A place for discussions about anything

Getting back into the game



  • KAPers often use climbing straps or strong dog leads.

  • Here is what I use, climbing straps tied as a belt.

  • Great suggestions. Yea I'm sure that climbing straps would be incredibly strong. There might be a dog lead here. If not, I'll probably order a climbing strap.

  • edited February 28

    That all looks far too involved. I have flown many, many kites, a lot of them much stronger-pulling than the Levitation, and never felt the need for such methods. My video here:

    shows how I tie down all my many kites and I've never had a failure in thousands of flights. Keeping it simple is the best thing to do.

  • A very good video which Ive seen before. It's certainly good to consider all options. Though for me, I think I'm steering more towards the dog leads / climbing straps. I can certainly see that tying on the line directly with an overhand knot works well and is very secure. Though I guess there's always a very small chance that the only thing that could be tied on to has a sharp edge which could damage the line.

  • I know I mentioned before that on my last flight, my line crossed with another kite line. I didn't think anything of it at the same time. Would there be much to worry about in terms of potential line damage? Granted, it was a kids kite flown by kids. It was pretty low to the ground and I doubt there would have been much pull or tension with that particular line. These kids ran around me with their kite while I was flying mine. I have no idea why they did that.

    Regardless, I continued flying my kite for at least an hour afterwards and there were no issues with my line.

  • Actually, I have another query. Ive seen a video where someone used a vehicle strap to tie off a line to a post. That was pretty straight forward because the strap was a continous loop. Though a dog lead is not a continuous loop. So what's the recommended way of attaching a dog lead to a post?

  • It sounds very unlikely that your line was damaged, but you can always inspect it before flying again if you have any doubts as that's the only way to be sure. Your query about the dog lead is one more reason not to use one, I'd say. In thousands of flights with all kinds of kites I've never once thought that I wished I was using a dog lead, but I've often wished that more dog owners would do so! I think there's a much greater risk of problems with a dog lead than the method in my video - you can secure the tie-downs that I use far more securely than you can a dog lead, it's totally simple to use, and it will fit in your pocket, which a dog lead may not.

  • Gosh, those darn dogs again! Actually, one came right up to me as I was flying my Levi Delta over a week ago. Though this one was friendly.

  • Like Pierre Lesage, I use a strap combined with a carabiner. Recently I found a very compact and lightweight pulley made by Petzl. The orange thing is a Petzl Ultralegere. You combine it with a carabiner. It cost me €5 and you can walk down your kite with it really easy. My bike is my favorite mobile kite anchor. It's a sturdy Dutch bike, I would not recommend trying this with your carbon racing bike.

  • Hi Dragonblade.
    I saw a tip recently to tie a knot in the end of the loop you make the larks head knot with i. e. The loop in the flying line. You can get hold of and pull on this knot to pull the larkshead knot free. This would be instead of the pigtail which flier uses.
    You say that you don't have a loop at the end of your flying line. It is essential that you have a tied loop on the flying line or it could pull through the larkshead knot. You need a short pigtail loop permanently attached to the kite. You tie the kite line larkshead round this pigtail.
    Have fun and
    Fly High
    P. S. It's good to hear that NZflier is still flying. It's 4 years since we were in New Zealand and the hills near Christchurch ablaze. It's a pity there was no wind for flying but we did see more of the area with you.

  • Sue,
    It seems impossible that it was that long ago! It was indeed a great pity that we couldn't fly kites, but the fire on the hills gave a bit of extra drama to your visit anyway. Yes, I'm still flying (and making videos - 1,666 of them now) but at the age of 80 I think I'm slowing down a little. All the best to you and Ken for a good flying season this year.

  • Hey Sue, thank you for your input. Yes, there is a pigtail attached to the keel of my Levi Delta. Ive had one there ever since I pulled the delta out of storage. Though I admit the first time I used a pigtail, I foolishly untied it at the end of the flying session when the kite was on the ground again. Though on later flights, I had the pigtail permanently attached to the keel.

    And yes, I have been using the 'string handle' to untie the larkshead knot. It is a great idea and works well. Much better and quicker than trying to undo the knot with my nails.

    Incidentally, I have been to New Zealand once. But only very briefly. I spent one day in Auckland and it was raining for most of that time. It would be great to explore the natural scenery of NZ one day.

