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14 August 2011

New!! - Interesting SAWDIS Kite Project

SAWDIS - KITE WEATHER RESEARCH PROJECT

Well time has now arrived to re-start the KITE PROJECT but under a new umbrella. This project will be launched in several fases and I will update these pages as the project unfolds.

SAWDIS - KITE CARRYING WEATHER RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS PROJECT, is a Southern Cape based project that promotes science and education by exploring different kinds of frontiers with medium to high altitude kites. Several individuals will assist me and their names and contribution towards the project will be displayed under this topic. We are simply a few individuals with similar interests and a common goal to experiment, which anyone is welcome to participate in. Our aim is to help promote education, experimentation amongst interested people in South Africa.

BACKGROUND:

I always had this crazy idea of in sending “something” up in the sky with a payload on board. I had a look at several helium balloon and rocket projects but due to various Governmental and Aviation “red tape” in this country, I decided the next best option for the time being would be to use a kite to carry the payload. You might say what a waste of time but did you know that a World Kite Altitude Record of 14,509Ft (4422 meters) was set by Richard Synergy in Kincardine, Ontario, August 12, 2000 for a single kite. Needless to say I am not currently interest to better the record. The aim of this project is to build a kite that will carry a weather and science payload.

START OF THE PROJECT:

A diary of events and an inventory list of scheduled activities will also be kept  to ensure that every aspect receive the necessary attention. I will not go into all the detail of the project as time and space does not allow it.

MAIN ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE PROJECT:

1. KITE(S)
2. PAYLOAD(S)
3. FLIGHTS
4. RESULTS
5. RESEARCH
6. FINDINGS
7. FUTURE

KITE(S) FOR THE PROJECT:

Research on the Internet revealed many information on kites. I had the option to buy a ready-made kite or to build a kite for the project. It had to conform to certain specifications.
I decided on the DELTA KITE and to built it from scratch. The delta is a light wind kite, particularly suited to thermal cruising. It is relatively easy to construct and conveniently quick to assemble. Delta kites are single line triangle shaped kites that are sometimes called "bat" or "wing" kites, and are named for their resemblance of the Greek letter "Delta". A very efficient kite, the delta kite can float in lighter winds than most other kite shapes. The exceptional lift capabilities of the kite allow several kilograms of payload to be attached to the kite and/or tether. Just what we are looking for.

I am also looking at several variants of the Delta Kite for the project. The first experimental kite will however be a delta with the following specifications. (Please note that this kite is small and is only for test purposes.) If this kite "performs” satisfactory, a larger (6 meter) version will be constructed for the project.


Well thanks to the family the K.C.A.R prototype kite was build and is now ready for it's maiden flight. The decal is still to be affixed and a trimming here and there will see it ready for final testing.

Photo of DELTA I in flight:




Images: Johan van Aarde ( SAWDIS Weather Observer)  Click on images for larger view.

PROVISIONAL PAYLOAD FOR THE PROJECT:

The current suggestion is to accommodate the following equipment as a payload:

1. UHF TRACKING BEACON (INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL)
2. APRS TRACKING UNIT
3. TEMPERATURE SENSOR UNIT
4. FIXED DIGITAL OR DISPOSABLE CAMERA
5. BAROMETRIC, TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY CENSOR UNIT
6. WINDSPEED CENSOR UNIT

Some more info on these units:

UHF TRACKING BEACON: I intend using an AM UHF Transmitter (10mW)with temperature sensor unit. Not only will this provide for an internal beacon but I can also connect a beeper to the unit for external audio. The transmitter will also be used to transmit temperature data to a laptop computer.

APRS TRACKING UNIT: I intend using the TinyTrak 4 unit. The TinyTrak4 (TT4) is a radio interface capable of transmitting and receiving position and other digital information over a two-way FM radio. The TinyTrak4 can read temperature, battery voltage, and other analog and digital sources which makes it ideal for this project.

TEMPERATURE SENSOR UNIT: This unit will work with the TinyTrak 4 unit and will transmit temperature readings via the beacon.

FIXED DIGITAL OR DISPOSABLE CAMERA: I will most probably use a disposable camera to start with. (Cannot afford to crash a digital camera at this stage) It is envisage to take pictures of the surroundings and activities on the ground. Will have to use a servo with some kind of transmitter to activate the camera.

BAROMETRIC SENSOR UNIT:  I will use a Oregon Scientific Wireless Baro-Thermo-Hygro sensor unit to display barometric pressure, temperature and humidity information.  This info will displayed on a Oregon Scientific Weather Station at the "airfield".

WINDSPEED SENSOR UNIT:   Windspeed will be recorded by a Speedtech Instruments unit.  This unit can display a variety of data in different settings.

Further updates to follow.

Next Activity:  Constructing a DELTA-CONYNE KITE

- SAWDIS