Your notes  are welcome:                                  
Last edited: 03/17/2011 07:52 AM -0800

  launches international contest:  CKC 
Sponsors of contest and of prizes are invited. Contact AWEIA.

This CKC is for advanced seasoned aero/kite people, not for the timid beginner; there is high opportunity for satisfaction, but also for discouraging experience. If one can tolerate much approximate success before reaching golden moments then the CKC might be for a gem. If designing, building, and well flying a kite is already in your background and want a creative challenge, then CKC contest might be for you. CKC concerns human powering a kite without running outside a small ground start circle; but CKC is strongly about craft design, so that a narrow window of mechanical opportunity might be entered.  Two strong seasoned kite engineers have cautioned against presenting CKC contest to school children, as too much non-flying is very likely; good flying will be allusive until sweet designs and operation tactics are perfected.  Few people have succeeded in standing in a confined circle in calm while launching and flying a kite for more than a few seconds; CKC is aiming for durations of minutes and even hours. Horvath allows thermals in his "no wind" scenarios, but CKC contest disallows thermals in the trials for prizes. The CKC contest is yet in a design-contest period; open discussion on all points is invited.

Many kiters have already experienced some no-wind kiting in the following senses:

  • Frequently
  • Of course, those doing indoor kiting are doing some no-wind kiting. Even so, most indoor kiting showcases obtaining duration by walking, running, or dancing of the pilot in combination with relatively short tether lines. And some of the pilots get familiar with indoor drafts, indoor kite wakes, and vortices caused caused by body and kite commotions.
  • Kiters who have a high flying kite might winch in kited wing through a wind gradient where a strata of the air  is calm.  While the kite is in that calm, the pilot has the choice to gather the tether or run the tether to attain some kiting continuation. Indeed, near the ground there might be near full calm after a windy flying session; in that near-ground calm one might reel in the kite all the way to hand by creating airspeed over the kite's wing by virtue of the reeling in or walking or running.  The common experience in entering the lower calm is an expectation that very soon the flying session will end, unless one runs and runs and runs.   One might be tempted to get into lighter-than-air gases to keep the kytoon up.   The CKC contest aims expose options for sustaining flight in calms.


Climbing-Kite-in-Calm Contest

CalmKite™ , Calm Kite™, ClimbingKite™, KlimbingKite™, Klimbing Kite™ , KalmKite™  , Kalm Kite™    , HPKite™, Human-powered Kite™,  H. P. Kite™       File started January 25, 2011
Initial announcement:  M2977  

Climbing Kites in Calm. Calm Kiting Climb contest:   (CKC)          

Toward Calm AWECS Management 

Task summary:   Get it high in full calm from small operating circle!

Consider being restricted to ground operations within a circle of , say, 5 m. Have all operations that are ground-touching be done only within that circle.  Assume no wind and no thermals, like quiet calm indoor air. Without pilot or robot leaving the circle and starting with kite's lifting body and tether in the circle for start also: fly the kite to a record altitude; see draft rules below. NOTICE: Following the start, the lifting body and tether may certainly go beyond the circle, but without touching the ground or getting auxiliary outside-circle assists; the human pilot or robot may not leave the circle.  Send in results and specifications for publication in Upper Windpower

Some gains upon wide sharing of successful designs and tactics:

  • Those who choose to fly kites in calms and do not want to run much will have choices.
  • Those who do not have legs for running and choose to fly kites in calms will have choices.
  • The found tactics will affect the operation of some AWECS upon calms or inadequate winds.
  • Aeronautics will be advanced in some corners.
  • Some kiting tasks normally needing wind may be accomplished in calms.
  • Some participants will gain an increased appreciation of updrafts and downdrafts and various windfield vortex structures. Absolute calm is probably not realistic.   Measuring degrees of calm near absolute calm may advance during the CKC contest run. 
  • Calm-confirmation instrumentation might advance.  It will be asked and observed: "Just how calm was it for a certain trial?"
  • Indoor kiting will be modified by the widened set of designs and operation tactics revealed during the CKC contest.
  • Kite quivers will increasingly hold kites that can fly in calms.
  • Some new practical applications will open to those equipped with no-wind kites and calm-kiting skills.

Predictive challenges-so far-expressed: 

  • Jan. 25, 2011:   "We will definitely win that contest with the new hardware I'm designing ;-)"  ~~Reinhart Paelinck
  • Jan. 25, 2011:  "Reinhart, I think I have something going that will get higher than your hardware for the contest here!"   ~~JoeF       Jan. 27, 2011: "But lo!  I am organizationally disallowed from winning prize money in CKC contest, but I will enter my specifications and observed results for tech share purpose. It will be exciting to see your reports; I hope you will get it higher than I do, as that will be quite high!
  • v?

