KITE AERIAL SCIENCE
Kite Aerial Photography actually started as a scientific tool over a century ago. Today kites present a great alternative airborne platform for various scientific projects, enabling a unique birds-eye view of places of scientific interest, long-term monitoring of various ecosytems, archeological sites and urban areas, mapping and measurements of air, ground, soil, vegetation, flood areas and everything else that needs to be looked at from above.
Kites have three major advantages over other aerial systems. Number one is cost, of course - a huge kite that can carry a couple of kilos of scientific equipment will set you back a couple of hundred Euros (and hours behind the sewing machine). The cost/lift ratio of a kite is beyond anything motorized, and science - especially local scientific projects - are not famous for its spending extravaganza.
Second, the kite is really quiet. Even deltas (which are famous for their flutter) are emitting much less decibels than four - or eight - propellers. The equipment is attached to the kite line tens of meters below the kite itself, so even the flutter is not an issue. If, for example you want to monitor wildlife, or to film birds nests high up the trees or cliffs, you need to approach stealthliy. And a kite is perfect for that.
Third, while no wind means no flight, when the wind is blowing a kite can stay in the air literary for hours (Edmonds Community College kite team under the direction of Harry Osborne flew a kite non-stop for 180 hours and 17 minutes). Every long-term monitoring project like wildlife migrations, day-night changes in ecosystems, flood dynamics etc. just wishes for such a reliable long-term ariborne system.
Fourth (ha!), a kite can lift a lot of stuff. A large Rokkaku kite in a steady 20 km/h wind easily carries 4-5 kg of cameras and instruments. You need a simultaneous visual-IR-UV shots of vegetation? Put the cameras on a kite! Hell, put on an air pollution meter too for a good measure. Need a LIDAR map of an area? Some LIDAR systems weigh well under 5 kg: put it on a kite and just walk it over where you want it. Sure, you can always take a plane, and drones with such a large load capacity do exist - but the costs! The costs!
True, the kite steering is somewhat of a dark art, and inherent wind unpredictability is to be reckoned with, however there is no airborne platform yet - a baloon, maybe? - that can match a kite's eco-friendliness, low-noise, durability, load capacity, time in the air, and costs.
Therefore, kites were, can be and will be an indispensable tool for scientific research, monitoring, record-keeping and discovering new facts. You are very welcome to try it: just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy, honoured - and excited as hell!