The View Up Here

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N8 Update – Pololu Valley

Posted by Tom Benedict on 31/01/2011

Things haven’t been 100% smooth with the N8 hardware, but I’ve had tons of help from the Push N8 team, so things are moving apace.  The only real issue remaining is one with the rig, which we’re in the process of troubleshooting as I write.  Meanwhile I took all the other hardware, including the Didakites rokkaku, and hiked into Pololu Valley with my family.

Pololu is a very photogenic place to fly a KAP rig, but the winds are often unpredictable.  This makes it a great place to test kite stability.  I had some serious concerns after the first few sessions with the Didakites rok, but after I replaced the bridle and tuned it according to Gary Engvall’s plans, it became an incredibly stable, hard pulling workhorse.  Within minutes of walking out on the black sand beach, the Didakites rok was in the air, and I was hanging my temporary makeshift N8 rig from the line.

Corner of Paradise N8

For the first three flights my wife acted as director of photography and signaled me to walk forward, back, left, right, let line out, or take line in.  It was so strange to see her staring at a cell phone, but completely aware of what was going on over her head!  I’ve never done KAP with video feedback, so the idea is completely new to me.  We did those three flights that way, and then she handed the controls over to me.  I walked around for a bit and got used to the idea of seeing what I’m photographing.  Then I finally gave in and tested something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I found out I was to receive one of the N8 rigs: have one KAP rig photograph another.

The eventual plan is to use my A650IS BBKK rig to photograph and video the Push N8 rig in action.  Even if I never use this footage in my Push N8 film, it’d be neat to see and share with the folks at Nokia and Hyperhappen who made Push N8 possible.

But old habits die hard.  I set up the link between the ground and aerial phone, started a sequence, and…  stuck the phone in my KAP bag while I walked around flying the A650IS rig.  Old dog.  New trick.  Give me some time.

BBKK HoVer 3

But it did work.  And true to form I had some wonderful serendipitous shots in addition to the ones I’d actually planned.  One that worked out particularly well was a double-whammy in the luck department.  At the end of one walking sequence my wife put me on, I found I was standing right next to a valentine made of beach rock.  Two people whose initials were T and R apparently loved each other in 2011.  Hey!  My name starts with a T, and my wife’s starts with an R!  Now that’s luck.

Making of Valentines

It was a great day.  The phone-to-phone link worked flawlessly and held throughout the various sessions.  The kite flew like a champ.  I tried out something new and had it work great.  Things are looking up!

– Tom


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