Dumb KAP Mistakes



  • Well it seems that Skyshark spars are near as dam like hens teeth? I'm still wait delivery, nearly two months now, seems the makers are very slow in production and shipment to the U.K. A mistake and an expensive kite is waiting in its bag, maybe forever!!! :-(
  • Puffin,

    Don't know where you ordered your spars, but the best place for Skyshark is usually http://www.kitesandfunthings.com/ , which is the main distributor and owned by the people who make the tubes.

  • Locally, The Highwayman, never let me down before, but I've noted on several UK outlets that Skysharks are out of stock. They have their orders in but the manufacturer for what ever reason is not shipping or making for that matter!
  • Puffin,

    Maybe an email to Kites and Fun Things would be a good idea - if they have the ones you want, a direct delivery would solve your problem. I've always found them good to deal with and they send promptly to me here in New Zealand. Perhaps they have just stopped wholesaling the spars?

  • +1 for Kites and Fun Things. Postage to Aus is $40+ but I only need to order 4 spars for that to be the financially responsible choice.
  • edited August 2013
    Our last KAP session in Aitutaki (Cook Islands) was not very succesfull… After a great 20 minutes flight of the Dan Leigh Delta R8 in 20 knots tradewinds, it was time to bring everything down, space on the beach was limited so we could not “walk down” the kite and decided to use the ratchet pulley; when the rig was almost back, not even 20 meters high above the ground (water), the delta lost some power under the wind of the coconut grove and suddenly took a deep dive towards the lagoon bringing the AutoKAP rig, the Ricoh GXR, the ultrawide vogtlander 12 mm and the go pro 3 Black (without its waterproof case) in the water… No time to unlock the ratchet and let the line go, no time to run and try to catch the rig before it hits the water… Both cameras are dead, I changed the servo and servo tester on the autoKAP rig and within 20 minutes we were back up in the air with the ricoh GX 200 (our back up camera)….lesson learned always keep an eye on the kite…

    Time to order a new toy : Ricoh GR maybe or the same combo GXR + 12 mm...

    image image
  • Mes sincères condoléances, Pierre! I'm glad it was not the Leica...
    Is that the final dive, in the 2nd picture?
  • Yesterday I got this brilliant idea to shoot sunset scene from a kite.

    The flying itself went nicely, weather was calm and flew my FLED up with 300m line, steady like a train on tracks.

    I don't know where I had the idea, that for exposure settings it would be perfectly ok to use the same ones as for midday. 5 minutes before sunset! Heck, what a brain fart. At least I could have had nice skyline pics with these settings (I measured against the sky), but my manual aim rig was set to point too low, and as the result, I had 350 completely black pictures when I got home. I _was_ expecting them to be quite dark, but usable after PP.

    I explained this to myself so that I was in a too much of a hurry to get the kite in the air before the opportunity is gone.

    Lesson learned: go at the scene well beforehand for a timed event, to be able to tweak your settings right.
  • edited February 2014
    While in Florida trying to thaw out my bones from the "Polar Vortex" that has gripped the US Northeast, I brought three kites and my KAP gear....all set for a bunch of KAPing and kite tuning....that was the idea anyway.....turns out my brain needed a bit of thawing out too....

    Out of 10 KAP sessions .... 4 ended in failure.....mostly due to pilot (my) errors.

    Failure # 1.....failed to take the lens cap off my NEX-5t... I got over 500 images that look like this....

    Dumb KAP Mistakes

    Failure # 2...the position of the IR trigger on the body of the Sony NEX-5t somehow worked loose and moved (I hold it on with Velcro currently....). I confirmed the shutter was triggering OK at launch.....but only got 3 pictures of my feet for over 90 minutes of flying.

    Failure # 3 and 4 came back to back..... prior to placing the Sony NEX-5t on the KAP rig I decided it would be good to take a few family pictures. I passed the camera around and a few people "assisted" with taking a few ground shots. Upon completing the brief family shoot I proceeded to check the camera and shutter speed and placed the camera on the KAP rig. After a 1 hour flight I moved to a new location and swapped out the battery for a fresh one and proceeded to get in another 1 hour KAP flight.

    I reviewed the images at the end of the day only to discover over 1000 images looking like this:

    Dumb KAP Mistakes

    A bit of root cause analysis narrowed the problem to an accidental changing of the ISO from auto to ISO 25600. Even with the shutter firing at 1/2500 second at F22....all the images were big time washed out and noisy. Lucky for me I was shooting raw and was able to recover the basic images in post processing (Lightroom 5.3)....all but a few too noisy to use. (see below). Turns out the dial wheel on the back of the Sony can be inadvertently turned from auto ISO to ISO 25600 very easily.

