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October Check-In

Happyspoon

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The last month has been interesting for kiting! The weather continues to worsen and I find myself having to be much better prepared to go fly. Compared to last fall as a non-kiter I’m now much more sensitive to weather! I didn’t realize how gusty the winds get once summer ends. The erratic rain is less of a problem (at least for the kite), but it isn’t super satisfying to come home soaking wet J. Worth it though, and nothing a raincoat can’t solve. I’ve also moved from walking to the point into a driving routine, and my car’s trunk is colonized by kites and lines.

On to flying :) I’ve been focused on a couple key things each time I hit the field.

·       Stalls- Getting the hang of these, except for stalls while traveling upwards. I’m not 100% with stalls yet, especially on low wind bridle settings and in winds over 10mph but I’m feeling good.

·       Slides-

o   I’m good with initiating slides at the edge of the window but less good the closer to the middle I get. I have come close to starting slides from an axle but it still feels pretty random.

o    I’m pretty solid at holding a slide, but not at ‘pulling’ the kite past the middle of the window to keep sliding. I have pretty much no practice sliding from the center to the edge of the window.

·       Axles- I’m trying to develop a solid feel for the range of inputs that all result in an axle. 

 It seems like you don't have to be totally stalled to do an axle, but you do have to be able to give the kite lots of slack after tugging. Being stalled lets you really push back the wing which I think sets the kite up better but I'm nott toally sure yet

I think the 'sharpness' of the pull makes much more of a difference than the intensity. I can axle with one finger no problem this way. On the other side, a longer pull almost always ends in a wingtip snag/wrap. Even when the tip doesn't wrap, long pulls rarely get the kite to rotate all the way around. 

I think the intensity of the axle input determines how quickly the kite rotates, and how far the kite falls (or rises) during the axle. I’ve noticed that in low wind you can actually lift the kite with an aggressive enough axle. I’ve been saved from the lack of ground-level wind a number of times with a nice fast axle!

·       Fractured axle-to-fades- I know what I’m supposed to do, and I know thee ‘lock in’ feeling of a well-executed FA. Flatter axles would help, as would better timing for the pull (my videos show me this is my biggest problem). I’m also still learning how much slack is ‘just right’ so the nose doesn’t over-flip. 

·       Cartwheels- I think I’m good with these now, though they aren’t pretty yet. At least I’m doing the walk of contemplation less.

·       Fade launches- It might be that I’m always practicing in pretty low wind but I'm finding fade launches tricky. It seems like as long as I pull out of the fade the instant i enter it that I can fly off most of the time. I'm pretty bad at maintaining the fade near the ground still though.

·       Half axles- phew, what a challenge still. I still don’t really get how they should feel. I can pull the top wing down into a ‘flare’ like position (but with the nose pointed to the edge of the window). I can even sometimes then pull to rotate the nose around the other way, and even fly the kite out of it sometimes. But it doesn’t feel or look anything like a half axle. I met a flyer at the point who is great with slack line tricks!! I watched him for awhile and felt like just doing that taught me lots. I think my problem is that I'm not 'snappy' enough with the input, just tlike with the axle. I tend to try and pull the kite right into a flare which I think means I'm pulling for too long. I feel like I was getting closer in this last session (with my I2K) until I broke a lower leading edge... I think it must have been broken when I got the kite as it was a soft crash (landed on both wingtips but with some sideways momentum) that popped it. New parts are waiting across the border for me and I can pick them up today in Blaine :)

·       Air recoveries- Exult’s blog talks a lot about “provoking the kite”, and how it gives one a chance to feel how the kite responds to inputs from a variety of positions. I’ve noticed that when the kite starts to tumble, 9/10 times it can be fixed by walking backwards a few meters! If that doesn’t work I try tugging one line then repeating the backwards walking. I have no idea how to save the kite when the line snags on a tip, but at least I can guide the kite gently to the ground when it happens.

Between the ground recoveries, air recoveries, and axles I’m in the air and actively practicing 5X more than when I first started leaning the axle. I’ve really noticed this in the videos! Previously I might get 10min of good footage per hour of flying. Now almost the entire hour is usable. Reviewing this footage has been so instrumental in improving my skills so it is nice to increase its information density! I’m also spending more and more time in a stall/slide and less with the sail ‘powered up’.

