Our community blogs
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 http://kitelife.com/forum/gallery/image/6234-stack-work-in-progress/ :
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truss , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forth_Bridge ) 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.
- Read more...
- 0 comments
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..
- Read more...
- 0 comments
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
- Read more...
- 0 comments
Recent EntriesLatest Entry
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.
- Read more...
- 0 comments
Recent EntriesLatest Entry
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!!!