Sunday 26th June 2011…height achieved 18,621 feet, which is way beyond the record set many decades ago.Scroll down to below the graph to read the AWARD report.
Sunday 26th June.2011 as reported by Kevin Heasman.
The day started bright with a clear blue sky and a gentle wind in
Peterborough.The weather forecast was for the temperature to reach 28c by midday and a 6MPH wind. It had been arranged to meet at 10am. Leaving home at 8.30am for the 33mile trip to Marsh Lane, Gedney Drove End
Arrived around 9.30am to find Dick Abbs had been there for a while. The sky was clear and blue. We talked about the weather for the day and the chances of flying any kites as the wind felt very light for the power sleds. Next to arrive was Scott Butler and John Ostler. In Scott’s car were kites, tether lines and anything else that might be needed. Dennis England was close behind with Clive Paddison next. I did not realise that John Atkinson was bringing the power winch to the site anchored to a trailer and pulled by his tractor. This meant that even before he started John A had had a 2 hour drive from his farm at Wainfleet. Just before 10am the sight of John’s tractor and trailer was welcomed by us all. It was decided to set the whole outfit up as all that was needed was to couple the hydraulic pipes up to the tractor and set up the travelling arm on the winch. Scott connected his box of electronics that recorded speed and line length. Within 10 minutes all was ready. We had a short discussion as to the size of the first kite to be used a 24 was offered up by Dennis and an insulated padded bag for the GPS was attached between the kite and main line. The GPS was turned on and we waited for it to start flashing. This indicated that it had picked up a GPS signal and was ready to go. It had been set to take a reading either every 5 metres of travel or every 5 seconds. It was known from tests even with that amount of readings, its memory would only be half full after 14 hours. Before it was slipped into the bag, Scott was asked to check all was ok. He gave the thumbs up. By now the wind was between 4 – 6 miles an hour so just enough to lift the first kite away at 10.10am with smiles all round. John A was on the winch control and the kite was let out at a steady 1 mile an hour. It was felt that any faster the kite would not lift itself up and collapse. It was very slow to rise but once over the sea, it picked itself up. On a previous flight we noticed that the wind changed direction at around 2000 feet. As before, at around 2500 feet the kite began to pull and rose at a good rate. With this the line was let out at 1.25 – 1.5 mile an hour. Without too much discussion we all settled on a job to do. Clive was photographer plus recording time, line length, load and size of kite being attached. Dennis and Scott were keeping an eye on the line and the kites already flying. Dick set up the telescope with its inclinometer so we could tell at what angle the first kite was flying at. John A was winch controller. John O and myself attached the tether lines to the next kite and launched it to check it flew ok. This was done away from the main line area to stop any unnecessary contact. A routine was soon established whereby Dennis and Scott would decide what size kite was next. John O and myself would set it up on its tether. When a joint occurred we would both walk it to the main line. Once the winch was stopped and with gloved hands the line was held steady by either Dick or John O. At the same time I held the tethered kite and Scott would attach the tether to the main line joint. After a good few tugs at all the joint knots the tethered kite was let go. The main line was then slowly let go to take up tension. John A would then start to let out line again. This worked well and everyone was comfortable with what was required. Around 11am we were joined by Christine Ticehurst ( Club secretary) and Stephen English. As they live near to the site they thought they would come to see how it was going but ended up staying for the rest of the day. This proved to be handy as it meant more hands to help and to ease the load. By midday the temperature was 30 c in the shade. Shorts, suncream, sunglasses and hats were the order of the day. Thankfully Dick had bought a gas burner, tea coffee, milk and 5 gallons of water. This was much needed. Also Christine went out and bought extra food including punnets of strawberries. We had to erect a large umbrella over John A as we were concerned for him being in the sun.
