Category Archives: General

Kites towing cargo ships – Kite Sails and Kite Ship

There have been a few stories popping up about Kite Sails lately. Kite Sails is a German company that hopes to be the first to use a kite as an engine assist device for large cargo ships. My good friend Bob White of the Niagara Wind Riders has a great article talking about Kite Sails and Kite Ship on his blog Best Breezes. Have a read you won’t be disappointed

Here are some of the stories that have come up over the last couple of days.

A kite to pull a cargo ship – CNET News.com

German high-tech sky sail may cut costs, emissions – Reuters via Yahoo! News

High-tech sail may cut cargo ship costs – Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Buffalo News – Kiting the Mega Moon

LEWISTON – An enormous scuba diver in a black wet suit filled the sky above Reservoir State Park on Saturday to the delight of more than 5,000 visitors at the second annual Niagara International Kite Festival.
Then the wind finally picked up, and the 400-pound Mega Moon, the largest kite in the world, slowly lifted into the cloudless blue sky.

It took a team of eight to get Mega Moon to rise Saturday, and once it was skyward, it took a lot to keep it from drifting away. The kite was held down by several struggling enthusiasts gripping ropes and a 20-ton braided line attached to a dump truck filled with two tons of bricks.

read more here…Buffalo News – Kiting the Mega Moon (FIXED THE LINK)

Milliken man hopes to set new kite-flying world record

Correction I would like to point out that there are some errors in the report below.

1) Richard Synergy’s broke the altitude record in 2000 not in 1995.
2) Robert Moore did not plan on or make a record attempt on the same day. Mr. Moore’s attempt is scheduled for April of 2007 and not April 2006.

I would like to thank Robert Moore for bringing this to my attention.

Good article in the North Platte Telegraph about a new kite altitude world record.

You can find out more information about the current record holder, Canadian Richard Synergy at the Toronto Kite Fliers site.

Australian Robert Moore will be attempting to break the record at the same time on the other side of the world. Here is a post I made about his last attempt Kite Altitude Record Still in Tact

NPTelegraph.com wrote

MILLIKEN, Colo. – The world record for kite flying height is 13,509 feet, but on Labor Day weekend, it may be broken. Milliken, Colo., resident Richard Crawford plans to set a new record of 15,000 feet at the Callaway Kite Flight.
“It’s all up to God and mother nature,” he said. “I’ve got the tools, the gizmos. All I need is the wind. It’s kind of a crap shoot.”
The current world record is held by 1995 by Canadian Richard Synergy.
The 43-year-old Crawford is a production chemist at a Boulder, Colo.,-based custom chemical manufacturing company. He’s been flying kites for 18 years and custom builds kites in a hobby he calls “Stitched by Rich.”
When asked why he decided to go for the record, Crawford said, “I wish I knew.”
After studying the world record numbers, he said to himself, “Wow, that looks pretty doable.”
“I thought, ‘It’s kind of high, but it’s not that high,’” Crawford said.
Callaway Kite Flight has been a destination spot the last three years for Crawford. He’s been practicing getting his kite up to extreme heights.
Last year he made it to a little more than 5,000 feet.
“The winds (at Callaway) have always been dynamite,” he said. “Getting to 5,000 feet was very easy.”
The perfect day for achieving his goal would include ground-level winds at 15 mph, gradually increasing to 35 mph at 15,000 feet.
“If I’ve got that, I’m there. It’s a done deal,” he said. “Something close to (those conditions) might get the job done, but either way I’m going to have a lot of fun.”
“That’s another reason I go to Callaway,” Crawford said. “These people are a blast.”
He plans to be in Callaway by Friday noon when he will scout out the kite flight area and set up his equipment at Foster Smith Field, four and a half miles southeast of Callaway.
He’s bringing an eight-person support team with him to help. There will be dangers associated with attempt, so Crawford and his team will launch from way in the back of the field. He said his group would bring their own sound system, video cameras to record the history-setting event and walkie-talkies to provide updates to the announcer near the spectators.
Before he was able to plan his adventure, Crawford was required to get proper authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“You let the FAA know what you’re doing, where you’re doing it and how high you’re doing it,” Crawford said. He was given an FAA-cleared notice to airmen that warn pilots the fly space is being used and he was given a waiver for marking his kite string.
Instead of the general requirement that places a marker every 50 feet on his kite line, Crawford will only have to mark his line every 1,000 feet. He will need about 30,000 feet of line, he said and marking it every 50 feet would have been quite an obstacle.
The kite string Crawford will be flying is a very fine line called aramid fiber. He said the high tensile line is about four times the tensile strength of steel.
He will have a global positioning system on board his kite along with wireless telemetry that will be wire flight information down to his laptop computer on the ground.
His kite is a self-designed 26-foot wingspan Delta. Since he’s the designer, Crawford believes he has eliminated any failure points that would keep him from reaching his goal and causing the kite to rip apart.
Crawford is lucky enough to have found sponsorship for his world-record attempt. Twin Line, a company in Boulder, will be supplying the line and MaxStream, a wireless company is providing the communications to his computer.
It would have cost Crawford more than $2,000 just for the kite line.
“I was ready to pay that if I had to, but had been putting feelers out and was lucky to find a sponsor,” he said.
A winch with a 6.5 horsepower engine will be used to reel the kite back to the ground.
Although Saturday morning is Crawford’s target launch time, he is prepared to try again on Sunday if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
To verify that Crawford does set a new world record, he is required to have three signatures from witnesses to the event. One of those will be Don Murphy, the regional director for the American Kite Association.
On the same weekend, a fellow kite-flyer in Australia plans to attempt the world record as well. He and Crawford have been in contact by email.

