KAP Tools and Techniques
I took only a few frantic KAP sessions to show me the value of having tools and techniques to help manage the kiteline. At various times I may need to fasten the line to something, walk the kite down or pack up the whole mess. I quickly tried a few ideas, kept some and abandoned others.
The Daisy Chain
There is nothing more irritating than a hopelessly tangled bridle. This problem can be avoided by "Daisy Chaining" the lines before packing. This image depicts the first three loops of a chain as started from the left hand.
Where important, the drawing shows front/back order of line crossings. The first line crossing at the bottom of Loop1 is the only non-intuitive one of the bunch. Get that right and the rest is easy.
- Make a loop of string and twist it 180 degrees.
- Grab the bottom of Loop1 in your right hand.
- Reach through Loop1, grab the free end of the line and pull it through, making Loop2.
- Reach through Loop2, grab the free end of the line and pull it through, making Loop3.
- Repeat this pattern until the entire bridle is consumed.
- The last loop may be secured by pulling it tight, or (my preference) by snapping a carabiner through and snugging it up.
Suggestions for improvements to the drawing and/or description are quite welcome.
Picavet lines are prone to tangling. This contraption is a modification of something described by Cris Benton. A six inch wood stick with screw-eyes in each end provides attachment points for the two ends of the Picavet harness. A screw-eye in the center of the stick holds a carabiner which locks the last link of the daisychain.
I use two homebrew tools for tying off and walking down the line. The top tool is a line anchor. The eyebolt on the left may be attached to a leash which is in turn fastened around a sturdy object such as a tree, park bench or a dog stake. The kite line is wrapped around the cleat at the other end of the stick. It's easy to detach the stick from the leash or the kiteline from the stick. This is important if the wind quits. As in sprinting, mimizing your time off the block is crucial. Since this photo, I have added a second cleat. This makes it easier to take in the kiteline, as one cleat is available to hold the taught kiteline, leaving the other slack so the kiteline can be respooled. Having the cleats one behind the other is a nuisance. I'll make a wider, side by side version someday.
The bottom tool is a line walker. Simply a nylon shower door roller on a wooden handle, it allows me to run down the line without starting my glove on fire.
General Purpose Helper
Though a few well designed tools can make the KAPing experience more pleasant, there is nothing to match the versatility and usefulness of what Charles Benton might call an "organic" helper. Kathy built one in 1994 (with a little initial help from me). Unlike my other tools, this one seems to have a mind of it's own. For those who haven't tried one, I offer the highest recommendation.
Benjamin walks down his kite.
Years ago I learned about the glare reducing properties of polarizing filters. In particular I like the way they enhance contrast between the sky and clouds. These two images illustrate the effect. In addition to darkening the sky, the filter also darkens the foliage somewhat as it removes glare from the leaf surfaces. I have no experience flying polarizing filters on a KAP rig, but will experiment as the sky, clouds and glare are all important factors in KAP. My KAP rig was designed to allow the use of a polarizing filter with the DC20 and Epic, but the filter interferes with the Epic autofocus mechanism and I have abandoned the idea until next year, when I begin flying the Rebel SLR.
These images were taken seconds apart using a Kodak DC20 digital camera. No post processing was done.
A view of the northern sky without a polarizing filter.
The same view with a polarizer.