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Virtual Freestyle Practice, New Camera, and "Push Axels"

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!!

 



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>Every time I watch the footage of my sessions I can see line tension screwing up the trick.

By slack, do you mostly mean running down with the wind or flinging your arms forward? Could a snappier execution of a trick substitute at least some of the "running with the wind" or large arm movements? Personally I'd say that my snap turtles work with little arm movement or in harder wind. However I don't know how/if snappier execution can substitute slack when starting a fade.

> Less than a week left to get an entry in! I'm trying to get an entry that...

I've said it before and I say it again - you are very "kite on"!

> I've also been working a bit on 'Push Axels' -- Axels started from a 180  90 degree push turn instead of a stall.

Your push axels (at 12:24 in Slide-Axels-Fades on My Prism Quantum... video)- they look fun. As described in the Push Axels - Simple Way... video push and pull the lower wing without a pause where the kite is stalled. This is like a spin axle, but with a short push spin and you axle with the same hand as you used when controlling the turn/spin.  Does the omitted stall affect in what wind range that the trick works best in? I ought to figure them out and try them. Also I like the side slide at 15:05 where you stop the side ways movement and then resume it by angling the kite.

For me (without knowing if there are any official definition) a push axel is somewhat different. Start from a stall, then rather than focusing on pulling on one side instead push on one side so that wing sinks back and around. It is probably so that you slightly almost without knowing it will pull the front wing when the other sinks back. When the rear wing is pointing from you after the kite has completed 1/4 revolution you can also pull on the rear wing slightly to help it forward again. This was something I did regularly ... by end of the nineties ... time to do some rehearsal.

Talking about the Slide-Axels-Fade video again you seem to have gotten the fade launches going and be reliable as well (at 5:32 e.g.). When I do fractured axels I kind of feel a bit in a hurry (and I only use one line when pulling the kite on its back) and the reliability is not what I want. Fade launches work OK (I use two lines to pull it on it's back here). Is there any difference (in feeling) when doing these two fade tricks?


> 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.

For me the turtle initialisation learning order was (is?):
1. Fly to the top of the window. Then start with your hands close to your shoes and then quickly throw them (hands) upwards as high as you can reach.
2. Fly to the top of the window, then quickly and lightly pull on one line (the kite will flip).
3. Doing snap turtles. Here my quite pitch happy (or turtle prone) Maerstrale was of help when learning.
4. From half axels and cascade attemps tha might end in a turtle "by themselves".
5. From a spin stall/hard turn. When the nose is pointing upwards, make a sudden release.

The one I use most today is snap turtle because I find it reliable, quick and can be performed with little effort (naah... this sounds like I'm too comfortable).
 

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On 11/24/2016 at 1:52 PM, Exult said:

Does the omitted stall affect in what wind range that the trick works best in?

I've tried them up to the strongest winds I currently feel comfortable tricking in and they seem to work! I think that in stronger winds it is more important to wait til the nose has rotated past 12:00 before the axel input (like you say, it is much like a spin axel without most of the spin)

On 11/24/2016 at 1:52 PM, Exult said:

For me (without knowing if there are any official definition) a push axel is somewhat different. Start from a stall, then rather than focusing on pulling on one side instead push on one side so that wing sinks back and around. It is probably so that you slightly almost without knowing it will pull the front wing when the other sinks back. When the rear wing is pointing from you after the kite has completed 1/4 revolution you can also pull on the rear wing slightly to help it forward again.

I think I did this by mistake in low wind recently but promptly forgot it happened. I'm absolutely going to try this next time I'm on the field. I wish there were already a name for what I call 'push axels'! In that trick list they are just referred to as 'another way to axel'. 

On 11/24/2016 at 1:52 PM, Exult said:

Talking about the Slide-Axels-Fade video again you seem to have gotten the fade launches going and be reliable as well (at 5:32 e.g.). When I do fractured axels I kind of feel a bit in a hurry (and I only use one line when pulling the kite on its back) and the reliability is not what I want. Fade launches work OK (I use two lines to pull it on it's back here). Is there any difference (in feeling) when doing these two fade tricks?

