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Kite Altitude World Record
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April 2009 - thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightning.
We arrived at Cable Downs after a 2 year break.A new team member joined us this year. Michael Jenkins is a member of the Australia Kitefliers Society. He is adept at building and flying trick kites as well as single line kites. He is also an active sailor, crewing regularly on Sydney harbour. his experience with wind sports is invaluable for the altitude record attempts. Our last series of attempts in 2007 netted 3 high flights culminating in 10,466 ft. This year we decided to camp on the airstrip. In 2007, on 2 flights, late starts were limiting factors in not reaching at least 12,000 ft and perhaps even record altitudes. We though that being on the strip would ebable us to launch by at least 0900, 2 hours ealier than previous flights in 2007. We did fly to 9,119 ft and this was an exceptional altitude considering analysis of the wind profile for that day showed a potential of only 7,000 ft. This altitude was achieved on thermals which enable higher altitudes than the prevailing wind for the day would suggest. The kite languished aroun 5 - 6,000 ft for several hours until it was draw into an updraft below a cloud base. It rose over 3,000 ft in a matter of minutes and then fell just as quickly, the winch barely keeping up with the line slack. We realised that there was little point in persisting that afternoon and had the kite back by 4pm. That night the rains came and following days we saw low winds cloudy conditions and violent thunder storms. I flew a camera on a big delta to 2,200 ft above the airstrip and the images are awesome.
The strip became a quagmire and their was forecast of more rain so we terminated or record attempts 3 days early.
Above: An interesting image taken from an 80 sq ft delta at 2,200 ft above the air strip on Cable Downs. The camera is a 5 MP Canon digital using a Jaycar relay set to trigger at 20 sec intervals. The cloud base was just above the kite. The camp site can be seen centre bottom and a red/yellow delta is flying 500 ft above the site and 1,700 ft below the camera kite. The camera was attached to the centre spar with a ball swivel clamp. No Pikavet mount required because of the size and stability of the kite.
Australia, a land of contrasts with droughts and flooding rains. After an hour, this lake was gone and by next morning there ws no evidence of this deluge.