Issue 7: Doin’ it Indoors

In the last issue I discussed some ways to begin finding a place to fly indoors. I admit, this is not an easy task. Since then, I have made space on my web site for an indoor fliers’ registry. On it, I have put up the names and places where people currently fly indoors. Also, the local groups in a specific area who hold organized indoor events, be they fun fly or competitions. Response has been good and there are quite a few listings in each category.

The purpose of the registry is twofold. One is to give potential indoor fliers a specific location and a person to contact if they are interested in joining up with them. Two, it gives everyone an idea of the types of places that are welcoming indoor events and individual fliers. Someone who doesn’t have a local group or fellow fliers nearby, may be able to look at the list and see an organization in another city that allows it and approach the local branch of that same organization, or something similar in his/her own city.

Hopefully more people will come forward with information about their own local locations and/or groups. If you are currently flying indoors share your information. You can view the registry at: http://www.yikeskites.com/indoor.htm

At the bottom of the directory there is a link to a page with a few simple questions on it. Take a couple of minutes to answer them and send them off to me at yikeskites@hvi.net. I’ll see that the information gets posted. I won’t put your email address on the page. Instead there will be a link to it so you won’t have to worry about the spammers getting ahold of it.

If we all communicate, this indoor thingy might just go somewhere.

And speaking of going somewhere, the folks in New England are going where no AKA affiliated group has gone before. Several indoor events are planned in different cities. There are at least two announced competitions with at least one more in the planning stages. These are main events. Not events that are stuck on a day when hardly anyone is there. You don’t have to miss a day of work or spend an extra night at a motel just to compete. In addition, two groups that I belong to have regularly scheduled monthly indoor fun flies. And two kite shops are sponsoring local indoor events throughout the season. We are certainly showing signs of growing.

January 16th, 1999, Kites Over New England is holding the very first indoor competition with modified AKA rules. They are actually breaking it down into three categories instead of just one Open Class. The categories will be Dual Line, Quad Line and Open.

The contestants are not limited to just one kite in any category. However, in the Dual and Quad, whatever number of kites that are used must be either dual or quad, respectively. You can fly just one kite for your routine, or any number of single kites, or a stack, so long as they are each controlled by the number of lines mentioned in the category. Open class is the same as present AKA rules: any kite, in any number, with whatever number of lines as needed.

This has been a long time coming and in my opinion, needed. With the coming of these new rules, comes the realization that indoor flying is definitely growing. I for one welcome these rule changes. Hopefully, the day when we see Novice, Intermediate, Experienced and Masters classes is not far away.

I might add that 1999 will be the first year that indoor competition makes it to the AKA Nationals. These new rule changes should be an interesting challenge for the Sport Kite Committee. I look forward to seeing how it comes out.

It would appear that indoor flying is making a mark in sport kiting. Finally, gone are the days when decisions are put off because there aren’t enough participants to warrant extensive rules. Now if we can just get people to stop saying, “What do you use? Fans?”

While on the subject of growth, I would like to propose a challenge to all our kite designers. We need an indoor kite that anyone can pick up and learn to fly the very first time they try it. Something like what the Beetle has done for outdoor flying. A design that is easy to fly, present a bit of a challenge, but be just a bunch of fun to learn on. It needs to be indestructible and still cost $20.00 or less retail. A kit would be great. Something a club could use to hold workshops.

I thought I had found such a kite. Curtiss Mitchell designed an indoor delta, a single line kite that he used to compete at Wildwood this year. I recently spent time on one of his prototypes at an indoor fun fly. Everyone who saw it was amazed at its performance. Truly, it was not me, it was the kite. It was only my first time flying it. Unfortunately there are no plans to manufacture this kite. It’s a damn shame, too. It’s such a simple design. Put it on any length of line and attach it to a stick and anyone who can wave their arms can fly it.

So many times I have seen fliers trying to teach kids and adults at demonstrations how to fly a dual line kite indoors for the first time. Most times these people have never flown a kite with more than one line. They just don’t get it. How many of us did the first time we tried it indoors? And we know how to do it. Frustrated, they walk away and probably never give it another thought. It was just too hard.

No, what we need is a kite anyone can pick up and fly the first time indoors. Curtiss I hope you’re reading this, because this could be another of your wonderful contributions to the kiting world.

For just like the world of outdoor kiting, if we are to grow, we need to get more people into it. The public needs to be made aware of kiting. That it is not just stick and paper anymore. We all need to lend a hand to a new flier when we see them struggling to learn. Manufacturers, be aware that there is a need for durable, inexpensive, fun to fly kites that can be enjoyed the very first time they are picked up. Your business will not grow if you depend on just selling kites to people who already have kites. We all need to spread the word about the joys of flying kites, indoors or out.

In my last article, I promised a review of the Isis, an indoor/UL kite designed by Pierre Marzin and manufactured by HQ of Germany. The following review is reprinted from my web site.

Manufacturer: …….HQ Kites/Designer: Pierre Marzin

Experience Level: Intermediate-Experienced

The following are rated 0-5. …….0=Low ……5=High

Appearance: ……….4.5

Craftmanship: …….4

Instructions: ………2

Warranty: ……………? …….(none written)

Specifications

Fabric: …………Ventex

Frame: ………….Avia G-Force Skinnys

Wingspan: …….7’ 9″

Height: …………3’ 11″

Weight: ………..207 g

Standoffs: ….2

Bridle: ………….Cross Dynamic /Dacron with Dyneema core

Flight Characteristics

Speed: …………Medium

Turning: ………Medium/Fast

Spins: …………..On the standoffs

Pull: ………………Light-Medium

Precision: …….4 (outdoors in wind)

Trickablity:.. 5

Noise: ………….Silent

Comments: This kite does the slowest, flattest axels I’ve ever seen. Indoors it tricks well. It does require a bit of muscle. While it may not be the best kite for indoors, I would not exclude it, it will fly well indoors. Outdoors the kite really shines in the slightest of breezes. It does all the tricks I know how to do easily. Tremendous snap stalls. Flat spins and 540’s. It was a little hesitant to do coin tosses, probably due to the cross dynamic bridle. Otherwise, this is an excellent kite and destined to see a great deal of air time with me.

One problem I did have was that the vinyl end caps that secure the sail lashings can stretch and lose their ability to stay in place. Both of mine have fallen off and are gone. I replaced mine with rubber endcaps. Heavier, but they aren’t going anyplace. You may want to also glue the nock onto the wing tip as it is not done at the factory. When the vinyl end cap goes, so does the nock.

Overall Rating (0-5) ..5

M.S.R.P. ..$239.00

 

Keep the comments and suggestions coming. And until next time, I’ll see you indoors.