    Dumb KAP Mistakes

    Not all was lost....with all the shots at F22 .....I discovered a fair bit of dirt on my new camera's sensor!

    My brain gradually thawed out in the warm Florida sun and I did get 6 great KAP sessions and a well tuned dopero kite above the skies of Marco Island, Florida....a few stories coming!


  • Ha Ha Ha. You do give us something to smile about....thinking "I wouldn't do daft things like that" though I think we do but keep quiet about it!

    It's been OK weather lately round here and I've had two flying sessions this week trying out my new Yorkshire Flowform. Today I KAPed it from the Power Sled 24 and took some pleasing shots of it.

    Fly High

  • Really dumb....if you continue to make the same mistakes....over .... and over....

    I normally shoot manual mode with Auto ISO.....it seems my Sony A6000 was happier with an ISO of 2000....

    All my A6000 shots came out looking like this:


    Post processing of the RAW file helped....but much of the photo detail was lost.... See post processing shot below.


    Not all was lost....I was flying with my dual camera set up and the Hero 3 managed a few good shots. See example below.

    KAP Philly - Happy New Year

    I returned to the same area on January 2 and managed to collect a bunch of KAP shots above the sky of Philadelphia ....but this time with the ISO set to auto. Related story coming ;-)

  • edited January 2015
    Well...I am sure that I am going to make some pretty major KAP errors soon enough - but Hamish reminded me of a different type of error that I made, with his quote

    ''A few weeks ago, I had a nice KAP session photographing a new Gas pipeline winding its way across the Cotswolds. But left my halo winder on the side of the road.
    = 50mile round trip the next day to pick it up - it was exactly where I left it.''

    well my error was that I had the unfortunate luck to be one of the archaeologists on that very pipeline! In the middle of the summer, with no tree cover, scorching heat, miles to the cabins, and being made to wear body protection over our whole body, so that only exposed bit of skin was the bit of face not covered by goggles! Why did they make us wear this excessive protective clothing? - in case of a gas explosion. Interesting reason, considering they hadn't even connected all the pipes together at that point, and they weren't due to put any gas through it for a loooong time! - don't you just love ''blanket cover, no sense'' health and safety! There were more people made ill through sunstroke etc during that dig than anything else!

    This is my prefered level of personal protective equipment. I have a hi-vis jacket with me, dont I?

    photo 394661_119305938215608_1930770594_n_zps65fa6bc6.jpg
  • Thanks for the photo of you Tim. You don't look at all how I imagined you.

    Fly High

  • Simple equation for spotting an archaeologist:

    Beard + big/dreadlocked/crazy/no hair = likely to be a field archaeologist, or a tramp who fell onto the site by accident. Take your pick!
  • sometimes we are even allowed to deal with letters and numbers.

    photo 558041_118306214982247_810777043_n_zps49f8c843.jpg
  • Of course. Of course. The beard, the wild look, the big muddy boots (I've not seen your boots yet) etc. I've met a few archeologists and yes that's the description of them just right. It was your boyish enthusiasm which fooled me. ☺

    Fly High

  • edited January 2015
    Sue, Tim..

    and now the more familiar view...head down staring at the floor (or video screen in this case)
  • I don't know which is kicking my butt more - KAP or my own idiotic self. I figured this was the right thread to post to, considering. This all has to do with erosion.

    Hapuna Beach Panorama May 2013

    This was Hapuna back in May, 2013. I was on the south end of the beach looking north toward the Hapuna Prince Beach Resort. Note the position of the big honkin' rocks that separate the resort side of the beach from the state park side where I was.

    Hapuna Gone

    This was a ground photo I made yesterday, standing on those rocks and looking back toward the resort. The beach was pounded by some serious winter waves a couple of weeks back, and the bulk of the sand on the beach has washed out into the bay.

    Ever since taking that ground shot I've been trying trying to photograph the erosion from the air. Here's the best I got after two really awful KAP sessions:

    Hapuna Erosion

    Here's the damage so far:

    Ground session #1 - My T2i barfed out. It had really bizarre behavior and wouldn't trip the shutter. So I reset it to factory default. Unbeknownst to me it also reset the whole "shoot in RAW" thing. GRRR!

    KAP session #1 - Early morning. I got there so I could catch the wind as it started up for the day. My A2200 had a card error. When I tried to swap to my T2i I found the card wasn't even there! It was still in my computer from the ground session the previous day. I flew my Fled and my Dopero, and made not one... single... exposure.