I'm slowly improving with flip tricks too! I can finally turtle, both while flying upward and a 'snap turtle' while flying horizontally. I'm still not great at maintaining a turtle.

I went out a few times to try night kiting! My BF brought home a couple packs of LED fingers from the dollar store which worked really well! They are a bit over 6g each so they don’t add too much to the weight of the kite. That said, with one clipped to the spine and one on each wingtip the kite controls pretty differently! I did my first (cruddy) multi axles within minutes of being airborne and weighted. I’m now playing with keeping one clipped to the spine in medium and stronger winds. I also want to play with nose vs spine weights!

 

 

Finally, I'm playing around a bit with the way I film and edit my flying videos. If I put a camera close to me as well as one behind the kite I can make some 'overlays' that better show off my hand movements. I don't think I'll do this every time but I learn a lot about what I'm doing wrong when watching these!

 



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Good stuff ! I really like to see someone who has the bug, and is so enthusiastic about learning dual line flying. I get that... been there, for many years.

The Fade at the end of the last video stuck with me. That was nice. I like to see how long I can hold a fade, which can seem like a boring exercise, but it really helps to get the 'feel' of the kite. The gentle inputs that a fade teaches you translate directly to the types of inputs need to hold a stall or a slide. 

1/2 axels ? It took me forever to learn them, and I still don't know if I do them right. I do a fast snap stall input, but don't let the kite go tips horizontal, but give the axel input quickly after ditching the speed (when the nose is pointed at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock, depending on which side I'm flying). I choke the axel just as the nose is pointed in the right direction (left or right, horizontal) and quickly take up the slack either with a step back or an arm sweep, or sometimes both if the wind is low. That's the best I can describe it, and like I said, I'm not sure if my 1/2 axels are 'real' 1/2 axels...

Was the first video just the I2K, or did I see a different kite in there, too ? Maybe an Ozone at the end ? Different kites are going to be stronger with certain tricks, and I have to say, the I2K is a very difficult kite to trick. I really only like mine with the Spoilerz installed in higher winds. I don't like flying it without in lower winds. As a matter of fact, the I2K is the only high wind duallie that I have in my bag. I have an Alien, too, but we don't get along, and it stays home.

I like the music & the creative editing. You've found the exact reason I film my flying, to watch and see what you're doing wrong. Or right, sometimes...

Finally, about the weather watching... tell me that you can't drive past a flagpole without looking up to see which way the wind's blowing ?!?  8)

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On 10/26/2016 at 6:18 PM, RobB said:

Was the first video just the I2K, or did I see a different kite in there, too ? Maybe an Ozone at the end ? Different kites are going to be stronger with certain tricks, and I have to say, the I2K is a very difficult kite to trick. I really only like mine with the Spoilerz installed in higher winds. 

The first video is the I2K except for the very end where I pulled out an old Shanti Kite I got on Craigslist. It isn't very trickable, but after breaking that LLE (now fixed) on the I2K I needed something else to fly that day :) I've heard the I2K isn't super trickable but it is so much lighter than my Quantum so I think it might be better to practice flip tricks on for now. It just might be time to start saving for a new kite though! 

On 10/26/2016 at 6:18 PM, RobB said:

1/2 axels ? It took me forever to learn them, and I still don't know if I do them right. I do a fast snap stall input, but don't let the kite go tips horizontal, but give the axel input quickly after ditching the speed (when the nose is pointed at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock, depending on which side I'm flying). I choke the axel just as the nose is pointed in the right direction (left or right, horizontal) and quickly take up the slack either with a step back or an arm sweep, or sometimes both if the wind is low. That's the best I can describe it, and like I said, I'm not sure if my 1/2 axels are 'real' 1/2 axels...

I hadn't looked at it that way before!! I'm going to try that on the field today. I got out briefly with my Ozone yesterday but for some reason didn't try half axles on it! 

On 10/26/2016 at 6:18 PM, RobB said:

The Fade at the end of the last video stuck with me. That was nice. I like to see how long I can hold a fade, which can seem like a boring exercise, but it really helps to get the 'feel' of the kite. The gentle inputs that a fade teaches you translate directly to the types of inputs need to hold a stall or a slide. 

