It was a little on the chilly side but we had wind. A light wind but wind. Something we haven’t seen too much of in the past couple of months. Because it is technically winter, there aren’t a lot of people on the beach. Mostly fishermen. And that’s a good thing because we don’t have to be concerned about people waking into our kite lines as we anchor out the single line kites. There were four fliers on the beach and a variety of kites in the air. The largest was Blackfoot’s Magic Gourd by Premier. The wind was l little light for this kite and it settled to earth a few times but I hadn’t flown it in quite some time and couldn’t resist putting it up. The second largest was the Powersled 24, also by Premier. This is currently my husband’s favorite. The rest of the kites in the air were smaller kites that the local kite shop owner was testing out. They probably will be included in this years offerings at the shop. Mostly they flew pretty well.
I tried to put up my three-stack of Goblins. I trained these together this past October and haven’t had a chance to fly them yet. Either there was no wind or I didn’t have them with me when the wind was up. I thought sure today was the day. So I took them out of the bag and spent the next twenty minutes untangling and re-attaching the train lines and bridle. How things can get so tangled when all they’ve done for months is sit in a bag is beyond me. Finally I was ready to go and had my helper give me a launch. Well, the flight lasted about ten minutes. There just wasn’t enough wind for a three-stack. I put a lot of work into that ten minutes and ended up waling backward for about 75 to 100 feet. Nothing was going to keep those kites in the air. So, back in the bag they go for another day.
Probably the most interesting part of the day was watching the men working on getting an airplane kite in the air. The kite shop owner worked on his a bit and got it flying pretty well. So my husband thought he could get some help in getting his in the air. Now he has been dying to get his airplane to fly for a couple of months with little to no luck. So the two of them started working on it. They were soon joined by the other flier on the field. Now you have three men and two airplane kites, one that will fly and one that won’t. And all of them too stubborn to give up making the one kite fly. Watching this made for an entertaining morning. “Boys” and their toys. Did the kite eventually fly? No! We have a lemon.
It was a good morning that lasted into the afternoon. Three hours on the beach. A day many would envy. I’m smiling.
The weather the past two days has been more reminiscent of spring or early June than January. Temperatures rose to the seventies and the sky was a clear, gorgeous blue. There was even a heavy fog in the mornings both days. So glad I didn’t have to go anywhere early. After not flying for a couple of weeks, we couldn’t let these days pass by. After completing the things we needed to do (note the word need), we went to the beach and did what we wanted to do. Put some kites in the air. Both days we didn’t get out until after 3:00 but an hour or so flying is better than no flying at all.
Contrary to what the weatherman said, the winds were very light on Tuesday. Luckily I had my sure-fire, light wind kite, the Chiroptera. It wanted to fly before I even got the line hooked up. It took off and rose straight up and stayed there fluttering in the sky. The wind was a little gusty so at times there were some mid-air acrobatics, including a couple of complete roll-overs, but it always recovered and rose again.
So from the very new to the vintage, the second kite that I put up was the Joel Scholz Butterfly. This kite is not supposed to be a light wind kite. It is a heavy kite with five wooden dowels for its framework. But it is so well designed and balanced that it will go up in the lightest winds and just sit there and rock slightly from side to side. It is a fun kite and gorgeous to look at. Any kids in the area invariably point to it. sometimes I think the new kite designers need to go back and take a look at some of those vintage kites. Many of the were kites do not fly half as well as the vintage models. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the “latest and greatest” that we lose sight of the “tried and true”. I guess that’s why I am different from most fliers in that I don’t get into all the tricking and I search to add vintage kites to my bag. Oh yes, I do fly them, too. In fact, I have a couple of new additions that I hope to bring out when the wind and the weather cooperate.
