Sunday, 10 March 2013

A kite's view of pair flying

Mini camcorders pop up on eBay and Amazon all the time, often for very low prices. I've always been tempted to get one, and attach it to a kite to see what the kite's view of the world is. What has made me hesitate was the negative reviews these mini camcorders often get, and it seems to be a bit of a gamble as to whether they actually work or not. Now if someone else gets one, there isn't much of a gamble involved of course! Neil did indeed get one, but wasn't sure how to get it to work, as it came without card and without manual .... Roger organised an appropriate memory card, and we then took it to the field for a 'test flight'. I also brought a netbook computer to the field, so we could check immediately whether it actually recorded or not (the buttons are very small, and it isn't always clear when a button is actually pressed).

First test was simply attaching it to the upper spreader of one of our North Shores, so the camcorder was pointing down, towards the flyer. This basically shows you what the belly of the kite sees when it's flying:

Next, we rotated the camcorder such that it pointed forward and recorded what the nose of the kite was seeing. In that position, Irma and I flew part of our pair routine, with the camcorder attached to the second kite:

Only a few times do you see the lead kite, and we're not quite sure yet why the camcorder picked up the lead kite so rarely. We tried several relative positions on the ground (from Irma standing behind me to Irma standing in front of me), but we couldn't get the lead kite in view consistently. Something to work on! And of course, the next thing to do is attach the camcorder to a kite when flying a team routine. As soon as we have the opportunity, we will try that!

Oh, and please ignore the date and time stamp; I couldn't change that or make it disappear ...

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