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  • Exult

    Learning from flying in unfamiliar or non-ideal situations

    By Exult

    When being removed from your comfort flying zone you might get new experiences that you couldn't imagine or predict. This blog entry is also a vacation post card from the medieval city (in the sense that ruins and buildings from that time still exist) of Visby ( ) in the island of Gotland ( ) in the Baltic Sea as well as an example of how flying during new and non-ideal conditions turned out to be educational, fun and very different from my more normal dual line flying. Most of the last section "Conclusions" is a condensed list of what I learned/experienced for the first time during the stay. This funnel makes no secret of the initial letter of the island of it's destination - i.e. this is the start of this mini vacation. Pestilence wort ( ) is growing around Visby in several places. Here to the north of the city wall. The leaves becomes rhubarb-like. In spring the flowers appears before the leaves. Before the flower buds open it looks like a small pineapple in my opinion (the photo of the buds is from the 26th of Mars). St. Lars church ruin. The walls contain passages designed for hiding out during crises and war. Yes, you are allowed to enter them during day(/evening?) time. The second photo is a view from St. Lars through an archers crenel (possibly, at least it is shaped like one on the in- and outside of the opening). Donners plats is in the central part of Visby with many restaurants etc. The dark green creeper plant in the background to the left is (most likely -but can't tell from a distance) ivy - the province plant of Gotland. This evergreen plant got lobed leaves, except for old stems where the leaves are un-lobed. The ivy is so common here so that I forgot to take any photos of it. And no, it is only ivy, not poison ivy (which seems to be a really unpleasant plant).   The trip, Visby and Visby as a (land) kiting area
    My family is here during the medieval week, more by a coincident rather than with the intention of participating by being dressed in medieval-like clothing. Everywhere in the city inside the surrounding defense wall and around, there are people dressed, perhaps every 10th to 5th person, in certain areas even more. The city has today grown beyond the defense wall, but the old part still functions and not only by tourism. There are even areas inside that are close to desolate even during summer vacation times. Medieval themed market during the medieval week. I like the mood and mysterious tone in this image. Alarming news - Gotland is dry! Let me translate part of what was written on the first page of "Gotlands Allehanda", the local newspaper: The medieval beer is finished before the medieval week is over. No it is not as bad as it sounds, I only saw one group and one hotel guest that seamed to have looked to deep into the bottle during my stay. The ground of the island is sedimented limestone, the pebbles on the beaches and the rocks are also of limestone. Fossils from the Silurian age are very common. Some rocks are high and steep - in other places softer limestone has been eroded only to leave high pillars in odd shapes. The Baltic Sea is a low salinity sea, though it is not a lake so it is not fresh water. Some species living in the salt water on Sweden's west coast (~Atlantic Ocean) has managed to adapt to the water here, but the individuals tend to be much smaller (species, adapt, individual... sounds like something from a Borg "philosophical" discussion). Swimming in these water leaves no sticky salt feeling afterwards as swimming in an ocean does. Visby as a kiting area is not perfect at least to my knowledge of what is in walking range (a couple of km) from Visby. To the south there is a high plain that ends in steep limestone cliffs (actually if looking carefully one can find a path at in intermediate height level when walking there - it is so beautiful, when I go along the path I can't stop myself, I take photo after photo...). A plain sounds nice, however there are bushes sparsely scattered here from about 2m tall all the way down to a dm high bushes. If the wind is from the sea, going over the cliff edge, the winds can be a bit turbulent (it can also be a bit turbulent in other directions, but you can "always" find a spot to fly on here). To the north of Visby there are beaches, however unfortunately they are mostly very narrow and with trees and walks/roads limiting. Some beaches are of sand, but most of them are of limestone pebbles (well an exception might be perhaps 5km to the north during the parts of the year when beaches are abandoned). To be fair, Visby is just a small bit of Gotland. People living on the East side of the island tend to think that it is very far to the west side (and vice versa...) an opinion rarely shared by "outsiders". Other places are really kite friendly. They even had kite festivals on Gotland. It might also be so that there is no coincident that you can find one of very few kite shops, Drakjohan (translation: "Johan (a personal name) the kiter"), only dedicated to kites here. The result of web searches are a bit confusing - several main pages seem to exist. One of Drakjohans specialities is to make kites out of bird's feathers! These two images show the area close the path and the start of the path. Following the path here would be to much of a diversion (perhaps another time since I've been doing kiting a bit ahead at an earlier occasion)   Maestro 3 meets water - the first non-travelling day
    So driven by my wife's request that I should "be with my family" when they do swimming and "sun worshiping", I didn't go to the bushy plain as I usually do, but to the very limited beaches north of the town. Add to this the to high wind (the LE of kite got deformed in the wind) that makes dual line slack line tricks more difficult. I had only brought one (dual) trick kite to Gotland, the Maestro 3. It is OK, it certainly does not limit my tricking, but is not my favorite kite. The wind was almost parallel to the beach, but still from the sea.  I found an opening between the trees, a bit close to the path unfortunately. Not to scare the pedestrians and occasional bicyclists by flying close I could only fly towards the water side. Standing close to the water increased the margin further. Holding the kite tight when taking an image with the other hand. The short 15m lines was the only option that worked here. Also the large turning radius that occurs by the edge of the wind window for my kites of newer design (but for none of my kites of older design (why is it so - deep sails?)) reduced the margins further. Perhaps the remedy to the lack of space would be to learn the half axle profoundly and ingrained as a reliable maneuver as an alternative to traditional turning at the edges of the wind window? I don't own a kite stake, but here it was needed. The amount of stones to hold the handles in the image were just enough. During forward flight in mid wind window, the round pebbles and the pull and slope of the beach caused the feet to slide. This meant that the situation was so that running downstream to do tricks was quite much out of the question. Doing a (snappily initiated) turtle it moved sideways in random, however seemed often to follow the contour of the beach slope, ending by slowly sinking down or sharply "unturtle" to the ground. The sideways turtle sliding is perhaps not so surprising, since the wind can't go through the sloping beach, the component of the wind normal (90 degrees) to the lines needs to follow the slope as well.
