Had to pick the kids up from summer camp today and wanted to fly the kite. Checked the raw METAR data for Van Nuys airport and for the last two hours the wind was indicating 140 at 4-8. So decided to go down to Balboa Park, which is just 2 miles off the departure end of 16. The field is about 300 yards by 300 yards from trees to trees. It's not the best field, but it's close to home. The wind there is usually what Van Nuys is indicating but with a bit of turbulence and more variation. Sometimes the wind just stops for 10 to 20 seconds and then starts blowing again.
Anyway, grabbed the e3, went as far as I could upwind on the field and launched. It wasn't optimum, but I did learn a very valuable lesson that I had not learned, or even realized in my 10 hours of flying kites. I learned the direct relationship between line pressure and kite speed. This realization tought me a few more lessons. I learned that line pressure is the kites way of indicating to the flyer the energy at any given moment. In a low wind/no wind situation, where the majority of the flyers effort is to keep the kite aloft. The flyer can use this pressure or energy and sacrafice kite speed to harness the energy and store it by maintaining just enough pressure to maintain foreward flight, and walking upwind, basically storing that excess wind energy to use later when the wind stops. In my situation today, I was limited to flight time, by the length of the field. If I ran outa field, then I had to land the kite and walk back to the upwind side of the field. So the entire session I practiced keeping the kite flying smoothly, not to waste any energy in too sharp of turns. When the wind presented excess energy above what was needed to keep the kite flying (I noticed this by excess line pressure), I released just enough pressure with my arms, extending them, then walked upwind while bringing my arms inward to my hips. Later in the session, I was even succesfull in capturing the extra energy from short gusts of wind with my arms, then stored that energy with my position on the field.
Even though I practiced my stalls and landings yesterday at the beach with better wind, I believe todays lesson was much more valuable as it made me completely aware of some of the dynamics and more importantly gave me feeling for the transfer of energy that is happening durring a kite flight.
After the session when the wind finally died alltogether, I made my way over to my kids summer camp to pick em up. I was about an hour early and just reflected on the kite session, which imediatley prompted me to order a 4D
I believe my new understanding of the energy transfer in kite flight, will help me further understand the factors of low/no wind flight. What better way to take this knowledge to the next level by flying the 4D.