Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
Parachute Kite: Test Flight #1
We tested our Sky Pilot Parachute Kite at a park on Saturday with mixed results (see previous review). The wind was 15 to 20 miles per hour, pretty steady but with occasional gusts and dips.
Observations and Lessons Learned:
1) The kite was difficult to get airborne. In seven attempts it flew twice, but only once with a successful parachute drop (the other time the chute deployed on its own after a wind gust). Much of the time the kite flew almost horizontal, and despite maneuvering we couldn’t get it skyward. (More test flights are needed under different wind conditions.)
2) The mechanism which releases the parachute doll needs some work. A dip in the wind often led to an unintentional release of the doll. We might work around this by improvising with a tighter rubber band (which holds a latch which holds a string which holds the doll) or flying under better wind conditions.
3) Two people are needed to untangle the parachute strings after each attempt. One person holds the chute, the other twists the doll.
4) Reel in the kite string completely between flights. I was tempted to hold slack in my hand like when flying regular kites, but that is a recipe for receiving a string burn, or worse. Mom and I both got burned.
5) Wear leather gloves. The kite string must be unrolled smoothly so that the parachute isn’t jerked into being released. The string is held on a plastic ring and I almost burned my hand as the string unrolled with a strong wind gust.
6) Keep your kid near or even behind you until the kite is well in flight. The parachute and kite string can easily dip and flutter near the ground in the path of people.
On the plus side, at 22 months, Little Miss had a wild time running on the park grass. The kite was secondary to her good time, though she seemed to find the kite joyous and funny at the same time.
After seven tries we retired to a nearby playground for some slide time. I’ll post another report after our next flight test.