Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kite used for KAP aerial photography

Ten years ago I bought a Power Sled 24 with the intended purpose of using it to fly other kites from its line. The sled kites are made for lifting other things into the air, such as wind socks, small kites and streamers. So when I recently discovered kite aerial photography, I already owned a really good kite. Power sleds are super stable in 6-10mph wind. They are difficult to get into the air, but once they get above the trees, they are very difficult to get back down again. If there's a strong wind, hang on tight because these kites pull about as hard as a large dog on a leash that wants to walk faster than you do.
with my kite, I first get it up above the trees where it becomes very stable, then I can take my time and attach the camera and rig. I have about 500 feet of line which can get the camera high enough to capture five or six miles a landscape in a single photograph.

I will say however that in wind below 6mph I need a very long "runway" to get it up above the trees where it can find a steady breeze. In winds above 10mph it begins to act strangely, like suddenly folding in on itself and getting tangled in its own line. Although I really like the sled kite, I have read that most KAPers use one of the following kites: Delta, Delta-Conyne, Flowform, or Dopero. And I will eventually get one of those listed, so I can fly in lower winds, and still another for winds above 10mph.

I have found that it's a good idea to use 100 to 150# line with a big kite, and to purchase a swivel from a bait and tackle store that is rated for more than 100 pounds of force. Having a swivel between the kite and the line, allows the line to untwist itself as you pull the kite down and it makes it very easy to disconnect your line from the kite when packing everything up at the end of the day.

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