Public Lab Research note

Off-wind kite flying & Redstone Rigging in Augusta, WI

by mathew | June 25, 2014 22:09 25 Jun 22:09 | #10619 | #10619

Dogs are totally pro-kite. Stephanie, Tom, myself, and our entranced canine audience. All ground photos courtesy of Stevie

What I want to do

We joined a group of concerned citizens and folks from UW Stout in Augusta, WI to show a little bit about kite aerial photography and photograph a frac sand mine southeast of town on highway M.

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My attempt and results

We could only get within a kite in the air from ~1000 meters from the facility. So we decided to use a Redstone Rig and take oblique imagery instead of a soda bottle.


Winds were blowing West Northwest at 9-12mph, pushing our kite farther away. So I clipped both kite tails on our Dazzle Delta to the left hand side and flew the kite roughly 20 degrees off wind, flying just slightly south of West in a West Northwesterly wind.


The kite was stable but a little jumpier than usual with a less steady pull. It required more attention to maintaining consistent tension while letting line out. It flew at a lower angle and had about 1/3 less lift. But we had the wind, and were able to get a full 1500 feet of line out. I made this panorama of the mine and its ponds in photoshop:


Why I'm interested

This is my first time deploying off-wind flying in the field at a high altitude. I'd done a bunch of tests and was confident in the technique, and it was great to see how well it worked. The three tail attachment points of the Dazzle Delta and its ability to be rigged to fly off wind was one of its attractive features for inclusion in our kit, and I'd like to move to recommend it as a normal flight technique with our kite kit.

Next Steps

there are other techniques that are more involved for flying off wind that may get a greater angle than 20-30 degrees. Paul's fishing kites. US kite fishing.


Nice result, Mathew.

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Matthew, outstanding! I have some good aerial shots of the Augusta site from 08/2013, please let me know if they would help your project. There are some people measuring dust around there, I can put you in touch with them if that would help.

I'm so glad you're doing this.

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those would be real cool to see! i would like to do a time-based comparison. can you e-mail them to me? mathew at publiclab


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It might be easier if I uploaded them to google. I've sent some to local activists and the CCC website folks. It'll take me a little bit to get them from the backup since the malware trashed my computer.

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Ok- No rush.

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