Thanks! I really like the idea of learning to control the kite in stalls, fades, and turtles! I took your advice and did a bunch of prolonged fades on my Ozone yesterday!

 

On 10/26/2016 at 6:18 PM, RobB said:

Finally, about the weather watching... tell me that you can't drive past a flagpole without looking up to see which way the wind's blowing ?!?  8)

Every...Single...One... Even flags in movies and on TV now! I'm driving my roommates crazy with comments like "wow that looks like perfect wind" mid show. Not to mention the webcam right at clover point! It points to the left of the actual field, and there isn't a flag or windsock in the field of view but I'm learning to judge the wave peaks to see if it is worth going out. 

Thanks for the encouragement! I really hope I can keep the frequent flying up all winter long!

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Sorry the quoting feature didn't work, so I needed to use " > " to show the quotes today

Happyspoon you have made a very organised and well documented account of where you are today! I'm sure others who are starting out can really use this to get inspiration and an idea of what hopefully awaits!

> I’m pretty solid at holding a slide, but not at ‘pulling’ the kite past the middle of the window to keep sliding. I have pretty much no practice sliding from the center to the edge of the window.

I can't either. However, to some extent, especially with my Tramontana, I can to some degree while sliding sometimes go a bit past the centre towards the other wind window end during the right conditions. This is what I try to do: have the arm connected to the trailing wing tip extended much and then move from the kite (but I think that you already doing/discovered that). My thoughts (for what it is worth) is that the sideways angle (one wing tip being closer than the other) drives the kite sideways and can also do that past the centre of the wind window, but all the way to the other wind window edge – no way for me.

> I think the 'sharpness' of the pull makes much more of a difference than the intensity. I can axle with one finger no problem this way. On the other side, a longer pull almost always ends in a wingtip snag/wrap. Even when the tip doesn't wrap, long pulls rarely get the kite to rotate all the way around.

Do you mean that a sharp pull is when you just make flick on a line and the intensity is how much momentum your arm/hand gets (and how much of that that gets transferred to the kite)?

I wish to find a table or a definition list (preferably by someone well familiar with English), that describes/defines flick, pop, tug, lash... Would terminology be needed for pushing and giving slack as well?

With this finger (flick?) axel there is no risk that the kite will turtle? What I'm thinking of here is when you initiate a turtle by flying high up in the window and make a short light quick tug downwards (and the kite should then tip on its back).

> ...a well-executed FA. Flatter axles would help

I haven't thought of this more than lets make a decent axel. I really should try this out (how the fade-init is affected by the axel)! Most of the time when initiating the fade I only tug on one line, but flatter axels might perhaps still help?

> Half axles- phew, what a challenge still ... I tend to try and pull the kite right into a flare which I think means I'm pulling for too long.

Did this part about pulling into a fade refer to the second tug? The problematic part for me is the quick pull on the wing that is on the top after the axel movement - i.e. the quick pull on the "new" top wing. So anything you learn about the timing and snappiness of the second tug I'd like to hear about. My ideal is to keep the arms low at all times during the tricking. My guess is that it would be easier to learn the movement with a high hand during the pull on the top wing after the axel - but more difficult to "unlearn". I also wonder if this second pull on the wing that is on top during the latter part of the half axle is the "kick" that gives the trick the alternative name - the "kick turn". Is it so that there can be no "kick turn" without it? As I said before I'm not really focusing on them now. However I've managed to make seven cycles of a half axel cascade on my Hydra consisting of most likely improper half axels without having the kite going on its back (rixeling?). But I think that this more tells something about the kite rather than about my ability to do a half axel cascade. 

> Cartwheels

My current goal is to make calm, relaxed and minimal input cart wheels for high aspect ratio kites. Should try my 4D 6m lines set so that I get closer to the kite and see what happens. The risk of breaking the lines (25kg and noo sleeving on the kite side) should make me extra careful in minimising the input.

>  It might be that I'm always practicing in pretty low wind but I'm finding fade launches tricky.

I suppose that you are already walking backwards. In very low wind with my 4D I need to do jogging backwards to maintain the fade (which I find tricky to combine with the fine inputs).

