Blogs

Featured Entries

  • SHBKF

    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
    • 1 comment
    • 276 views
  • 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 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visby ) in the island of Gotland ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petasites_hybridus ) 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 ( http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/index.html ) in the tricks page ( http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/basics/funcidx.frm.html ). 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 http://kitelife.com/forum/topic/6490-weekend-projects-nose-plasti-dip/ 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, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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
    • 360 views

Our community blogs

  1. 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!!

     

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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!!!

  5. Mon Dec 25 13:00:00 CET 2017
    GB, Forecasted 4m/s (gusts 8m/s)
    Cross Kites Speedwing X1
    25m 38kg lines


    speedwingWrinkle.jpg
    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.

    speedwingBridleAdjTrick.jpg
    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.

     speedwingLanding.jpg
    The disassembly was even quicker. When the kite had tumbled down to land, the only spreader had already slid out of the fitting on one side.

    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.

  6. 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...

    20170808_181221.jpg

     

    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...

    MLH.jpg

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

    Montauk.jpg

    We took turns flying the Ultrafoil 15...

    Montauk1.jpg

    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 !

    LBF.jpg

    lbf2.jpg

    Plutz.jpg

    20799364_10212556223074544_5472956492360

    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...

    20799398_10212556383358551_6192765107234

    20799507_10212556382638533_1742731952064

    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.

     

  7. 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!!

  8. Getting Whump...

    • 4
      entries
    • 5
      comments
    • 1082
      views

    Recent Entries

    John Barresi
    Latest Entry

    By John Barresi,

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

     

     

  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.  

    large.IMG_20160529_135312_999_crop.jpg

    A couple of giant octopus kites also went up.  

    large.DSC04315.JPG

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

    large.DSC04320_crop.jpg

    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.  

    large.DSC04332_crop.jpg

    Banner display that was put up on Monday.  

    large.DSC04326.JPG

    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.  

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

    image2.JPG

    image4.JPG

    image1.JPG

    image3.JPG

  11. 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..

     

  12. 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

    NailBoardExample.JPG

    NBCloseup1.JPG

    NBCloseup02.JPG

     

    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.

    Summary:

    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.

    Details:

    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”

    D1ExampleWithoutKnot.JPG

    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.

    TyingALoop.JPG

    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.

    WellFormedKnot.JPG

    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.

    ForcepsKnotStretching.JPG

    Now measure the distance from your marks to the top of the loop.  Call it “D2”

    FinalKnotLength.JPG

    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:

    loopknotexample1fromdrawing.JPG

    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.

    Conclusion:

    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.

    12InchLength.JPG

    • 0
      entries
    • 0
      comments
    • 361
      views

    No blog entries yet

  13. 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.