Sunday, February 14, 2016

Maiden flight of my parafoil kite :)

Back in the day, Anna, Biboy, and I spent long summer days at the sugarcane farm across the street to fly our dual-line kite. A perfect spot if you're not concerned about brambles, uneven soil, and the intensity of the sunlight. It took three kids to fly tht kite: two held the strings while one checked the wind conditions, tossed the kite in the air, and gave instructions on string management.

Last year, Joycelyn gave me a parafoil dual-line kite as a birthday gift. I was so excited to fly it. But the conditions were no longer ideal... The sugarcane farm was no longer accessible from my house, there were so many things the kite could be snagged onto, and there was only one kid left. The two kids outgrew the kite-flying interest.

And so the first opportunity to fly my new kite was at the 2016 Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Festival, in Clark, Pampanga. Everyone who knows me is familiar with my fascination for flying... And the closest I could do, aside from riding in an airplane, is to pilot a tethered aircraft. Which is what I do every second weekend of February, when the air is cool and with sky is clear, for hours on end.

Anyway, the early part of the day was spent untangling the lines. That is a test of patience because there are two lines, relatively longer than the strings of the kites I had flown previously. And the wind was turbulent. It changed direction every few minutes. How could I fly a kite in that condition?! This reminded me of asymmetric-flow field-flow fractionation, a separation technique that relied on laminar flow of material. Nerd alert!! Needless to say, my kite crashed quite a few times. But this didn't dampen my mood... Or my friends'. Krishna and Crisline were still enthusiastic with throwing the kite into the air. Josh, Shiela's son, was still excited to see it soar with the other kites. Shiela was taking photos throughout (photo below by Shiela).

With the "never give up, never surrender" attitude, we flew the kite one last time. And it just shot up into the air... FAST! We were all so happy that we finally got the kite to fly! To think I had only let out half the length of the lines. I could just imagine how high it could go with the full length! 

Once it was in the air, people started approaching us with questions about where I got it. They might have been checking out deltas and rectangular single-line kites that were being sold in the venue. I've got those too before but they didn't feel as sturdy as this parafoil. The string of the last delta kite I had (many years ago) snapped at full length when the wind became too strong; I was chasing after my kite at the airport's airplane parking lot! 


I'm already looking forward to fly the dual-line again. In the meantime, it goes into storage. My mom has since given away my kites whenever she finds the ones I kept in hiding (she can smell them, I can tell). My new kite, however, doesn't look like a kite... But I'll keep it inside the car while my mom's home so she can't give it away. Just in case. Hehehe.