DRAFT:   Rules include (suggestions for rules are invited):

  • Operate in full calm. Have no benefit of thermals. This atmospheric condition may have to be sought carefully to avoid wind or thermal-lift assistance. Some special conditions and some mornings before sunrise come to mind. Large indoor arenas come to mind, but the ceiling may limit attainments.  Neutral observers would be great to sign off on the success.
  • Firmly:  The tether and wing starts in the circle, but then those parts may go beyond the circle while the pilot (human or robot) remain in the start circle. This is not a "go-straight-up" contest.  However, going straight up is allowed.
  • Discussion in draft period is needed on these matters: Have no powered motor on the kite's lifting body or its tether, except such is allowed at the mooring point within the restricted circle. Elastics and springs may be on the wing, but such may not be loaded with potential energy until the wing is already in the flying mode.  We want to avoid such things as solar-powered motoring.   It is wanted that tether tugs be allowed to give both signal and energy to the wing, but without using electricity sent from ground for motored flight (else could result simply a wire-controlled electrically-powered aircraft, which is not the intent of the CKC contest).  But what about letting tugs and jerks of tether given energy so that a wing-based generator reacts to give electricity for storage at the wing for use in controls that might direct the gliding path or angle of attack of the wing during the trial?  The wing is flown fully unpowered except by the power of tether tugs and jerks (no pun intended for the human operators!); could the contest permit inventors/designers to have devices to convert tug and jerk energies to electricity for use in controls or even direct propulsion? How would that be so different from just using a conductive tether and sending electricity up to the wing for control and propulsion? Big difference: contest does not permit electrically conductive tethers; such would be a different game with a different safety environment.     If a robot is used to tug, jerk, or rotate, then something is powering the robot.  Food is powering the human pilot.
    • Is sending chemicals up the tether allowed?  No chemicals or gases are permitted to be sent up inside or outside the tether to the wing for control or propulsion.  Example: A hollow tether is not to be a conduit for pressurized air for controlling or propelling the wing.  This is similar to not sending electricity or light up the tether to control or power the wing.

  • Accumulators? No electrochemical batteries  or capacitors  will be on the wing or tether.  
    • What if a capacitor is charged after the start of the trial by way of effects from tether tugging, jerking, twist, movement of mooring base within the operations circle, or the flight of wing by mining the relative wind from the wing's motion in the calm?   Someone might want to have tether tug or jerk energy operate a generator in the wing while saving generated energy for smart controls of the wing or for propulsion; this may be great fun or useful in some AWECS, however, the CKC will stay with a focus that does not have accumulators aloft.   Someone might want to have energy mined aloft post-start to energized a radio receiver with intent of operator on ground to control flight or for powering a smart robot in the wing; will such be allowed?    Discuss, please.  First notions are to keep such neat machinations outside of the CKC contest.  Maybe there could be categories with prizes in each category.
    • Then what about loading elastics or springs for accumulating energy for strategic use to effect flight? A system might aim to have a post-start accumulation of energy in the form of a spring or elastic; the energy might be used during relaxed main tether and during glide segments. Will such device be allowed for winning prizes? Such strategy can be discussed in this draft period.
    • It is to be noted that tugging, jerking, or twisting of  the tether may be used to control the flight path of the wing. But notice that the aim of CKC is to increase get the wing to increasing altitude which is equivalent to increasing the potential energy of the wing relative to the center of the earth.  And we notice that some strategies will put some of that potential energy to play during the trial, like in using some of that potential energy or altitude to effect a glide of the wing during which glide some additional tether may be let out (without letting the tether touch the ground!)

