‘05, what a year!
The highlight for us, undoubtedly, was two more 1000sq.m kites by P.L Kites to join the Kuwaiti Flag (made during ’04 for the Al Farsi family); an American Flag for David and Susan Gomberg and a Japanese theme design for Masaaki Modegi. No small things these, this has to be some sort of pinnacle in kitemaking. Congratulations to Jenny, Simon and the crew.
Oh, and the handover of the NZ part of our business to Jenny Cook and Craig Hansen settled in.
And, a new building for them finally took form, with an adjacent layout and kiteflying area. The buggy department was (just barely!) in operation at this new location by xmas eve with the kite shop to follow in the next week or two.
And, we sold our beach place at New Brighton, (Arc development having moved to Newcastle, Australia, with Pete and Fiona) - and exactly caught the peak of the real estate prices we reckon.
But, I have a sense of disquiet about things I should have accomplished in ’05 and didn’t;
Sure, the KiteCat settled in to the market and is quietly notching up sales- all credit to a very special group of friends in the USA.
And the KiteSled has developed well and really seems to work, at least by the limited testing we’ve been able to do here (when there’s snow there’s no wind) and in Australia. Number three is now in Canada for a demo tour and will get some real testing at last- the next few weeks will be interesting.
But the great sense of excitement that’s been building here over new traction kite developments that promise vastly improved de-power – the holy grail- has been stalled out for the last month or two. The devil is indeed in the details. So much promise and some quite useable specific kites- but still with annoying characteristics that leave me dissatisfied. In particular, I’ve been beating my head against control reversal that occurs at low angles of attack/max. de-power.
For ‘conventional’ traction kites that have de-power up to a max. of say 30%, any increase in angle of attack of, say, the right hand side (by pulling on it’s brake lines for example) causes that side’s lift /drag ratio to decrease, turning the kite towards the right. However, at angles of attack below about 3degrees, pulling in on the right hand brake line causes the l/d of that side to increase rather than decrease- and so makes the kite turn to the left. In the transition zone between say 2 degrees and 5 degrees, response to steering inputs is basically a lottery.
This is a well understood aerodynamic response, no mystery, and the problem it causes was solved for aeroplanes more than 100 years ago by using combinations of aileron, elevator and rudder control- but the conventional 4 line bar or handle systems that kitefliers have become wedded to don’t allow 3 axis control.
All kites that can offer de-power greater than 30 % or so- the Revolution Power blast series, Bow kites and our (developing ) AP range – which have some extra tricks by the way- are subject to this problem.
There are solutions, many I think, but so far I’ve not found any that retain the sliding bar system that kitefliers are familiar with, hence the legacy of dissatisfaction from ’05.
If nothing shows up soon, then the ugly job of trying to convert kitefliers over to a completely new control system will have to start.Marking time while hoping for something to pop up, I’ve acquired a new pet (no rival to Tory and Chia- they’re not pets, bosses more like), and taken up dressmaking.
Oh and in another blow to my sense of achievement out of ‘05, my life and work and passion has just been trivialised; see other photo.
Off to events in Japan and India on the 5th for a week or so, then back for Nelson- and then I am going make these new traction kites work.
Jan 2 ’06.