Updated: Aug 16
This last Friday, (7/17/2020), I drove down to Ocean Shores, Washington to meet up with Bill Brosius of Olympia, Washington. For the past few years Bill has been working on something and this week he thought he might be ready to set a new 'record' of sorts. Bill doesn't just fly one kite, he flies many, and that is what sets him apart. How many, and how he does it is what might make it a new World Record.
What he has been working towards and was attempting to accomplish on Friday was a flight of 3 stacks of 24 dual line kites being flown simultaneously by one person. Recently, he was able to successfully fly the set up, but the time in flight was not recorded. So, on Friday, with the winds predicted to be 15-18 mph and the weather generally clear, he decided to make it official.
The Criteria: 5 minutes of sustained flight of all 3 stacks. The clock does not start till all three stacks are fully airborne and it stops if at any point a kite touches the ground. Bill must execute at least 3 maneuvers to the right and 3 to the left, and at no point can all three stacks be sitting at top of the wind window. The kites must remain in 'perpetual motion'
Each stack is labeled for 'Left, Center, Right' (or in Bill speak X Y Z). When setting up, flying and taking down everything is done in sequence and the same.
The Left and Right stacks are flown from a single handle. While in the photo the handle is lying horizontally, Bill actually flies with the handle vertical. The 'right' line (red pig tail) is on the top and the 'left' line (blue pig tail) is on the bottom. So to execute a right hand (clockwise) turn with both the left and right stack he would pull the top of the handle towards him and push the bottom away. The Center stack is flown from his hips, with the right line on his right hip and the left on the left.
It takes help to set up and act as ground crew for the stacks. Each kite is inspected, along with the train lines between each kite. There are pigtails facing forward and backward on each kite with 6+ knots. Attached to these pigtails are the train lines, the knots allow for adjustments for wind conditions or other irregularities.
Bill first set up around 11 am with winds averaging around 5 mph. Way below the preferred wind range. The big reason for wanting 12-20 mph is that it helps to pressurize all of the kite sails and takes out the slack in the train lines. This stabilizes the stack and makes it easier to fly. Greater winds do mean greater pull and faster reactions, but it also means it is a touch easier fly. For the first hour or so, he looked over the details, adjusted a line here or there, and kept a weathered eye to the horizon waiting for that predicted wind. Every wind forecast said it would be in the 15 mph+ range, but every 20 minutes Bill was out there with his wind gauge, and all he saw was 5-7 mph. Near the end of the day he decided to at least make an attempt at a 'shake down' flight in the lower winds. Simply to see if it was possible.
As predicted, the stacks were too squirrely, and unable to lock in, making an attempt impossible. Bill is determined to make this happen, and he is chocking this day up to the 100+ other days that he has been out to the beach trying to do this. It is a learning day, and a step closer to his goal to fly 50 in each stack.
Check out this video for a closer look at the Record Attempt.
We will be standing by to capture when it does happen, and hope to bring more to the story of Bill. Stay Tuned!