Public Lab Research note

PFK Nighthawk debut at LEAFFEST

by cfastie | October 12, 2015 02:29 12 Oct 02:29 | #12290 | #12290

Above: A Nighthawk Delta from Paul's Fishing Kites flying in Vermont today.

I had a brand new kite to show off at LEAFFEST. I just received a Nighthawk Delta from New Zealand and we hoped to fly it on Saturday, but there was not even enough wind to keep the Fled airborne for long. The Nighthawk is a tough kite that can fly reliably in more wind than my other three kites. It should enable me to lift cameras when the wind is 30 mph (or higher, but I can't imagine flying a kite in stronger winds). On Sunday the wind was 15 mph and gusty, so it was a good chance to try it for the first time.

The Nighthawk (red) is much smaller that the popular nine foot Levitation delta (underneath). Instead of a nine foot wingspan, it is about seven feet from tip to tip.

The Nighthawk has three grommets for attaching the flying line. I used the one at the vertex which is for low wind conditions. The other two are for progressively stronger winds and allow the main sail of the kite to be more parallel with the oncoming wind.

The Nighthawk is made in New Zealand for surf fishing. It has a wooden cross spar which will break if the kite enters the water.

The wooden cross spar is made of wood from the tawa tree (Beilschmiedia tawa, Lauraceae). It is one of the few common hardwood trees in New Zealand that has strong, flexible wood. The spar is intended to withstand the forces of strong winds, but not the force of "flying" through the water. When the spar breaks it is easy to retrieve a submerged kite. The edge spars in the Nighthawk are fiberglass, and the longeron is carbon fiber.

The Nighthawk flew very well today. It was very steady in a wind with gusts over 20 mph and the Saturn V Rig was lifted easily. The bigger Levitation delta would have also worked well today, but during the gusts it would have pulled very hard and been flexed to near it's limit. The Nighthawk responded to gusts by pulling a little harder, but most of the wind just spilled off somehow. I was very impressed with the design.

The NZD/USD exchange rate for the last ten years.

In the US, this is a good time to buy a kite from New Zealand. Shipping is expensive, but the exchange rate is favorable. It cost about US $140 including shipping and it arrived in about a week.


And This is a perfect kite for flying off-wind. Paul's instructions, my simpler strategies.

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