On Saturday, January 28th, the Drachen Foundation invited members of the local kite community to a reception, showcasing Kite Aerial Photography and honoring the winner of the first Young Explorer Field Experience grant. The Pacific Northwest chapter of the Explorers Club (Ed Sobey, president) sponsored the competition, with financial support from the Drachen Foundation. It was open to sophomore and junior science students in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The winner will join USGS scientist Mike Rymer of the Earthquake Hazards Team and KAPer Scott Haefner on a field expedition to collect data about active seismic faults with KAP. Learn more about this program.
Competition winner, Aron Curzon, a junior at West Salem High School in Salem, Oregon, traveled north for the event, with his parents and his nominating science teacher, Michael Lampert. Curzon has a solid background in science, having completed physical science, biology, microelectronics, robotics, chemistry, and honors research classes. His teacher describes him as an "incredibly meticulous, bright and ingenious person who works extremely hard at everything he attempts." In his application Curzon detailed his experience of making an automated pinhole camera, to be launched via balloon. He designed a lightweight shutter mechanism, triggered by a small balloon: as the camera ascended, the small balloon inflated, popping a pin and releasing the shutter. Unfortunately, the launch balloon and camera have not yet been recovered-a fact which prompted considerable comment among Drachen staff about the retrievability, in research, of kites over balloons. Read more about Curzon's teacher, Michael Lampert, himself a prize-winner many times over.
Other activities included an illustrated talk by DF Board president, Scott Skinner, on the history and current applications of KAP. Although no flying was undertaken during the incessant heavy rain Seattle was experiencing during an almost-record-breaking month of precipitation, two kites for KAP from the DF Archive-the "Tort Rok" by Colorado kite maker Reza Ragheb and a Dopero100 by Peter Bullets-were displayed, along with camera rigs, components from DF's KAP exhibit, and other resources. Thanks to KAPers Jim Day and Ken Conrad, who shared their own KAP technology, and to Kathy Goodwind for additional support.
At the reception, Drachen also took the opportunity to test a new kite, the Kono Dihedral Diamond. Greg Kono's ingenious design uses two pieces of 11x17-inch bond paper, straight drinking straws, bamboo skewers, and a bent paper clip. Several young kite makers convincingly demonstrated that they could bend the paper clip, and match it to the angle sketched on the template, without problems. The Kono Dihedral Diamond will join the Trpanier Trapezoid on this site, as a kite available for free download.