Saturday, December 1, 2012

First you need a kite.

To lift a camera you need a big kite with lots of pull. It also needs to be a steady flier and there are a few designs renowned for their KAP-ability.

PFK Nighthawk
The Paul's Fishing Kite (PFK) Nighthawk delta is designed to fly in winds as strong as 30kn. Most other kites would be looping and crashing by then. It has large trailing edge flaps, strong flexible fibreglass spars and a hardwood spreader. The KAP community has adopted the PFK as the strong wind specialist, but it will also lift lighter rigs in normal wind strengths.
This is my favourite kite, it just wants to fly and keep on flying no matter how strong. Tail usually not required but may calm it down a bit in strong winds and reduce overflying.

Lifting range
480g RC rig in 12kn - 30kn+
270g GoPro rig in 6kn+
NZ$140 from Paul's Fishing Kites - New Zealand

ITW 9ft Levitation Delta
For lighter winds 5kn -17kn, this big delta from In-to-the-Wind is my choice and a favourite of many KAPers world wide. It has more pull than the PFK but also starts to fly to the side and do power loops in wind speeds above it's range.
Flies at a very high angle and even over-flies in light puffy wind and hot days. Adding a tail reduces overflying and gives steadier flight. I use a 3m long tube tail.

Lifting range
480g RC rig in 8kn - 17kn
270g GoPro rig in 5kn+
US$75 from Into the Wind - Boulder Colarado

PL Pilot 2m2
This 2.0 square metre parafoil is made in New Zealand by Peter Lynn Kites. Peter Lynn is famous for making some of the world's largest kites.
Parafoils have no spars and pack up into a small stuff bag. They have strong pull but fly at a lower line angle like 50ยบ
Flies well without a tail but everyone else says they use one. May calm down side to side swaying.

Lifting range
480g RC rig in 10kn+
270g GoPro rig in 6kn+
NZ$96 from Peter Lynn Kites - New Zealand

Cody Box Kite
This was the first kite I bought for KAP and it was not all that suitable. Above about 16kn it flies out to one side and power loops. It has a narrower wind range than the above kites and take more assembly time but does have good pull. KAP range 8kn - 15kn
However it is an interesting kite in the sky and attracts attention. It flies well enough within its wind range.

A$79 from Kite Power - Geelong

18th Jan 2013: New kite added to the quiver.
Skydog 7ft Pirate Rokkaku

Feb 2013: Made a 2m white rokkaku

May 2013: Made a 1.7m yellow rokkaku


  1. Hi Andrew. Have you ever tried a 3 axis gimbal on any of your kite rigs for video? I'm thinking a Z1 Rider from Hobby King might work well with a Picavet mount. Might have to get the Nighthawk Delta to tow behind my buggy for some video too. Cheers - John. (quedecree).

    1. Not yet John, but the KAP forum chaps are starting to experiment with them. Skysnaps from WA has some nice kiteboard footage using a gimbal.