  • Power the climb after initial toss only by tether controls.
  • CKC first event will disallow use of shock-tube tethers.  
  • Why have that  the tether  "not touch the ground" outside the operation start circle at any time during the trial? What difference would that be than if some touching were allowed?   Please discuss this matter during this rule drafting time period.  Letting the wing or tether touch the ground after trial start might make the contest nearly trivial, as full glide-outs would easily permit tether  let-outs followed by fresh reeling in for flight up. Also, if accumulators are permitted and touching of ground, then the accumulated energy might be used to roll or walk the wing on the ground away from mooring for increasing tether length. Such games may well be fun directions  for other games and competitions or for specific new categories of action.   Discuss?
  • The operation has the lifting body ever off the ground during the trial.
  • The tether may not touch the ground during the trial.
  • No beam or rod or stick or arm may go outside the operating ground circle.
  • Beams or rod or stick or arm may reach skyward as much as the start circle's diameter, in suggested 5 m circle, the skyward reach would be 5 m.
  • Robot may jerk, rotate, dance, or whatever. Same for human pilot.
  • Have no blowers on the ground or air.
  • Combustion is outside the aims of the CKC focus.
  • The wing part of the kite system is always to be connected to the system's tether set and also always to be connected to the system's ground mooring point (human pilot or robot in the ground circle.
  • The ground circle is to be a fixed ground circle or a fixed-anchor water-surface platform. That is, the CKC contest avoids moving operation circle; we do not want the circle to be on the deck of a moving truck or boat or train, etc.; that is a different game with valuable things to explore for AWECS, but such moving moorings is not the CKC game.  The pilot (human or robot) may move about within the circle, but not outside the fixed circle. The circle is to remain geographically fixed during the trial.
  • Tether may be a torque tube or torque cable for driving a rotary lifting body.
  • The tether may not conduct electricity or light-for-powering during the climbing activity.
  • Light may be tether transferred, but not for control or propulsive purposes. Perhaps someone will have a tether that transmits light to illuminate the position of the wing and the tether for aviation safety, visual identification, entertainment, etc.    However, the CKC contest avoids controlling the wing or propelling the wing by using light (thus solar-energy, power beaming, or tether-carried light for control or propulsion are beyond the CKC game. Exception: A demonstration that uses a robot may power the robot by use of any power system desired; e.g. a robot might be solar-energy powered while the robot may only affect the kite system by way of tugs, jerks, rotations, twists, or input of light (only for said non-control and non-propulsive reasons, if wanted).
  • Have no initial stored energy in the lifting body or tether. Notice that any successful tossing or flying of the wing to higher heights does give the lifted mass additional potential energy; also, the wing body moved by tugs obtains kinetic energy relative to the calm air; a relative wind is created as the wing body moves through the air by falling or is moved through the air by tether tugging.
  • The kite system employed may not employ lighter-than-air gases and may not depend on solar-heated air as lifter.
  • Do not employ light or solar radiation or lasers or microwave beams to power any motor in the system.  That is, sending light in an optical tether pipe is another game.   Also, power beaming energy to receptors on the wing or tether is also a different game. These different games are interesting, but the CKC contest is aiming to have a rule set that distinguishes itself from some of those games.
  • The lifting body may be tethered by multiple lines going to the start circle.
  • The human pilot or ground robot may operate the tether. An initial toss by hand or robot may launch the lifting body with some tether. Following the initial toss, the human pilot or robot may operate the tether to affect the behavior of the lifting body of the kite system.  The robot toss may not exceed the force that a human pilot could exert (this is to avoid robot cannons of unlimited shooting power, etc. )
  • Publish specifications for success. Tell the net altitude above level of start circle reached. Tell the length of tether. Tell the time it took from start to peak altitude. Specify kite and tether materials and design. As possible couple with an engineer or physicist for a technical analysis of the flight pattern and cause of success reached.  Aim to describe the theoretical limits of altitude AGL achievable by the specified system. Express how such a system might be used to launch AWECS or to maintain AWECS aloft in calms or wind direction reversals.
  • Show video on YouTube.  
  • The CKC will be without radio control (RC) devices from ground to wing or tether.  RC
  • Disallowed from winning prize money:  JoeF or members of his family.
  • All things start in the circle; then the flying body and tether may go beyond the circle, but not the operator. After start, the tether or lifting flying body or wing is not to touch the ground during the effort; the tether or wing is not to get beyond-circle assists. 
  • Gravity may be employed to effect gliding of the involved wing while the tether remains fully attached to the wing.
  • Tether dynamics: twist, torque, tugs, jerks, rate and strength of tubs and jerks.   Operator may twist the tether in order to send some torque to the kite for controls or propulsion.  Operator may tug and jerk at any frequency chosen at any time during the trial.  Operator my relax tether tension very fully or increase tension of tether very much at any time during the trial.
  • Decision of the CKC judge set is final. The CKC Judge Set consists of 3 or 5 or 7 persons. Majority vote on a decision confirms.   Judges have not yet been confirmed.
  • Questions are invited.  Tactics and devices that are not clearly mentioned in the rules could be discussed at any time.
  • [ ] Coming: some notes by Wayne German (<=AWE forum only) and discussion by JoeF.