We did have one problem in as much as the wind being between 4 – 6 miles an hour and the line fed out at 1.25 mph meant that the most recent kite wanted to collapse until above 2500 feet. This happened with one kite. It lost all pull and rotated under the main line and hung upside down. As we had done tests for this problem, the winch was stopped and wound in for a few minutes. With the extra wind speed the kite rotated back into position. The winch hardly stopped, only when kites were added. Dick on the telescope was finding it harder and harder to keep track of the first kite but the angle was around a constant 38- 40 degrees with the load on the line of 100lbs. We were all so engrossed with our jobs that none of us realised what was happening. So with 7 kites attached and first kite out of sight, a discussion began about how much line to let out and how many kites did we have left to attach. We had a total of 12 kites and it was worked out that we had about 7000 ft of line left on the winch. As the load was within a safe limit for the line, more line was let out and kites attached. By the time the 11th kite was attached we had 28000 ft of line out. The load was around 125lbs, again within limits. Here we stopped. The problem was that we could not see the first kite and Scott’s counter had got an error in it. Clive set to and worked out what line was out, the angle of the kites we could see and he came up with a height figure of just over 14000 feet. As the record stands at just over 14000 ft, set in 1904 by Samuel Cody, it was decided to let out more line and to be ready with the 12th kite. We got to within 800 feet of the end and to see the empty winch drum was amazing. The 12th kite was launched but never attached. Once the winch was stopped the load began to creep up to 200 lbs so a nervous decision was taken to start recovery straight away. With hindsight we should have left the train to settle for 5 – 10 minutes. However after 6 hrs20 mins we were all very concerned not to lose the whole train as by now the wind had increased to between 8 – 11 mph.
The Recovery:- With the increasing wind speed the line was pulled in at a slower rate of 0.75 mph. It was around this time that Dick came out with the words that no one wanted to hear, ‘I think we have lost the top kites!!’ The feeling was of disbelief as we all tried to count the kites but it was impossible even with the telescope. However the recovery continued regardless. The next problem that we encountered was that as the line was fed out and pulled in, it twists. This has the effect of wrapping the tether line from the kite around the main line. We have had this problem before and the main line had been cut with the loss of many kites, line and recording equipment. So as we pulled in kite no11. it was noticed that at least 20 ft of the main line had been wrapped up in this way. Also the twisting was starting to collapse the kite itself. To remove the twist, the main line had to be held horizontally and the tether slowly unwrapped. This took 5 agonizing minutes with everyone helping. Thankfully once removed the recovery could go ahead. The recovery was the exact reverse of the launch, everyone playing their part. Not knowing if we would actually be having a go at the record that day, I left the laptop for downloading the GPS at home – silly me!!! So just before Dick had uttered the immortal words, I had phoned my wife Debra begging her to bring the laptop over. Thankfully she agreed. So when Dick made his statement, I phoned Debra up and told her not to bother. It was as kite no. 7 was taken off, we realised we had not lost any kites. As we had about 1 – 2 hours to go to get back kite no. 1, a frantic phone call to Debra was made, asking her to come over fast with the laptop and also to bring some champagne.
There were no further problems and the first kite with the GPS was down by 8.15pm after nearly 10 hours of flying. The GPS was recovered and turned off. At that point Debra arrived with the laptop. As I opened the laptop, everyone walked away in trepidation. Why does it take so long to get a laptop to run when you are in a hurry? Once up and software running, the GPS was downloaded to the laptop. I moved the cursor to the highest point to find a reading of 18621 ft. Time stood still for a moment. I walked around to the group and announced the result. I think some thought I was joking. We all gathered around the laptop to see the result in disbelief. Once it had sunk in, Debra got out the champagne for a toast. The sun was setting on a fantastic day. The first kite was signed by all who took part and we all made our way home. I don’t know about others but I drove home in total shock that we had smashed the record. We both arrived home at 10pm tired and hungry after a long day but it was all well worth it.
Thanks must go to the team of nine.
John Atkinson for the use of his tractor, trailer and storage of winch over the years. Also manning the controls all day.
Scott for having the idea and making the winch with all its electronic readouts.
Dennis for being one of the co founders/ project leader of the idea and working with other to try for the record.
Kevin Heasman for setting up kites and the handling of kites before and after use.
Clive for collecting all data and for taking videos and photos.
John Ostler for setting up kites and the handling of kites before and after use.
Dick for the supply of tea, coffee etc, using the telescope and giving us all a heart attack.
Christine Ticehurst & Stephen English for coming to support us, but then working hard for rest of the day.
Also Mr Lakey for the use of his farm land and buildings.
Kites used were 24 and 36 power sleds. The line was Dyneema. The GPS unit was a Ventus Route Logger G730.
Many thanks should also go to clubs and individuals that have either given time or money to KARA over the past 7 years.
Also helped pulled up by the late Mick Beasley.
Should you want a full report of KARA from the very first attempt please email email@example.com
GPS GRAPHS OF THE DAY.
T he team Have had their UK record ratified by the British Aero Club, ths is the report taken from the Peterborough Evening Telegraph