VIGILANTE HELIKITE (36 inch)
WHAT IS A VIGILANTE HELIKITE?
A Vigilante Helikite is a unique combination of a kite and a helium balloon specifically designed by ALLSOPP HELIKITES LTD to fly in hot climates or at high altitude. Originally created for bird control, the Helikite is the world’s only successful lighter-than-air kite. The Vigilante has a full cover to protect it against balloon ruptures when landing on the ground.
Designed and patented by Allsopp Helikites, the Helikite will fly in no wind and also in winds up to 25 miles per hour. Winds above this will bring the Helikite down, as will wet weather due to the weight of the water. However, when conditions become favourable again the Helikite automatically re-launches itself. Only Helikites can fly reliably in the boundary layer zero to 200 ft height range, and also above.
Helikites are designed to lift objects such as light cameras, radio antennas, banners, wind-meters etc. They can also be used as position markers, fishing kites and are excellent for bird scaring.
THE VIGILANTE HELIKITE PACKAGE SHOULD CONTAIN:
Rip-stop nylon sail/cover. Silver coloured flying line clip.
5 Mylar (foil) balloons (one already inserted) 1 Swivel.
Carbon-fibre spar (inserted already) Short length of thick cord
Special extra strength “Dyneema” line plus handle. Instructions.
Two Mylar tails.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING THE VIGILANTE HELIKITE FOR FLIGHT
1. Firmly and tightly tie the small silver coloured clip to the end of the flying line.
2. Clip the flying line to the mooring loop at the base of the red triangular keel of the rip-stop nylon cover.
3. Attach two pieces of sticky-back Velcro (with the blue valve facing upwards) one to the middle of the balloon. The other at the front on the seam.
4. Insert the un-inflated balloon into the cover of the Helikite so that the pieces of Velcro attach to the piece of Velcro on the cover. The balloon valve should protrude out backwards through the opening in the cover to ease filling.
5. The valve should protrude out the opening in the cover at the back for ease or filling.
6. Inflate the balloon by placing the stem of the helium regulator into the non-return valve of the balloon. Slowly release the gas by pressing the regulator stem gently sideways or downwards, (see diagram below). Clamp fingers around valves so that no air can be sucked into the balloon with the helium. Pause filling occasionally to arrange the balloon cover nicely around the balloon. Continue filling until the balloon is drum tight so the Helikite becomes slightly lighter than air and the cover can be pulled tightly around the balloon.
7. You can place a piece of tape over the nozzle to prevent helium from escaping.
Balloon non-return valve
under this material
Helium cylinder regulator for mylar or “foil” balloons
FLYING THE VIGILANTE HELIKITE
1. Moor the Helikite by tying the length of thick cord to the flying line handle, and then to a wooden stake hammered firmly into the ground. Avoid using metal stakes. Ensure that nothing can cut or fray the special 150lb breaking strain “Dyneema” flying line. As you release the line the Helikite will move back and upwards. For birdscaring as much height as possible is usually best.
2. To stop the line from twisting, introduce the swivel into the line near the handle end. You will have to cut the line to do this. This way it doesn’t add weight to the kite and you enables you to untwist the line every few days by running your fingers down the square section line and pushing all the twists down to the swivel. The swivel will not work on its own. It needs help from you! Twisted lines are dramatically weaker.
3. Pull on the line to test for weakness and repeat every few days. Helikites only pull about 8lbs in a twenty M.P.H. wind, so our 150lb line is way too strong to break unless it is worn or abused. We will not replace Helikites lost through broken lines. If you test it initially and regularly afterwards with much force you will gain confidence in the line. For situations of regular high winds (coastal, mountain etc) we recommend that the line is doubled up or a second line is bought.
4. IMPORTANT! For stability, the front of the kite needs to be tight against the balloon. This is achieved by having a firm balloon and by pulling and tightening the ripstop-nylon under the balloon so the front of the kite spar is forced as flat as possible against the underneath of the balloon. Secure this by tightening the Velcro at the back of the balloon cover. It is also essential that the ribbons along the spine of the kite are all tied tightly to the spar to stop the spar from bending which can cause the Helikite to veer to one side. Top up the helium at least every 5 days. Once set up properly the Helikite will fly in winds of up to twenty-five miles an hour without a tail. In stronger winds the Helikite may spin so needs to be taken in.
5. Birdscaring Metallic Tails. These are not needed for Helikite stability. Fit by tying to the carbon-fibre spar. The tail will spin in light breezes to make flashes and movement. It will not withstand high winds for long. Remove in wet weather.
