KiteShip had close connection to Burning Man via CTO Dean Jordan and NABX kite buggy expo. The Black Rock Desert is the northern extension of the Mojave, with all its pioneering aviation history, where both KiteShip and Makani tested, so these large flat Playas are serious AWE R&D wind paradises.
The Burning Man event itself is during the low-wind season, or it would not be tolerable as a public event. Weather fronts and thunderstorms whip up dust storms, but on good days the wind is strong and the dust stays put. The new ranch area west of the Playa is not well suited for kites, either by terrain or fluky wind shadows, but could be the base to deploy AWES out onto the Playa, including during the event if winds are suitable.
Burning Man culture itself is an above-average muddle from brilliant to hopeless. Look for Dean and DOTA (department of tethered aviation) if you attend. They will be flying everything from giant kites to power kites in unpredictable adventures and mutations. It was my honor to train with Dean and the best at Ivanpah Wind Park further south in 2007-
When the wind died, we threw boomerangs, but still got bored, so we towed one of Dean’s giant parafoils and skimmed the 300m tube-tails over (on) the moving traffic of the Interstate Highway. Amazingly, no one reported us, we expected heat. Maybe it was human gratitude for such a wild unexpected moment, but if someone had been hurt…come to these deserts to do you own thing and not bother anyone.
The LAGI-AWE connection also goes back a decade or so. Here we mainly see the LAGI-BM brands in banal mingling. There is no in-house kite engineering culture in artsy LAGI. Expect AWE to continue to develop in such circles, and its up to us to bring on our best. How ironic if Burning Man turns into Wubbo’s AWEfest, indeed, if endless heritage festivals happen to embrace AWE, rather than an “empty disco” festival about AWE itself.