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15 September 2011

Update: SAWDIS Kite Project

Testing the PICAVET in stronger wind.

Well this time the SA Weather Service got it right. A 42.8 km North Westerly in Mossel Bay at last. Myself and Sewes just returned from the "airfield" where we tested the 2.8m Delta-Conyne. Oh.......what an experience!!! Sewes was the anchor man and I did the flying. No time for errors here and you had to hold on for dear life. The wind just took the kite and within a couple of seconds it was soaring around 50 meters. I soon realized that I needed all the experience I have to keep it from going up and up. I slowly started to haul it in. The leather gloves bear the scars of the strong wind. Just imagine if you had to fly the kite with your bear hands....totally would have no fingers left. When we had it about 20 meters up I decided to add the Picavet with 5 sinkers and anemometer (550g). Guess what when I released the rope it just ripped the sinkers up into the air like a balloon. The kite would easily have lifted 800 grams. The wind was getting stronger and we decided play it safe and to bring the kite down. Once down I decided to take of the payload and let the kite go one more time. It shot up in the air danced once or twice and than a loud bang. The kite folded it's wings like a duck that was shot and started to come down like a wounded duck. It landed and we decided to call it a day. Once we got to the kite I noticed that the main spar had snapped in the strong wind and that's what caused the kite to fold it's wings. The anemometer measured 42.8km. We packed up and headed home.

Some thoughts:

1. Ensure that your equipment can withstand the wind you fly in.
2. If you use ordinary wooden dowels than a 30 km wind is to strong.
3. Do not fly the kite in strong winds if you are inexperienced.
4. Ensure that you can control the kite in this type of wind.
5. Use fiber glass- or carbon fiber spars.
6. Never fly a kite alone.
7. There is no time for errors.
8. Take care not being caught in the kite line.
9. Wear the proper protection gear.
10. Do not fly a kite near houses or overhead power lines.

We had a great time flying the Delta-Conyne in the strong wind. I would however suggest that you do not fly this kite in more than 45km winds. However we gained some good flying experience and will make changes to the kite spars and to the kite itself.