> but for some reason didn't try half axles on it

Somehow (not meaning to sound offensive) I don't think that that is so important. There are so many aspects of kiting to explore. Perfect an "old" trick or try it with  varying inputs. So many kites to try out the different tricks on, so many tricks and so many possible whether conditions to examine "the moves" in. Seeing what you have achieved in a short time and how structured and persistent you have been I think that there will not be a very long time until you can do them as well. Also, not to forget, when doing advanced kite flying like this there is a need for just rehearsing as well - both more long term and also at the start of each session during the warming up. I've also had thoughts like "why on earth didn't I try this or that during my last session", but I tend to be slightly more relaxed lately. Even if you do active learning you can't do everything at once.

> "provoking the kite"

Failed tricks are one source of getting the kite provoked (~testing various inputs and be open regarding the usefulness of the outcome). To better understand trick descriptions (such as http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/basics/funcidx.frm.html ) it is of use to know possible movements and part of tricks I believe. Provoking the kite/testing out is a way of getting small building blocks of understanding and practice that then might be identified in or as tricks. As a beginner there is more random tugging/slacking and with time more targeted experimenting.

The below are tricks/movements I have found out (and might continue to work on) by trying without knowing what the outcome could be or as a result of a failed trick:

  • Snappy turtels   The first time I saw one was in the promotional VHS that came along with my Jam Session (or was it in a promotional section of a trick video?). In a short sequence the Maestrale flew along the ground, making contact without stopping and then doing a short snap turtle as a part of the ground pass. For my un-trained eye it looked like a dry leave driven forward by an autumn storm. Needless to say - this made an impression on me. However I had no idea on how a snap turtle was performed. Snap turtles didn't come as a result of a series of sessions of trying to do them, but more: "Hey what is this? This didn't tangle the line and it could be repeated and then refined." I then later realised that I did a part of that tumbling autumn leave sequence.
  • Rixels (from failed half axel attempts)   It was a long time ago I tried them, but something like this - do a sloppy half axel attempt and be somewhat heavy on the arm that you pull the half axel with (really think I ought to go out and attempt them before sharing how it should be performed since it was a while ago). Same thing here, I was already doing them at the time that I read the description. Notice that the failure of doing one trick (the half axel) lead to another trick (the rixel).
  • A similar "turteling" trick (as above) but starting from a start of a downwards turn   Once again I should try this out so that I could deliver a fresh description (but I won't now). The trick is similar to the rixel, but you initially fly upwards and begin to turn with one hand and then axel with a bit heavy arm (i.e. the other arm than the arm that you are pulling with when doing the turn) as you didn't really mean the axel. This trick is also not from attempting to perform it. Possibly it was from a failed axel attempt. The feeling of the trick (or rather in the arm) when pulling the kite on it's back is a bit like the weary feeling of a really long kiting session. When writing about the rixel and this trick I realise that I've been neglecting them when working on tricks that I learnt more recently.
  • Axel or half axle into a flare and with the other hand investigate a second pull   Vary this second input. What determines if the result is something like a half axel, rising half axel or a fade? Two kites that felt good doing these tests with were the Illusion and the Alien (should try ut on the more recent kites again). To get me into mode to investigate the effect of the second pull I start to think about the trick when the kite is already flared. I don't think so much on the axel part, but do only small movements on the hand that pulls the axel – possibly axel mainly by only angling the wrist from an inward position to a straight wrist position and back again. I hope that I one day will get useful results from this. In the above video "Getting closer to half axels..." I think that you already are investigating the second input.
  • Sleeping beauty   This is another example of a trick that I learned from testing without not really knowing what to expect in detail. As I wrote in a previous blog entry  the unlikely incredible thing happened that this trick just worked the first time attempted (leaving me to figure out what happened and how it worked) and only failed once during the first session doing this trick.

Funny, just commenting on your statement about "kite provoking" started/continued a lot of trick thought/planning. The above are some of the things a intend to continue to work on and evolve.

> I went out a few times to try night kiting!