    KAP session #2 - Late afternoon. I got there around 4pm to catch the evening light. I flew the A2200 once on the Fled in extremely light air. I had to wade out into the water to get that one keeper. While I was out there the wind dropped to zero. I took in line as fast as I could, and almost lost my rig. Managed to land the Fled just in front of the tree line. Later in the evening the wind switched to an offshore about half an hour before sunset. I launched it again, I launched again and flew as late as I dared. The flight was FANTASTIC! Offshore, perfect angle, awesome light, the works. YAY! After I landed everything I found my intervalometer script had never even started. Zero frames. GAAH!

    Ground session #2 - I packed my KAP gear, pulled out my T2i, and did ground photography of sunset. This actually worked, but that's when when I figured out I wasn't shooting RAW. I reset all the settings on my camera as the light was fading, and managed to get a couple of good frames before the sun was gone for good.

    Moral to the story: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes things just go bad just... because.

    I'm going through all my gear tomorrow morning before going to work in the hopes of flying again some night this week.

  • SueSue
    edited November 2015
    There's something very wrong with my Levitation type delta. It may have stretched because it flew to the left at right angles to the wind even with a fuzzy tail. It landed the other side of the River Hull the other day when the wind was straight down the river. I hauled it back and it swam nicely but got a bit caught in the tall reeds. The ground was firm enough to reach the kite and capture it.
    I then went back to fetch my 2m Dopero Drone and found it still needed the new spars cutting to length.
    Back again for my trusty Power Sled 24 which flew well as usual and I was able to take a final set of photos of my sister's new dormer roof. (Photos soon)
    Fortunately I was flying from the river Bank behind my house.

    Fly High


  • Sue,

    One of my levitations has developed a lean to one side. I have tried all manner of tweaks (swapping spars, putting tucks in the trailing edge, offset hanger etc etc) to try and balance it but it's not having it. It flies on the ha. My best guess it that the fabric has stretched unevenly after many hours of flight. I have a younger spare and that's working fine but I think these have a finite life. I wondered if the weave on the fabric was properly 'handed' to cause this effect.

    I'd like to know if anyone’s found a fix for the 9' Levi asymmetry.

  • Mine isn't a genuine one which is probably part or most of the problem.
    After I've had a good look at the spars, I'm going to try pinning the keel 1/2" to the right to see if that evens it up a bit. If it does I'll sew it. I've quite a few kite mending / alterations to do during March so if that works I'll leave making a new sail till later when I've more time.

    Fly High

  • My first KAP session with my gopro, still learning the menu icons; I thought I put it in timelapse mode but actually put it into burst mode.. so hit the trigger and took 30 nearly indistinguishable shots of me looking at the camera... then ran the camera up and down the kite line for 30 minutes not taking any shots :)

    Its a nice picture of me though, looking rather fish-eye silly and in my geeky kite rig :)

  • Left my Sony A6000 camera in the hotel room.....

    Flew in to North Carolina today....dropped my work stuff at the hotel....headed out to find some wind...light rain falling with zero wind....I had low expectations....

    The rain let up ..... I decided to try a long line launch with the big BKT 10 foot Rokkaku in search of wind above 50 meters.....

    Found a nice wind with a good solid pull at about 75 meters....pulled out my KAP rig only to discover I left the camera back in the hotel room....The cloudy overcast day was rapidly fading to night....I did have my Hero3 camera and I did a simple makeshift Velcro attachment to my KAP rig and sent it aloft for a brief 20 minute KAP session......

    All was well.....till....the kite disappeared into the low hanging cloud base at about 150 meters. I could see the KAP rig ....but not the kite..... I lowered everything down a bit so I could keep an eye on both the KAP rig and the kite. The pictures and video below give you a feel for the day.

    Low expectations for image quality given the low light conditions (not made for GoPros!). I will see in a day or so.


    Light weight KAP rig.

    Cloud KAPing.

    Steady flyer... Cloud KAPing in NC.

  • A little higher and you would have taken pictures from above the clouds. :-)

    Thanks for sharing.
  • edited November 2015
    Sneak out of conference to get the best of the all too rare sunlight, only have heaviest rig with me. Launch kite, hitch camera to line raise camera, so far so good, take 1st shot- camera does not focus, take another- same thing. Haul down camera and discover its set to macro mode, fix that and release line to discover I have created a massive birds nest knot. Untangle line, raise camera and shoot 2 frames to discover the battery is flat. Haul down camera, change battery. Tangle line again...and the wind has dropped just enough for the camera to be too heavy for the kite. The end. Pah!

