Peter Lynn

October 2005

Nimby; Not in My Back Yard, and other irrelevant things.

Airport noise upsetting adjacent residents? - just move the airport further out.  People then settle around the new airport- naturally, it’s convenient after all- and start the complaint cycle over.

Yes, we need more wind turbines- but somewhere else please.  Wellington, our capital city, has a well deserved reputation for windiness- and not just in the Parliament.  There’s a bit of a scam with respect to wind turbines;  boosters always talk in terms of installed capacity, but wind is anything but constant, so even well sited turbines average 20% of this or less.  Wellington holds world records by this measure, and is therefore an ideal  place for them, you would think. 

However, residents of Eastbourne, a Wellington harbour suburb,  have successfully opposed an installation 8km down-harbour from them; -on the basis of visual pollution!  We’ll with eyesight that good they’re obviously not a bunch of wankers, so this nimby thing has to be taken seriously.

We have a bit of a nimby issue here at 105 Alford Forest Rd. Ashburton.  The local rifle range and gun club are on the 500m wide strip of land between our house (and the new kitefactory for Peter Lynn Kites Ltd) and the Ashburton River.  Residents in our area have been mounted a campaign to have them  re-locate, even though the rifle range butts were constructed in 1878  - by local militia responding to the Russian threat.

I digress here, but in 1876, The New Zealand Herald reported that a Tsarist Russian warship, the Kaskowiski*, had sailed into Auckland Harbour (for all you geographically illiterate anti-antipodeans, Auckland is NZ’s largest city) and was holding the city to ransom under it’s guns.  The consequences of this within NZ were sudden support for more military expenditure, a rush to join up with local militias, extensive harbour defences at all of our major ports, and a fleet of steam powered motor torpedo boats.

Imagine the furore if a newspaper tried to manipulate public opinion with a hoax like this today!

At this time, concerns about Russian expansionism  also caused the USA to establish Fort Worden, in Washington State, on the opposite rim of the Pacific to here, and now home to our favourite annual kitemaking workshop.

And earlier, this same concern had caused Britain, that era’s superpower, to injudiciously occupy Afghanistan- from where they were ejected  just 3 years later, their entire occupying force of +/- 17,999 being slaughtered, one only escaping- allowed to so that the message would get through, no doubt.

Isn’t it interesting that the world’s two subsequent superpowers; the Sovietski’s and the Amerikans, didn’t take note of this.

But times were different then:-

Also in discussions during this era were serious worries about  “peak coal”.   That the world would run out of coal within a century or two at current use rates was of great and public concern, coal being absolutely central and essential to life as they knew it.

And later even, in 1901, an account of the first Paris to Berlin Automobile race noted that one competitor had been slowed by running over and killing a small boy, on a road “as bad as only German roads can be”.

Here endeth the digression.

Actually, the firing ranges have been a boon for us.  When our neighbours might reasonably have dobbed us for the loud bangs emanating from here- like when the kids set up a mechanised gunpowder factory, or when acetylene bombs were all the rage, or during the potato canon era  – they tended to blame the gun club instead.  Only once did any of our premises ever get raided by the bomb squad (complete with dogs and flak jackets)  but that’s a different story.

replica Browning machine gunAnyway, a few months ago, some friends were looking for a place to test fire a replica Browning machine gun they have for militaria displays.  It uses compressed natural gas and oxygen,  repetitively fired by a spark plug. Their problem was that they had been kings of the hill; until Peter Jackson (director/producer of Lord of the Rings) arrived at the same events with a genuine Browning that made much louder bangs;  by firing  blank rounds made for movie special effects.

I was “hired” as a consultant to devise chamber and barrel dimensions to make even bigger bangs.

Naturally I offered them the bottom of our yard as a test site.

Naturally we aimed it at the aforementioned  Gun Club, members of which had been been killing  clay birds all day (do they eat them or do they, shudder, just kill for fun?)

After a few preliminary bursts had been let off in the gun club direction, everything over their side of the fence went strangely quiet.

Just after this we noticed ourselves to be under furtive observation through the fence-  from safely out to each side of course.

Fortunately my 90 year father just happened to be operating the Browning at this point- plausible deniability is another American invention that they will be long remembered for.

Bob was looking rather manic–  but I still think that no one is likely to lock him up for terrorism.

Not so long after this the Gun Club  announced plans for re-locating.

It seems, just like for everyone else with guns,  shooting is one thing, being shot back at is entirely another.

Or maybe this all had nothing to do with anything- like it doesn’t have anything much to do with kites- but it was great fun, (except that my hearing seems to be slipping a bit) so I thought you just might like for me to share it.


And now to the main event: **

Here at the kite development front, we’re  hyperactive; sleepless nights, no time for patience, pleasantries or distractions.   Chris has even taken to staying over in boring Ashburton-  something he probably swore he’d never do again after moving up to the beach place.

We’re testing out the relevance of the belatedly recognised new understanding (that I alluded to last month) on various styles of traction kite, a sort of scoping exercise.

It’s either a tool box of techniques or a set of underlying principles, or just stuff we already knew but hadn’t quite connected - depending on the point of view.

In it’s ultimate expression, it provides total luff and overflying resistance and near enough to 100% de-power.

So far we’ve built  Arcs, bridled foils, hybrids (C Quad type kites), and single skin arcs incorporating this   new understanding.  All have shown marked improvement over prior kites .  Still to try are; LEI’s,  Bows, NASA’s and Deltas.  We expect that all will benefit.

Don’t hold your breath but- none of this will filter through into purchasable traction kites for some time- though nobody who’s tried any of these test kites is in any doubt that the long term effects will be profound.

There is necessarily a considerable lag between  fundamental research, which this is, and practical results. 

After we’ve completed the  present program- xmas at least-  we plan to choose one style as a starting point and develop a fully functioning kite utilising these discoveries.

The easiest kite to start with will probably be a successor for the CQuad- though I have rather a hankering for bridled foils, the most challenging to work with in many respects – but therefore also the most personally rewarding.

This is no small challenge, but when have world changing things ever been accomplished any other way!

When we get a useable kite- one that doesn’t have any nasty habits and that not only works at the extremes- max. pull and no pull-  but everywhere in between as well in smooth progression,- we will start by making and distributing some ex Ashburton- hopefully in time for the northern snow season.


* did you get this?
** in red  ‘cos it’s a red letter day; discoveries like this are nor commonplace.


 Peter Lynn
Sept 29th 2005




Peter Lynn Kites Ltd
105 Alford Forest Rd

Ph: +64 (0) 3 308 4538
Fax: +64 (0) 3 308 1905