  • Cor, that pulley looks interesting and I could see that it would come in handy when walking down the line. That is the first time Ive heard a bike being used as a kite line anchor! That must be great riding around to flying locations on a bike.

  • edited March 6

    Bill Blake gets around using a bike to carry his (extensive) equipment and certainly uses it as an anchor. You can see his bike in this photo of us on Midsummer Common in Cambridge back in 2015. Here's a clip from the centre of the original photo:

  • edited March 6

    Great that you were able to get together in 2015. And I'm sure that must be a very sturdy bike.

    On yesterday's flight, I think I experienced what some people refer to as the 'delta dive.' Though to my surprise, it was a very slow, gentle dive. It certainly wasn't fast like a spear or a dart which I'm glad about. There was no payload on the line at the time though I guess if there was one, things may be a little different? Regardless, I tried to see if I could stop the dive. I pulled on the line to create more tension but this didn't really do anything. I guess if the delta wants to dive, it will dive.

    I recently ordered a climbing strap online. Hopefully, it should get here soon.

    And I currently have a strange issue. Some time ago, I made a picavet cross. And at the time, I came up with the idea of attaching a ball head camera mount with a bolt to the cross. I have since changed my mind about the ball head and I want it removed. Problem is I'm using an adjustable spanner on the bolt underneath the ball head and I cannot rotate it to loosen it. The spanner sort of grips the bolt okay but it will not undo it. The tool slips off every time I try.

  • edited March 23

    The weather has been very calm lately. Many sunny, fine days that are not really suitable for kite flying. So it's been a while since Ive flown mine. And with no kite flying going on, I may as well complete my picavet.

    Regarding picavet line length, I know that many recommend 30 feet as the maximum. And some prefer to use 20 feet (30 feet probably being a bit too much to manage.) I received some sample line from a kite shop which is about 15 feet. You reckon this shorter length would be fine for a first picavet?

  • Given that 8 links connect the picavet to the kite line, 15 feet will mean the distance from kite line to picavet will be just 2 feet. I think that's a bit short (my shortest picavet link is just about 2.5 feet and the picavet itself is small, about 3" across) but it's worth a try.

  • Oh gosh. Yes worth a try though. Hopefully, it can still level the camera okay and add some stabilisation.

  • I had a kite session today. It's been quite a while since Ive flown the Levi Delta. The wind has only just returned. There were a number of days recently with no wind. Very calm conditions lately. Oddly, I can't seem to get the string handle to undo the larks head knot anymore. I can still do the same thing on practise string at home. But out today in the field, pulling the handle did not loosen the knot at all. Yea I know it doesn't make any sense. That same handle used to work fine when I was flying the kite in the previous sessions.

    After I brought my kite down this afternoon, I made a larkshead knot multiple times up against the kite's pigtail and tried repeatedly to undo it with the handle. Though each pull of the handle did not loosen it at all. Very strange. I did note that if I slid the larkshead knot up and down the line, it would loosen very slightly. Just enough to undo it with my fingers. So at least that's something.

  • edited May 2

    There have been lots of still days lately so I haven't been able to fly my Levi Delta for quite a while. One thing I have ordered recently for my kite flying is a ski mask style balaclava. I'm having this weird and frustrating issue when I got back into kite flying. It seems that my face is getting incredibly sensitive to sunlight. In particular my forehead and cheeks. I have been sunburnt so many times from kite flying sessions with my forehead and cheeks being visibly red and really itchy. I always wear sunscreen, a broad brimmed hat and sunglasses but most of the time, that makes no difference. Even switching to a higher strength sunscreen didn't seem to help.

    As I type now, my forehead and cheeks are still red and itchy from an rc quadcopter session a few days ago. It was late afternoon and I wasn't even in the sun for all that long when I was looking for my quad (which had crashed.) For most of that session, I was in the shade.

    When I'm out flying my Levi Delta next time, I'm probably going to look like a terrorist with the balaclava on which may attract some attention! But I would prefer that to getting sunburnt. The only downside is it would likely get extra warm / hot on my face during a sunny day.

  • edited May 6

    Windy days are very rare these days. It has been still for so long. But today looks ideal for kite flying. I wish I could go out and make the most of it but I have a dilemma. As I noted in my previous post, certain parts of my face are becoming extremely sensitive to sunlight and burn really easily. Most of the time, sunscreen and a broad brimmed hat doesn't seem to help.