Find the hole by tightly filling the balloon with gas and listening. Clean away the colouring around the hole with soap and water, dry it, then cover the hole and surrounding area with any good contact adhesive (e.g. ‘Bostic’ or ‘Evostik’), when the glue is dry cover the hole and glue with adhesive tape. Test mend with soapy water or spit. When the balloon is worn out (normally 14-21 days) replace it with another. Alternatively, please ask us for our special balloon repair patches.
If the Helikite is wet it is unlikely to fly. When the rain or fog clears, do not wait for the Helikite to dry itself off, because in winter this may take a while. Dry it with a soft cloth and get it flying. Trying to make a wet Helikite fly by adding extra gas seldom works and strains the balloon. Lightly applying waterproof leather spray or vegetable oil to the Helikite will help repel rainwater. A Helikite on the ground scares birds over about one third the area of a flying Helikite. Still useful control. The colouring on the balloon may come off in wet weather. This has little effect on performance but it may mark clothes or car seats.
Warm air is thinner. So in temperatures above 105F (41C) the Vigilante Helikite may not rise if there is no wind to help it. You need a Lightweight Helikite. Ring us !
The Vigilante Helikite can be used very successfully above flinty land but care is needed to ensure that it does not touch jagged flint in high winds. Wash mud off the Helikite regularly in cold water to remove the microscopic flint needles that can cause slow punctures.
The Helikite, like any airborne object, is vulnerable in strong winds and even light winds will wear it out eventually. Hence the need for daily checking. Gusty winds over 15 mph (26 km/h) increase the wear rate greatly. Fly at your own risk!
1 .Test stake, line, and clip attachment by pulling on the line very hard - every day. Don’t blame us for neglect.
2. Remove all twists from the line - every day. Check swivel is spinning ok.
3. Check Helikite and balloon for wear and firm inflation - every day.
4. Check that the well filled balloon is very tightly strapped into the balloon cover.
5. For use in regular high winds we recommend that the line is doubled up or a second one is bought.
EXCESSIVE BALLOON PRESSURE
As a balloon warms up, the pressure inside increases. This can happen when Helikites are put into hot cars. If necessary release pressure by carefully inserting the straw into the balloon valve until gas comes out.
In hot countries, even when outside, the balloon needs extra reinforcement with 19 mm wide Sellotape to cope with the midday sun. This is a slightly tedious procedure but well worthwhile: - 1.Inflate balloon 2.Tape the shape of a cross on both sides of the balloon 3.Tape around balloon seam 4.Insert balloon into Helikite.
After use, wash in cold water, dry well, fold up, and store in our rigid packet. Beware mice, damp, and sharp objects.
Put your name, address and telephone number on the Helikite plus ‘For birdscaring use only, please do not touch’. This helps if you let go of it too! Use permanent marker pen or indelible ink. You can also offer a reward for return. It is surprising how much effect this has as most people have no idea that the Helikite is flying for a serious purpose and will return lost Helikites from hundreds of miles away. The Helikite can also be flown from a tall pole painted with grease or anti-climb paint. You can retrieve the Helikite with a long stick or weighted rope.
All kites scare birds by exploiting their instinctive fear of predatory hawks. This instinct has been a vital behavioural trait for tens of millions of years and is continually being naturally reinforced by hawks. This is why birds have such tremendous difficulty getting used to kites compared with their habituation to propane bangers or novelty scarers. (AKM Fazlul Haque and DM Broom, Zoology Dept., Reading University, 1984). This is not to say that it will never happen, especially with birds roosting within sight of a Helikite or tame birds. Observations suggest that pigeons tend to stay at least 200 metres from a flying Helikite but birds are very intelligent animals and it is possible that some may eventually decide that the Helikite is harmless, especially smaller birds who can quickly fly into a hedge if threatened. Therefore, we cannot guarantee habituation will not occur, but would be very interested in hearing about it and the relevant circumstances, for future development of the Helikite.
BIRD BEHAVIOUR & CONTROL WITH HELIKITES
Birds generally have two types of responses to hawks and Helikites. Larger birds, e.g. pigeons, starlings and rooks, fly away as far as possible from the Helikite threat. They are scared from an area that varies depending upon the height of the Helikite (the higher the better), the food value of the crop, the tameness of the birds and whether or not they live locally. Therefore, intelligent, locally living rooks are generally excluded from a smaller area than less intelligent non-locally living pigeons. Bean crops or new seed are high value foods, whereas oilseed-rape is a low value food so pigeons on OSR are excluded to about 20 - 25 acres, whereas rooks on bean crops tend to be excluded form 10 - 15 acres.