    Being one metre up from the sea level, flying the kite to the edge of the wind window I could position the kite under the horison at the wind window edge. When making the transition from the wind window edge position to a stall a couple of metres into the wind window, the kite sank quite rapidly when stalled if you didn't handle it (in spite of the wind and the fact that the bridle setting was so that the nose was slightly tilted towards me). The turning radius at the edge and the sinking stall are the things (I tell myself) that I don't like with the kite. But hey, can't the possibility of making a landing by stalling the kite in hard wind be a feature? No, I haven't really tried out this kite yet, e.g. I've only briefly tested with and without weights when the kite was very new. The decision to do the Jaws trick was not a sudden decision. In fact, last year I already did a limited attempt, but then decided it was not for me. This was during a language course for my children in Sidmouth (in Devon, UK) last summer. I almost had my Elixir crushed (it looked like) when landing at a depth of a just a few cm, when an Atlantic wave engulfed it. Here in Visby it was a completely different matter, I just noticed that it offered no problems, so I just increased how much the kite was submerged a bit more for every time I landed it in the water. Also, in my much subjective opinion, submerging the kite was beneficial for the look of it. Travelling after geological periods (Devonian in Devon and Silurian in Gotland) was not an active choice. Should I instead actively follow this hinted trend the next summer, I'd go somewhere where the sediments/sedimental rocks are from the (older) Ordovician period. If you are not familiar with the Jaws trick, the trick is performed by letting the kite sink down while stalled with the nose up and then let it return to the surface and then take off again. You can also read about this and other tricks in the Fractured Axel's Tricky Wiki. Yet another place to look for trick descriptions is in Peter Peters site ( ) in the tricks page ( ). PP's trick list contains a brief description of each trick and how to perform it, but I'm tempted to say it is more of a reference (although it got a helpful list of which tricks to start with as a beginner). Much info is from the last years of the previous millennium in web pages that look typical for the time. The kite terminology is always useful as well. The links list however, is more of a kite museum than a set of working links.
    Kite tunnel vision - my family might agree on this image text. Notice the seaweed residues after the Jaws trick (under water landing and take off). Much more of the seaweed mess was to come. I guess the conditions for submerging it were quite ideal - hard wind so the kite didn't flip forward when taking off, low waves and a OK kite that wasn't one of my most dearest ones. The waves were reduced by a long shallow shelf stretching out from the beach. Here and there the were also boulders breaking through the surface which I guess also could help to reduce the waves. The "OK but not the dearest kite" might also need some explanation. After buying the Infinity the Maestro 3 felt comparatively redundant (however different kites always offer differences useful when learning tricks). For various reasons I'd never fly on this beach in hard wind and practice Jaws for the first time with my e.g. Infinity, Jam Session, Maestrale, Illusion, Elixir... . In a way not flying a "museum kites" wearing silk gloves adds to the usefulness of the Maestro (I wonder how I'll consider the Maestro in 10 years or so). I feel a bit bad about this. This is the only kite I got whose appearance I don't like. Many colours on a kite can be nice and one colour plus black can be nice as well, but this ... it is extra of everything. It reminds me of my one of my birthdays as a child. I made my own cake and was given full control over the ingredients, so I mixed "everything" that I liked - the result well you can guess... Perhaps this is difficult - if you design many kites and there is a requirement that each of them should have a distinct look, each kite model therefore can't be the best looking or close to best looking. Another thing I tried out was to attempt to park the kite in harder wind by using the failed Sleeping Beauty maneuver (i.e. you just leave out the take off part) in this harder wind - I just couldn't do the on ground rotation - this calls for further investigation. As described above the tricking was pretty much limited during the conditions, so I went further to the north to reach a still narrow but instead sandy beach where parts of my family also happened to be (for some more time at least). With the softer ground I dared to do some fades. Considering the quite hard wind (though slightly less than the first beach), I was a bit surprised how well it could hold the fade. Considering both the Maestro's good natured fade and turtle I might have been to hard on the judgement of this kite.
    The municipality of Gotland (and in fact at the same time the county of Gotland) must be very kind to kiters, since they obviously offer kite holders on the beach to resting kite walkers. By the end of the day I was content with myself that the wing nocks were still intact - this is something I've learnt from flying on stony beaches and rocks on earlier occasions. Not covering the wing tips/nocks with plastic caps limits the flying when flying on rocky beaches. If I hadn't forgot to bring the caps I could have allowed myself to do more groundwork. However looking at the nose I've had too much fun anyhow. The spine had almost worn through. Should one treat the nose with some hardening goo or a patch as a preventive measure before flying on hard surfaces?
    I was a bit surprised by how quickly the nose could wear out - only one to two hours of rocky beach in hard wind. Did I just go medieval on that nose (which in a way might be appropriate description given the time and place)? Could the sand beach have contributed as well? Previously I've only used my Maestro on grass and to some limited extent on sand. Could the water make things worse by making the fibre in the nose more easily slide relative to each other? Well well, should check the topic again.   Then the feared telephone call came: "Hurry home - we are going out!". At this time he kite and lines were in a mess with much seaweed and sand after a second of some not so successful tricking over water. A kite with lines is a very efficient harvesting tool for seaweed. I tried to coax the large chunks of seaweed from the line - didn't work. Tried to slide it over the sleeves on the kite side of the line - didn't work either, the chunk just stopped at the end of the line. What worked to some degree was to step on the seaweed, grab each side of the line and pull to get parts of the large chunk off. I really didn't like to put the kite in it's current shape in its sleeve and did not have the time to do the cleaning, so I took it for the 4km walk back still assembled with the wind pressing the kite to my side. After a while I reached a low jetty where the sand could be washed away. On the way back these sea birds also wanted to be on a photo. Carrying a kite through the town can't be that odd - look at how the other people were dressed. On the way home closer to the city about a third was dressed in medieval clothing. Later that evening once more on the way back home (the children were at the tournament games), going through the botanical garden and city in the dusk (very atmospheric) I really belonged to a minority wearing modern clothing. Now being the deviant, even though the kite was at the hotel.   The budget dual foil gets lured into pulling - the second and last non-travelling day
