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Into The Wind's Flight Blog

Friday, May 29, 2009

Answer the call of the wind.


New technology has been good to kite flying. Early kites were paper and bamboo or wood, elegant and capable, but not very resilient. Over time, we've had the fortune of graphite and fiberglass framing materials and nylon sails that last longer with more vivid colors. And now that kite fittings are almost entirely standardized, repairs are leaps and bounds easier than ever before. New streamlined designs continue to improve upon the basic stunt kites, deltas, and diamonds each year. And even wind meters (anemometers) have become more reliable and less expensive, making our kite outings more satisfying and less crash-laden with detailed information about the conditions in the flying field.

Just after the three-day weekend, we received an email from Bob at goingApps.com that was nearly a blog entry in itself, and definitely worth sharing with all of you, our kite fliers and readers. He brought to our attention a new technology in wind meters for the iPhone set. For only $0.99 an iPhone owner can download the new Wind Meter application that turns your smart-phone into an instant anemometer. It reads winds in miles or kilometers per hour, feet or meters per second, knots, and even provides Beaufort Scale readings. Amazingly, the app uses the microphone on the iPhone, reading the decibel level of the wind hitting it to calculate an estimate.

And while we haven't tried it ourselves yet... Kitelife Magazine has an impressive testimonial. Apparently, this little app is blowing up on online kite forums as being accurate to about 1 - 2 mph of a dedicated wind meter. We've got at least one employee here with an iPhone, so we'll be checking this out hands-on as soon as we can.

The app is available through the iPhone App Store, but if you (like many of us here at Into The Wind) don't yet have an iPhone, here's a link to our selection of digital wind meters on our website.

Keep watching the wind!

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bring it back home.

We love all the great kite reviews that are posted to our website, including many that reference ITW products. But the one that we received this week is bittersweet. We're delighted that our customer purchased a Kids Delta and had a splendid time flying it for two hours! But if a delta is looping and diving or if its flight in any way resembles "a space ride" then it's being flown in too much wind. Deltas fly best in light winds, part of the reason that they're so popular. Deltas that have larger wing spans with more sail area (think: more lift) fly in the least amount of wind. Our Sweet 16 Delta will fly in 3 mph of wind, the Kid's Delta in 5 mph. The Beaufort Scale makes it easy to figure out what the winds are like by common indicators. In 4-7 mph of wind, a Light Breeze is characterized by "Wind felt on face. Leaves rustle. Weather vanes move." Fortunately, most deltas can also fly in more wind. The upper wind range for the Kid's Delta is 20 mph. If "Small trees in leaf sway slightly" or if "Wavelets form on ponds and lakes" it's time to take the delta down and switch it for a box kite or soft parafoil. With its two 10-ft. nylon tails the Kid's Delta will do its best to fly in winds over 20 mph (and many times it will even survive ;-) so you'll have a happy ending to your kite story too.

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