The weather wasn’t the kindest to us. It was actually threatening. Dark skies and low winds. Only a couple of the regulars showed up and then we stood in the parking lot for a while debating whether it was worth the hike to the beach. In the end, it was worth it. Three of us made the trek and one went home.
There were two motivating factors for those of us who stayed to fly. One factor was the possession of a new kite and wanting to see it in the air. Our friend just got an Astro Star. It’s an interesting cellular kite with lots of color within its black borders.
Unless you have a tie to the military, you probably didn’t realize that the day before the kite fly was Armed Forces Day. It was created by Congress to conciliate all the individual days for each branch of the military into one day recognition. It often slides by unannounced and unremembered. So to honor this day, a red-white-blue stars and stripes sled was flown.
Keeping in mind that the weather could change at any minute and we would have to run for shelter, every kite was hand-held. I flew the Wisp II for a bit but the wind was a little strong for its light build. I also put up the Skate, which handled the wind quite nicely for a light wind kite.
The only other kite flying lately was during a vacation trip to Corolla, NC the week before. And it was done by our grandchildren, not us. They came to visit for a day and spend some time on the beach. It was a little chilly and the beach stay was short. But kites were in the air and we had a good time together.
I’m sitting on the balcony of my hotel room on the Outer Banks of North Carolina watching it rain. My plans for kite flying on the beach are foiled. So I am reflecting on the last two weekend kite club flys and what marvelous weather we had.
Two weeks ago we pulled some oldies from our bags and gave them some air time. One was a Mesh Delta and the other was the Gecko Totem both by Premier Kites. The mesh delta flew like a champ, with transition tails and a hypo twister attached. One of our regulate flyers put up his Brasington Waif train and a hexagon fish kite he made in a workshop.
It seems to be the day for creatures as the Owl and the Butterfly also flew. Then they were joined by a new offering from Premier Kites, the Skeleton.
The line up for the day was completed by the Martin Lester Legs kite and the Firefly made by Jeri Dixon at the Kites Unlimited shop.
The following week proved to be just as good a day weather-wise but not quite as good wind wise. Things started out great with a friend from out-of-town putting up a couple of gorgeous kites, one of which he made himself. The first was Jon Burkhardt’s South China Sea and the second was the Lighthouse. The background for the Lighthouse kite was hand-dyed to appear as the layered oranges of a sunset (unfortunately the photo makes it look yellow). Joining them was a cute Elephant and a newcomer, the Fox.
A couple of us were out flying some dual line kites and one flyer attempted to put up an old large Stratoscope. At the time it even seemed like a good idea to get out the Tri-Tail Delta. But before I could get the camera out, the wind completely died away. Everything fell to the ground. Not just once but repeatedly as we kept trying to get them back in the air.
Before giving up for the day, I did get out the Revolution Reflex. It does fly in light winds and in this case almost no wind. The hardest part about this was I am not a “no wind” flyer and I have to learn to adjust to a slower and softer type of flying. It may take some practice but I will get there. Hopefully when this rain stops and I can get back on the beach. Until next time…
The Mile of Hope is an annual weekend on the beach for families with children who have cancer. It is sponsored by the Optimist Club of Raleigh, NC. Twenty-five families spend the weekend visiting area attractions, going on a sightseeing cruise and spending time on the beach. It gives them a chance to get away from the routine of hospital stays, drug treatments and therapies.
Saturday morning is beach time. The families spend time on the beach wading in the water, building sand castles and flying kites. Kites Unlimited of Atlantic Beach provides kites for all the children. The Carolina Kite Club members bring some of their “showiest” kites and fill the sky with color for all to enjoy. We’re also there to help the children get their kites in the air and solve any problems they might have.
This year was one of the best years for the kite fly. The winds were moderate and directed down the beach (no obstructions), the sun shone and the temperatures were mild. All kinds of kites were in the sky; dragon kites, critter kites, power sleds, delta kites, a Legs kite, and a Triangulation. The theme of the weekend was “dragons” so we made sure the big green Skydog Dragon was in the air as well as the large White Bird “Friendly Dragons” and their accompanying smaller “Friendly Dragons”.
By the end of the morning, we were worn out from walking up and down the beach. But it felt good to see the smiles on the children’s faces and hear their laughter as they played in the sand. And looking around, you could see that the adults were having just as much fun as the children.
A person couldn’t ask for a more beautiful morning. The temperature was mild, the sun was out and the winds were light, in the 5-7 mph range. The clouds moved in not too much later but the beach was still the place to be. This was the day for the first flight of my new light wind kite, the Laima. It looks like a bird soaring high in the sky and floats on the lightest of winds.
There was quite a variety of kites in the air along with my Laima; a white Ghost delta kite with a jellyfish on the line, the low-wind Skate, a Triangulation and a smaller power sled.
This was also a good day to do some test flying of new kites. Two of Skydog Kites new offerings flew very well in the light winds and you couldn’t help but smile when looking at them. One was a parrot and the other was a butterfly. Perfect kites for families on vacation.
I took advantage of the morning to fly my little Wisp. It is such a great low wind dual line stunt kite but oh, so sensitive to the inputs. It took me a couple of launches to get used to it again. Then the fun began. Loops and dives and tight little spins.
Before leaving, I took some time to try out the Reflex from Revolution kites, their latest model quad line. The early descriptions have it as a low wind kite for the beginner quad line flyer. So this was the perfect day to give it a trial.
To me it appeared to be a slower flyer but easy to handle. At times it seemed to drift in the wind and feel soft on the handles. I wasn’t using the light-weight handles that come with but had it on my regular no-snag handles. I had an easier time with an inverse hover which I’ve never been able to do well. This trial was an easy fly, no hard “spanking” or tricks. Mostly smooth moves and slow lazy turns and loops. Just want a beginning flyer would try to do. I didn’t try the launch from a flat position nor the classic “dive-stop”. I did like the Reflex more than I thought I would. So there you have it.