...there's room for refinements but a real revolution is not that likely...
i wouldn't be very optimistic about much room for refinements.
so i'm not really expecting to see some significant progress next decade.
This isn't meant to be taken in a negative way :
--eree & pmaggie-- Ya both seam conditioned towards the pessimistic side
--eree -- laied out a Very well thought-out argument for his opinion,on another
Thread i had started , Last year. it went like This :
When will our Kites start evolving towards This ??
i'd say when chickens start piing (i.e. not in the foreseeable future).
why? look what kites cost today and how they are made:
- cheapest material ever - polyester
- polyester cloth is made on the looms which work usually 24/7, so, it means big numbers and low costs. nobody will build the looms for manufacturing small batches couple of times a year
- cheapest labor and technology (for south-east asian seamster it is no difference to stitch together the kite or the brassiere for the overweight lady)
- life span of the kite two to four years (depends on usage) because of polyester light degrade and wind wear
and kites still cost at least three times more than a mountain bike made from hi-tech alloys and which has life span for the decades!
now, if kite would be made like hi-tech gliders with all those carbon fibers, who could really buy them?
"ambassador" Branson and couple of dozens of his buddies?
I'm saying that the technology already exists for better kites.
Expensive -- YES , most definitely, but there are Lots of money people
who are willing to purchase a $22,000 hang glider, ( not me) ; but i fly
a $10,000 glider that i got used for $1,500 .
Let's Forget about the Tech.. available from HG's and look at PG's
for a moment.
The Speed 21, good for the Max in Low-wind. I could expect it to pull
my 200Lb with a big board in a realistic 7-9mph or so with a top speed
somewhere around possibly the high teens ?
Now look at the numbers for the PG that i currently just purchased.
Click on specification --- near top center :http://www.macpara.com/en/paraglider-magus-xc.html
A 24M PG, with My weight will have a
Top speed with accelerator on 52-55 [km/h] or (34 mph)
Now I'm sorry Guys -- a 24M kite that can do 34MPH !!!
That would be Faster if Ya had the rail of your board
dug in the water ...
On HG's. My 158sq/ft glider has a VNE of 58 MPH in turbulence ; I
have had it traveling Well over 80MPH in smooth air .
Those numbers are not even CLOSE to the pathetic #'s
for a water Kite ; and it ALL due to the Crappy airfoils the designers
have shoved down our throats for a decade now.
Once again --- place "most" Every available kite on the market today
in a field--side-by-side, and stand back 200 yards :
----------------They ALL Look the SAME ------------------------------