You are so "kite-on"! I had the idea but I've never tried - for years. How is it? Would you say it is a nice thing to try or is it a valuable because that it offers more sessions during the darker time of the year. Do you learn as much from a session in the dark as from one in full daylight? Was it so dark that flying have been possible at all if it wouldn't have been for the lights during the session when you were out? About the night video I must say that it looks nice, giving you the kind of relaxed feeling of watching fish in an aquarium.

>(RobB wrote)  I have an Alien, too, but we don't get along, and it stays home.

I like my Alien (though admittingly I've not used it much during the last six months). It can do double axels ( http://tricksparty.info/en/tricks-in-english/46-double-axel-group-4 ) without any input between the axels (haven't seen that in other kites that I have). It encourages you to try and toss it around. It gives you few line snags. In my opinion it is not so bad in low wind either if you trim it by moving the stand-offs inwards (can't remember if I did anything with the angle of attack as well). Finally and obviously – it is decent in high wind as well. Yes, it feels a bit different, but I have difficulties in describing it. Perhaps because I don't have many kites of that size (span-width 189cm) to compare it to.

>(RobB wrote) Finally, about the weather watching... tell me that you can't drive past a flagpole without looking up to see which way the wind's blowing ?!?  8)

I'm into tree top watching to get an idea of the wind, especially birches (with their long hanging twigs) when available.

>I took your advice and did a bunch of prolonged fades on my Ozone yesterday!

I'd would like to try that steering as well! This is silly, but that video (Faded fractured axels...) triggers something in me that resembles a competitive mode (Have been working with the FA fade stuff for 1.5 years and have not been thinking of that steering! More focused on start and maintaining it.). Funny, when playing tennis, the tennis matches are not the main thing, so I don't consider myself to be much competitive (well not that I mind the times when playing well or winning).

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1 hour ago, Exult said:

like my Alien (though admittingly I've not used it much during the last six months). It can do double axels ( http://tricksparty.info/en/tricks-in-english/46-double-axel-group-4 ) without any input between the axels (haven't seen that in other kites that I have). It encourages you to try and toss it around. It gives you few line snags. In my opinion it is not so bad in low wind either if you trim it by moving the stand-offs inwards (can't remember if I did anything with the angle of attack as well). Finally and obviously – it is decent in high wind as well. Yes, it feels a bit different, but I have difficulties in describing it. Perhaps because I don't have many kites of that size (span-width 189cm) to compare it to.

Ah, here's the thing about the Alien. I used to think it was a 'high wind' kite until I had a lower spreader break (mid air) in high winds. I went back to the field card, and as it turns out, Prism rates it to only 20mph. OOoops... I was flying in winds gusting higher than that, so it was my bad. I always get to feeling that I don't give the Alien enough chance, and take it out after a couple years of basement exile, and give it another chance. I haven't been impressed by it yet, other than for comic & visual flying value. I still have to try it in lower winds with shorter lines before I make my final judgement...

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The Alien was my high wind kite, although my high winds weren't very high to start with. But the smaller size, it added up to less pull and that was OK by me. My problem was the LE launch away from the center of the window - the kites odd shape seemed to hold it down instead of helping it up. Otherwise it was fun to fly.

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I just have to say again how fun and insightful this community is! I can't always get out to the field during the week and recently haven't had tonnes of time to hash out proper responses sometimes. But every time I check my phone I find someone on KiteLife with a new insight, a thoughtful critique, or a fantastic video. I'm extra glad to see the spirit doesn't wane as Winter approaches!

 

On 11/3/2016 at 2:40 PM, Exult said:

> I think the 'sharpness' of the pull makes much more of a difference than the intensity. I can axle with one finger no problem this way. On the other side, a longer pull almost always ends in a wingtip snag/wrap. Even when the tip doesn't wrap, long pulls rarely get the kite to rotate all the way around.

Do you mean that a sharp pull is when you just make flick on a line and the intensity is how much momentum your arm/hand gets (and how much of that that gets transferred to the kite)?

I wish to find a table or a definition list (preferably by someone well familiar with English), that describes/defines flick, pop, tug, lash... Would terminology be needed for pushing and giving slack as well?