TheStar.com – Kite tubes pulled from market

Here is the latest article from the Canadian Press about the kite tube and the recall. TheStar.com – Kite tubes pulled from market

There are some important things to note for Canadian kite tube owners.
1) SportsStuff has confirmed that the recall affects Canada and 2) Transport Canada is investigating the kite tube.

A spokesman for Sportsstuff confirmed the recall includes Canada.

A spokeswoman for Transport Canada’s Marine Safety division said the tubes just came on the regulatory body’s radar last week.

“It’s a safety concern for us,” said Kristen Goodnough.

“But given that it’s just recently come to our attention, we’re reviewing the activity to see if our regulations apply.”

Goodnough said Transport Canada is expecting a decision sometime next week.

Even this blog gets some play (even if it’s not by name :) )

The founder of a Canadian weblog about kites said he takes issue with the suggestion that users can control the kite tubes.

“From a kite flier’s standpoint, someone who actually builds kites and understands the multitudes of variables that go on there, it’s not going to happen,” said Bill Wilson, 32, a Halifax software development manager.

He found the discussion forums on his website inundated with comments about kite tubing after he made a post in February.

“The majority of people perceive a level of safety that’s not there. Whether you can control it a little bit or not the problem is, all it takes is a wind gust, and you’re (seven to nine metres) in the air,” Wilson said.

Cheers,
Bill

Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tubes Withdrawn from Market after Reports of Deaths and Injuries

Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tubes Withdrawn from Market after Reports of Deaths and Injuries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Sportsstuff, Inc., of Omaha, Nebraska is voluntarily recalling about 19,000 Wego Kite Tubes.

CPSC staff is aware of 39 injury incidents with 29 of those resulting in medical treatment. Those injuries include a broken neck, punctured lung, chest and back injuries and facial injuries. Sportsstuff has received reports of two deaths in the United States and a variety of serious injuries. Sportsstuff has been unable to determine the cause of the incidents. Nevertheless, the company has withdrawn the kite tube from the market and is undertaking this voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution.

The Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tube is a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a power boat. A rider in the tube becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes. The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement “Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall.” The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately October 1, 2005 to July 11, 2006 for about $500 to $600.

Consumers should immediately stop using the kite tubes and contact Sportsstuff at (866) 831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to learn how to obtain free replacement products. Consumers can also visit the firm’s Web site at www.sportsstuff.com for more information.

DeseretNews.com – Kite-tubing dangers face probe

Looks like the Wego Kite Tube is under investigation by the US Consumer Product Saftey!! BOOO-YA!!!

Finally someone is sitting up and taking notice that this thing has some serious saftety issues.

