Winter, no wind, but beautiful blue sky days,- short ones though, and definitely two cat nights.
The kite surfing development department (Chris, Pete and Fiona) have all scarpered- they're in Cairns (Australia) having to endure 35 degrees, box jelly fish, poisonous snakes, crocodiles, sharks, blue ring octopodes, stonefish,- and Aussie's of course. Whoops I take that back, Australians are excellent company for NZers just now- seeing as we have the Bledisloe and they don't- and they don't have the World Cup neither(rugby of course).
But I digress,
Last week we did something that wasn't so bad:
At a secret Mid Canterbury location (that is Tom and Sue Corbett's farm), we flew a new (very) large kite for the first time.
The graphics have been digitally altered to protect the perpetrator's identity; sorry, just think of this as an opportunity to exercise your imagination. It's big, measuring 40m X 25m when laid out flat. Allowing for area loss from curvature of the sides and trailing edge when inflated and flying, I believe it will come in at somewhere between 800sq m's and 900 sq m's (lifting area). By our measurements, the Megabite and Mega Ray each have 635sq.m of lifting area- it not being coincidental that they are the same size, we made them this way so that each could legitimately claim that no kite was bigger- until now. There was no wind, so we pulled it up with a car for the first flight. The launch was immediate and perfect, so easy that I continued on and towed it 500m across the farm to a larger paddock. The side lines (stabilisers) weren't required, (except while turning through a gate). It flies as a single line kite- in light wind anyway. About an hour later there was10 minutes of up to 3meters/sec wind. This time we hand launched and hand held (5 people) for a while, gradually losing ground, before letting it out to full line length (about 150m) and tying off to Tom's John Deere. Zero problems, nothing to change - yet- but stronger wind flying is still to happen. Later this week, the kiteflier we've built it for will be coming here for some shakedown flights, and for the formal hand over.
By now I expect you have four questions: What is it
, who's bought it, how much, and can I have one?
What Is it? Well it's a flag, but what flag? Well that's a secret for now. Who's the lucky kiteflier? Also a secret for now. Lets just say a "mystery middle eastern person". How much do they cost? Well I can answer this one; NZ$75,000, but quantity discounts apply. Can you have one? Easiest of all; Yes, but not quite yet.
(A new turtle soft kite design)
(The fish kite. What kind of fish is it?)
Also this month we have two new single line kite designs to announce. The first is, finally, a new Turtle.
First made in 1992, this is our 4th generation Turtle. It's the best yet, benefiting from the new understanding of single line soft kites that I gained while developing the flags. The second is completely new, but also a product of these rapidly advancing theories. It's a fish, not sure just what sort, but no doubt there's one just like it swimming around somewhere.
The as photographed versions of both of these designs are quarter size- but I should have full size ones at festivals from Portsmouth on (late August). Sorry about the photo quality on these- conditions here are not that conducive to photography just now- and getting good photos is far from top priority for me while I'm focusing on development anyway, being as I am only able to do one thing at a time , and not always even that many.
Ashburton NZ, August 1 '04 .