A light wind lifter by Peter Blackmore

A parcel arrived and on opening I discovered from the covering note I am now the owner of an original custom kite by Peter Blackmore, it’s been a project of his for a while to find an optimum soft kite for Bft 2- no easy matter given the propensity for soft kites to fail in light wind. The majority begin to earn their keep in Bft 3 while instability sets in for many in Bft 4. Peter’s idea has been to refine what works, reduce weight and find a balance between lift and drag that gives a steep flying angle without undue pull.

Days of Bft 5 pass, Peter advised it is a light wind kite, I watch the trees boil in the heaving southerly and grey skies roll by day after day, the wind finally drops and I head out  to the common to see how it flies…

P B lifter-12072016_01

The deep cell of  the Sutton was called into question as a cause of its relatively low flying angle and an evolution of chord shapes has arrived at a modified MiniMock design (the chord is flatter) with a similar adjustable angle of attack to Ralf Beutnagel’s KAPfoil. The result is a wonderful light wind foil which achieves similar stability characteristics to the KAPfoil but with much less pull. Conditions were not great for its first KAP flight. The wind was weak, tending to lull with rain showers following what little lift there was. 4 kites were attempted and all failed except the 20′ (1.8m) red wonder: it’s light weight and shape stiffness out shone the venerable Sutton ff30, a Didak Explorer and a 30 ‘lifter.

P B lifter-12072016_04

In discarding the deep chord of the flowform the vents proved redundant so Peter ended up with a ‘fast’ wing, without vents. Paradoxically this acts as a closed shape in light wind and works as a slow wing.  The cells act as stiffeners to the bottom skin onto which the drag and lift forces act. In lull the kite floats on slack line. Watching this happen reminded me of the floating movement of  Dan Leigh’s R8 in lull, the mark of a truly well engineered wind hook. On seeing this I wasted no time in hitching a camera to the line…

CRW_8927

The light was poor and the flight cut short by the onset of rain…

CRW_8937

but the performance of the new foil was magnificent.

Wind-speeds were not ideal:

Windspeed-12072016

P-B-lifter-12072016_03

Finding the overlap with the Bft 4 KAPfoil will be interesting.

B

About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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6 Responses to A light wind lifter by Peter Blackmore

  1. Renaud says:

    Bill, this seems good news ! Is it custom built ? Is there a way to purchase one ?

    • Thanks for taking a look Renaud,

      It’s a custom built kite. Peter is still refining the design and I will encourage him to publish once it has stabilised. He is a kite designer from the 2 line school and is exploring soft lifters for KAP, specifically at the Bft 2 end. He has said he will make a 25′ model and I’ll be testing an early production 30′ (2.7m) model by Morgan Kites (in heavier fabric) today.

      This project came about as we tried to get all the gear on bikes, the stick kites (delta and Rok) just don’t travel well and the soft alternatives (Ultrafoil, PL Lifter, Explorer, HQ KAPfoil) don’t do too well in the light stuff.

      One thing is clear the weight of fabric is important: the red 20′ foil is from 48g Mirai rip-stop: a much lighter fabric than the HQ KAPfoil.

      B

      • Renaud says:

        THank you Bill, I have the same issues : travel, daily commuting and biking.. and low winds. As many kapers I guess ! Count me in as a client when in production ! BTW, I also consider purchasing a 5,3m delta from Ikar / Letuwce in Poland. There is a travel version (1.05 meters when folded). Did you hear of IT -I guess..- or had the opportunity to used it ?

      • Renaud says:

        THank you Bill, I have the same issues : travel, daily commuting and biking.. and low winds. As many kapers I guess ! Count me in as a client when in production ! BTW, I also consider purchasing a 5,3m delta from Ikar / Letuwce in Poland. There is a travel version (1.05 meters when folded). Did you hear of IT -I guess..- or had the opportunity to used it ?

  2. A 5.3m delta is hefty! I have used a 3m delta (ITW Levitation has all the spars jointed) with split down spars and they are so fragile and prone to inbalance compared to a single legth spar version I gave up with them. They started well but after a few journeys trouble began. The deltas and roks are good , they fly steeper and launch easier than the ‘softs’ but I’m getting paranoid about spar damage in transit now!

    Peter is getting close to a family of foils to meet Bft 2 and 3, when he’s happy I’ll see if he can publish the drawings. I’m hoping the bigger one (25′) will shift my Sony rig- we shall see…

    B

  3. Renaud says:

    Thank you Bill, fingers crossed : I’m not ready yet to build a kite, I hope one of these will be available on the market soon !

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