The free kite
A kite must necessarily be attached to the ground through a rope.
Latch a kite to the ground and let the wind make it rise is exactly
like running with the rope in your hand and make the kite rise when
there is no wind. The kite is like an airplane and the row is like
its motor. Should the rope be released the kite falls or at least
glides toward the ground.
If you want a glider to remain in the air thanks to the wind then
you must find some special places where the air is rising. Such
rising air can be due to zones on the ground overheated by the sun
or to wind passing over a hill. These zones are always localized. If
you want to stay in the air then you must remain above the zone or
glide from one zone toward another zone.
The proposal of this text is to latch a kite not to the ground but
to the mass of air below it, where the wind moves differently. That
way it would be taken along by the wind just like a hot air balloon.
It would stay in the air without touching the ground.
Sailors and meteorologists know that fact: at different heights the
air moves differently. Two superposed layers of air move in
different directions and with different speeds. Between a few meters
above the ground and a few tens of meters the speed of the air is
most often very different.
So if an efficient kite is used (say the shape of a glider) and it
is latched to a big coarse lightweight mass below it (say a toy
beach ball) through a rope of a few tens of meters, the coarse mass
will be pulled by its lower layer of air away from the kite. That
will make the kite rise and pull the coarse mass upwards. If they
rise too much the difference between the air layers will decrease
and they will stop rising.
Launched above the sea, where there is always wind and the surface
presents no obstacles, such a kite should travel huge distances.
Should the wind slow down, the coarse mass will land and the water
yet the kite will stay in the air awaiting the speed of the wind
increases back. Probably a kite shape can be designed that can land
on the water too. It would land if there is no more wind at all and
take off back again afterwards.
In 2015, a comparable proposal was adopted
for financing by the NASA:
Eric Brasseur - 28 October 1998