    The next day it should be even slightly more wind and the forecast from the very same morning also promised no rain. Therefore I decided to go to the high plain with my youngest daughter who joined me to try the foil out. To be more specific I was doing the walking and she had rent a bike. Also the rain that should not be, decided to join in during the walk. It was a very long time ago I tried the foil the last time and then it had problems with foil folding. One suggestion I got in KL was to try it in more wind. I had hoped to be blown out of my shoes, but was a bit disappointed, with the current wind direction. There was a forest about a few hundred meters upstream. This meant that there was no direct wind from the sea and the wind was a bit dirty.
    Is this the simplest possible "kite bag" (for a single Maestro)? Well, well it turned out that I didn't use it that day, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. The foil was instead in the backpack. A long time ago when I only had two kites I that used on regular bases (a Jam Session and a Maestrale), I used two of these bands to loosely connect the two sleeves - No, no, not tightly tensioned, I can't I can't wrinkle a kite sail if it can be avoided in any way. "The golden path to the freedom of kiting." It may not look so, but it is perfectly legal to walk here. To the right there is the sewage treatment plant and to the left?... I don't know what that fence does. The plateau can be accessed by anyone from many directions - pointless fence! What I had hoped for was something moving like a rocket over the sky, forcing the pilot to really struggle. Most of the time this wasn't the case. Largely the kite felt like an empty plastic bag at the end of the lines. Seen from the side when my daughter was piloting the lines never went above 30 degrees above the ground (and she can at least stear a dual line). However going close to the kite (a few meters downstreams) there was a very pleasant sound of speed. The old cheap foil I previously mentioned in the "What to do in high wind topic". These two photos are not from this trip. Seen from the other side of the lines almost all sensation of speed was lost. When going straight forward, the kite was quite round in shape in the direction of the spanwidth. It kind of pulsated while going forward, curling up and straightening out, without stability, speed or pull. Doing the slightest turn often resulted in some foil folding starting. Pull turns or push turns made no difference. To the kites defence it say that the foil folding was quite good-natured - the foil folding ended by itself just as quickly as it started.
    When this foil goes straight forward or turns slowly I don't give much for it's properties. It got a tendency to collapse or to curl up and never develops any real pull. Tight turning is a completely other issue - it becomes straight in an L-shaped way and starts to pull! To further investigate and see if i could get any fun aspects of this kite I did something that went against my nature as a framed dual line kiter - I gave a very large input for turning. I've never used this large input ever. The result? - It did several tight turns, but much to my surprise the kite started to pull and became stable without a hint of foil folding. The shape of the kite changed to something L-shaped. On the side you pulled, most of the kite went straight and on the other side a small inward winglet formed. Then there was a long gust and finally, YES! YES!, some (mild) fighting! This kite seems to be meant for spinning. Perhaps the bridle could be tweaked to make the foil straighter without constantly being in a turn to achieve the straighter non-curled up form? A fathers heart was much warmed after sharing this piece of knowledge to my daughter and then seeing the result, (she was still wearing her bicycle helmet after her ride) the look of her happy brutal fighting face and pose. That was until her, sigh!, interest in "Pokemon Go" took over. Patience, patience, never push my interests (maximum offering them is the way to go I believe) - she would instantly protest if I did otherwise. Since coming out of the foil folding was something that the kite largely managed by itself, I figured perhaps controlled foil folding is the trickflying of foils? Making turns with the rhythm borrowed from half axels (I'm still struggling with proper half axels with framed dual line kite though), the foil could be made to make a turn more or less on the spot with the foil folded, which then unfolded in the last part of the combo.
    Nope you wouldn't find these berries tasty. They sit on the Blackthorn/Sloe bush (Prunus Spinosa, ). For them to be used in cooking you should harvest them after the first frost in the autumn. I've heard that you can add them to spirit to make a sweet liqueur, however with a limited shelf life. Normally I'd say that this bush is about 2m high (although up to 4m should be possible). Here on this plateau they tend to be very low. ...Now I see it! If I started a topic for plant interested kiters only it would TOTALLY dominate!  ... For kiters I'm afraid that these plants are bad news - The twigs/thorns are not very kind to kite lines. They (well, certainly not me?) are responsible for damaging and me not fully trusting one pair of kite lines to my Fazer XL any longer. During Easter this year during a happy Fazer XL session, I wasn't patient enough to do the walk of contemplation when the lines got caught, but instead tried to solve it from where I stood.    Conclusions
    So what was the outcome of this trip? Not waiting for the ideal situations (for a dual line trick/precision flyer that do not own a vented kite), which would have meant never during this trip, I got to test/learn starts with the kite fully submerged. saw that there was a problem with the failed sleeping beauty kite parking in harder winds which further needs to be checked out, saw that the Maestro 3 sat in a turtle and fade even during harder winds, felt some nice pull from a 2-line foil for the first time, studied the problem of the instability/foil folding, came up with temporary fix to do tight turns to handle the instability/lack of pull, got ideas on how to tweak the bridle, found some way of abruptly changing the foils course by utilising some controlled foil folding. On the family side of things, they seem to be keen on getting medieval clothing for some future time. My youngest daughter also went from the Pokemon Go level of 14 to the level 15. My personal conclusion here: I'd rather Kitemon Go in "civilian" clothing! Sometimes you get enough of pretty sceneries, evocative cities and too much nature. This ugly view on the way back to the hotel offered some rest. End of vacation, the return trip to a more mundane life - tomorrow back to work...   If you made it to this very last line you are a very persistent reader - consider to wear a T-shirt with the text: "I read long and tedious blog entries".
    • 1 comment