    Always check your camera state before you begin (I had passed it around a conference hall for inspection, it had been put away switched on)
    Always have a lighter camera/rig handy for when the wind fades.
    Never stand on the line when hauling in.
    At least the video let me know things were awry but I took so long to sort it out I wasted the opportunity.

  • There are occasions when the stars do not align and KAP is not meant to occur! That sounds like one of those occasions Bill. I think knowing when not to KAP or when to give up is one of those hidden KAP skills. But sometimes we just have to keep trying. It rarely works out.
  • edited November 2015
    Thanks Simon, I often struggle with finding the bravado to fly in new places and if there is time pressure its always a tough call. I can find endless excuses not to fly so fighting the inertia can end up as a dogged exercise in stupidity. Doing things in a rush almost always trips me up.

    One thing that always puts me on edge is 'punchy' wind, I know I have kites that can cope but my instinct is to avoid the blustery stuff. On some occasions when I have overcome the fear I have been successful and this knowledge can push me into risk. I walk a fine line between 'gung ho' and 'better safe than sorry'

    Looking at this from the drone perspective there's a lot that can go wrong in the pursuit of the KAP shot, I'd like to think we are safer as we don't hurl spinning blades at people but we could twang all manner of risky items ( moving traffic, overhead lines etc) so listening to that 'what if?' voice should never stop.

    The self inflicted failures are frustrating. The go/no-go decision IS tricky stuff but yes, sometimes heeding the hints from the situation is the discretion that is the better part of valour.
  • Hi Bill + Simon,
    if we do something we make also mistakes,...OK
    if we do nothing we are dead
    I bring in the car often some KAP tool and here a good windy day is something extraordinary, few days/year,...
    when I have a kite for light wind there is a sudden wind STRONG, when almost everything is OK I left my camera at home,...
    let's go on with LIFE
    SMAC from Italy
  • edited November 2015
    This thread reminded me again of one of my all time KAP disasters (and in retrospect - best KAP experiences) It's a tale I told before either here or on Flickr, but in terms of dumb mistakes and lessons learned it was a total watershed for me. Apologies to those who read or heard this one before.

    This was a holiday in Cyprus with a day trip by air to Cairo. April 2004. Big all-in day, the Egyptian museum, the pyramids, evening dinner cruise on Nile and a visit to the bazaars before the flight back to Cyprus arriving back at our holiday hotel in the wee small hours.
    For me this was the chance to KAP at the holy grail. Above the Great Pyramid of Cheops. For the trip I had it all figured out, while our tour guide took everyone for forty five minutes I would fly over the Great Pyramid.

    Well, when we arrived at the Pyramids it was a murky dusty day with a really strong wind blowing... I had a 15 sq ft Parafoil, and a ridiculous flat reel that I had decided to take instead of my normal flat reel. This stupid thing was nothing more than an adapted cable winder. I'd chosen to use it to save weight. (The dumbest KAP mistake I ever made.)

    I stood upwind a couple of hundred yards in front of the pyramid just in front of a pile of rocks, unfurled the Parafoil....

    Whump! The kite inflated instantly and for the only time ever in my KAP career my reel was ripped out of my hands. But worse, it was dashed and dragged through the rocks in front of me. I executed a prefect rugby tackle and managed to grab everything before it all ended up draped over the pyramid...

    The tangle I was presented with, with the remains of the reel, literally had me gasping in disbelief. I just couldn't believe what had happened to me before I could even get a camera in the air..!

    It was about this point Abdul (I think that was his name) and his camel Charlie Brown ( no way I'll ever forget that name) came over to introduce themselves and offer to provide paid "help". With Charlie Brown slobbering down my neck and breathing in my ear, Abdul and I started to try to tease out some line. This was one of the most hopeless tasks ever. But perseverence was all I had.

    Eventually I managed to get about 50 feet of line out of the morass, duly fastened the rig a foot below the kite and took some aerials of the Great Pyramid! The results were much as one would expect given the circumstances. Charlie Brown was still licking and nuzzling me, Abdul was pestering me for money, and for some daft reason I had a broad grin on my face!

    Found a couple of photos on my PC so here you go. This was one of those times when you don't give up as Smac says, if we do nothing we are dead. And also, I'd say sometime we only pass this way once so we do have to try...

  • edited November 2015
    A great take on an awful situation Simon. I'd have been red with rage! Needs a revisit. I reckon this thread has someting of the curse of the commentator. Today I blunderd again. Flew camera with MF set to about 1m infront of the lens. I got a massive block of horribly blurred images. Why? Last time I used the camera I was photographing drawings with it. I did have a 2nd camera up and got a handful of decent shots from that but the maddedning thing is the blurred stuff looks fantastic- great light/shadow ...but..blurred to useless.
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