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Mon Dec 25 13:00:00 CET 2017
GB, Forecasted 4m/s (gusts 8m/s)
Cross Kites Speedwing X1
25m 38kg lines
Looks small (113cm span), but is capable of surprising you (much like the Monty Python monster rabbit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCI18qAoKq4 ?). Looks wrinkled as well? Don't worry - once in the air everything gets smooth.
Conditions/background: Quite OK wind, but I still wouldn't hesitate to trick trickable kites. Rain on frozen ground... My flick flack exercising earlier during the day felt a bit stalled, so switching to something completely new felt like a fresh breeze.
Much is speedy about this kite:
- Assembly is just one spreader. No standoffs. No battens. No bridle/standoff tangle.
- Nose back/forward bridle adjustment is only one knotted line/larks head.
- Speed (obviously) forward and angular speed (though not necessarily very tight/small radius).
So, except for the above, what is this kite anyhow? - A no spine speed kite with a deep (strange looking) bridle! Bought it mostly to see and learn how it was made.
First launch, nose angle was medium setting - no problems to launch. No problems to control - until getting close to the edge of the wind window. Kite just tumbled out of control to the ground. No standoffs - didn't even try to avoid the walk of contemplation therefore. I guess there could be two reasons for the difficulties here. If you have no spine, you don't have this flatter area around the spine to fly on when the flow around the wing tip fails to function at the edge of the wind window (think of the varying angles of attack along the span of an ordinary DLK). For the Speedwing the whole wing seems to fail at once it appears. Add to this that you are likely to have some momentum forward (due to the high speed) when you enter the edge of the wind window, driving you a longer bit into it than when using trick kites. Also when the sail fails, there are no standoffs that holds it in place, so you can more or less pull the lines and frame, but there is little effect on the sail once it goes non-filled. As you might have guessed, stalling and tricking - no success there. Stayed away from the edges and more trick attempts and had no further problems when using the medium nose back/forward angle setting.
A larks head knot under a bridle setting knot gets you the best of two worlds. First an easy launch. Once in the air the kite starts to pull and the larks head slides out to the outmost knot. Now you are in nose back "speed kite mode".
It felt "fresh", speedy and a pull that "shouldn't" be in such as small kite, but I wanted more, so I adjusted the nose back. The following start then failed - just tumbling around with no forward drive. Then (I'm proud to say) I got an idea. Why not adjust the nose forward to the medium setting, but instead put the larks head just under the mid one of the overhand knots in the nose. During the launch the nose was enough forward to give a simple launch, but in the air when the kite started to pull, the larks head slided down to the outmost knot giving the kite a nose back speed kite like angle - and this just worked out of the box (I'm sure such a simple and efficient fix must be a standard launching method?)!
The turns got tighter after the adjustment, but don't make them to tight to preserve full pull/speed. In gusts the lines begun to sing (even in the centre of the wind window) and the sail gave a swosh like sound (much like when powering up a Rev QLK without having a flapping trailing edge). Normally for DLK trick kites I get the singing when "parking" them at the edge of the wind window (for the Speedwing I just avoided the edge because the kite had just fallen out of the air there previously).
The kite was quite easy to control, not at all like my few and very short attempts with the Atrax. Even some limited (and quick) figure flying was possible: straight lines, 180 deg turns, squares, circles, figure eights. After a while I begun to think how to land it. Stalling didn't seem to be easy, so I flung my arms forward to kill the forward drive. It worked well, say 5m from the ground it kind of entered a mode resembling the tumbling start when the nose had been adjusted in this nose most backwards position. To recover from the tumbling it was sufficient to pull one line rather much for a moment. I guess the angle of the kite to the wind changed so it got some at least sideways drive. How the nose of the kite caught up with the direction the kite was going in I didn't get even at the time. Returning to the landing attempts, I just flung the arms forward once again but without making any tumbling recovery attempt. The kite then tumbled to the ground.