    Support your LKS

    By SHBKF

    Support your LKS   I started reading the kite forums with some intensity over four years ago.  I had used computers for many years even back before the days of the WWW.  It has been quite awhile since I’ve seen that initialism used in any context.  I had previously been on a few forums of interest but I was really fired up wanting to learn anything kites.   I saw mention of an initialism LKS, Local Kite Store.  Out here in the mountains of western Virginia there was no such thing.  Maybe a toy store with a few single line kites & a hobby shop that had small selection of dual line kites, both located over sixty miles away in eastern Tennessee.  It is five & one half hours, three hundred & forty-four miles, to get to my Local Kite Store, Kligs in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I try to support the kite stores that I visit with a purchase or two & enjoy talking to the people working them.  Some are active fliers, some are just working retail that happens to sell toys & kites.  I have been to a store in Mystic, Connecticut that was not much larger than a walk in closet.  Most seem to be around the size of a shoe store.  Kligs is a very large store with hundreds of kites on display.  My first serious kite came from Kitty Hawk Kites back when they had only one location.  There are many on the east coast that I still have not visited.   I always check for anything in a bargain or clearance mode & have come away with some nice items.  I have learned to ask if they have any used or demo kites also.  Scored a nice vintage Prism Alien that way as well as a Sun Oak delta & a couple Revs.   Sure, these kites may not be the color I might want or the latest but I get a deal & the sale helps the cash flow of the retailer.  I have bought many kites at full retail with no regrets knowing it might help them especially in the off season.  Support your local store. The few bucks you might save elsewhere will never make up for a small business lost forever. SHBKF
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  1. Sat Sep 30 16:38:39 CEST 2017
    GF, forecasted 3-4m/s
    Fazer XL and XXL stacked on 35m 180kg lines
    Two 23m (75 ft) prism tube tails


    To carry stuff
    After the soon 3 months on QLKing I decided to end that test/project and return to DLKs (and "at the same time" continue with QLKs). During the QLK time I got kind of "transportation spoiled". I only had two kites to carry around: B-series 1.5 std and full vent. The full vent venting holes are patched with removable thin sheets of cellophane attached with (centimeter wide strips of) tape.* Included in the package was two, three and four wrap spars, so these two kites could handle (well could be used by me to practice at least) all the wind conditions that I met during this period. The two quite small QLK kite sleeves were tied together using the strings already on the sleeves (the strings normally used to close the bags i.e.) and hung comfortably over the shoulder and backpack during transport - it wasn't even necessary with a kite bag. Today however the ski bag was the available option to carry the Fazers, the tails and the QLKs and a few line sets. Suddenly a 5.5 kg (12 lb) ski bag was hanging on the shoulder again.

    * The second iteration of cellophane/tape patching would be to make the tape strips towards the LE somewhat wider. The reason for this is that sometimes I need to press it at the start of the session and possibly one more time to make it stick well. Hopefully the wider tape closer to the LE would improve things. The tape used here is intended for large sheets of polyethene/polyethylene used here because the glue has never left any residues for me.

    Preparation, making and repair
    This the first time I pilot a stack or see any stacks of more lines than one. Some info on how I made it can be found in in  :

    The stack was made earlier during the summer. The kites themselves have also been resting for more than half a year. Part of the reason has been broken stand offs that had snapped/cracked. The reason why only the Fazer stand offs are the only ones that snap for me is due to the often long line lengths making it difficult to see if a line is wrapped around a wing. You also typically pull harder when starting, meaning that if the line happen to be around the wing the stand off is more likely to break.


    This Fazer XL stand off was damaged during a start resulting in delamination and snapping fibre (bundles).


    Could tape keep the fibre bundles together and work as a mold during the repair?


    Nope, the tape mold approach didn't work out well. The resulting surface was very rough - best seen in the shadow edge. And, I really dislike sanding down glass fibre - itchy, itchy, itchy!

    The Fazer XXL's stand off was instead repaired using heat shrink tubing. Here the heat shrink tube and epoxy repair had to be split into a two step process, because the cracks were long and the tubing could not be slid over the ends of the standoff. Look closely and you can see that the first step is already finished.


    No sanding required when heat shrink tubing was used. The pin was not absolutely straight afterwards. Using some kind of a alignment jig would likely have produced a straighter result. To the right you can see the hot air gun used to shrink the tube.
    The dog in the background might look cute, but is really internally about to explode:
    "The BALL, the BALL - STUPID!!! Can't you see the BALL stuuupiiid??!!".
    She might not be of much use when it comes to get work done in outdoors (making you feel bad for not playing with her constantly), but at least fanatically returns any tennis ball shot if you work on your serves in the garden. When playing with (stealing from) the German shepherd she wins by outmaneuvering, even though the German shepherd runs faster when running in straight line on a field. A very never ending playful dog!

    I decided to try to repair the stand off rods themselves instead of making new ones. I believe that there are several benefits in getting better with epoxy and fibre repairs (or other plastic fibre composites?): if spares/spars break at the wrong time and you don't have spares you have a way out, the feeling "I did this" instead of buying, if your kite ever would require no longer available rods, doing composite repairs could offer a way out. I also consider (/an idea could be) to increase the strength in LE of DLKs just to make it more robust when tip stabbing etc. or if I ever would come to the kite surgery of making a frame lighter. Spars are often uniform throught out the length, while the loads are not. You can have an extra high load in LE connectors or just below the LLE/LS-connector e.g. When it comes to keeping the fibres (somewhat) together, squeezing out excess epoxy, speeding up the curing of the epoxi and minimizing the after work, heat shrink tubing rules and tape "sucks" (to my somewhat limited experience). A requirement is that there is enough room so that you can slide the heat shrink tubing on and it shrinks enough. Tape however is good for masking - covering places where you don't want any epoxy.

