Kites are one of the least expensive and most reliable ways to get aerial photos. Our existing documentation is skeletal, and doesn't reflect the competence, techniques, and equipment we've developed over the past few years.
This summer I'm aiming to tackle documentation and would like to invite you to help. Below are a series of tutorials I've imagined are necessary. Please comment on what looks important to you, and add any resources you know of, things you'd like to see, or a tutorial you'd like to do. I'll try to aggregate any resources.
Each tutorial below has bullet points of issues/things to cover and some notes with resources.
Kite Pre-flight tutorials
Picking a rig and camera
- point and shoot cameras and action cams
- wide angle or flat lenses.
- Straight down rigs
- Oblique rigs
- Automatic rigs
- Remote control rigs
Camera rig attachment
- Single line rigging
- Pendulum rigging
- Picavet rigging
What kind of kite is needed?
- What are wind speeds at at the flight site?
- what does the rig weigh?
- what is the area and weight of the kite?
- what lift is expected for the kite area?
- how much wind is needed to fly?
- what effect will off-wind flying have on lift?
It would really useful to formulate some kite physics into easy lookup charts of the pull of a kite based on kite size, at different wind speeds. This would help people pick kites.
@Ecta64 and myself have been looking at kite wind speed meters (anemometers), which require equations for calculating just such factors. The physics of a kite anemometer would be the equations I'm most interested in, as they would allow for the characterization of specific kites fairly accurately.
Stephen E. Hobbs, lays out an idealized formulas and specific corrections for different types of kites in: A Quantitative Study of Kite Performance in Natural Wind with Application to Kite Anemometry, Cranfield Institute of Technology, Ecological Physics Research Group, PhD Thesis, 1986. See page 13 and Table 2.
Some more simplified physics are in: Kites: the science and the wonder, Dr. Toshio Ito and Hirotsugu Komura, 1983. see page 20
Picking a winder
- Yoyo (halo) winders
- Flat winders
- Tension winders (stratospools)
Flight safety essentials
- gloves, Leather work gloves and sport gloves, rubber gloves, cloth gloves
- Knives for cutting line
- Phone numbers for emergencies
- larks head
- bunt line
Checking equipment for safety before launch
- Checking kites for stitching/spar issues
- Checking kites for balance & symmetry
- Check seams
- Check ferrules
- Check spars
Picking a flying spot and launch site emergency planning
- Assessing space to drop the kite
- who to call if the kite wraps around a power line
- what to do if the kite breaks loose
- how to cut the line if it drops across a road
I haven't found that many great kite flying tutorials for less-than-ideal flying conditions, the sort of situations that most people encounter trying to get aerial photos. David & Sue Gomberg made this great video on flying under ideal conditions:
Dan Leigh's instructions on flying deltas give some good advice on kite overflight and recovery. Gomberg's how to fly a kite page is also good. So is the information from the Drachen Foundation. These principles could be more fully illustrated, especially for less-than-ideal flight conditions.
Members of the Kite Aerial Photography forums have made a few good lists of kite dangers that get to less-than-ideal flight locations and risks.
On-site site assessment
- when are conditions too dangerous for flight?
- observing treetops & the Beaufort scale
- checking the weather online and on-site
- watching for rain and lightning
Winding line onto a hoop or yoyo winder
- In pairs
Launching a kite
- Launching through wind shadows and ground turbulence
- Playing out line and encouraging climbing
- Flying to different altitudes and monitoring stability
Recovery from flight trouble
photo by Larry Cole (via KAP forums)
- What to do if the kite dives
- What to do in an overflight
- What to do when the wind drops
Attaching photo rigs to kite lines
- “Snap and wrap” carabiners
- Long wrap around a wire
- Putting a loop in the line
Repositioning a Kite down wind and off wind
- Moving the kite down wind
- Adding tails
- Improvising tails
- Techniques for flying off wind
- Just tails
- Tails and weight
- Effects on lift and stability
Flying kites off of moving vehicles
- boats/canoes/kayaks/sunroofs/pickup beds/bike trailers
- Turning around