This record has been logged in this website for Kite Buggying Records since it first went live, it was all logged in the accounts of some of the greatest speeds ever achieved in a kite buggy…..the speed in question is 103km/h or 64mph.
Now that speed in a full blown race buggy, with a state of the art race kite is still by todays standards not a speed many can achieve, the exclusive 100km/h Club…..the elite among the kite buggy speed demons….
So why would I mention about this particular record?
This particular record, was not done with a all singing all dancing race buggy smothered with carbon goodies, this record was not done with a top of the range race kite costing hundreds of Dollars, Pounds or Euros, using the latest materials and cutting edge products…..
THIS RECORD WAS THE FIRST…..YES THE FIRST HUMAN TO BREAK THE 100km/h in a Kite Buggy, a pioneer ladies and gentlemen
Andrew Beattie in 1998, was the first kite buggier in the world to break this goal….not only did he break the barrier, he went on to hit 103km/h or 64mph. Now here’s the best bit…..this record was done with a Peter Lynn Folding Buggy and a TWO line kite, it was a 7.7m Chevron Kite in fact.
Here is the account of this amazing record, remember the name Ladies and Gentlemen Andrew Beattie, one of the Kite Buggying Legends
Andrew Beattie’s Amazing Story 1998, 103km/h with a PL folder and 2 line kite
At BBT3, I met up with my friend, Dave Culp, where we did some work on the performance of kite buggies. Dave had done considerable preparation to permit proper investigation. He rigged a pole to the back of his truck, so that he could pull me along the lake on the buggy, with the kite line at the proper angle, with a spring (well, bungee…) balance to measure side-force, and a protractor so that we could measure the drag angle. The surface where we tested was hard clay, with a loose surface of grit which made it somewhat slippery. Dave has the full figures, so I hope that he will summarise them here, but the basic things learned were:
– at slower speeds, the drag angle was only 5 degrees, increasing as towing speed increased
– Regardless of speed, I put 80lb of force on the line
– Removing the bungee spring measure did not increase my efficiency as expected, rather it increased the drag angle by 5 degrees
– I put 10 degrees of tilt on the truck.
Dave was concerned that I might actually be able to tip the truck with a shock load at high speed. El Nino had arranged for the lake bed it’sself to be flooded at the beginning of the week. The truck was kitted out with air-speed and direction indicators, but whilst the lake bed dried out during the week, it was too soft or the wind too light for him to chase me on the lake bed to examine my apparent and real wind.
As soon as Dave left, we had a day of strong wind on a hard lake-bed. It took 4 attempts to get a decent speed run.
Matt Hurrell and Steve Webb assisted me launching a 7.7m chevron in 25-27mph of wind, and John Gabby tracked my course, matching my speed. I accellerated from 0 to 30 smoothly, then in John’s words, I simply “changed gear” and by the time he had caught up with me, I was doing 62, and then moved up to 64 mph. Having stabalised at this speed, and without having the space to work the kite harder, I ditched the kite in order to stop safely before the high-voltage power lines at the bottom of the lake.
The official buggy speed record is 51 mph, and there is no doubt that I waltzed straight past it, but the method of speed recording was not sufficiently reliable to claim a new record. The reason for the run was not to break records, but rather to investigate what performance might be possible.
It was noteable that I did the run with a large kite, despite the common belief that you need a small kite to go fast. In my discussions with Dave during the week, we had come to the conclusion that a larger kite would be useful, and it would appear that we may be right.
Also of note is the course that I took. It was straightforward to go back to the lake-bed, 5 hours after the run and to identify my tracks, despite the fact that the lake had been in use all day by buggiers. All the other tracks were within 45 degrees either side of a beam reach (unless cornering). Mine were a long, very
gentle curve that was within 10 degrees of straight down-wind for the fastest part of the course. I had been doing 2.5 times windspeed on a course almost straight downwind.
At maximum speed, my apparent windspeed would have been 37-39mph, however, the pressure that I was putting on the line was considerably less than I would expect when holding the kite at the edge of the wind at that speed. I strongly suspect that my angle to the apparent wind direction was considerably less than the combined drag angle of the kite and buggy.
At speed, the ride was incredibly smooth. The line tension was easily manageable, the steering was secure, I felt much safer at speed than I did at the launch…
I’ve always said that I don’t want to claim a speed record for a speed that isn’t worth having. Last week I didn’t know what target to aim for:
– 55mph (the USA speed limit)
– 60mph (a mile-a-minute)
– 100kph (about 61mph)
All of those are blown out of the water.
My next target is Mach 0.1 Maybe I can do it at Black Rock, where the British broke Mach 1.0 on land last year…
Many thanks to:
My crew on the day (Matt Hurrell, Steve Webb, John Gabby), Dave Culp (sorry you had to leave that one day early), to my mentor, Peter Lynn, and to Corey for organising the venue.
O yeah, and I had a lot of *fun* too, but this is an R&D report…
edit 11/2014 – I must go back and try again. We had been kept off the lakebed due to rain all week and when the wind came, everyone graciously held back so that I could have my run – I was taking a route that would run across everyone else on the lake and I had a chase vehicle for the speed measurement – an exceedingly anti-social arrangement, so I only had ONE shot at it!
And another thing. A lot of the run was done on 2 wheels. Not that I was showing off – it is just that the perfect balance between the steering and the power is when the wheel just starts to lift and it keeps rolling resistance to a minimum. Bet you don’t do that in a Libra Full Race