Deseretnews.com writes – Read the original
here

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission opened preliminary investigations into kite tubes last week after park rangers banned the water toy at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The commission received a safety alert from Glen Canyon two weeks ago regarding four serious kite tube-related injuries and they are assessing the accidents, as well as the tube’s safety features. Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the commission, said the accidents at the park are not exclusive to the area.

“There are numerous incidents across the nation,” he said.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Superintendent Kitty Roberts said the park’s administrators banned the activity to ensure the safety of park visitors.

“Kite tubing has proven itself to be extremely dangerous,” she said. “There are many other, far safer ways to enjoy Glen Canyon — from water skiing, to fishing, to exploring narrow side canyons.”

Continue reading

3rd Annual Halifax Citadel Fun Fly

Join us for single, dual and quad lined kites; inflatable creatures; giant kites; traction demonstrations and so much more!

Halifax Area Recreational Kiters (HARK) will be hosting their 3rd Annual Fun Fly at Citadel Hill in Halifax, NS on Saturday June 3, 2006. Bring your family, friends, neighbors, kites and a picnic and enjoy Halifax’s premier kite event of the season!

The Dieppe, NB Skylines Kite Club and kiters from around the Maritimes have been invited to fill the sky with color! Gary Mark of the Toronto Kite Fliers is scheduled to make a guest appearance with his giant kites and this year’s ground display of wind-filled creatures is sure to be a hit with children and adults alike!

Members of Atlantic Winds Adventure will be on site giving power kiting demonstrations throughout the day for those who enjoy the added thrill of traction kiting.

Come join the fun!

There’s something for everyone!

This event is free to all who wear a smile!

For pictures of previous events at Citadel Hill visit: http://www.steadywinds.com/gal/festivals

For more information contact Bill Wilson, bwilson@steadywinds.com

Kite Tube!?

Just reading the Toronto Kite Fliers mailing list today and someone posted a link to a bizarre “kite” that is towed behind a boat. It’s called the WEGO KITE TUBE produced by SPORTSSTUFF.

So the idea is basically you convince some fearless individual to climb on top of this inflated disk, tear down the lake at top speed and with some “control” the rider can launch the kite tube in the air and remain air borne. As long as you have enough speed, and you keep the right angle of attack you should be ok. (mildly insane but ok)

Personally I don’t think I would do it… there are a few spills in that video that look like they could have been a lot worse… you can check out the video here: Kite Tube Video.

HQ Multiple Kite System



MKS-KiteSystem 001

Originally uploaded by wdrwilson.

Recently Steve Ferrel at the Kite Studio added Auctions to the Kitebuilder.com forums. The original idea came from some posts about Dave Ellis and his attempts to auction kites for charity on eBay. I think there were some issues surrounding eBay’s policies dealing with charities. So Steve worked very hard over the next few months to bring auctions to all members of the forum and so far it seems it’s a success.

Dave aka KiteGuy was one of the first to get in on the fun by adding some kites, line laundry and an interesting kite kit called the Multiple Kite System from HQ. If I recall correctly this was a kit that Dave won at a kite making retreat and it looked suprising similar to the Thames & Kosmos Kite Dynamics kit, which I had just recently found online. So what the heck, I bid on it, not thinking I would ever win with such a low bid of 10 dollars. Much to my surprise the auction ended a few days later and I was the winner. Woo hoo!

Dave sent the parcel this week and it arrived today, now that’s fast considering it had to come from the U.S.A. As usual when I open up a kite from HQ I am pleasently surprised by the attention to detail and the quality of the parts. This kite was no exception, The kite comes with decent manual, a nice bag for the skins, a separate bag for the connectors and my favourite wrapped fiberglass rods. I started with the simplest of the designs (the one suggested by the manual) and here are the results.

MKS-KiteSystem 009
MKS-KiteSystem 001
MKS-KiteSystem 002
MKS-KiteSystem 008

So far so good… I went back to my original post about the Thames & Kosmos Kite Dynamics kit and examined the photos on their site. It appears to be an updated version of the HQ MKS kit. The connectors look identical and even the way it’s packaged and displayed looks the same. In conversation with Dave about the kit he mentioned that the designer was looking for a less expensive way to produce the kit. Looks like he found it.

Thanks Dave for the great buy, this kite will likely never see the skys but it will be hanging in my office very soon. :)

Cheers,
Bill