    A common type of heat shrink tubing shrinks to half of its original size (1:2). You can however get hold of (in shops like (Farnell, RS components, ELFA, etc...) sorts that does 1:4 and 1:6 shrinkage at various temperatures.

    Out on the field

    The stack.

    The wind was a bit on the lower side for the somewhat heavy Fazers. I had to work a bit to keep them in the air. After briefly testing the XXL just to verify that I remembered the DLK (Fazer) control well enough (after the DLK pause) I assembled and connected the XL to the XXL. The result was surprising - it just worked out of the box! I didn't feel that it was necessary to do any tweaking. On the other hand one of the to sources of how to do the stack lines was KL so the bridle should be just fine:).


    In the stack the XXL nose was tilted backwards about a centimeter relative to the XL. The stack line connectors on the Fazer XL were prepared for further adjustments, but it didn't seem necessary.

    The XL had a slight tendency to wobble a bit during most starts, but was quite well behaved otherwise - unless you are "asking for it". Perhaps not so strange oversteer has always been a "hallmark" of the (my?) XL. It is not such a bad thing once I learned to handle it. During windier days I'd say the XL got the temperament of a leaping calf that suddenly can grab you and make you end up three steps downwind. Only one time during this session I was a bit surprised when the stack fell out of the sky after a snap stall.


    Unless provoked, the kites flew synced, albeit the XL got some oversteer.

    The main goal of the day was to get the stack working and if it did, try it with the tails. In the a bit low wind and new circumstances I limited the flying to figure flying (how much more than that can you do with a stack b.t.w.?). Only a few times I had the privilege of being dragged by the stack. The most trick like I accomplished was a cart wheel, which demanded a bit more persuasion than usual to work with the stack of different sized kites. Side slides were also possible. Well another thing, but I don't know if you can call it trick-like, was when running quickly backwards to stabilize the stack in the low wind during a start, which caused me to fall backwards like some fall in a Laurel and Hardy movie: 

    Even though I somersaulted backwards on the ground over one of the shoulders it didn't hurt. I guess the pull from the kite limited the speed of the fall.

    Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the stack in flight. The tails were attached to the bridle of the XXL where the LS meet the LE. Visually it would have given the same effect if the tails were attached to the wingtips of the XL. The perspective I had of the kite almost made it look like one kite except if the XL was oversteering/wobbling. Otherwise the size of the stack, long lines, double tails and slow flight gave it kind of dignified look. The effect of the double tail when doing tight loops was however a bit of a disappointment (slow turns of forward travel looked great though). The inner wing tip and tail hardly moved. Moving the tails inwards to somewhere closer to the stand offs could be one way to make the tight loops look better. Another way to make the loops look better could be to attach one tail to each spine (should at least be interesting to see from the side). Perhaps tight loops with the current position also looks better from the side, but piloting the kite meant that I hadn't that view.


    The position of the tails can be adjusted to make the tight loops look better. Forward flight looked good (as seen from the pilots view).


    The Fazers are quite robust (heavy). One project I consider (i.e. I like the idea but it is not very likely to be implemented) is to make an extra set lower spreaders to use in lighter winds. The diameter of the current ones are 10 mm for the XL and 12 mm for the XXL. Preferably, if it would be good if it would be possible to get hold of thin walled tubes of the same or larger diameter so that the stiffness of the tubes didn't go down too much. What I really would like to do when I "grow up" as a kiter (if you can ever do that with kites) is learn how to handle my sewing machine well and for some reason get an enormous amount of spare time. Then I'd do a kite based on a truss construction ( , ) instead of single spars. A starter project could be weight reduced spreaders for the Fazers. The weight of the Fazer XL spreaders, 1 TS +2 LS, (according to a very old scale) are 190g for the Fazer XL (680g for the whole kite incl. the stack bridle connectors, total weight according to the Fazer XL datasheet is 615g) and the spreaders of the Fazer XXL are 410g (1305g or 46oz for the whole kite including stack lines and end caps, literally "~xxx g" in the Fazer XXL datasheet). A truss shaped spreader could have a smaller cross section area, while the larger total diameter prevents them from flexing out sideways during compressive load. The, still dreaming, project after that would be the all truss and all mylar sail kites. On the other hand (still sticking to large kites) acquiring another large kite (like Topas 3.0 or Hot Stripe XL?) could get the diameter of the spars down and hopefully the kite up more easily in low winds. No I haven't done much research here - sometimes you just want a kite. 

    No I don't think that I'll fly this stack very often. I miss the tricking possibilities to much. My plan is to get somewhat more acquainted with the control and also to see how much wind I can handle. For next years kite festival the stack is a possible contribution, provided I can find a good place with good winds a bit from the centre of the festival and with not to many people around. Although there have been no good multi line kites during at the festival the two last years (which equals to the times I have been there) I like to increase the competitiveness (yes there are a few prices) by always offering something new and most likely put a tail on it. Does this approach have a light scent of crowd-pleasing? During the last festival I handled it in the following way: Before the price ceremony I flew dual DLKs with tails and after the ceremony I did DLK (one kite) tricking to also demonstrate that aspect of kiting as well. If there would be room for the Fazer stack at the next festival I'd say that the odds look good - the bystander interaction today consisted of three chats, while the usual number could be a chat perhaps every third time.

