Friday, May 29, 2009

Answer the call of the wind.

New technology has been good to kite flying. Early kites were paper and bamboo or wood, elegant and capable, but not very resilient. Over time, we've had the fortune of graphite and fiberglass framing materials and nylon sails that last longer with more vivid colors. And now that kite fittings are almost entirely standardized, repairs are leaps and bounds easier than ever before. New streamlined designs continue to improve upon the basic stunt kites, deltas, and diamonds each year. And even wind meters (anemometers) have become more reliable and less expensive, making our kite outings more satisfying and less crash-laden with detailed information about the conditions in the flying field.

Just after the three-day weekend, we received an email from Bob at that was nearly a blog entry in itself, and definitely worth sharing with all of you, our kite fliers and readers. He brought to our attention a new technology in wind meters for the iPhone set. For only $0.99 an iPhone owner can download the new Wind Meter application that turns your smart-phone into an instant anemometer. It reads winds in miles or kilometers per hour, feet or meters per second, knots, and even provides Beaufort Scale readings. Amazingly, the app uses the microphone on the iPhone, reading the decibel level of the wind hitting it to calculate an estimate.

And while we haven't tried it ourselves yet... Kitelife Magazine has an impressive testimonial. Apparently, this little app is blowing up on online kite forums as being accurate to about 1 - 2 mph of a dedicated wind meter. We've got at least one employee here with an iPhone, so we'll be checking this out hands-on as soon as we can.

The app is available through the iPhone App Store, but if you (like many of us here at Into The Wind) don't yet have an iPhone, here's a link to our selection of digital wind meters on our website.

Keep watching the wind!



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