments (you need to ask around over at Kitebuilder.com for more details than that, see you there :blushing:

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I think you've got me squared away, Bill. I had been going about it all wrong.

But I set things per your specs and I believe she's ready for the wide blue as soon as the winds pick up.

When hanging from it's tow ring it settles at 35 degrees from horizontal and the wings are level so I assume no lateral adjustments are necessary. The winds were dead here today so I couldn't test the kite but it was perfect for electric RC planes.

If you kiters thrill at the sight of your charge against a cobalt blue sky you'll love kiting's sister-sport. Electric planes are quiet, safe, and very maneuverable in small fields. Also, I notice you have a section for aerial photography. RC planes are perfect for that.

I've included a self portrait of me...outstanding in my field.

Peace,

Bud

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Mitch,

I strap a common digital camera to a stick type plane and angle it about 45 deg downward. I use shoe-goo to glue a $5 servo to the camera with the servo arm poised over the shutter button. The servo is plugged into a spare channel in the receiver and I trigger it with a lever on my transmitter.

So, I just point the plane at what I want to take a picture of and push the lever. You can never really be sure what you're getting so I take 40 or 50 pictures per flight in order to be assured of getting at least a dozen good ones. Don't forget, digital film is cheap. You can also put the camera in movie mode. That's always cool.

Here are a few shots of my set-up and another self portrait. I'm standing behind the red barn just south east of center. Can you see me? No? Me either.

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Wow! Thanks. Nice pics. Very clear explanation. Looks simple enough that even I could try it. I wonder if your new biplane can left that. There is a a serious group of kite photo enthusiasts, some of whom are architects, city planners or biologists, and plenty of just fun fliers, with whom you might trade secrets. Big steady kites (like Conyne or winged box kites). Some speak about having an image on the ground, but I'm not sure how they do that. There is a string between the kite and ground (?) Are you the one near the fat arrow, or closer to the barn at the skinny arrow? huh.gif

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About the image on the ground; the RC plane guys do that, too. It's called FPV (first person view). You put a camera in the plane or kite that is wirelessly linked to a monitor on the ground so that you can see what the camera sees. I think the units have a range of about a mile so you can fly your plane or kite beyond your line of vision. Extremely cool!

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About the image on the ground; the RC plane guys do that, too. It's called FPV (first person view). You put a camera in the plane or kite that is wirelessly linked to a monitor on the ground so that you can see what the camera sees. I think the units have a range of about a mile so you can fly your plane or kite beyond your line of vision. Extremely cool!

Very cool indeed, and cool that you've got a frozen pond behind you house. Though these pictures confirm my impression of your part of the country that it is snowbound in late August. Thanks for the pics. Beautiful area. My no doubt outdated impression of RC planes was that they were loud, hot, smelly and dangerous. So I'm a quiet kite guy. But your electric motor plane seems more civilized. They make RC kites. The link below is a quick vid of a couple of different indoor types. But they make outside ones as well. You wouldn't even have to freeze your fingers for a nice Winter's flight.

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Mitch,

Snowbound! Ha! We've been consistently in the nineties this summer. I'm sure it's even worse in St. Louis.

You've prolly already seen this but here's the site for the "string-less" kites:

http://www.premierrc.com/index.shtml

They use the same electronic components as the electric planes. The only downside is that kites have so much drag that if you get downwind, you'll never get back - like thistle down on the wind. Wave bye-bye. So you'd have to fly on extremely calm days or else indoors. And speaking of indoor flight, check this out:

The ETOC (Electric Tournament of Champions) is held in Toledo, Ohio every April. Toledo's only 100 miles from here so it's become a yearly road trip for my wife and I. This indoor flying competition brings out the best pilots from around the world and guess what - they're all kids

The competition begins with 16 pilots, each performing a sequence of known maneuvers, as well as a freestyle routine to their choice of music.

At the end of the night, 8 pilots make it to the next round. RJ Gritter (who flies in this video) made the cut. Those pilots duked it out for four spots. RJ Gritter did not make that cut.In the end, Seth Arnold (a 14 year old kid) took first place for his first ETOC win.

The caliber of flying this year was incredible. Several pilots flew freestyle routines with variable pitch props (like RJ), which allowed them to hover upside down and fly backwards. For guys like me, it's breathtaking.

Peace,

Bud

 Here's some more aerials. I was shooting a subdivision near my house and had to share the airspace with a float plane.

 

 

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Absolutely! Skill, speed, real mastery of the medium. Quite and eye opening demonstration of what these planes can do. I could not have guessed that they could hover right side up or upside down, much less turn themselves virtually inside out. Have you seen duel line stunt kite displays? It's very similar. So many tricks and turns one on the next that it's almost too fast to follow. Most impressive. Thanks.

Have you gotten your Biplane up?

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Nope, not yet. Yesterday's winds were between 10 and 15 mph but they were erratic. I would stand with my back to the wind, launch, gain about 15-20 feet and then the kite would fold like a rag-doll as the wind changed directions. This may sound like an exaggeration but it would shift from north to south, to east, to west, and back again. Weird!

I did have it up long enough to notice that it has a bad habit of wagging and weaving back and forth. So maybe it will need some more adjustment or perhaps a tail. It has a loop in back for attaching a tail. When I was a kid we made them by tearing an old sheet into strips. What would you suggest for a tail? Does length matter or is it all about weight?

Strong winds are predicted for this weekend as a cold front moves through. I look forward to the cooler temps. And maybe I can get a decent flight in.

Bud

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Nope, not yet. Yesterday's winds were between 10 and 15 mph but they were erratic. I would stand with my back to the wind, launch, gain about 15-20 feet and then the kite would fold like a rag-doll as the wind changed directions. This may sound like an exaggeration but it would shift from north to south, to east, to west, and back again. Weird!

I did have it up long enough to notice that it has a bad habit of wagging and weaving back and forth. So maybe it will need some more adjustment or perhaps a tail. It has a loop in back for attaching a tail. When I was a kid we made them by tearing an old sheet into strips. What would you suggest for a tail? Does length matter or is it all about weight?

Strong winds are predicted for this weekend as a cold front moves through. I look forward to the cooler temps. And maybe I can get a decent flight in.

Bud

mine has a long multi strip ribbon and a whirligig tail (kinda like this one)

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Yes! Thanks, Bill. I remember that tail. I think I used it for a wind sock in my back yard until it eventually fell apart. And it was quite light. So it sounds like drag and surface area is more important than weight.

Okay. Any ideas for a home-made version?

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I believe you' right. You don't want weight, you want drag. The drag increases as you need it with stronger winds. For home made, I sometime use construction tape (barrier tape). It is pretty tough, comes in bright colors and you can even get some that says "caution, hard hat area' on it. I don't like winding long tapes so if I want more drag, I loop it from wing tip to wing tip. That adds an extra degree of stability it addition to holding the back of the kite solidly down wind. My fav, though, is drogues. They provide plenty of drag, are light weight and very easy to pack up and store. And they have a measure of lift so they don't change your minimum wind range as much. Not as flashy as a great swinging colorful 7 ribbon dragon tail, but it never tangles. I also have what must have been designed to be a garden wind ornament. It looks that a bowel made of twisted ripstop strips that spins in the wind. The extra energy it takes to spin it adds more drag, but the spinning colors are cool to look at.

Good luck with the freshening wind. Take pictures of your kite with your plane.

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