Yeah I think that fade launches are comparatively easy for me because I can line up the nose pretty well before launching. Trickier is catching the fade with the nose pitched up far enough to start the kite rising. If I pull too hard for the launch the nose kinda bounces off the lines and pitches down. It seems easy to give 'enough' slack reliably for the fade launches. It feels to me kinda like doing an axel input but with both hands at the same time.

For fractured axels I noticed you can get away with both an axel type input (pop?) or a slightly longer pull with both hands. I haven't tried to do them by just pulling one line though! Another thing for my checklist for the next flight. When I miss the moment of the nose being perfectly away from me the kite tends to spin on its axis at an angle. At least I'm getting better at recovering from that. I think I need more slack specifically after the 'pop' as my kite usually powers up when the nose is pointed at the ground. This is why I'm trying to keep my arms down, but you're right that I could probably compensate  by walking forward a bit more!

I'm still exploring turtles a little cautiously because the quantum is kinda tough to pull out of the turtle (it drops pretty far during the recovery) but I like the sound of the spin stall-to-turtle!

Thanks again for your insight Exult, I feel like these conversations really help guide my thinking while on the field. I got an OK virtual freestyle entry in so I can finally get back to the more systematic drill-like practicing + exploration of new tricks that I find very relaxing. I might have to get some quality 50' lines soon too :)

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On 11/27/2016 at 8:28 PM, Happyspoon said:

I think I did this by mistake in low wind recently but promptly forgot it happened. I'm absolutely going to try this next time I'm on the field. I wish there were already a name for what I call 'push axels'! In that trick list they are just referred to as 'another way to axel'. 

Another name for "my" push axle could be a backwards/reverse axle (unless already being used for something else). Suggestions for your axel version: push axel, push-spin axel, short-spin axel, short push-spin axel... ??

The above raise the question why are some tricks popular (in attempting), while others are more or less forgotten(?)? E.g. a half axel, to get the second input right when completing the axel I find tricky (though I started to address it again now and then), while a rixel follows naturally from a sloppy overdone input. Yet the half axel is much more common in videos and discussions. Is the rixel not considered tricky enough, only worth doing as a part of a trick sequence (and then not mentioned) or just seen as a failed half axel? Another example is the above reverse/push axel. If you strive for flat axels this could be something to experiment with - when you let one side/wing half sink back the nose will be lowered.

In my opinion a trick performed as you mean every part of it looks good. Preferably you also fly between the tricks/sequences as you planned/meant it - yes flying with intent ( http://kitelife.com/kl-archive/tutorials/tutorials-dual-line/flying-with-intent/ ) all over again. The only two exceptions to fly with intent I find is if one just try inputs out without knowing what is going to happen (getting rarer nowadays without saying it is a good thing) and the other is (possibly) if you just practice one trick and quickly just wants to get into position to try it again. On the bonus side is that you get more time/focus on the trick. On the negative side is that if one doesn't work on flying nicely between the tricks one might miss getting the good habit of flying with intent between the tricks. I also try to be clear about when the trick has ended and the figure flying starts (but I guess there might be others with different goals that think otherwise).
When just testing input, it often involve a flared position with uncertain exit. Handling the often then tumbling kite is part of the practice for me.
 

On 11/27/2016 at 8:28 PM, Happyspoon said:

I'm still exploring turtles a little cautiously because the quantum is kinda tough to pull out of the turtle (it drops pretty far during the recovery) but I like the sound of the spin stall-to-turtle!

Try doing a lazy, but exit a bit early. At least for my Shadow it makes the turtle exits easier.

On 11/27/2016 at 8:28 PM, Happyspoon said:

Thanks again for your insight Exult, I feel like these conversations really help guide my thinking while on the field.

Me to, I also think the this helps me to remember/surface things and make them more available when I reach the field. Putting one's thoughts down in text force you to organise your thoughts, rethink thoughts to remember them, verify your beliefs and also brings up new ideas and connections of facts. What a think I miss out on to some degree is the last step to bring it out to the field (not that I'm out of things to practice though).

On 11/27/2016 at 8:28 PM, Happyspoon said:

Another thing for my checklist for the next flight.

What about creating a real one for print out and on the field pencil editing? I begun thinking of what I'd like to have on mine.

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On 12/3/2016 at 5:29 AM, Exult said:

Another name for "my" push axle could be a backwards/reverse axle (unless already being used for something else). Suggestions for your axel version: push axel, push-spin axel, short-spin axel, short push-spin axel... ??

