During my early years of kite flying, one of my favorite accessories was a German-made kite line climber. It was a blue plastic tube frame with folding red wings that rode up the kite line on small plastic wheels to a stop placed below the kite. When the climber hit the stop, the strings that held the wings open were released and the wings, pulled together by a rubberband, folded up allowing gravity to return the climber to the kite flier for another trip up the line. It even had a small blue propeller that would spin during decent to slow the climber down.
I came across Anthony Thyssen's Lifting Messenger site one day and just had to build one. Not only would I enjoy it, I thought, but so would my boys. Sometimes when I am shooting kite aerial photographs, I "invite" my two home-grown helpers to join me. Because I need to keep an eye on both the kite and the camera rig, it can become a bit boring for them after a while. I thought that the messenger would be fun for them especially if I could drop parachutes for them. Based heavily on Anthony's design, I built one using an old rip-stop nylon diamond kite for the sail and carbon-fiber tubes.
On June 25th, I had the opportunity to try my messenger for the first time. It worked just fine on what was about a dozen test runs, four of them dropping parachutes. The field tests revealed some areas that could be improved. I am working on those and will post the successful ones later but for now, here are a couple of pictures from the maiden voyage.