MOTHRA 3: 110 Sq Meter Kite Arch
Maiden Flight: Nov 13, 2016 - Long Beach, WA
Comprised of five 22 sq meter Peter Lynn lifter kites flown along an arch loadpath.
Field notes of lead designer, Dave Santos:
The collapsed white kixel (unit-kite) subsequently ignited, but the end kixel than looped around the arch line when its tag line got loose, and we struggled comically to unfoul that wrap. The main lesson today was not that all the kixels need to be more closely harnessed into one meta-structure, which we already knew, but that we need to develop a more deterministic launching process.
The idea is standard modular cheap-lift by windpower, and this is but a small step on a learning-curve to far larger (more unit-kites) and far higher-flying. This work is actually a revival of human lifting kite systems from over a century ago, but with updated design. Its "sailing in the sky" with a design emphasis on safety. As the wind lulls, one is effectively under a parachute.
Future flights of this particular rig are intended to go to about 500ft, with pro BASE jumpers from Moab Utah doing marathon habitation sessions as "aerotecture research". For reference, Mothra3 is about the wing area of a 737, and will be able to lift 1/4 to 1/2 ton in a medium to fresh breeze