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Altitude record attempt unsuccessful

R Moore

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There are detailed articles in recent issues of kitelife about my preparations for attempts to break the world altitude record in Australia.

I returned to Sydney from Cobar a few days ago.

The winds were calm for 6 of 7 days. This is unusual for for any time of the year. As well it was 5 or 6 degrees above average (80 - 85 deg. F) it was a long, hot frustrating week with more than 50 attempts to winch launch the 120 sq ft Conyne Delta.

On the 6th day the wind picked up and I flew to 4,200 ft but a calm layer prevented flying higher. The second flight was better, reaching 5,000 ft above ground level but hit a calm barrier. However, during retrieval, I made a mistake and allowed line slack to develop between the capstan and storage reel, the line looped around the winch frame and was cut. Good bye kite. We tracked it via an onboard transmitter but this signal was eventually lost after 45 minutes, probably when the kite landed flat on the ground and the antenna was not high enough. It has a range of 60 miles with line of sight and a few hundres yards if flat on the ground or in dense bush.

I spent a day and a half searching to no avail. A local pilot will search with his light aircraft in a few days. I know the bearing within a degree but not the distance. My best estimate puts it beween 10 and 12 miles from the launch point, drifting from 3,000 ft agl at a ratio of 10:1.

My next attempt will be late September and of course there will be improvements to lots of things as well as my concentration. The winds at this time (early spring) are usually stronger. If I get the lost kite back I will add a second spreader to increase lift. If I don't get it back I will build another Conyne delta but 15% bigger. A positive from the week was the ground survey points were established within 1 foot accuracy over distances of up to 5 miles. This will make the theodolite altitude readings in future attempts better than 2 feet accuracy or 0.01%. I also met some great people and cemented friendships with my 5 team members. It's a long term project and this setback has not detered me but of course i prefer not to lose $1,300 worth of equipment!

Bob Moore, :wacko:

Sydney, Australia


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Good effort Bob!! Really!! :wacko:

Sorry to hear about your lost kite and gear though.

I guess the good thing is that I won't have to rush out now and try to take the record back for Canada eh ;) Well, maybe in a few more months :)

Thanks for the update Bob.


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