    Ive spent at least the last five days or so suffering from the last time I was sunburnt. Forehead and cheeks were red and itchy for days. Ive only just recovered and it would be really bad to go out there and suffer all over again. I haven't received my balaclava yet. I think that will become an essential part of my kite flying kit. These days, I don't think I could go kite flying without one. I'll go down to the post office soon and see if my balaclava is there. If it has arrived, I'll come back and grab my Levi Delta and head off.

  • Ive been over to the post office but the balaclava has not arrived. Regardless, the wind dropped quite a bit when I arrived. It turned into a semi-calm afternoon. I believe that tomorrow, there will be less wind.

  • volare necesse est, vita non est necesse

  • It's so hard to get my kite into the air again. The balaclava arrived but it's too tight. This is despite the online description saying: "One size fits most." I can't wear it for very long because I find it uncomfortable. I'm actually considering making my own now.

    Today looked ideal for kite flying. I headed out very late in the day and the wind picked up more. I was actually wondering if it was going to be too much for my Levi Delta to handle. Though when I arrived at the location and set up, the wind had dropped completely. I held the Delta up above my head and waited in vain for any signs of wind. Once in a while, there was a very light breeze but nothing that could lift my kite. I kept persevering but it was starting to get dark. Eventually, I gave up and packed up and headed home. That's the first time Ive headed out with my kite and not flown it.

  • You're not alone with the wind struggles. Sometimes it seems to purposely disappear right when I try to fly the kite!

  • Join the club! It's rare for me not to be able to get the kite in the air, largely because I only take my KAP gear when I know there's going to be some wind. But it's not at all unusual to be able to get the kite aloft but completely unable to lift even my lightest rig. Back in 2009 on my way to Tahiti for KAPiTa 2009 I had a 24-hour stopover in LA. The next morning I took the bus from my hotel at LAX to Santa Monica. I spent 2 hours there trying to coax my FLED up into the air. I just about managed it but there was not enough wind to get my rig up at all. What made it so galling was that Cirque du Soleil were there for just a few days - an opportunity to take some great shots. I did managed to take the photo below but it was a very depressing couple of hours (I did get a great lunch on the pier - shrimp and fries I remember).

  • A good friend tested out his soldering skills and fixed my autoKAP rigs some weeks ago. Yesterday, I finally tested one out with 2 DJI Osmo Action cameras 'attached' in a way that I hope will continue my mission for 360 images.
    The Osmo Action cameras take after the GoPros in that they offer a wide field of view and so I mounted then in portrait orientation. One was pointed straight towards the horizon and the other was angled at approx 45º towards the ground.
    The first test was quite promising in that in one rotation the cameras collected 52 images as my starting point to stitch with. Why the strange number? Horizontal camera was taking pictures every 3 seconds and the angled camera was set to every 4 seconds! This actually worked out quite well because the downward images need to cover a much smaller area. Gathering more material than needed gives me the option of picking out the best images to start with.
    As you'll see below, my set up is nowhere near as slick as James Gentles' rig that houses 4 GoPros in a fixed configuration (which makes stitching much easier), but it gives me what I need to produce higher quality images than what the Theta Z1 does and the Panono before it. In addition, because am I using 'normal' cameras, I can pick out single 12MP raw images from what I collect to work on and share. While this is not the best of both worlds, it is a solid compromise and I look forward to more outings with this arrangement.

  • Montagdude and Dave, I'm glad that I'm not alone! Woah two hours trying to get a kite into the air? I admire your patience. There was a more recent occasion when the wind seemed good but when I arrived at the local oval, the conditions had changed yet again. Yep, the wind had dropped again. Though not as much as the previous time. I was trying for over half an hour to get my Levi Delta into the air. Sometimes it would rise about 2 - 4 meters and then descend. Finally, I got it up and it stayed there in it's own corner in the sky.

    Yea the Cirque du Soleil tents would look awesome from the air.

  • edited May 23

    Ningaloo, that is an impressive setup. And the images look great. 360 aerial panos are always a pleasure to check out. Out of curiosity, do you ever have any issues stitching the photos featuring the sea? I have tried 360 nature panos on land and the sea is really problematic for me, even on calm days. It doesn't stitch well at all. The differences in the ripples and general water motion from one photo to the next really sticks out like a sore thumb.

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