Thursday, March 26, 2015

Good winds Predicted for Chico Kite Day! is forcasting NNW winds at 13 MPH (NNW @ 10-20 range).

Our gang will be there by 11 AM to secure our usual spot for base camp. Hope to see you there!

Ps. coming up next is our April 1st-Sunday-of-the-Month Kitefly. Usually held at Chico's Wildwood Park, this year it coincides with Easter, which is a traditional kitefly & picnic at Table Mountain just outside of Oroville. So this April's kitefly will be held at Table Mountain.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chico Kite Day is Sunday, March 29th

Every year on a Sunday before Easter, the sky above Chico's Community Park is filled with kites. Chico Kite Day has been happening every year since 1985. If you've never attended Chico Kite Day, here's some photos from 2010 & 2014.

Our base camp - 2010

Mike Hagen looking for a shot of my flying saucers

Kids (and adult kids) loved being pummeled by our big 'beach ball'

Setting up base camp - 2014

 Mike Hagen's parents are still flying kites!
(remember, we don't stop flying kites
because we grow old... we grow old
because we stop flying kites)

Jim Stainback tends to his kite

Everybody's taking pictures -That's Jim Stainback's wife, Michelle,
and son, James Stainback III playing shutterbug

Mike Hagen's FlowTail

A Chico flier launches his fokker Triplane

I found a video of Chico Kite Day - 2012. Unfortunately it wouldn't upload to my blog, so here's a link to it: 2012 Chico Kite Day.

Hope to see you at Community Park this coming Sunday from noon until 4 PM. Bring your kite and/or camera. Need a MAP?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Scientists fly kites on Earth to study Mars

Scientists of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory have taken to kites that they fly above lava flows blanketing the Hawaiian landscape to unravel the past mysteries that shaped Mars.

This is the kite's perspective of theDecember 1974
flow showing the platy surface of the lava,
"bathtub ring" and drain.
Image courtesy Christopher Hamilton.

Read the entire Mars Daily article on how man's oldest aircraft is being used for research about Mars.

A typical KAP rig

A sled kite produces plenty of lifting power

For very little investment you can take breathtaking photos

Want to learn more about KAP (Kite Aerial Photography)? Here's some resources:

A website called (what else?) Kite Aerial Photography

...and there's a very informative video all about KAP on YouTube.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Two Down... Ten To Go!

Solar Impulse 2 has successfully completed the second leg of its historic attempt to fly around the world, setting down in Ahmedabad, India after crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The flight covered 1,468 km and took just over 15 hours.

Tuesday's flight set a new world record for a solar-powered plane

If you visit the Solar Impulse website you can follow their journey with live tracking of the plane over satellite imagery.

Solar Impulse 2 is powered by 2 electric motors & has a
 wingspan greater than a Boeing 747

There are ten more legs to complete before the journey is complete.

Monday, March 9, 2015


After the Solar Impulse prototype’s 8 world records, when it became the first solar airplane ever to fly through the night, between two continents and across the United States, it is time for Bertrand Piccard and AndrĂ© Borschberg to move on to the final phase of the adventure: the 2015 round-the-world flight.

Piccard & Borschberg with Solar Impulse 2

Solar Impulse took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates this morning for the first leg of its round-the-world flight, landing at Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. AndrĂ© Borschberg flew the zero-fuel airplane for 13 hours and 1 minute, reaching a maximum altitude of 5,791 m (19,000 ft).

Solar Impulse 2 over Abu Dhabi

The ability to fly around the world without using a drop of fossil fuel is a huge step forward; roll the plane out of it's hangar, let it charge in the sun, and you're ready to fly for at least 25 hours... enough to make it through the night. The implications are enormous. It means you could put an aircraft like the Helios UAV, being developed by NASA, at high altitude for extended periods of time to replace communications links if a satellite is out of service... or for surveillance of borders (or whatever you wanted to keep an eye on).

You can follow this pioneering flight at the Solar Impulse website.

Monday, March 2, 2015

As They Say... 'March Came In Like A Lion'

Our 1st-Sunday-of-the-month kite fly for March lived up to March standards for wind. NW winds blew at 14-21 mph all day long, but the temperature was more like April or May; except for a few puffy cumulus clouds over the foothills it was clear skies with temperatures as high as 67 degrees... pretty close to perfection if you ask me. Jim Stainback and I arrived at about 10:30 AM to find fellow kiteflier, John King from Grass Valley, already flying his Gomberg 250 with a 100' tail. Unfortunately the middle of the field was being used for soccer practice, so we had to 'short-line' our kites on a little over 100' of line; John's kite didn't like the ground turbulence and kept collapsing. I was able to put Big Boy up on about 125 'of line with a fair amount of line laundry, and he flew well. Mike Hagen and Rhonda Davidson arrived less than an hour later and proceeded to add kites to the sky. By early afternoon we had seven kites up, and families all over the park added another eight or nine kites of various shapes & colors.

An unusual number of people took pictures and asked questions or made compliments. Truth be known, I get as much enjoyment out of watching others enjoy my kites as I do out of flying them. The surprise of the day was a fellow who had taken photos of our kites before; he showed up with a really nice drone with a GoPro camera on it and proceeded to shoot close to 15 minutes of video of Big Boy and all the other kites up. We got to watch what the camera was seeing on the tablet he was using to remotely fly the drone. I can't wait to see the edited video. He's going to post it on YouTube, so I'll share the link when I get it.

I managed to get a few good shots of our day at Wildwood Park. Hope you enjoy them...

Always take more kites & equipment than you think you'll need

Today's kitefliers: Mike Hagen, John King,
Rhonda Davidson & Jim Stainback...

...and me! It's not often that I end up in front of the camera

Rhonda launches a FlowTail delta for Mike

We staked my F-Stop bol as a ground display.
It spun & bounced all afternoon

By mid-afternoon people were playing on the field, flying kites or just watching.

To give you perspective, that's a 75' tail & a 150' tubesock