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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.
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..
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Sun Aug 6 13:00:00 CEST 2017
GF, forecasted (not applicable - didn't seem to match)
Rev B-series standard, 2 wrap tubes most of the time
Lines 25m, 60kg (front) and 40kg (rear)
Today's winds were a bit erratic and mostly weak. It was cloudy and the ground was a bit moist from recent rain. When I came to the field I realized that I had forgotten the kite stake at home (an old screwdriver with red tape wound around the handle). Normally I never deal with them, but then "normally" until some months ago meant one DLK. I find kite stakes handy in two cases. When having the DLK lines connected with a bar (as when doing two DLKs) relaunching the kite can be tricky if the kite has happened to tumble on the ground a bit - I have never managed to do a cart wheel with a bar handle. The other standard and obvious use of a kite stake is when keeping the QLK on the ground set up for an easy relaunch.
During a dip in wind period (wind below walking speed) I took a break, sat comfortably on the usually annoying beach outdoor furniture (is somewhat in the way of kiting) and watched the sky - a grey mass of Cumulonimbus like clouds was approaching from the southwest.
The wind picked up somewhat again - another chance to get going again. Today's intended focus was the clock work and flying squares in a clock work like way, but with straight paths with sudden starts/stops in between the 90 deg turns. Some work remains to be done here... A little detail, when flying the squares (clockwise) the largest deviation from the intended path starts in the top right corner. The top right corner I've traditionally used to do a 3/4 CCW turn to untwist the lines when flying DLKs. I've later practiced to instead make the 1/4 CW turn in the top right corner (which I was not used to) look good. Are DLK and QLK that close so that old weaknesses comes back and influence the other activity?
In every session I include inverted flight going upwards as suggested by @Paul LaMasters :Quote
practice a few times each session with the kite inverted. Take off with it in this orientation, fly to waist high, stop and return to the ground. keep doubling up the distant traveled in reverse, go straight up in reverse from resting on the ground SLOW. When you can make this look effortless and back all the way up (to the top of the window) you will be in control. That could take many hours of practice until it looks like the kite is riding on railroad tracks. In low wind conditions this may mean you are briskly walking backwards also instead of stationary!
Thank you for this good and really long lasting exercise suggestion! I'm still very much looking for those railroad tracks somewhere.
The Cumulonimbus clouds delivered their load. Shortly before that, the wind had picked up somewhat for a while - perhaps it was the type of wind that heavy rainfall creates when the downwards wind inside the cloud (that is driven by the rain itself) is forced sideways by the ground. Initially I tried to disregard the light rainfall, but a wet/heavy kite in mostly low wind proved to be difficult and then it really started to rain - cats and dogs! Quickly wind up the lines and bring the whole kite still assembled to the car.
Minor field unboxing event residue (the label i.e.).
So low and a bit funny winds, no kite stake and then driven of the field by heavy rainfall, where to look for the positive angle? You can find them!:
- The low wind. For the first time I switched to the 2wrap frame - yes a bit of an unboxing event. I much appreciated the added ease of keeping it in the air and the more reachable flex that can propel the kite forward when adding tension to the lines.
- No kite stake. Another thing that got necessary to practice was the flat launch of the type with kite face down on the ground and the LE away from you. This position was today the starting/parking position available with no kite stake. I was helped in this by the low wind and smooth lawn.
- The wet weather. No one was was competing for the lawn/beach area. People seem to be very influenced by the weather when choosing activity. When the rainfall became heavy, it was also a natural situation to test the method of getting the whole QLK in the car as suggested by @SHBKF in http://kitelife.com/forum/gallery/image/6080-reflex-in-sierra/ . It worked!
Hurry, hurry to the car - no time to dissassemble the kite. Did lower the tip under the dashboard so that I could use the right wing mirror before driving home.
Always look on the bright side of Life!
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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
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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
18090 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!!
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.
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. http://kitepaint.com/#!/ 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!!!