Advice from Simon Harbord prompted an investigation into the length of the wire to get wobble down and this paid off..a little. The length of the wire is definitely significant in damping oscillation but the difference, although noticeable, is not enough to make this a replacement for a rod or tube. A wire suspension more sensitive to balance that either Picavet or rod/tube pendulum.
My goal here is to get the best out of it as a part of weight reduction strategy. I noticed the pan offset was putting the rig out of balance as it turned so I swapped in a better centred fitting and improved the attachment point by drilling through an M3 bolt to trap the wire:
With the battery re-balanced and improved rig centre, more testing/photography is needed…
…I launched my Explorer 1.6 and discovered my 1st mistake of the day: no gloves. No matter, I had my trusty Jebe-Benton pulley with me so I could launch off a fence post with the line passed through the pulley. That went well. Next up the kite heeled straight over to the left, it was a big gust so I waited for the next, the kite having recovered repeated the stunt but it returned to sit on the wind left side down which reminded me I’d not trimmed this kite since a repair so I spent a while shortening the right hand bridle lines and slowly but surely the kite began to behave. And then I made my next mistake, I watched the kite for a bit and reckoned I’d arrived just after peak flow and all would be well if I hitched on the rig and dug deeper into the sky. Wrong, oh so wrong!
The kite rose like a rocket and the ratchet hissed as it ate line (no gloves remember, all line handling in this episode is by pulley) as the pace of climb eased I tied the line off and watched the rig nervously, it rose and fell like a cork on the tide, then a big gust pushed the kite over and it began a descent slowly inverting as it went. I paid out line and the descent slowed but ended with the kite caught in a tree and the rig on the deck. Pah!
I ran down the line letting it go slack for fear of catching a passing cyclist….I got to the rig, it looked OK and had landed in soft stuff. With the rig unhitched any line yanking would not involve it. Good. Now to the hapless kite. It was about a quarter of the way down in the crown, about 10m above the ground, the kite held its shape as the wind whistled through the bare branches. It was flying but I could see the bridle was snared. If I could just free the bridle it might fly out of the tree, I yanked the line hoping to free it. Short jerks in the hope the twigs would break before the kite fabric ripped. Letting the line slacken the kite filled and lifted a little. If this works I’ll be fine. It didn’t. Repetition saw pleasing amounts of tree break off but no luck. I was going to have to rip the thing down and live with the inevitable damage to the kite- better that than leave it there.
I knew the line would not break (this is 250DaN) so something had to give and so it did. I collapsed the kite by letting the line slack and gave a mighty tug…riiiip and down she came. In one piece with no apparent damage!
I recovered the line and flew the kite on a much shorter length to see if it really was OK. I’d rather know now than later. It was fine. Say what you like about the Explorer – it’s tough!
Feeling chastened I decided to fly on but without committing to any serious height. If I kept the line length inside the tree line I should avoid the worst. There was a lot of movement in the gusty conditions and the rapid swings of the rig made me wonder if I’d get any shots worth looking at.
Next tasks are to tweak the rig movements…pick the camera for the Filalu rig…and get to grips with Bft 5: clearly I’m doing it wrong!