Public Lab Research note


DIY Mini Kite Kit first flight

by mathew |

Read more: publiclab.org/n/13163


Background

Inspired by @PatCoyle's look at small, cheap parafoil kites for mapping, I've been looking for a stable, sparless kite that could lift a small camera and pack down easily into a backpack. At the same time, @TonyC has been working to make some super-simple rigs for flying the Mobius action cam.

With the spring here, I was finally able to fly a camera on my kite and demonstrate that it could lift a Mobius. While still an early-stage kit with limited testing, @TonyC rolled these up into a kit in the Public Lab store.

My small kite:

Last fall I bought a 7.5 square foot parafoil kite from In the Breeze kites. Its flight performance was disappointing, as it hunted a lot and would turn over in higher winds. It didn't approach the 25mph top wind speed advertised, and became unstable at about 15mph.

So I modified the kite. I sewed two little tabs of ribbon onto the two back corners and bridled a piece of string between them, and then attached the tail. IMG_3963.JPG

IMG_3959.JPG

With the tail bridled like that, its a rock solid flyer. I tested it in 20mph winds with 25mph gusts and it held steady. Here it is lifting a mobius in lower wind:

P_20160404_152557.jpg

For the Mini Kite Kit, we had an upholstery shop down the hall from our office sew tabs onto the back of the In The Breeze 7.5' parafoil. They did a much neater job than I did.

IMG_3962.JPG

The Camera Rig

I used @TonyC's mobius rigging, detailed here:

Its pretty stable. It gets a bit of a pendular motion.

I haven't gotten it high enough to get any good shots yet, but here are are few from low altitude:

IMAG0174.JPG

IMAG0178.JPG

Next steps

I need to fly the camera more! I'm interested in more sophisticated rigs for oblique shots and panoramas. I'm excited to have a stable kite that fits in my backpack.


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People who did this (1)

Title Author Updated Likes
Fly a small camera on a very portable (squid-shaped) sled kite @warren almost 2 years ago


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kite-mapping kap kap-rigs diy-mount-kit

difficulty:easy seeks:replications category:field-test time:1h activity:aerial-photography activity:kite-mapping


2 Comments

For oblique shots, there's a simple way to hang a miniball tripod head off the bottom of a pendulum. IMG_0040.JPG

Did you use the wire to connect the PVC to the string, or did you just run the string through the PVC on this? I don't see the wire with string wound round it. Just wondering if you were doing this on purpose, and how it went?

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The wire might not be visible, but I had the wire through the PVC, and wrapped the line around that. It worked great.


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