    When walking of the field after the 4h stacked session it instead felt like after long day of outdoor (garden/house) work. It was early to bed that night. A slight muscle soreness remained for a few days after as a receipt of that kiting can offer good physical exercise.

  2. RobB
    Latest Entry

    Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I have posted anything here. I have been consumed by work & life over the last few months, without much if any time to get the kites out. Not a huge deal, as this is the off-season for kite flying where I live (at least in my book.).

    I have had a few brief moments to get out and fly on the way home from work. Quick, half hour sessions do a stressed mind a world of good. Recently, a friend of ours in the kiting community passed away (BobbyB) and I took a little time at the end of my day to fly one of his kites and think about things. Just a picture perfect day with lab-grade winds... couldn't ask for anything more, other than having not heard of the passing of a friend earlier in the day. Anyway, here's Bobby's kite basking in the late day sun...



    Most of my free time is spent keeping the 3 kids busy, enjoying summertime activities. We recently took a day trip out to Montauk, and I brought the KAP backpack, hoping to get some shots of the cliffs & the lighthouse. Unfortunately, the wind was low & iffy, so I was lucky to get the kite alone in the air for a little while...


    The girls are at the age that they enjoy the SLKs still...


    We took turns flying the Ultrafoil 15...


    We took a long weekend trip up to Vermont a couple weeks ago. Vermont ? Sounds like a terrible place to fly a kite, right ?

    You just have to have the right kinda kite ! The Plutz3 was awesome in the lack of wind in the mountains & woods. I flew that Plutz in one weekend more than I had ever flown it. The girls also learned how to fly a glider & had a great time !





    Yes, I fly gliders with a wand. That's how I learned & don't really get how people fly them on a loose line without tripping over it & getting all knotted up...



    So, hopefully there will be a lot more flying to report next time, as Kite Season will be officially underway around here in about 10 days. Looking forward to that LBI kite festival, too, this year will be the 3rd Annual.


  3. riffclown
    Latest Entry

    This one is a bit differently sized than my typical builds.. It is a 83.5" Leading Edge. Midway between the 1.5 and 2.0 sizes.. This will either be my new night kite or the middle kite in a future progressive stack. Temporary bridles at the moment since I've never tied bridles this size.

    ZERO wind but still started with a toss, followed by a ground catch..


  4. In the mid-sixties I had a paper route in Brigham City, Utah delivering the Deseret News.  It was my first experience in how to operate a small business as we were all essentially independent contractors.  My route took about an hour & one half delivering 50 to 60 papers on my 3 speed English bike.  The newspaper company was always trying to get us to sign up new subscribers.  Incentives were given based on the number of new subscribers we recruited.  The most memorable premium I ever received was a Gayla Sky Spy kite.  While not my first it was a very good kite.  I could stand out in the street in front of the house & launch it by propping the kite up, laying out about thirty feet of line & towing it until it cleared the roof top & got into some clean air.  I considered this advanced kite technique at the time.  I was fourteen. 

    Once in the air it was easy to go to the end of a 500' spool of line.  We used the latest kite technology, Hi-Flier Megalon Super Strength kite cord made of thin light nylon.  It was much better than the old cotton string of the fifties.  You could splice on more line but after a while the kite could not lift more line & it would not go higher, just further away.  If you had out enough line you could let go of the line & the kite would still have enough tension on it to keep flying as the line slowly slipped along the ground.  It was a lot of effort to reel in a thousand feet of line using an empty Suran wrap tube.  One time we even tried to use an Erector set motor to make a power winder but long extension cords were hard to come by which was the limiting factor on that effort.  Eventually I got a Hi-Flier spin winder.

    Certain times of the year the west wind would blow for days.  I don't know why we left the kite up all night for the first time.  But once we found out it was possible we would try to go for a record number of hours.  The best we ever did was three days.  When the kite did come down unattended we would leap on our bikes & follow the string for a couple blocks to hopefully find the tough little kite laying in a yard some ways away.  Eventually there came a day when the kite was not to be found.  Then I went into a dark time of no kites, but the girls kept me distracted....   SHBKF

  5. Suddenly, it's May!   The weather has been turning colder here over the last few (eight!) weeks.   Work has been busy, and combined with the end of daylight savings time, it has definitely put a crimp on my flying!   I finally got a chance to debut my new ribbon tails last weekend, they looked great!   Unfortunately I can't show you any video, the GoPro wasn't working properly - operator error!  Then I got rained on and it dawned on me that I now had to work out a way of drying 2 x 25ft tails...

    The answer I settled on was pulling each tail through a folded towel, that seemed to work pretty well!   I managed to put my first puncture in the sail, but my kite repair kit came to the rescue and it handily patched the small hole before it had the chance to become bigger.

    I got to go out and play for about an hour the following day in about 10 - 14 km/h winds, I had a lot of fun just keeping the kite in the air and moving it around in the window.  Nothing fancy.   I need to go back and review all the slack line trick videos again before I go out next time, that wind speed seemed ripe for trying a lot of tricks.

  6. Flynhi
    Latest Entry

    Sharing the sky 🎏🍃🛫

    A video posted by Michael Green (@pipakite) on

    Riverview Park is directly under the flight path for Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, 8 miles away. 
    It is fun to share the sky with the big birds.

    Link to the 4k version of this instagram video.

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    A static deflection test was previously performed on several carbon tubes allowing them to be compared based solely on “stiffness”, or the “spring constant” for each tube. 

    A link to the discussion can be found here:

    Experienced Rev fliers have responded with comments regarding the “reflex”, or response of the carbon tube frame being more important than the “stiffness” or weight of the frame.  Experienced fliers select a preferred frame based on wind conditions and the selection of sail type (vent options: none, mid, full).  Additionally, modifications may have been made to the “stock” sail design to improve performance of the kite.  The data presented here represents the dynamic properties of a carbon tube independent of a sail.

