First Airfoil Kite

edited January 2013 in Kites
First I would like to say Hello to everyone here.
I have been in the photography area for more than 25 year and I am very exited to get into the KAP area too.
See my photo galey:
I have 3 stunt kites and some small deltas and a 1.3meter old delta kite, so I am familiar with kite flying.
I did some KAP researching for about a year now and I am just about ready to do the purchasing and building.
My plan is to build a rig or to buy one like the BBKK.
As for the camera, I will be using first a compact canon like the powershoot and than put on the same rig my 30D Canon DSLR.
So as for the Kite,
Looks like to me that an Airfoil Kite will be a good start as its also very foldable and also have a good pull and a steady kite.
I have look at the Intothewind site and there was the ITW Parafoil 10 Kite, is it good enough for a rig that I will have? (compact or DSLR camera rig)
Please your recommendation for a good Airfoil Kite.
Also what type of line would I need? is a 1000’ 150-lb. braided polyester line will be good?


  • I haven't used the ITW Parafoil 10, so I can't give you any direct feedback on that kite. But here are some thoughts on KAP kites in general:

    I started off with a parafoil kite. Unfortunately it had a very narrow wind range that made it almost completely unsuitable for KAP. In the end I sold it, and bought two other parafoil kites to replace it. The difference was that the new kites had a wider wind range.

    Since you're familiar with kite flying, you probably already see why this is important. But KAP adds a complication that makes wind range more critical than when flying a bare kite: weight. At the low end of a kite's wind range, it generates less lift than the combined weight of the kite and line that it's trying to lift. If the wind dips below the low end of the kite's range, it'll fall out of the sky. At the high end of a kite's wind range, the kite is no longer able to sustain stable flight. If the wind rises above the high end of a kite's range, it'll over-power and either fly erratically, or fail altogether.

    Adding the weight of a KAP rig effectively means you're compressing the wind range of the kite. Even a lightweight rig and camera will weigh more than a typical kite. So the act of hanging a rig on the line means the kite is having to lift several times more than the weight of the kite and line. This means the kite needs to be able to provide more lift to compensate. For a given kite this requires more wind.

    At a guess I'd say that first parafoil kite I had flew well between about 8-14kts of wind. Hang a KAP rig on it, and it was closer to 12-14kt. One gust was enough to knock it out of the sky. One lull was enough to give my rig a hard landing.

    The larger of the kites I replaced it with would lift a relatively light rig with 6kt of wind, and would fly straight and true up to 20kt. Past that I was hanging on for dear life, anyway. It was a Flow Form 16, which I don't think is made anymore. There are other Flow Form designs out there, but from what I've gathered reading this forum, not all Flow Forms are created equal. From my own experience I can say that not all parafoil kites are created equal, either. I hope someone else can chime in on the particular kite you're asking about.

    Regardless of which kite you choose, the first several times you take it out and fly it, bring along a bottle of water that's roughly the same weight as your KAP rig with camera installed. Since you're planning to fly two very different configurations (compact Powershot and a DSLR), bring two bottles so you can test fly both weights. Once the kite is airborne, tie one of the water bottles to the line and try flying it. Treat it the same way you would a camera: try to position it near a subject; mentally say "click" to yourself when you'd trip the shutter; when the wind lulls, don't let it bounce off the ground; when the wind gusts, don't let it swing wildly out of control. This is the safest way to learn kite handling for KAP. It's also an outstanding way to evaluate a kite for KAP before hanging a camera from the line.

    It's also a very sobering exercise to go through the first time you decide to fly a DSLR. It's amazing how much the wind range of a kite is compressed by the weight of a DSLR and lens. The first time I hung that much water bottle from my line and watched what it did, my stomach sank. I didn't think I'd ever put my DSLR in the air. But eventually I went through the exercise enough times with enough kites to have an idea how everything would behave. I guess what I'm saying is that this whole dummy weight exercise is a useful tool, even if you've been flying kites for years, even if you've been doing KAP for years. Any time I get a new kite, make a change to my rig, or decide to fly a new camera, I start with the dummy weight.

    Sorry for getting wildly off-topic. My apologies if I bored anyone.

    Oh, and I like 200-lb braided Dacron line. I've flown on 100 and 150, but I keep going back to the 200. It's thicker, which makes it easier to hold. And it gives you a wider margin for error with larger cameras. I typically don't use more than 500' with framed kites like the rokkaku, Dopero, Fled, or delta. But with soft kites like the Flow Form I like to have a little extra because they tend to fly at a lower line angle than framed kites.

  • I have a Parafoil 15 that lifted a 32oz rig with no problem of course I was at the beach with a constant breeze of 15mph. The problem with parafoil kites especially the small ones like a parafoil 10 require a strong constant wind that will keep it infated and promote lift.
    My first kite I used for KAP was a Powersled 24 which is a combination of a parafoil and frame kite this was suggested by the kite salesperson from a local kite store in my area. I found this kite very efficent when it came to a beginers KAP kite and I was able to fly in many wind conditions but, one kite can not fly all wind condition so now I usually carry 4 to 5 kites with me to all my sessions.

    Under 12mph winds: Fled, 6.5ft Rok
    Over 12 mph wind: PLK Pilot 2m2 parafoil, 9' Levitation Delta Kite and a Dan Leigh Trooper delta kite

    I have yet to fly my DSLR rig setup which weighs in at 41oz and I may just fly it just to say I did it, I have since then replace my DSLR aps-c sensor camera with lighter canon EOS-M which only weighs 25oz, lighter rig setups will give you more opportunity to shoot.

