Yes, it is official, the summer season and the tourists have arrived. We went out to Fort Macon State Park for the weekly kite club fly. The plan was to fly only red-white-blue kites for Memorial Day. We went especially early as we knew traffic would get crazy later. And, boy, were we right. The parking lot was already about half full when we got there and people kept streaming down the walkway to the beach. A larger than normal number of fishermen were arriving, too.
As per usual, the winds were extremely light. That seems to be the curse of the Sunday morning. The large Premier powersled wouldn’t fly. Though not for want of trying. We didn’t even try the double-box delta. What did fly was my original Joel Scholz Eagle. It took a little work but once it was high enough, it sat in the sky. I also tried to get up the Eagle parafoil I built several years ago. There just wasn’t enough wind. So most of our red-white-blue was left sitting in the sand.
Just on a lark, we got out the smallest powersled. Again, it took some work but it did fly for a while. Because of the low, gusty winds, the kite had to be attended every minute but that was no hardship. At one point the wind dipped and the powersled dove for the sand. Just before hitting, it flipped and climbed again. Funny thing was the sled had turned upside down and, against all logic, was flying in that position. Apparently the tunnels and the sail were able to contain just enough of the wind to maintain lift.
After about two hours, we decided it was time to go home. Traffic going into the parking lot was backed up the road. The park rangers were acting as parking attendants, keeping traffic moving and finding open spaces for the new arrivals. The signs were out at the swimming beach that the “Lot was Full”. The parking lots at the primary Atlantic Beach, NC water access were also full and the traffic coming on to the beach was bumper-to-bumper. We were leaving at the right time.
It’s been a week of firsts; first flights of new kites, first time on a new flying field, first visit at a new vacation location.
First things first (sorry, I couldn’t resist). We recently got home from a visit to Corolla, NC. It was a restful time with walks around the Whalehead Club grounds, the historic village and the Currituck lighthouse. We also went on a safari to see the Corolla wild horses. And, of course, the trip included kites. We have some friends who have a kite shop in Corolla. We stopped in several times and I bought a new kite from them. A bit of history first. One of the first stunt kites developed was a diamond stunter made in England by Peter Powell. It was easy to fly and became very popular. It has been out of production for many years. But now, the grandchildren of Peter Powell have begun manufacturing the diamond stunter again, with only minimal changes from the original. Our friends had one of these stunt kites in their shop and I’ve had my eye on it for a while. Well, I finally bought it and flew it on the beach at Corolla. Thus, a first vacation in Corolla, the first time flying a kite there and the first flight of the Peter Powell stunt diamond.
I also scored a new kite on Ebay. It was a HQ rokkaku that has also been out of production for a few years – Sun and Moon. This kite had never been out of the package. It’s a smaller rok, only measuring about four feet tall. Monday was a beautiful day on the beach and the winds were about 12-15 miles per hour. I assembled the kite and it went up easily. The sun and moon motif looked wonderful in the sky. I also flew my large Xelon, the latest of four Xelons also made by HQ. I added some tails to this kite and it made all the difference in the flight and the appearance. I now have a complete set of Xelons and one day I will put all four in the air at the same time. It should be quite a show.
My husband flew his latest acquisition, a Skydog penguin kite. A really cute kite that flies well in a wide range of wind speeds. It is one of five animal kites that Skydog has produced this year. There is also an elephant, a monkey, a tiger and a panda. The elephant is definitely going to be added to our collection soon.
We been acquiring a lot of kites lately. Probably way too many. But you can never have too many kites.
Tropical storm Ana lies off our coast. While it will come ashore south of here, the outer winds are reaching here and along with them are the rain bands. The rain comes hard but doesn’t last long. Then there are long periods of sunshine and then more rain. The winds are too strong to fly kites and the rain chases everyone indoors.
Saturday morning the Carolina Kite Club was supposed to bring kites to the Mile of Hope outing for children with cancer and their families. The families get to spend the weekend at the beach; visiting the local sights, building sand castles, playing in the sand and flying kites. The kite club members fly some of their showy kites and Kites Unlimited provides kites for the kids to fly. Tropical storm Ana changed those plans. The winds were too strong for the kites of the club members and many times too strong for the kids’ kites.
Several club members came to the beach and test flew a kids’ kite. It went up and almost immediately came crashing down. Too much wind. Meanwhile, another kite club member put up a ghost delta. While it did fly, it was dancing all across the sky. And the spar that was supposed to extend straight from one side to the other of the kite was bent in a “U” shape. The surprising thing was that it did not snap in two.
The weather did not improve for the weekly club kite fly. The winds stayed in the 20 to 30 mph range with some higher gusts. And the rain bands came through producing heavy downpours all day Sunday. So instead of flying, we hung out at the kite shop. The next kite event isn’t until June. Hopefully it will be a slow season for tropical storms and/or hurricanes and we will have some good flying days between now and then.
This past week I scored some new kites on Ebay. Three, new-in-package, Sutton 4 flowforms were up for bids and I won two of them. Sutton flowforms haven’t been in production since around 2010. They were made by Air Affairs in Pennsylvania and came in several different sizes. Though I believe the largest sizes were only made by custom order. One of the first kites my husband bought was a Sutton 16, a mid-size flowform. My two Sutton 4s are the smallest of the Sutton family of kites.
Saturday night I made tails for the two Suttons and got them ready for an inaugural fly at the regular weekly kite fly at Fort Macon State Park. As usual, the wind was low and it was doubtful that the little guys would fly. But the weather was the best it has been in quite a while so it was a day not to be wasted. Brett, from the Kites Unlimited kite shop, arrived and together we got them up long enough for me to get some images. Then I packed them away, put up a Skate and sat back to enjoy the peaceful beach and visit with other kite fliers.
My husband joined me later with a kite he had bought a couple of days before, a Malay Diamond by Into The Wind. It is a very large diamond kite which comes in two color variations. John chose the one entitled “Sunrise”. It should be no surprise that the other one is entitled “Sunset”. The wind was still low when he got there but this kite went up like a dream and hung in the sky like it was anchored there. So easy and so beautiful. In higher winds, we have a rainbow streamer tail to add to it for greater stability. Not needed today.
As the afternoon approached, the wind picked up and I was able to fly the Suttons. They flew very well with a little more wind. We ended up with quite a nice display in the sky. All kites flying calm and steady. And we fliers relaxing on the beach, enjoying the beautiful, beautiful day.