After the busyness of kite building and kite festivals, we took a week off and went on a vacation.  This meant we missed the usual community kite fly last Sunday.  Turns out it was canceled due to cold weather and high winds (which made it even colder).  However, we took a number of kites with us to fly on the beach at Myrtle Beach, SC.  The weather didn’t cooperate much better there.

We had a couple of days of rain.  In between there were days of low temperature and very high winds.  Yes, I wimped out and stayed indoors on those days.  Then there were the sunny days with very low winds or moderate winds being blocked from the beach by the condominiums.  And the condominiums line the beach from one end to another.  So frustrating.

Yet, we tried.  Got out the light wind bag and pulled out several kites.  The Skate would go up and then glide gracefully back to the ground.  The Dunton-Taylor box flew the best but would over-fly in a gust and do a nose plant in the sand.  The Dunton-Taylor box with banner tail did not over fly but did mimic the Skate and glide down shortly after launch.  So much for flying on this vacation.

All was not lost, however.  On those rainy days we went to the local kite shop, Klig’s Kites in North Myrtle Beach, SC.

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Be prepared to get a crick in your neck as I’ve never seen so many kites hung from the ceiling and the walls as there are at this shop.  We had a great visit with Lauren while we were there.  She is very knowledge about kites, fun to visit with, had some places and people in common with us and doesn’t mind at all when she has to use a ladder to get a kite down that you are going to purchase.  In fact, she had to use the ladder several times during our visit.  We thoroughly enjoyed spending time there and are looking forward to our next visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so until the next time we fly (which we hope will be soon)

Fair Winds All

 

 

My new kite from Peter Lynn of New Zealand arrived just before the festival.  Unfortunately, the winds were too high for me to fly it.  So in the middle of the week we made a trip to the beach to put it in the air for the first time.  It is really a kite show in a bag.  It is made up of a lifter kite and a fish, a skate and a crab to hang from the flying line.  I was a little nervous as I never had flown anything like this before but I’m not nervous anymore.  It was a breeze to put up and really looked great.  I couldn’t stop smiling.

Just like the Carolina Kite Festival this past weekend, the winds were high for the weekly community kite fly.  According to a couple different weather apps, the winds were supposed be on the high side in the morning, dropping to more manageable speeds as noon approached.  Well, they had it wrong again.  The winds only picked up as the day progressed.  Since we hadn’t unpacked the kites from the truck after the festival, we were able to select some kites which could handle the wind.  And the kites of choice were a variety of deltas.

 

 

 

Another type of kite which handled higher winds is the dragon.  And the White Bird dragons flown by our friend Steve added to the show.

For the first time in months, I got out one of my quad line kites, the Vertigo Max, vented for higher winds.  Stunt kite flying is a lot like riding a bicycle.  You never really forget how to fly, you just get a little rusty.  And it all comes back quickly.  It made for a fun morning.

Fair winds All

 

 

This past weekend was the 31st Carolina Kite Festival at the Sands Villa Resort in Atlantic Beach, NC.  This festival is sponsored by my local kite shop, Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc., also found in Atlantic Beach, NC.  We had no idea how this one would be attended as Hurricane Florence hit us hard and many people are out of work and out of their homes.  Also, many of the hotels and condo units were damaged which made accommodations in the area harder to find.  But it didn’t deter most of our regular out-of-town flyers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weekend started with very high winds and chilly temperatures.  It rained the Friday before and was cloudy most of the day Saturday.  The winds kept a lot of the attendees from flying their single line kites as no one wanted to have a broken kite.  Luckily, the winds were blowing steady down the beach which made it much better for the large kites to fly.  And there was a grand show of large kites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weatherman was both right and wrong about the weather on Sunday.  The sky cleared and the sun came out which warmed up the afternoon.  But the winds never let up, came across the buildings along the beach and became more turbulent.  Fewer big kites were flown.  But there were more people with their single line kites out on the field.

A couple of our special guests this year were Ray Wong and Randy Tom.  Both are makers of art kites and hail from California.  And both brought kites to be sold at the kite shop..  Photos of their kites are on the Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc. Facebook page.