  • Establish world records for a particular specification for defined constraints.
  • We are looking for prizes to award.  Offers are invited. Substantial prizes bring logo-link presence in the contest file realm. 
  • Direct competitions in some localities?
  • Predictive challenge expressions are welcome.
  • This contest has a focus beyond kite dance or general zero-wind kiting. The focus is on extreme altitude gain under the constraints.
  • Judge committee members?   Volunteers are invited.
  • Constrained-circle-calm-climbing-kite contest
  • v
Hi Shane,                                                                    Jan. 26, 2011 edited. Jan. 27.
Calm .... No wind. Quiet. No leaves moving. No dust being blown about. The sunrise has not heated the ground and things yet in pre-sunrise, and so bubbles of air are not being heated and moved upward as thermals. Not a time to fly kites, unless one wanted to either run very much or do the moderate-length-line kiting that is being developed in "indoor kiting" some of which with music and dance can be a beautiful art; see some of those videos.

But beyond that, there is a window of opportunity that is the subject of the contest being designed and will be developed. There may be at least two, if not more, tactics that may permit achieving high altitude in zero-wind without running or lighter-than-air gas use, that is, by staying within a small circle and manipulating the tether for specially designed kites within a rule set. And do such calm kiting without any motor or stored fuel on the upper kite craft or its tether. Notice: After start, the wing and tether projections to ground may certainly leave the start circle.

Achievements of extreme altitude gain under such rules are not known here yet, if someone has gone through the window of opportunity to extreme. The contest aims to develop and expose the opportunity.  CKC under AWEIA hopes to attract prize money. A full description of the involved physics and techniques that may become known would advance kiting and AWE.   Success should affect the AWE movement also, as we want kite energy devices to stay up when calm occasionally occurs or launch in calm to get up to effective start winds.

Thanks for the tickle,

CLARIFICATION about the vertical projection on the ground of wing and tether outside the start circle and not requiring straight-up flight.

On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 10:20 AM, dave santos  wrote:

Keep in mind that this is a very tricky challenge and most who try must fail for lack of skills and knowledge. It would stump most aerospace students.

A principle in school activities is for all students to get satisfaction, even if some are better. The basic kite is the prime example of an ideal school project.

One of your hard rules is going straight up, it may be that circling up is the right way, far easier.
[[Ed: See rule set that now clarifies that "straight up" is not required; that is, during climb, the vertical projection onto ground by the tether and wing may certainly be outside the start and operating circle.]]

Even so, this is not for beginners. One design mistake and forget it.

Still, this is a major aviation problem. Maybe a contest would help solve it, nevermind the struggles of running contests,

Thanks, DaveS,
     That is why we are in draft rule stage. The upper notice now reads:
Consider being restricted to ground operations with a circle of , say, 5 m. Have all operations that are ground-touching be done only within that circle. Assume no wind and no thermals, like quiet calm indoor air. Without pilot or robot leaving the circle and starting with kite's lifting body and tether in the circle for start also: fly the kite to a record altitude; see draft rules below. NOTICE: Following the start, the lifting body and tether may certainly go beyond the circle; the human pilot or robot may not leave the circle.

So, DaveS, this CKC  is more lax than "straight up" effort. The projection of the tether and lifting body certainly may go beyond the constraining start circle, but not the mooring human operator or robot. Any kite can succeed to get some altitude just by the start toss.   All things start in the circle; then the flying body and tether may go beyond the circle, but not the operator. After start, the tether or wing craft is not to touch the ground during the effort.                    

  • "no wind"      "zero wind"
    • Some practitioners say "no wind" when there is no horizontal wind while they sneak in use of vertical updrafts or thermals or vertical downdrafts. So, their "no wind" still has wind. Mining the energy of updrafts and downdrafts is using wind.
    • Full calm with no appreciable movement of air in any direction (oblique, up, down, around, horizontal) is very rare; so there are degrees of calm.
    • "no-wind kiting" is understood by Horvath as allowing thermals. But the AWEIA calm kiting climbing (CKC) contest intends for "no-wind kiting" to mean that there is not occurring updraft or downdraft winds in addition to no horizontal or oblique winds.
    • Discussion is open on this or any entry in the AWE Glossary


Organizing notes:

  1. Jan. 26, 2011: Special KiteEnergy AWE list was sent: Toward Calm AWECS Management 
    AWE, special Team,
    Contest partial-prize sponsor opportunity:         International .

  2. Forum post: Initial announcement:  M2977

  3. Sent opportunity note to 3Tier.  Todd Stone.

  4. Jan. 27, 2011: AWEIA adopts the Climbing Kite in Calm Contest:

    AWEIA has adopted the CKC.
    Should be fun and extensive. Could reach schools everywhere.  Deep opportunity for new toys, products, adventures.
    And management of AWECS in calm and in launching.
    Seek prize sponsors. Logo-linked presence available upon substantial prize sponsoring.  Toy size may prove principles and designs.   Challenging.   Safer, as long running is not allowed; stay in a prescribed circle. Learn to measure attained altitude and report to AWEIA  at its CKC committee.    Every city in the world could try their hand at calm kiting.
    => Climbing Kite Contest ... international; towards management of AWECS in calm.
  5. Jan. 27, 2011: "But lo!  I am organizationally disallowed from winning prize money, but I will enter my specifications and observed results for tech share purpose.