 

I noticed in the Peter Peters link you sent me that the "genie pop" is pretty close to what I called "push axels" I don't see anything on his page that describes your reverse axel! 

On 12/3/2016 at 5:29 AM, Exult said:

What about creating a real one for print out and on the field pencil editing? I begun thinking of what I'd like to have on mine

I've been working on an excel flight session file that I could print and bring with me, or even fill in on my phone, but it has been tough to figure out how to best format everything! I'll share what I'm working on after my next push at it :) I can tell that this worsening weather is going to result in a lot of extra time to plan and organize for future sessions.

On 11/24/2016 at 1:52 PM, Exult said:

(and I only use one line when pulling the kite on its back

Wow, does this ever feel different to what I've been doing! i love it! I've had almost no chances to fly recently (getting ready to move puts a dent in my time for sure...) but I recorded my first chance trying these 'one-handed' inputs. I set the camera up behind me so that I could watch my hands after, so the video isn't particularly pretty but I found it informative to watch! i sure 'cross' my left hand often, pulling it in towards my chest instead of out to my side. Super limiting to do this of course as I run out of room and thwack myself in the chest..

 I'm going to think on your comment on why some tricks are more popular than others! I wonder if the availability of tutorial style videos is a big limitation? It is amazing how many people (me included) learned most of what we think of as proper trick kite flying from Dodd gross, dpmama, and the old prism DVDs on YouTube. 

Edit :) I'm going to add this here too, but your "Snow Crash" comment in the forums inspired me to try flying out in the snow here! I sure crashed a lot but it was loads of fun.

 

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Take your time with your move and the settling down process. A pause in any activity can also bring fuel for the time when you start again. (I also think that the real estate market would slow down if people really could remember every part of how much work it is to move.)

Even if I originally suggested the one handed FA pull (just) here (by no means absolute original), seeing it in the video reminded me of it and made it more clear and "mentally available" for me to bring to the field. You also specified a timing for the fracturing second pull (1/4 through the axel) in the video. Now I can/intend to focus more on the moving forward/catch phase of the FA. Trick discussions are helpful in unexpected ways. Also when seeing this video I notice the fast pace of which you have been learning. I think I said it before that ending the slide by a FA looks good. I've started to try them myself.

I also hope your snow crash in the "First Snowfall in Victoria..." wasn't too painful. I recently experienced that ice patches can be hard for your kite's wing tips - but soft snow I can't imagine how you could (destructively) crash a kite in that. But on the other hand, it seemed to be a lot of rubble on the beach.

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HS... congratulations on your Virtual Freestyle entry. When I first started with VF, my first two entries to VF were rejected... one had too much OOF (out of frame) and the other was just not up to acceptable standards at the time. Congrats on winning a prize, too !

I'm never there to win it, I think it's just fun to stand & fly on the same (virtual) field with the best pilots in the world.

 

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On 12/30/2016 at 7:37 AM, Exult said:

A pause in any activity can also bring fuel for the time when you start again

Great advice, I'm taking it now in fact. We had our move-out inspection  today which went very well but it took tonnes of scrubbing and we got rid of so much junk right up til the wire. I'm taking the rest of today and tomorrow off from unpacking and am going to just relax, hopefully fly a bit, and plan the next month. 

On 12/30/2016 at 7:37 AM, Exult said:

I think I said it before that ending the slide by a FA looks good. I've started to try them myself.

I'm glad you like them! I find they feel really satisfying when I actually pull them off. I originally started doing them so I could get to the middle of the window in a stall  while in higher wind (so that the fade would be more stable) but now I find they are a great way to try FAs at different points in the window consistently without having to also work on super accurate snap-stalls. 

On 12/30/2016 at 0:38 PM, RobB said:

congratulations on your Virtual Freestyle entry

Thanks! I'm so glad I entered! It was a great way to meet a bunch of amazing flyers, plus I learned so much trying to film those 1:30 clips. I learned lots while critically watching everyone's videos too. The dual-line flying community isn't very dense geographically which makes the turnout for these online events are all the more rewarding.

P.S. you got so close in the draw! I was rooting for you (though I think everyone was super deserving of the prize :) 

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