Much wind a problem? - No I look forward to more of it! The kite is small so it could be in the bag as some kind of high wind insurance, though I should have some slightly longer and stronger lines as well for the really windy days. And who knows, getting enough experience with the Speedwing, I might later even learn the Spiderkites Atrax. I was quite happy with the session - 20 much interesting minutes where much was not familiar.
I was inspired by the information shared in recent posts regarding the existence of something called a "Nail Board" to help tie accurate "Knot Systems" such as bridles, leader lines for handles and potentially other applications. I decided that what I am about to share is too lengthy for a forum post so I have posted this as a blog instead. I hope you find it useful. SF
Nail Board Instructions for Knot Tying
A Nail Board consists of a “flat board” with physical markers defining the spacing between knots tied in a line for a specific purpose. “Bridles” and “Leader Lines for Handles” are good examples but there may be other line applications that a Nail Board can be used for.
A Nail Board serves two purposes that provide an advantage to using a tape measure or rule for tying lines with knots that require precise and symmetric spacing:
1. The location of each knot can be consistently and accurately marked.
2. The line material can be pulled under light tension when making the marks using the physical markers. This allows the spacing of the knots to remain proportional when stretched during wind-loaded flying conditions.
What a Nail Board does not do for you:
You can’t tie single or multiple loops from the dimensions on the board; the dimensions on the board are “final” dimensions of the “knot system” you are tying. Prior to tying looped knots you must determine the length of line that is required to tie the loops, or other knots, to fit the final dimensions of the physical markers on the Nail Board.
Knot Tying vs Knot Marking.
The process of tying the knots is separate from the marking of their location. Each type of line material has a specific diameter and each knot and type of knot takes a specific length of line to tie. This must be determined beforehand.
The actual line required to tie a knot system is defined as:
Line spacing defined between the knots + “length to tie” for all knots in the system.
Calculating the length of your line to tie a loop knot (“Length to Tie”):
Mark a 12” length of the line with which you will be tying a knot. Call this “D1”
Note: in the picture I used blue tape as a mark only for the purpose of illustration. I use a white “cloth marking pencil” to make my marks which does not show up well in a photograph. Tape is not a good material to use for marks since it can slip on the line while tying.
Tie the specific knot that you will be tying. I have used an overhand knot for this example to form a loop. The marks that you previously made should be behind the knot by ~1”. The marks should match each other below the knot.
Make sure that the knot is “Well Formed”. All lays are parallel with each other as the knot is formed; no crossing between the lays.
Pull the knot taught with force after tying; I use my forceps in the top of the loop and pull very hard on the opposite end.
Now measure the distance from your marks to the top of the loop. Call it “D2”
Length to Tie = D1 – 2 x D2 . this will be the “Length to Tie” for this line and this loop knot.
The length to tie a loop per knot for my material is 1 1/8” believe it or knot (100# bridle line)
Here is an example:
In this example there are two loops. The total length of the knot system is 3” (2 ¼” + ¾”). The length of line required without knot consideration is 6”. There are two knots in this loop system, one at the bottom and one towards the top, which will take 1 1/8” each for my line material.
The total length of line to tie both knots in this system is 6” + 1 1/8” + 1 1/8” = 8 1/4”.
For a single knot (not a loop) in a line the “Length to Tie” is simply:
Length to Tie = D1 –D2 after you have performed the same experiment with a single knot in one line.
How to use the “Length to Tie”
The “Length to Tie” must be added to the line dimensions when you are tying your knots. After they are tied, they should fit back on the Nail Board and be under slight tension.
Following these procedures and using a Nail Board should result in very accurate knot placement for your projects. When tying more than one identical knot systems, they will end up being perfectly symmetric.
Materials and tools required to make "my" board are:
#18 x 3/4” wire brads.
36” x 5 ½ x 3/4” Pine Board (premium grade, flat, actual measured dimensions shown)
Drill press with depth stop capability (not required but adds precision and protects the drill bit).
3/64” drill bit (available for Dremel tools or other sources)
Long Straight edge rule 4 ft (for drawing straight lines on the wood)
Tape measure for measurements of marker placements.
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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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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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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!!!