The Bay Area Sundowners Kite Team came from San Fransisco to perform both days.  They are always a joy to watch.  They perform routines flying stacks of thirteen hyperkites in red, white and blue.  Many spectators come year after year to see them perform.  Saturday’s wind was a little too high but they gave it a try anyway and did a good job.  The slighter winds on Sunday were better and the team flew a couple different routines throughout the day.

On the third kite field, the stunt kites were flown.  Dual line and quad line stunt kites were in the air as the wind and the whim of the flyers allowed.  Along with all the flying, there was a kids’ kite building table for children to decorate and assemble a small sled kite and a candy drop from a high-flying delta kite.  A few brave souls even went out on the beach Saturday night to fly their kites with lights on them.  I emphasize “brave” as it was very cold after the sun went down.

Although it seems that I spent most of my time running around with my camera photographing the event, I did get to fly a couple of my single line kites, a friend’s quad line kite and visit with kite flyers I hadn’t seen in quite some time.  The festival was deemed a success and plans are already in the works for next year’s event.  For more pictures and some video from the festival, check out the Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc. Facebook page (Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, Etc.).

Fair Winds All

The community kite fly this past weekend was canceled because of too much wind.  Most people do not understand that you can have too much wind which results in broken lines and broken kites.  And there is a portion of us flyers that do not like being dragged down the beach by a kite.  Instead of flying, I set myself an impossible project – to build a train of five kites by the time the Carolina Kite Festival occurs.  This gives me six days.  The kites I plan on building are a variation of a plan I saw online.  I’ve changed the kites outline, am using fiberglass instead of bamboo and adjusted the flat kite with a dihedral to give it some bow.  I have no idea if this will work.

The kites will be yellow with black appliqué.  The patterns come from some images I found on the Internet.  The kites are small, five-sided and meant to dance around in the sky.  They will be ultimately flown on a single line with branches out to the side so they can move without entangling each other.

Four different designs are appliquéd on the kite skins.  They are enlarged using an opaque projector to a size that will fit the kite.  The theme is honey bees.  So the first and middle kite will be a single large bee.

It actually took only two and a half days to get all the skins stitched.  The designs are rather simple so that made things easier.  The next step was to decide to hem or to edge bind.  Edge binding gives the kites a black outline which will set them off in the sky.  And then there were six pockets to sew on each kite to hold the fiberglass rods which form the frames.  Pockets take longer than anything when making a kite.  Especially when there are special folds to make each pocket fit closely in each corner.

 

 

I framed one kite and tried to test fly it before doing all five kites.  The winds were terrible so a good test flight was impossible.  But I did find out that tails will probably be necessary.  So I spent one evening making zig-zag tails.  These are similar to a fuzzy tail and provide more drag than a simple straight tail.  They are also easier to make than fuzzy tails.  There still is framing to do on four of the kites.  My job for tomorrow.  And I’m planning on doing some more test flying between tomorrow’s rain showers.  Here’s hoping I get it all done and they fly well for the upcoming festival.

Fair Winds All

This past weekend I was on Ocracoke Island, NC for a photography workshop.  The weather was the best we had had for several weeks.  Sunny, warm and with moderate breezes.  I really hated missing the community kite fly.  I also hated the thought of not doing any kite flying at all.

Not really knowing what the schedule was going to be for the weekend, I still threw some kites in the back of the truck.  Who knows, there might be some free time during the weekend.  And, heaven forbid, I not go to the beach at some point.  So it was that on Saturday I skipped lunch with the workshop participants and took myself to the beach for a “kite fix”.  Since I wasn’t going to have a lot of time, I left the stunt kites behind and only took a couple of the smaller single-line kites.

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The wind was coming from the east which meant it would be rather turbulent coming off the dunes and going to the ocean.  The first kites up were a train of tropical bird kites by Into The Wind Kites.  There should have been three but one needed some repair so only two made it into the sky.  The only other kite to fly was my Drumbox kite.  All the kites would go up for a while and then settle to the sand.  But I made the best of it.

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While I was loading everything back into the truck and preparing to rejoin the photography group, a gentleman walked up to me in the parking lot.  He told me he and his wife enjoyed watching the kites and appreciated my efforts.  This made me feel so good.  And just re-affirmed that a short kite fly is better than no fly at all.

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Fair Winds All

November 2018
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