I’ve gotten behind in writing this blog. The weather was not cooperating and there have been other activities which have kept us from the beaches. The last day we flew was Memorial Day. Fort Macon State Park had finally opened so there was the weekly community kite fly on the holiday weekend. And it was a busy weekend. The park was crowded which made the kite fly somewhat of a challenge. More fishermen, more sun bathers and more people walking along the shore. This gave us a greater audience to view the kites but it also cut down on the space to fly.
Because of the holiday, we chose to only fly red-white-blue kites. And we only carried a couple as our kite cart is still in need of repair. We put up the handmade Painless Parafoil and our new Killip foil.
For the first time in a long time, I brought out a dual line stunt kite. The red-white-blue Window NG. I had forgotten that noise that this kite can make as it circles in the sky. It drew a lot of looks and comments. Especially with the twenty-five foot tube tail following behind.
I particularly enjoyed flying the Painless Parafoil as it is one of the first kites I had built. Although few people who see it recognize the stylized eagle I appliquéd on the bottom panel. The creator of the Painless Parafoil, Stretch Tucker, was supposed to give a workshop this summer in Pennsylvania but, in light of current events, he is unable come. However, I have his plans for the Flowform 16 and will be starting that kite soon. And, if I’m lucky, I will still be able to attend the workshop and finish the construction there.
The weather is not looking good for a community kite fly this weekend. So, for now, I will have to clean up the kite room and begin planning for the Flowform.
Fair Winds All
Another beautiful day on the beach with good winds and good temperatures. I pulled out a kite bag containing kites that hadn’t been flown in quite a while. For a couple of them, it had been years. It was a show of square-head dragon kites.
I find this style of dragon makes a great show in the sky and, at the same time, is very easy to handle. The head is framed with two spars crossed and it has a three-point bridle. Essentially it’s a della-porta kite with a large attached tail which has a slight taper down its length. Each kite is about twenty-five feet long. It takes a while to wind everything up at the end of the day but it’s worth it.
Two of these kites, the Green Dragon and the Dog, were made by Skydog Kites. The Dog is the logo of Skydog Kites and is still in production. In place of the green dragon, Skydog Kites now makes a pirate motif on a square-head dragon kite.
The other three dragon kites were made by Go Fly A Kite. A company that is no longer in existence. I guess that makes these kites collector items. After some research, I found the lion and tiger motifs were also used on smaller round-head dragon kites. They were advertised as the Wildcat Dragon kites. The Joker kite reminds me of my father. He liked to play cards with friends and, every now and then, would vacation at a casino.
It was a wonderful, relaxing afternoon; sitting in the sun, watching our kites dance in the wind. The walkers on the beach seemed to like watching the kites, too. Quite often, a cell phone would come out for a picture or two. As the sun went down, the temperature cooled a little and it was time to pack everything away for the day.
Luckily, the Sunday community kite fly at Fort Macon State Park has started up again. So there was an excuse for flying more than once. This week the winds went up a notch and made flying somewhat of a challenge. I only put up one kite, the Illustion Delta kite by Skydog Kites. It had a hard time with the rising winds and after a couple of crashes, I figured it was time to pack it away and return home.
Now to figure out the theme for our next trek to the beach.
Fair Winds All.
The beach accesses have been opened. Parking is at a premium as not all the parking lots have been opened. The stay-at-home order has not been lifted but that didn’t keep the people off the beaches. It looked like a holiday weekend with cars parked everywhere and people scattered throughout the public beach.
We, however, had a more private place to fly our kites, away from the crowds, with lots of room for kites. We love putting up a small personal festival when we fly and this kite fly was a combination of a test fly and a kite show. The afternoon couldn’t have been better, with good winds, mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine.
The first kite up was the newly finished Sun/Moon Giant Hata. Instead of fuzzy tails, it has a combination of ribbon tails and a streamer tail. The wind was in the teens and I was afraid it may be too high for this kite. But after some bridle adjustments, it went up and hung in the sky. A very satisfying fly for the first flight.
Then next kite up was the first flight of the newly purchased Killips foil. It was a little smaller than we expected and was so easy to handle. And it really made a statement in the sky. We’re looking forward to its next flight with some color coordinating line laundry beneath it.
So after successful first flights, it was time to add lots of color in the sky. One of the things I like to do is put up kites with a common theme. It could be having the same sail pattern or having the same colors or being of a common style. So for this fly, I decided to fly all of the HQ Xylon kites. There are four in this series and only one is still available. This just makes me even happier to have all four and fly them all at once.
The last kite up is a real show stopper, a large flo-tail delta. The tails seem like water rippling in the sky. And the colors draw the eye and cause the casual strollers to stop and admire it. And take pictures. That’s what makes it so satisfying to put up several kites instead of just one or two. It draws people’s attention and makes them smile.
So here’s to having more days like this day, to fly more kites and create more personal shows. And for the state park to open up soon so the community kite flys can begin again and there will be more of us to share in the color in the sky.
Fair Winds All
Well, the virus has caught up with us. The beaches have been shut down. The State Park is closed. There isn’t another good place to fly here. All of the school play fields and the soccer fields are surrounded by buildings and trees. Until I can find another suitable place, I must find an alternative. And that alternative is kite building.
So I have two projects on the table. Although I really don’t need more projects as there are a couple of unfinished projects and about half a dozen repairs already on the table. I guess I just enjoy appliqué over repair and frame construction.
So I’ve got to get the new patterns on paper in the actual size I need. That, in itself, was a project. First I had to get the designs off my computer and onto an SD card. That was easy. Next I had to get them traced onto large sheets of paper. Well, I don’t have paper large enough so I had to piece segments of paper together. After taking a picture down, I taped the paper to the now blank wall.
Then I set up my LED projector, plug in the data card containing the image files, and display them onto the paper. This takes up some time as I’m moving the projector back and forth until the image is displayed the required size. It was quite the balancing act.
Finally I could trace the designs onto the paper. Now I’m ready to cut fabric and plan out the appliqué sequences. Looks like I’ll be on my knees as the plans are bigger than my table. Thank goodness the living room has carpeting and I have a couple large cutting mats.
One of the two projects is an online workshop at the Kitebuilders Forum, http://www.kitebuilder.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=42. It is Project 10.0 – Jumbo Hata.
The other is a older kite style that I found in an old kite book, Kite Flight by Jack Botermans and Alice Weve. It’s called the Russian Giant. This book was published in 1986 and the framing instructions call for dowels. I’m going to try and adapt it to either carbon or fiberglass rods. We’ll see how that goes.
Wish me luck.
Fair Winds All