  6. Disallowed from winning prize of CKC    Calm Kiting Contest:  JoeF or any members of his family are disallowed from winning CKC prize money.   Are there others to be disallowed from winning the prize money?

  7. DS helped to clarify the rules. Result: Firmly: the tether and wing starts in the circle, but then those parts may go beyond the circle while the pilot (human or robot) remain in the start circle. This is not a "go-straight-up" contest.

  8. Who might be effective prize sponsors?   And contest sponsors?    

  9. Application fee to AWEIA to cover administration costs for handling the reports during the judging process?  Could these costs be covered by sponsors?

  Flash ideas for saving:
  • Kite coils top of tether versus full-tether coiling at mooring ...????
  • Tether vibrations: frequencies and tones. Detection of changes to inform robot to initiate certain measures of tugs or jerks or rotations or twists.
  • "Years of media impostures count for nothing if real champions emerge seemingly out of nowhere."  ds
  • The question about the possibility of human-powering an unmanned tethered device for a straight-up climb is on the table. Could tether pulses on a non-fueled device  cause more climb than fall? Discussion is open for this matter.    For instance, set a large low-mass wide disk that also has a spiral drive of a propeller above the disk into the air and begin pulses on a tether that goes to the disk center in a special way; design so the tether-tug pulses occur when the special disk is with its mesh closed; mine the force of the pulse, so part of the energy drives gear that rotates the propeller with a slight delay in release; upon that slight delay the tether pulse will conclude which triggers propeller pitch change for vertical lift with air forced down through a then-opened mesh disk. The disk will easily close at drop and easily open when receiving propeller-thrusted air; will physics and design allow such a device to climb straight up?  Discussion is open.
  • Out-of-hole operation
     Person is down in an earth cavity, some deep hole. In easier instance, let the hole be quite long in one direction, but still deep, perhaps a trench.  Assume that the air is still and calm in the trench.  Assume the bottom of the trench is hazardous and precludes running or even setting out a high-start tether.  But the pilot has just enough space to toss a CalmKite™  or any no-wind kite into a glide in the lower regions of the trench; and then the pilot does some calm kiting operations to effect a climbing of the wing eventually to the top of the trench and into the upper-ground ambient winds for a robust flying. People see the kite and go to the trench to save the life of the pilot. Or the pilot lets the wing catch on shrubs above and then climbs out of the trench by using the the stuck tether as a saving-grace climb line.   

    A similar scenario is being in a high-walled prison yard
    wanting to escape the yard; the high walls are blocking the wind; there is relative calm; and prison escape artist does not want to be seen running across the yard with a kite. So, the no-wind kiting expert prisoner stands still and tosses out a the kite wing into a short glide and begins operating the tether just right to effect tether lengthening and finally winching to have the wing high enough to clear the prison walls and catch on something for a climb-out escape; or to catch the upper ambient winds for a robust flight where climbing out of the prison yard could be effected by walking up the walls or other tether-climb or sling means.
Calm kiting avoiding thermic or gust lift is a human-powered aircraft sector that is being opened by AWEIA in a calm-kiting contest in draft formation.   The power to the aircraft is provided by the human pilot who must stay in a restricted circle of ground operation. In the indoor kiting format, the pilot moves within the confines of a circle or rectangle or the full room floor itself.  In outdoor calm kiting the pilot may move about the ground as he or she pleases to keep the wing flying; the AWEIA contest restricts the pilot to be within a circle.   Differently, zerowind kiting under the Horvath emphasis does allow thermic and gust lift for the kiting, in which case the aircraft stops being human-powered.  The pure calm-kiting powers the wing through strategic pulls and tugs on the tether while the wing glides and kites in alternations.  Just how pure is the human-powering of the calm-kite system relative to thermic assist is a declaratory defining matter.    When a calm kite is flown human powered to maximum altitude, then records for that craft and pilot may be recorded for posterity and enjoyment by others when published. When calm kiting places the wing overhead and the tether is gathered super fast, it is envisioned that momentarily the human pilot just might be lifted for a very short glide; in such case the system would be in free-flight; this has not been noted as achieved yet.   Conventional kiting with human operating as active or passive mooring pilot is considered as powered by wind.     Fun discussion by anyone in the world is invited on these matters.   
~ JpF 1Mar2011