Public Lab Research note

Preliminary testing of small pocket sled kite for Mobius camera

by patcoyle | July 14, 2015 06:32 | 2,886 views | 6 comments | #12059 | 2,886 views | 6 comments | #12059 14 Jul 06:32

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patcoyle was awarded the Basic Barnstar by warren for their work in this research note.

What I want to do

Explore smaller kites for use with Mobius camera. At 38 grams for the camera, smaller kites or balloons could be useful. Inspired by Jeff Warren's smaller balloon discussion, I picked up a small pocket sled from Into The Wind's store on Pearl Street, in Boulder.



My attempt and results

I got the kite launched and attached a large binder clip as a test weight.


The kite is small and a bit skittish as can see in videos below:


Questions and next steps

Try with camera, explore rigging options, evaluate where the small, no-spar, soft kites make sense.

Why I'm interested

Small portable mapping options could be handy.


Do you think if you moved the weight further down the line from the kite it would be more stable?

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Reply to this comment...

Thanks, good question Dan. The usual guidance from the KAP community is more distance from the kite to the rig on the line is better, like minimum 60-100', enough so the kite is stable and in clean air before attaching camera rig. I shoot for this when I'm flying my other larger kites, so I'll fiddle with it for this set up as well. I did observe that the little kite seemed pretty skittish, even at altitude. Also when bringing it down, my video didn't capture it, but closer to the ground the kite started spinning - made several revolutions. Pretty scenic.

This was just a test, in the event of a real camera flight, ... :->

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sled kites have that characteristic skittish 'hunting' behavior. They stabilize well with a drogue on a long string that connects to a bridle on back two tail points. This pocket sled looks like it already has tails though.

this is an exciting setup! I love the idea of a completely soft kite kit with a small camera.

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+1 soft kite + camera! If we can find a stable tail/drogue situation, this'd be super, and easy to ship!

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I have a soft kite, i had forgotten about it. it's mega primitive though. will try this out!

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Fascinating! Given the ever shrinking weights of POV camera options, small kite KAP makes a lot of sense. The skittish behavior is a problem for anything in the air as sizes get smaller (which is why Lockheed Martin stuck with a 2 foot wingspan on it's Desert Hawk drone even though they had experimented with wingspans of 6 inches. They found the 2 foot wingspan to be the smallest possible size that could handle the weather conditions it was likely to be operated in). There was a post a while back ( on stabilizing methods for lifter Sled kites that might be open for adaptation (though it looks like you lock yourself into a certain area/height when you do it). Mathew has flown the TALA sled kite which used a very long (about 25 feet for a 2 foot long kite or 10x the chord) thin string tail that had a number of streamers tied to it (which he is letting me borrow to do more testing with it). I didn't get a chance to ask him if it lessened the "hunting" movement compared standard sled tails though. On my 1 square foot Rogallo parawing kite, my attempt to copy the TALA tail has tamed the kite quite a bit considering I normally fly in 16-20 MPH winds.


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