    My current go to parafoil is my Peter Lynn PLK Pilot 2m2 parafoil kite with a fuzzy tail attached in a "Y" bridle setup which I fly with 1000', 200lb dacron line and is with me at all my sessions. I do not fly my Parafoil 15 which is similar to the Parafoil 10, because it requires some modification to make it a little more stable for KAP but can pull like a horse from what I remember.

    As far as lifting you will have no problem lifting the powershoot with the Parafoil 10 but, you will probably have to invest in a larger kite for the larger camera.
  • Hi
    Thank you all very much for your advice.

    I was looking for kite shops here in Israel and there are two but they sell mostly stunt and surfing kites. the rest of the stores sells kids kits.
    So I will need to buy a kite from an international store, that's why I am looking now for an Airfoil Kite as its a relative small pack for shipment.
    I have asked Into the wind for a nice Delta like the Dan Leigh Trooper Delta Kite but the case is 42" and can't be shipped.
    Anyway I am now doing some first CAD Rig design.
    How do i insert a picture here?

  • edited January 2013
    Hi, Jacob - Welcome aboard!

    I would have to go along with Nestor Rivera as far as a Parafoil 10 goes - unless I had nerves of steel, I would never consider putting a DSLR (even the APC-C size) on a relatively small soft kite like that. You would indeed need a pretty healthy wind with zero lulls like Nestor sees at the beach with his Parafoil 15. Of course, with a smaller rig, go for it.

    With a DSLR, my recommendation would definitely be a sticked kite, preferably a Rok sized for the wind you anticipate. That is because they are very easy to assemble, have a wide adjustability, and are steady as a ...Rok (Ha), plus lulls are well tolerated.

    Another thing to remember too is that, while light weight rigs give a wider wind envelope of usability as Tom explained, rig mass and inertia CAN be your friend. By that I mean if you use a big sticked lifter coupled to a (relatively heavy) DSLR rig, it is not going to respond to every little vibration and wind change; hence, more GREAT photos from each session.

  • Welcome Jacob,
    My DSLR's stay in the car. I've invested in a NEX for days when I have adequate wind but the old Go Pro still see a lot of flight time.
    I had an ITW 10 that I finally sent back. As a mass production kite I'm sure there are good and bad ones. ITW is a good company to deal with. I invested in a Peter Lynn 2M2 that has performed very well. PLK ships internationally.
  • To include a picture here it must be hosted somewhere else first, like Flickr or your own web space.
    If it's in Flickr you click Share, select the size (500x333 is a good option), copy all of the html code generated and just paste it into the body of your post here.
  • Ric,
    I know that DSLR are heavy so I will start with compact camera and I will try to make a light rig.
    In this season in Israel winds are from 2 to 10 mph or so, so I think a 9' Levitation Delta Kite will do the job.
    The problem that they want send it overseas as the package is too long so I will have to ask from a family relative that will bring me one.
    I will order the PLK 2m2 for higher winds, this will be shipped as its in a small package.
    I hope these two kites will cover the wind range for starters.

    Thanks for the picture upload instruction.

    This is a great forum love it...

  • Hi Ric,
    As I know the Gopro has a fish eye lens and the photos produced are distorted.
    Also it's a bit pricey for such a small camera, I have read that the new models have less distortion, I would go for the "Silver" new model... but that maybe for a later budget.
    Any way, I am planing to put on board a small Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZR3/DMC-ZX3 that I have.
    I have ordered the 9' Levitation Delta Kite...
    I have started to build a winder something similar to the Startopool
    So lots of action here LOL...
  • The big advantage of the gopro is small size, existing mounts, waterproof, and interval shots without modification. My new rig is just over 1/2 lb which is nice for small kites or lighter winds. The fisheye lens is different, but is not Impossible to change. For a professional photographer, you may not like the photo quality but it is pretty easy to get up in the air.
  • I've got a Hero3 Silver and a compact I like (older A650IS). I consider them two very different cameras. I'll stick one or the other on my KAP rig, depending on what I'm trying to do. If you've already got a Lumix, I'd run with that. Your own style of KAP will lead you in the appropriate direction.

    Good call on the Levitation Delta. I don't have one, but I've enjoyed seeing them fly. They look like super KAP kites.

  • Thanks
    What line should I purchase for a light rig with the 9' lavi?
  • I mostly use #200 braided coreless Dacron. It's the stuff Brooks used to sell on his site. (Still listed on the new site, too!) I've got two other winders loaded with #150 and #100 cored Dacron, but I'm less thrilled with it. It's plenty strong enough. But it's considerably thinner. This makes it harder to handle, in my mind. Gloves are a must with KAP because of the risk of a line burn, but with the lighter (and thinner!) lines it's not so much a risk as a certainty. The #100 has cut through my gloves numerous times.

    Still, it'd be good if someone who actually uses a Levitation chimes in. Thinner line doesn't have as much wind drag, which may be a really good thing for the Levitation. I honestly don't know.

  • I use 100, 150 and 200 Ashaway dacron with the 9ft levi. 150 seems to work the best considering strength vs drag
  • edited February 2013
    Whats the diameter of the 150# and the 200# ?
    I am trying to calculate the a reel capacity
  • Yankl. Be careful, there isnt an obvious relationship between diameter and rated strength. Line with fhe same strength can have different diameters
  • Thanks James,
    I didn't know that.
    So each line comes in different diameter from different different manufacturer, mmm..
    I am planing to build a reel with 200mm outer diameter and a core of 120mm, I hope this will be good for a 1000' 200# line on it.
  • My 200lb is 1.8mm, 100lb is 0.8mm
  • yankl:

    Here is 1300 feet 150lb.
  • Hi BlueKite,
    Whats your reel diameters?

    I have found this site with line diameters.


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