    The Data:


    Let's get right to the data! 

    Here is a link to the current Excel spreadsheet with both static and dynamic test results for the rods that I have tested.  A copy of the table is included in this post but does not let you sort by manufacturer or characteristic.


    here is a copy sorted by 1st Amplitude 5” Perturbation:


    Here is a copy of the worksheet "Deflection and Reflex comp" which compares dynamic measurements with the commonly used Rev 3-wrap rod with silver label:


    A positive % means that the test value for that tube was greater than the Rev 3-wrap test value.  Likewise, a negative % means the test value was less than the Rev 3-wrap test value.


    Specifications for carbon tubing that you purchase for the purpose of constructing or modifying a frame combination yourself only include tube ID and OD dimensions, and an overall weight. Some tubes and frame sets will only provide a model ID and no other information.   The more experienced kite flier or builder will be interested in more information than this.  Hopefully the tests that I have conducted will be useful to you although you will see from the pictures that I don’t have a NIST certified lab.  I was able to conduct these tests with readily available household items (for me these were readily available :)) and a little ingenuity.

    Description of the Carbon Tubing Response Test:

    A 31” tube was secured at one end of a test table by a ferrule allowing a full 31” section of tubing to be deflected and oscillate.  The 31” length was deflected by 5”, released, and allowed to oscillate until it settled.  The amplitude of the first vibration response was measured in inches.  The frequency of vibration was measured in HZ (cycles per second), and the settling time was measured in seconds.  (settling time is defined as the time it took for the tube to stop vibrating after the initial disturbance).

    Test Table Picture:


    The measurements were taken using audio technology.  A small wire (whisker) was fastened to the end of each tube that was tested and a small microphone was placed exactly in-line with the stationary tube.


    As the tube oscillated past the microphone it recorded the impact of the whisker.  Since the audio was sampled at 44.1 KHz the data is quite precise.  Frequencies and settling times were analyzed using audio editing software.

    Data Sheet Picture:


    A data sheet was used for each rod tested.  The data was recorded and then entered into the excel spreadsheet that has been posted.

    Sonic Performance Pictures:

    Multiple tests were performed on each rod and the results were averaged.  Here is an example of a rev 3-wrap rod showing 3 response tests:


    Here is a picture of one test with markers drawn at each impact of the microphone.  Two impacts define the Period in seconds.  1/Period defines frequency in Cycles per Second known as Hz (see highlighted and circled value in the picture).  In the case of a 3 wrap rev rod the Period is .062 seconds on average and the frequency is (1/.062) or 16.129 Hz:


    The first amplitude deflection however was measured manually.  A toothpick was held perpendicular to the testing table and at the end of the tube.  The toothpick was adjusted until the tube barely touched it during the first amplitude deflection.

    I don’t have a picture demonstrating this test but here is a picture of a sample test sheet showing where the first reflex of an example test sheet for the 3-wrap rev rod where the first amplitude was marked.  It is at the end of the perpendicular line drawn from the Centerline (CL):


    What does this all mean?

    Hopefully this information is useful to you and can inspire further discussions regarding frame preferences and sail choice in the forum. 

    I will offer my initial interpretations of the data with hesitation because I know that many of you will have your own observations...

    Again, Wind Speed, Sail Choice, and Sail Modifications are all factors in the kite’s response and performance. 

    Frequency test:

    The frequency test results are very similar between each rod with the exception of the SS P400 and the Rev 3-wrap Green-stripe.  Almost all the rods oscillate at a slightly lower frequency than the Rev 3-wrap.  The frequency value could indicate how quickly the rod, when used in a sail, will try to return to a static position after a disturbance.  Perhaps a point for discussion…

    1st Amplitude Response from 5”:

    This test possibly indicates how “springy” a tube is.  A large 1st amplitude would indicate that the rod wants to flex easily.  Perhaps this would give you a very “bouncy” experience when used in a sail.  Silver Race rod test results would indicate that they would seem considerably less bouncy than the 3-wrap.  The SS P-90 is the bounciest of all which I would agree from my experience. 

    Settling Time:

    This test would also seem to indicate how quickly a rod will return to a static condition after a disturbance.  It adds another dimension to the frequency characteristic that describes how quickly the amplitudes during oscillation diminish to zero.  Race Rods and SS PX tubes have a shorter Settling Time than the 3-wrap standard;  this has me curious now and perhaps my first question back in the forum: For those of you with SS P-3X frames, how do you compare this frame to the Rev 3-wrap?  The SS P400 seems like it wants to vibrate forever!   

    Well, I will end this blog now and look forward to continued discussions in the forum.




  7. Phew, it has been busy these past couple weeks. Changing weather and a bad flu really cut into my flying but I've still managed to get out a bit!. I've been trying to accomplish four things while on the field:

    1) Fractured Axel practice. I'd like to get much more consistent with them which I think involves two things. First is to make sure the kit is in the middle of the axle before pulling for the fade. I can do this in the middle of the window, but I miss most attempts when trying this near the edge. I think this has something to do with the asymmetry already present in the lines when flying at the edge of the window? I have to think about it a bit more though. The other thing I need to do is Give.More.Slack. Every time I watch the footage of my sessions I can see line tension screwing up the trick. I think I err on the side of too little slack because I'm usually practicing in lower wind and don't want to have to regain ground lost when I take up slack. When there is finally enough wind to sustain a fade with the Quantum though I just don't give enough. 

    2) Virtual Freestyle practice. Less than a week left to get an entry in! I'm trying to get an entry that starts with the kite on the ground, includes at least one fractured axel and one nice slide, and ends with the kite deliberately (not crashed) on the ground within 1min 30sec. This has been hard! I'm starting to 'check in' with the ground, landing more frequently which is helping for sure. 

