Kite for bad launching conditions

edited May 2013 in General

I'm still looking for the perfect kite, so I thought I'd solicit opinions.

Most of the places I want to photograph seem to require at least two of the following:
- Tight launch area. Today it was a short dock. Last time was in a pocket between slash piles in a clear cut.
- Launching in a wind shadow or with shear winds. I keep finding locations with a building or tree line upwind of me.
- Light winds. Beaufort 2 is normal. Even more normal is Beaufort 1.5 for the first 30 meters, then unsteady Beaufort 2-4 above.
- High string angle. After the kite is up 100 feet, I want to be able to walk around trees, sailboats and other tall things I can't get far enough away from.
- High probability of aircraft at 4-500 feet (float planes and helicopters). It would be nice to be able to take the kite up to 300 feet before attaching the camera, but I prefer to leave a lot more margin for error and keep the whole rig low.

What I've tried so far.

#1 Premier Mesh 11' delta. This was my first big kite, and it's been great. Very forgiving in gusts, launches nicely from the hand in compact areas. I've been able to get it in the air in anything but the lightest winds. Hateful when it falls into blackberries or brush. I'm looking for a 2nd kite because it doesn't have enough lifting capacity in light winds( for a 300g rig.)
#2. Fled. I didn't have any luck with mine without a tail or with a drogue (constant overflying). While I've got it working with a huge fuzzy tail, that tail is no good for my normal conditions.
#3 2m rokakku. I have a heavy fiberglass sparred rok, and I'm uncertain I have the rigging correct. In a solid wind in a clearing, it's a fine kite. It isn't good at launching in very low wind, or at least I haven't found the right rigging angles. In any case, the long Rok harness seems to take a lot more room to launch and retrieve. I've never been able to just lift it into the air like a delta.

After this experience, I'm inclined to try 2 medium size deltas or delta conynes in a train. While people do that, it's rare on the list. I could also try swapping out the spars on the rok and keep drinking the rok koolaid. The Dopero looks nice, but I worry about the upper wind range.


Do I need to work on building a hot air balloon for kite launching?


  • well, since the perfect kite hasn't been made yet, there's a good alternative ;-)

    For those situations I use a pully system on the flying line. Just loop the flying line around 2 pully's and attach the rig a you normally do. Now you can pull 1 side of the flying line whil the other will go up.

    The weight of the rig will pull itself down, so use a stopper and be carefull wheeling it in ;-)

    There's a bit more weight involved....

  • edited May 2013
    In difficult, enclosed areas, a delta can be handy as it will prop against a wall or other piece of scenery, then a quick haul will take it above the ground clutter into a little more breeze then let out a bit, haul to gain more height, rinse and repeat. This is where fighter kite skills come to the fore, working the kite directionally with line tension through the inevitable direction changes. I've flown out of tiny gardens and yards this way. Needless to say it requires a bit of prep, laying out some line on the ground so you can give/take easily from hand. I've not found stratospools easy for this sort of hand flying and prefer to use flat reels for this and use the stratospool type reels in more open areas with steadier winds. Where flying and launching conditions are difficult, line in hand is the only way I know to fly.

  • Like Simon I fly by hand most of the time, fingertip control, and in tricky places I can have line laid out in readiness. I don't pick up my spool until things look good. I consider the Strato-spool only to speed up my retrieval, if it's difficult to launch it will be difficult to retrieve. Most kites can be pulled out of the wind, the Strato-spool would save me the pile of line at the end. A Helium balloon sounds ideal for calm days.
  • Back when I didn't have too many kites, my 7.5 foil was the best lifter but unless I could get it above the trees it was useless. So I would fly a smaller delta as a pilot and use it to lift the foil. I used a small pin on the foil line and a little hitch so you could release the two once everything was flying and pull in the delta.

    Might be a little more complicated for your needs but it worked for me a few times. The rok can get into clean air by itself so I don't need to complicate things anymore.
  • @emiel Can you provide a diagram or picture? I'm not clear what you mean.

    It seems like a line shuttle could help. I saw a posting about it here, although this one apparently doesn't work that well for steep line angles.

    The advantage would be that you could get your kite up to clean air (even if it doesn't start till 300') and then raise the camera.
    This would also add weight though.
  • edited May 2013
    @hobbiestoomany, shure, here's picture of the looped line without the rig attched. The flying line is looped through 2 pully's, the lower pulley is shwon here, the upper pully is a few feet below the kite.

    2 small pully's run over the top line (the pictusre shows an upside down line) so the weight of the rig is also connected to the upper line, otherwise the lower line will be pulled down.

    the rig connects to the small line loops connected to the smaller pully's

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