Wednesday the wind was up a trifle and off we went again. Found the EO6 hiding in the bottom of the kite bag and decided to give it a try. This is an interesting kite in that in steady winds it will hang in the sky and in gusty wind it will dip and dive and remind one of fighter kite. Tugging on the line brings causes tumbling from which the kite recovers and rises again. I’m afraid we were at the bottom of its wind range so we couldn’t just anchor it and watch it fly. We had to be on the line to give it a boost now and then. It was fun nonetheless. The other kite that flew was the workshop kite from the last Carolina Kite Festival. I call it “Go Fish”. Some of you may have seen this kite on an earlier post. It is a great kite and easy to fly. I tried cutting the tail differently and I’m still not sure I like it. I may take my scissors out and make the tail more like a standard fuzzy tail. It may fly and look better.
So now we’ve had our kite fix for a while. Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate and we will have our regular club fly this weekend.
I guess you could say this is just a part of winter. The weather is either too cold and/or wet for flying or its beautiful and there’s no wind. Really it’s been grey and rainy a lot lately. While you would think this is good weather to work in the craft room making kites, I just haven’t been inspired. It’s taken a long time but I did finally finish the kite for the nursery. The one my daughter asked for last summer. It’s not that it was too complicated. I think my perfectionism got in the way as I worked on it. Anyway, it is done and it looks pretty good.
I have my next kite project cut out ready to sew. A pocket sled. However, it is going on hold. There is something new and different that has moved up to the front of the line. Something I’ve never tried before and haven’t read or seen anyone try lately. Last night I stayed up way too late cutting out the template for this project. I’ll make a smaller prototype first just to see if it will fly. If it does, then I will start on the real thing. This sounds like I really know what I’m doing. Oh, so far from the truth.
I added a “new” kite to my vintage kite collection. A Joel Scholz Butterfighter, signed and dated June, 1991. There’s a little bit of fine tuning that needs to be done to the sparring but it should not be a problem. I am lucky that I have a kite shop close by and they have just about every kite known to man. I was able to compare my kite with a brand new Butterfighter and see what needs to be done. Believe it or not, everything I need is found at the local hardware store. None of this specialty stuff that you can’t get from anyone except the manufacturer. Just dowels and O-rings. When I get it ready and have the day to fly, I’ll have photos.
That’s about all for now. Hopefully, things will start to change and I’ll have exciting kite news week after week after week. Until then…
After a long string of windless Sundays and some low temperatures thrown in, we have sunshine, mild temperature and WIND! We joined four other kite fliers to celebrate the gorgeous day. I decided that rather than haul everything out to the field (a job which seems like it takes a small moving van) I would selection a few kites to fly and leave the rest home. All the while hoping I make the right choice and have the right kites for the right wind. I put in my bag some kites that hadn’t seen the sky in a year or two. They definitely needed the air time.
I first put up my twin tail dragon. The last time it flew was about a year ago and the wind was so strong I didn’t get the tails wound up neatly, they were just stuffed in the bag. So my initial job was to untangle and untie the tails. Lesson learned – no matter what, roll up your tails before packing away a dragon kite. Once in the air, it flew beautifully.
The next kite I put up was my mesh diamond with roses. This kite was given to me a couple of years ago as an anniversary present. My husband gave me roses that will never wilt. One of which is a yellow rose, my favorite. It really is a shame I don’t fly this one more often. It is easy to assemble and flies great. It just hangs in the air for all to see. Must mention that this kite is no longer available. Maybe that’s why I like it. I should try to remember and fly this one on each wedding anniversary. Must make a note on my iPad.
My husband flew one of his latest acquisitions, a Premier powersled. He got the largest powersled with the optical illusion/quilted pattern in rainbow colors. The powersled is a real “puller”. We found that out as we watched the large kite anchor being pulled across the sand. And there was a lot of sand already in the anchor. That’s one reason we really like sand bags and sand anchors for our single line kites. they may get dragged a bit but they don’t fly away or run the risk of injuring a passerby. We got out the shovel and added sand and the kite stayed put for the rest of the morning.
