Ride like the wind: Makani energy kite test flights in the works, lift off later this year

  • Makani tests their M600 energy kite in hover flight last Tuesday. The team will continue testing basic operations such as launching and landing the kite on its perch before flying a power-generating crosswind flight later this year. (Photos by GEORGE FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)

  • Prototyping engineers Alan Ahoy and Crystal Allen install flight hardware on a partially-assembled M600 energy kite. (COURTESY PHOTO/MAKANI)

  • Kate Stirr and Jimmy Haley collaborate on a presentation about Makani’s technology.

  • Test Director Johnny Heineken reviews the test plan before Makani’s first hover flight of the M600 energy kite at their test site on Parker Ranch land. (COURTESY PHOTO/MAKANI)

WAIMEA — Two miles east of West Hawaii Concrete, Kate Stirr walked out in the deep brush Tuesday afternoon to get a better look at the hover kite. The tail was just above the ground as its rotors were idling, constrained by cables and connected by a tether.