Tom Benedict’s comment that the Explorer needs to be assessed by a KAPer is a good one and I have now stumbled through Ralf’s account of his trip to Sicily with the Explorer 2.7 in 2010. I was disturbed to read of zusammenklappte : ‘collapse’ . The Sutton flowform almost never collapses: it floats like a parachute when the wind drops so perhaps the deep keels on the Explorer (are there too many?- I think it would fly with 3 rather than 5) need to be slackened and vented on the outer sides to reduce the risk of cell collapse-Becot style.
Here is what he wrote as passed through Google Translate with a bit of my own ‘I think this is what he means’ interpretation :
Sicily from on high:report on KAP with th Didak Expolorer by Ralf Deitrich for ‘Kite & Friends’ magazine 2010
When Eve and Ralf Dietrich arrived a few days before the start of the
Kite Festival at San Vito Sicily, they naturally used the time to rent a car and visited the salt flats west of the Italian islands and Mount Etna in the east.
A Discovery Trip
With as much of the KAP gear as would fit in the boot of the small car (a middle size one was originally ordered ) we headed off on a discovery tour. The salt works area is located between the port cities of Trapani and Marsala, where salt is produced today by the natural evaporation of sea water in a process unchanged since the Middle Ages, it has contributed significantly to the prosperity of the Sicilian population. Today, as for hundreds of years between spring and late summer sea water is let into the basin. The floor of this basin consists of a salt-mud mixture, which is called in Sicily Mammacaura. The Mammacaura ensures that the tanks are watertight and therefore the salt water does not seep into the ground. By evaporation of the water the salt settles to the the floor. When the water is completely evaporated, the remaining salt is removed from the floor and piled up into huge mountains. The latter, unfortunately, are not seen since mid-May, we are only at the beginning of the salt season. Nevertheless, the salt pans of Trapani and Marsala, make a wonderful subject for photography from a technical perspective, especially for aerial photography. The individual ocean basins are separated from each other by means of small dams. Idyllically located at irregular intervals windmills on the small channels in the old days, the water between the basins pumped back and forth. Once at the salt flats, we found a quite bumpy, onshore wind. We opted for the Didakkites Explorer as a lifter kite, (which we presented an extensive in a test in issue 6/2009). The kite did a good job, but danced in the shifty and gusty winds and significantly tended to hang from side or the other so we did not want to risk a full rig with equipment in the line. Having got to this point, we chose the easier Aurico rig which cannot be controlled from the ground, but in these difficult wind conditions is lighter on the line.
In a completely different wind conditions, we met the next day. In the east of the island is the volcano Etna, at more than 3,000 meters above sea level. It was created about 600,000 years ago and is considered the highest and most active in Europe. The last major eruption dates back only eight years, and smaller eruptions occurred in 2006 and 2008. Our greatest wish was to take KAP shots from the crater. But it was not so easy a task, because the wind was very unstable at this level. Below the crater rim we made multiple tries with our Parasled, without success. It went a little better with the aforementioned Explorer, so we also used this kite. And the Aurico was used again; after all, we did not want to put the heavy RC rig at risk for these conditions. We were finally rewarded with great pictures from the edge of the crater – until the Explorer was compromised by the lack of wind and collapsed.
‘Sicily from on high’ ‘ text and photos by Ralf Dietrich aerial photo gallery