Tropical Storm Bonnie played havoc with any kiting plans this weekend. Not because of high winds nor lots of rain but because the rain came in irregular squalls That made us very reluctant to take our kites out to the beach. The weather predictions said rain all day, all weekend. The actual weather was warm and sunny with unexpected showers that would drench anyone and anything and then blow through, leaving more sunshine in its wake. It was aggravating to see all that sunshine and know that as soon as you walked from the car to the beach, it would start to rain again. So there was no kite flying on the holiday.
What was scheduled was a talk for an OLLI group (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) from Duke University at the Trinity Center in Pine Knoll Shores, NC. This is a group of retired individuals living around Durham, NC who do not believe that retirement means you sit at home watching television for the rest of your days. The institute coordinates continuing education classes at the university and group trips to visit new places and gain new experiences. As part of this trip, the group was learning about kites and kite flying. Don Dixon of Kites Unlimited gave the presentation and my husband helped by bringing kites to show and talk about what we like to fly. My part of the program was to show the kites I had made. As there were quilt makers in the group, this brought up discussions about the techniques used to make the kites. The group was small but they all were interested and a few came to the kite shop the next day and bought kites to take home.
The weather cleared up the day after Memorial Day. Most of the weekend visitors had left the beach so we went out for a short afternoon fly. I really needed some practice with a quad line kite so the only one I carried was the Shook Mesh Revolution. The Shook Mesh is only made by Elliot Shook of Flying Smiles Kite Shop in Corolla, NC. However, they are available from our local kite shop, Kites Unlimited in Atlantic Beach, NC. It was the perfect kite for the winds that day and we had a wonderful couple of hours on a relatively empty beach.
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.
The weather cleared, the temperatures moderated and new kites were ready for their first flight. Ever since I flew the two stack of Revs I had in my mind to try a stack of three. The day finally came when I could train my three Rev custom B-Pros (full vent, mid vent, full sail) together. The winds were about 11 mph when we reached the beach. It took me a little time to get all the kites ready and the lines attached. Upon launching, the pull took me by surprise. They flew great but I did have to be careful and ride the brake a bit. After landing, a check of the wind showed it had risen to gusts of 14 mph. This made me a little nervous because I certainly didn’t want to break anything on my first three-stack fly. I flew enough to know I had control and to get photos of those great looking Revs.
In order to have some additional color in the sky, I put up both of my Brasington trains. They danced in the wind and drew compliments from some of the beach walkers. That’s what this kite flying is all about. Bringing smiles to those who see the kites in the air.
The weekly club fly was a couple of days later. Temperatures had dropped and so had the wind. The usual Sunday morning state of affairs. But this time I was prepared. I recently purchased a new low wind kite, the Skydog Black Dog UL. I had flown this kite a few years ago and was impressed with it. With all the low wind days we’ve been having, I decided to treat myself. It didn’t hurt that this kite was in my favorite color combination, red and black. The cooler temperatures and low wind kept all but a couple of flyers at home. They missed a beautiful day on the beach and I had a fun morning flying my new kite.
It was pretty frustrating having no wind at the festival and then finding out that there was wind for the kite club fly at home. So to make up for it, we went to the kite field more than usual this past week and a half. The fact that the temperature moderated at a very comfortable level was a bonus. It was so relaxing.
The winds were actually a little strong the first evening we went to fly. I had just gotten the Brasington Central Station train and had yet to fly it. So I put it and my Waif train up, You will notice that the Waif train has five kites and the Central Station train has six. Well, the Waif train I made at a Brasington kite building workshop and I have yet to finish it. The sixth Waif is on the table waiting to be sewn. Guess I had better get to it now. John put up his Vertical Visions Malay kite. I’m thinking of getting this same kite in the opposite color scheme. It is so easy to fly and looks great.
The weekend arrived and it was time for the Carolina Kite Club fly. Several of the Critter Kites by Skydog; the Wolf, the Tiger and the Bumblebee, flew as well as the Central Station train and the Vertical Visions Malay kite. We also put up the Triton Kite. This is a modified genki design which pulls like a tank. It is a steady flying kite, even in the gusty winds we had that day. This will be a good kite for lots of line laundry. Especially I’m thinking our red wiggly worm and yellow little man. Haven’t had them up in a long time. There were a couple of new people who joined us to fly a stunt kite, a delta kite and the EO Atom by Prism Kites.
Today was a day we just couldn’t pass up. It was at least ten degrees cooler than the past few days and the winds were steady at a moderate 11-12 mph. So when our errand were done, off we went to the beach. We put up two of our own Critter kites and I practiced with one of my Revs.
It had been a while since I had flown the Custom B-Pros and this was the perfect day for a mid-vent. I spent the time working on hovering and reverse diagonals. Still haven’t figured out the inverse hover but I think it will come eventually. There was practically no one on the beach which made for a very quiet, pleasant stay. Then the sun began to go down and the park rangers wanted to close the gate.
So now we’re home getting ready to go on the road and no telling when we’ll get to fly again. Hopefully it won’t be too long. It all depends on our new granddaughter. She is due next week and we are pretty excited. So until then…