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Kite Anchoring Review and Update (Gabions)

Various anchoring concepts are well known in AWES design. For scale prototypes, dedicated research vehicles are ready anchors. In classic kiting, a variety of improvised vehicle anchors, stakes, and bags (ie. sand-anchors) are popular. Sand-filled dump trucks and dumpsters have been used for giant kite anchors. Beaches are a handy anchoring media for many kite festivals.

Industrial AWES anchors will apply standard civil engineering anchoring technologies. Industrial anchors range from steel soil-kites to many kinds of reinforced concrete footings with attachment points provided. The kPower kite farm, call it kFarm, has 12" augered holes with 10 ton working-load rated hardware and estimated soil resistance. These anchors are wonderfully secure, compact, and flush. KiteLab Ilwaco has a set of "roofer's tear-out tarps" as super sand-anchors work-rated at 7 tons each. These anchors have flown Mothra1 in gusts and gales without budging.

A problem emerged in planning multi-anchor fields for traveling public AWE events, like AWEfest, in city parks. Vehicles are a messy and expensive solution. A powerful kite can drag an ordinary vehicle easily. Even loaded dumptrucks have been overturned by too much show kite, due to a high center-of-gravity. Cost is a factor. Ideal anchors are cheap.

The newly identified solution is Gabions , metal cages designed to retain stones, gravel, sand, or even soil, with suitable fabric liner. The cages come folded flat and use whatever local material is best. Sandbags or cobbles would be a favored option. At the end of an event, the fill material is to be recycled locally, and the cages packed away for travel.

The present task is to optimize gabions for kite use. Wire-rope or Nylon slings, like those used for crane lifting, will girdle the gabion. The ideal shape is smooth and low-profile, lenticular, with maximum resistance to lateral dragging. These anchors are to be scalable for large kite farm use in conditions where other standard anchors are not favored (by cost or maybe loose soils, undersea, over rotten bedrock, in swamp, etc.).

Be sure to have a PE or other qualified pro review and approve your DIY designs. Always include kite-killers and other fail-soft precautions.

Comment and development of this topic will be occurring here.       
All, send notes, links, drawings, papers, videos, plans, safety-critical findings, and photographs!

  • Terms and aspects:  
    • kFarm by kPower
  • Related links and concepts:  
  • Commentary is welcome:
    • Hulls of boats and ships are also used as the resistive sets of kite systems.    ~ JoeF
    • In free-flight kiting AWES, the resistive set or anchor is another airborne wing set. ~ JoeF
    • Mention by DaveS of the "soil-kite" reminds one that the anchor to a kite system may be seen as another wing set opposing the wing set at the other end of the tether set.   Kite: tether-coupled wing sets.  ~ JoeF


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