The second type of response comes from small birds, e.g. sparrows, thrushes, robins and most garden birds that will be excluded to their nearest source of deep cover, such as a windbreak or hedge. Helikites will scare over a larger area for low crops for example strawberries, than taller crops, for example blueberries/grapes, simply because the birds can hide more easily in the taller crops. For exclusion the birds need to see the Helikite hovering above them. Therefore, usually, the higher the Helikite is flown over these crops, the better. However, at height the Helikite will be about 200 feet from the stake, therefore near areas of thick cover some small birds may feel that they can dive into cover quicker than the hawk effigy (the Helikite) can catch them, so in these circumstances it is sometimes better to have the Helikite lower, tucked in near the hedge. Moving the Helikite, altering its height and flying the tail increases the area of control.
PLEASE READ AND OBEY ALL THESE HELIKITE SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS
1. THIS HELIKITE IS NOT A TOY AND IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE BY CHILDREN.
2. READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE.
3. OBEY ALL LOCAL, STATE, OR FEDERAL LAWS RELATED TO FLYING KITES IN YOUR AREA.
4. IF POSSIBLE, NEVER FLY HELIKITE DURING ELECTRICAL STORMS BECAUSE IT MAY CONDUCT LIGHTENING DOWN THE LINE. IF THE HELIKITE IS UP DURING AN ELECTRICAL STORM, DO NOT GO NEAR IT UNTIL THE STORM HAS FINISHED.
5. ENSURE NO POWER LINES, TELEPHONE WIRES, TREES, OBSTRUCTIONS, ANIMALS OR PEOPLE CAN COME NEAR THE HELIKITE ANYWHERE IT CAN POSSIBLY FLY. KEEP HELIKITE WELL AWAY FROM POWER LINES AS MAINTENANCE HELICOPTERS PATROL THESE REGULARLY. DO NOT FLY NEAR CROP SPRAYERS OR ANY LOW-FLYING AIRCRAFT.
6. IN BRITAIN, DO NOT FLY WITHIN 5 KILOMETRES OF ANY AIRFIELD WITHOUT AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL PERMISSION. IN THE USA, DO NOT FLY WITHIN 5 MILES OF ANY AIRFIELD WITHOUT AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL PERMISSION.
7. DO NOT FLY OVER ROADS AT ANY TIME.
8. MAX. HEIGHT ALLOWED IS 60 METRES IN BRITAIN AND 500 FEET IN THE USA.
9. IF YOU WISH TO MAKE THE LINE MORE NOTICEABLE, TIE SOME RIBBONS ALONG IT.
10. WEAR GLOVES WHEN HANDLING THE LINE TO AVOID IT CUTTING HANDS.
11. PLEASE NOTE; WHEN WET, THE DISPOSABLE BALLOONS MAY LOSE SOME COLOURING THAT CAN STAIN FABRIC.
WHAT ABOUT THE HELIUM?
A cylinder weighing 20 Kg with enough helium to fill about 13 balloons for £77.50 delivered. No bottle rental to pay just a returnable deposit of £85. You will need a brass regulator valve from us to go with this bottle costing £28. Just ring us and we will organise it for you. You can also purchase helium from BOC. If only a few balloons are needed, you can purchase a 55 Party Balloon canister form Toys R Us or Argos, these canisters will fill 2 36 inch Helikite balloons.
Within the USA
Balloon Gas Cylinders
Contact your local industrial gas supplier (e.g. Praxair, BOC or Air Products) for balloon gas. In the US the price is usually about $25 per bottle.
The type for foil / Mylar balloons is required. Available directly from the gas supplier in the U.S.A.
If only a few balloons are needed, you can purchase a 55 Party Balloon canister form Toys R Us or Michaels Craft stores, these canisters will fill 2 x36 inch Helikite balloons.
Balloons Gas Cylinders
Contact your local supplier (e.g. Linde Gas, Afrox, BOC etc.) for balloon gas cylinder containing about 1.8 metres cubed.
Contact your balloon gas supplier for a regulator for Mylar / foil balloons. Europe requires a European regulator.
Thank you for reading all the instructions. If you have any problems or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
BIRD CONTROL SYSTEMS LTD
Unit 2 Fordingbridge Business Park, Ashford Road, FORDINGBRIDGE, HAMPSHIRE. SP6 1BD. ENGLAND.
WITHIN UK TEL: 01425 654967
FROM USA TEL: 01144 1425 654967
E-mail: Websites: www.birdcontrol.net