New players? [Oklahoma State and Toyota hope to build world's highest flying kite]

I can’t read it from France, maybe others can?

Toyota/OSU Mothership coverage by Tulsaworld is visible from Texas at least. They are building expertise by going for a new single-kite altitude record, which won’t be easy.

kPower is in touch with some of the “new players”; as well as having studied and corresponded with the previous two single-kite altitude record holders, in past years. Again, relevant Old Forum messages exist, recent and old, to be data-mined.

Web Archive link:

Video at the bottom of the article.

@Kitewinder Use a vpn to view it from America
Nice looking kite. The skin materials look very lightweight and tight on inflation… Hope the pressure holds…
Is that a wee pitch controller at the bridle point?
And a wee drogue.

I’ve emailed Richard Synergy, who set the single-kite altitude record almost twenty years ago, that Australian kite flyers later beat. Richard was very meticulous with his record R&D and wrote a how-to book that I own, but is at my NW US residence 2000 miles from my current location in Austin. Richard was based in Ontario.

Have not found OSU email contacts yet, but have been in preliminary contact with Toyota Mothership principals in recent weeks. Predicting that Mothership goals will require multiline kite-train kite-arch topologies, based on Eiji Ohashi’s brilliant kite train design legacy. I’ve also emailed Eiji, hoping he is still with us.

From Eiji Ohashi’s own site-

Richard Synergy replied back. He wants to know more about the Toyota/OSU Mothership project, and single-kite altitude record attempts. I’ll be forwarding him the links so far, and introducing him (and Ohashi’s legacy) to the Toyota leads via email.

Richard would be a VIP “new player” in AWE. We corresponded in years-past, when he was unsure of his fit to AWE R&D, high-altitude kite work being his prime expertise. Mothership Project has put 10km altitude AWES concepts back in play.

“The OSU engineers hoped to reach 16,500 feet — or 3.125 miles — Tuesday.”

My friend Mark flew a single kite higher than that, this summer, over Big Bear, California.
Not only that, he was tethered directly to it. A Wills Wing T2. No Oxygen. Lately he’s been forced to take a break. Healing. Again. Powerlines, doncha know…

Interesting to note, despite the headline:
“Setting a new world record would just be the cherry on top, but it’s not really what the program is all about.”

Personally I’d like to see a new altitude record for any type of kite - probably some sort of kite train. Not for any particular reason except it would be a cool, interesting, fun stunt, but could lead somewhere. The current kite-train record was set over 100 years ago:

Highest altitude by a kite train – 31,955 feet – 9,740 meters. Eight kites flew over Lindenburg on 1 August 1919.

Kind of surprising nobody has beat it in the ensuing 100 years. With today’s designs and materials, you’d think someone would have by far exceeded what was possible 100 years ago by now. It’s like reading that the fastest airplane was flown a century ago. huh??? Well that was back in “The Golden Age of Kites”, right? Still… I’m not saying it would be a slam-dunk but geez, what were the kites made of back then, cat-gut and and oilcloth? Flown by piano wire? Might be a good project for, oh I don’t know, some kite freak. At least he could say he’d accomplished something.

A Gary Indiana High School team, in 1967, beat the German record with a train of 17 Gayla toy kites, to 10,830m high, but Guinness disallowed it because some top kites parted.

Partial reference-

High altitude kite flying is a technical challenge with many fine lessons for anyone who tries. Toyota and OSU are wise to develop their kite skills by bold increments.

Beating kite records is ideal training toward the stated goal of developing 10km high kite-based systems. Mothership’s next logical step could be setting a new kite train record.

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