The rest of the sky had color from several of our friends kites. Including one unconventional training of a Sky Flake and a Firefly 2. Both of these kites are made at Kites Unlimited in Atlantic Beach, NC. Both will hang in the air like they were pinned there. But they will dance and bob around if you give their lines a tug now and then. Neither of them like to fall to the ground and will rise before hitting the ground when the line is pulled and released. It makes a good show for spectators as they think the kite is falling and it magically rises up again. I’m not sure if they ever had been trained together before but it worked pretty well and they both behaved themselves.
At last my Vamp Devil did not fly alone. Usually I’m the only one flying this quad line kite. And, quite often, I think I’m the only one who really likes this kite. But on this day, another Vamp Devil was in the sky. It was the one from the kite shop, Kites Unlimited, and the owner had it out to give another quad one flier a chance to try it out. Luckily, I had mine with me and we flew together for a short time. Also, luckily, I had the camera and a photo assistant with me so we could get photos of the two. It was fun. Next time, we will have to have lines the same length so we can interact more. That means I will have to untangle my longer lines which right now look more like a bird’s nest than a set of kite lines. Ugh!
It’s time to start anew. Computer problems, holidays happenings and uncooperative wind have reduced my kite flying these past months and brought this blog to a halt. My apologies to those who have come here looking for my ramblings about kiting experiences. I’m going to begin again and, hopefully, inspire some of you to get out and fly a kite or two.
New Year’s Eve brought an attempted night kite fly. I say attempted because with the setting of the sun there was also a setting of the wind. To nothing. Several of my kite friends gathered at the beach but we all left our kites in our bags. What we did fly were some sky lanterns. These are balloon-shaped biodegradable paper bags with a small wire framework holding a small fuel source. The lanterns are lit and the heat from the burning fuel fills the paper bag and causes it to rise. The lit bags rise into the air and float gently away. Several of these launched a the same time make a wonderful night display. Sky lanterns are used during festivals in China and Southeast Asia.
New Year’s Day was the annual, informal kite fly on the beach. It is informal because it is just a number of kite fliers filling the sky with color on the first day of January. It is not organized like a festival. We merely all decide what time to arrive at the beach and then show up. The length of time spent flying is up to the individual. I was, unfortunately, unable to attend this year. But reports from those who were there tell me I didn’t miss much. There was no wind. Even the fighter kites had a hard time staying in the air. I shouldn’t really say I didn’t miss much. I did miss visiting with my friends from out-of-town and those from in-town who I don’t get to see often. Apparently after most of the fliers left, the winds did pick up. A rokkaku did get away from its owner during a rather strong gust. The line became entangled in some power lines about two blocks away from the beach. It was retrieved with no ill effects. I wish I could have been there.
My New Year’s kite fly occurred on the second day of January. The winds were up and down, strong and weak. But that wasn’t going to stop me from trying. A couple of friends were already on the beach when we got there. We put about ten kites in the air. Some of them were on their maiden flight. My friends are also kite builders and innovators and had some new designs to try out. All were successes to one degree or another. And we had some good discussions about the builds and the styles and possible improvements. Two mesh deltas flew fairly well but were kept low due to the addition of line laundry in the variable winds. Also in the air were several Hatas, a small barn door kite, a dragon variant, a flo-tail delta and my two power sleds. Lots of color. But we spent most of the time picking things up when the wind went down and putting them back in the air when the wind picked up. It was nice to be on the beach whatever the wind was doing. Then it was off to the kite shop to check in and visit some more. Yes, there is a lot of talking going on when one is involved with kites. Finally hunger signaled it was time to go home.
And today the wind has increased to beyond what I care to fly kites in and the thermostat has dipped to below what I care to stay outside in. So I spend time at the sewing machine finishing up my latest kite project and planning my next one.
And I wish for you…
A Happy New Year to everyone. May it be a year with health, happiness, new kites and …