I'd also love to find these definitions! It seems hard enough to learn these tricks without having to guess what people mean by the terms! You got my meaning pretty much exactly this time though :) 

This might be too out there but now that I'm thinking about it we almost need to differentiate between 4 things:

  1. The sharpness (or how quickly the direction change takes place)
  2.  The intensity of the pull
  3. The distance the line pulled travels (especially in relation to the other line?)
  4. how much slack is given to each line (kind of covered by 3)
On 11/3/2016 at 2:40 PM, Exult said:

To better understand trick descriptions (such as http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/basics/funcidx.frm.html ) it is of use to know possible movements and part of tricks I believe.

This is such a great list of tricks that I keep forgetting about! I wish there were a video for every trick on the list :) 

 

On 11/3/2016 at 2:40 PM, Exult said:

Somehow (not meaning to sound offensive) I don't think that that is so important. There are so many aspects of kiting to explore. Perfect an "old" trick or try it with  varying inputs. So many kites to try out the different tricks on, so many tricks and so many possible whether conditions to examine "the moves" in.

I think you are totally right. I've had so much fun just trying to axel with my nose pointed in different positions and with different amounts of slack/pop. And those Fractured axels are going to take lots of practice before they are second nature, especially on the quantum! My only annoyance is that trying Half axel type inputs still leaves me in the walk of contemplation too often, and that problem would go away if I were a little less focused on doing them perfectly horizontally. 

 

On 11/3/2016 at 2:40 PM, Exult said:

Axel or half axle into a flare and with the other hand investigate a second pull   Vary this second input. What determines if the result is something like a half axel, rising half axel or a fade? Two kites that felt good doing these tests with were the Illusion and the Alien (should try ut on the more recent kites again).

I'm going to think about these now that I'm getting a little more predictable with my axels. The other slack line flyer I met on the field does a move like this that seems so graceful. 

On 11/3/2016 at 2:40 PM, Exult said:

> I went out a few times to try night kiting!

You are so "kite-on"! I had the idea but I've never tried - for years. How is it? Would you say it is a nice thing to try or is it a valuable because that it offers more sessions during the darker time of the year. Do you learn as much from a session in the dark as from one in full daylight? Was it so dark that flying have been possible at all if it wouldn't have been for the lights during the session when you were out? About the night video I must say that it looks nice, giving you the kind of relaxed feeling of watching fish in an aquarium.

It was really fun, and super informative to my flying. I could not fly at all without the lights by the time it got dark (1min in to that video or so) (in fact we tried with a flashlight and it was truly terrifying.  I did my first spin axels with the lights on, made much easier because the trailing edge was 18g heavier than usual! I haven't been out much yet at night mostly because that's when it rains the most here. We fall back an hour tonight so I lose most of the afternoon light starting tomorrow. I'm sure this will induce many more night flying sessions.  

On 11/3/2016 at 2:40 PM, Exult said:

I'd would like to try that steering as well! This is silly, but that video (Faded fractured axels...) triggers something in me that resembles a competitive mode (Have been working with the FA fade stuff for 1.5 years and have not been thinking of that steering! More focused on start and maintaining it.).

I find that every time I watch a kite video I get inspired to try something new/different. Rob's last Skyburner XXL video makes me want to try more vertical control, it looks like he can raise and lower the kite at will in a fade! I'd love to see any footage of your flying if you manage to snap some sometime! It might also be cool to try little 'one trick challenge' type threads where we post things like our longest fade, stall, slide, most spins, and such :) there's a video somewhere of someone doing 100 backspins that is super motivational!

 

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On 11/4/2016 at 2:48 PM, Wayne Dowler said:

the LE launch away from the center of the window - the kites odd shape seemed to hold it down instead of helping it up. Otherwise it was fun to fly.

I had to examine this, so yesterday I brought the Alien to the field. I initially found it difficult (didn't work i.e.) to LE-launch it from anywhere in the window. It just fell over to the wrong LE instead of taking off. Only towards the edge of the window (with the nose pointing outwards) and by doing some less standard launch input could I make the LE-launch to work. Instead of holding the top wing closer than the lower wing (~steering from ground by pulling) and then pull the lower wing in action by sweeping your arm as normal, I replaced the lower wing sweep by running backwards from the kite (still maintaining the pull on the upper wing). Success-ratio of launches towards the end of the window: 2/5. Yes, I found it tricky.

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