    3) Axels. I've been working on more deliberate control of my axels. This has involved trying them with the nose pointed every direction 'above' horizontal, and with both wings. I'm still not usually giving a snappy enough tug or enough slack for the kite to come all the way around but I've learned to bail out of them into horizontal flight and maintain/gain momentum in the process which is good for low wind flight. I've also been working a bit on 'Push Axels' -- Axels started from a 180  90 degree push turn instead of a stall.  I don't think they look quite as good but they are very fluid,and very easy to do. 

    Exult sent me this link to a great trick list that has a lot of insight in the descriptions. From that list I turned what I thought had been constant failures at Half Axels into repeatable successes with Rixels! This is the most reliable way I have right now of getting into a turtle.

    Finally, my BF bought me a new camera! He got a super deal on a new GoPro Hero 5 my anniversary, Xmas, and Birthday gift. Worth it!!!! The videos included here are all from the GoPro.

    This first one is probably  the least exciting! It was filmed at 2.7k but converted to 1080p cause Windows movie maker doesn't do higher res. It has a lot of Fractured Axel attempts, and some Virtual Freestyle practice. It also has a few Rixels and one snap turtle :)

    The next videos are done with GoPro studio. It is OK, but I like Windows Movie Maker more. Oh well! This Push Axels video is filmed at 2.7k and uploaded to Youtube, which downscales it to 1440p.

    This video was mostly me screwing around with the camera as there was no wind all morning. It is in 1440p resolution but 4:3 aspect ratio. with the gopro this means much more sky is visible. I'm not sure how I feel about this aspect ratio! Nice to see more of the sky, but I don't like black boarders. 

    Finally, here are two virtual freestyle attempts plus a couple half axels :) This was filmed at 2.7k which was used to crop a 1080p frame. It is a great way to keep the kite in frame the whole time, but I already miss the higher resolution of the full 2.7k image. 

    I can't wait to play with this camera in more appropriate winds! There's no upper spreader in my kites for almost all of these :)

    This week will be much of the same, VF attempts, FAs, and as many axels as I can while getting to know this camera. I might have to learn howto fly with gloves on soon though, getting cold!!


  8. We've broken the record for the longest streak of extreme heat in our area.  Needless to say, we haven't been flying in quite a while.

    We Want To Fly!!

  9. Oops, a bit overdue on this one.  

    Memorial Day weekend brought around the San Ramon Art and Wind Festival.  It is a Sunday-Monday festival, this year held on May 29-30, 2016.  

    Sunday started off on a good note, with temperatures not terribly hot, and there was wind!  Bumpy, inland wind with lots of "holes" typical of that location, but nevertheless there was wind.  Sport kite fliers flew demos most of the day, interspersed with some other attractions.  Penny Lingenfelter put on a show with kids from the audience, giving them kites to fly and briefing them on the story they were acting out before taking center stage.  

    We also ran bol races, where older kids got to pull bols into the wind and attempt to run to the finish line.  


    A couple of giant octopus kites also went up.  


    Here is Team AirZone getting ready to perform.  You can see the octopus still being put away on the ground.  


    We ended the day with a quad line megafly as we like to do.  

    Unfortunately, we were not as lucky on Monday.  Temperatures were already picking up in the morning, and on top of that, there was no wind.  But the show must go on.  For the first few hours, demo fliers were flying on short lines, some even flying their indoor routines on indoor kites.  I got creative and flew a mystery ballet with a single line glider.  

    Since it was Memorial Day, we also had a red, white, and blue fly, with people running their kites across the field to get some lift.  One guy tied three cube kites (red, white, and blue; I believe they were Shanti cubes) to a banner pole and was using it as a giant wand to fly the kites.  


    Banner display that was put up on Monday.  


    We did finally get some wind later in the afternoon, so we were able to fly the routines we typically fly at outdoor festivals.  Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head home.  

  10. It has been a little over 3 months since my last entry. Wow! Time flies doesn't it! Work was booooming and I was taking advantage of all the extra shift hours available. However. I miss spending time with the things that make me happy. The important things. My growing family. My friends. My kites. 


    My son, our middle child, just turned 8. Growing into a fine young boy. Around 2 years ago, when he was 6 and this still blows me away, said "he wanted a kite just like mine but different". After talking with him for a while to find out exactly what he was after, yep he wanted a Rev. So I set him up on Watties colouriser.!/ He played with it for a while, came up with some pretty cool designs too. We chatted about different kites. I told him that he could earn extra money by doing jobs and that if he stuck with it I would match him dollar for dollar. After explaining what that meant, he had a quiet grin of determination. Then it hit me. He might get a Pro before I do!! He did all sorts of jobs to keep topping up the kite fund. Some were easy, some were not. He went without lots of treats to put that money to it as well. I began taking him out flying with me. His attention span got better and a kind of stillness would come over him when we flew. We sat down a month before his 8th birthday and did the numbers. He was about 6 months from a B Series, poor little fella wanted it sooner than that. I had a quiet word to my wife, then began to feel him out for a scheme. He had gone off his technicolor dream coat rev, thank me later Baz! He was liking the older style Blue Grey B Series. Which is good as it would match my Red and Grey B's. We got a Travel frame package ready to fly. It came just before his party so he could show all his mates. We have had a couple of flights on his new sail. The winds were a little light for the 3 wrap travel frame but he had fun. I would like to say a big thanks to Kevin Sanders as he sent my boy a set of his handles and a stake. A much lay appreciated gift. 


    Now, once he's got the hang of it, I'm putting him on some 30's and we are going to the streets!!!


     (because uploading to "edited" blog produced some kind of error -200)





  12. Getting Whump...

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    John Barresi
    Latest Entry

    By John Barresi,

    And my favorite video so far by teammate @mystainedskin (Scott Benz)...



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