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Feb. log - Getting more acquainted with Fazer XXL and more en masse tricking

Exult

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Probable cause and image of the worn/torn Fazer XXL LE dacron has been added below in the last log entry about the XXL.

The February log entries:

  • An Under Powered Fazer XXL and a Somewhat Pulling Kymera
  • Kind of Cascading
  •  En Masse Tricking Leading the Way to Longer Cascading
  • At Last the Fazer XXL in Decent Wind - or the Session of Wear and Tear

Can you relate to any contents? Am I missing a good short cut of trick learning (is there such a thing?) somewhere? What was your subjective way into tricking or a certain trick that made you see the light? Any similarities or differences also in non directly piloting matters such as: repair, preparation, planning, duration of sessions, equipment on field...

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An Under Powered Fazer XXL and a Somewhat Pulling Kymera
Sun Feb  5 17:38:39 CET 2017
GF forecasted 3m/s
Fazer XXL on 35m 180kg lines
Kymera on 25m 38kg lines

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I'd say today's Fazer XXL session was much similar to the previous (minus the snow and cold weather). The low wind still made it under powered causing you to be very warm (flying in my shirt in about 0deg and very light snowfall). Only on a few occasions could I lean against the wind, but that required backing. This time I managed to turtle it by doing a snap stall with a second distinct hammer like input which in the same moment bounced in a large release. Also managed a sleeping beauty (aka back spin start), but decided not to try this again today because I think it is more of a higher wind trick. Next time with this kite I'm going to try it with more wind, with this little it is kind of a stale feel. A more positive view of today's XXL flying is that when you get it going in the gusts it gives a mighty feeling, the appearance is something like that of a small hang glider. Crossing the centre of the wind window in several straight lines to eventually reach to the top was also a bit like the tacks of sailing struggling against the wind (but here to reach the top in low wind). Today it was clearly under powered. I wished for more wind to to have a more connected feeling through the lines and to be able to do input with quicker response. What I don't know is how much wind that I would be able to handle with this large kite. I hope that the useful wind range will not be too narrow.

 

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After a slowly moving person (spectator?) got out of the way I let the frustration out by making a rather aggressive pull on the lines when launching the kite. However, one line was around the sail causing the standoff to break. I then tried to repair it by taping an old small pin from a small firework rocket pin. This wasn't so successful, but I found a thicker firework pin that worked.

 

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The TS is standing out from the plane defined by the LE and the spine. Looks funny, but it works.

 

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I was so glad I had brought the Kymera. The light wind suited it well. No more running around to get it to the top of the window. In the gusts it quickly developed some pull and I like the feed back it gives. The large wind window felt like a liberation today. The feel of the flight is somewhat like the Tramontana in that you get it going in light wind and it tracks well, but added to this you get the trickiness of the Kymera. I used about half of the time flying with intent and making it looking good and controlled. Skipping this is not really an option - you need to tune/calibrate the input to hit those corners and there is always some turn somewhere in the window that needs some extra attention. The rest of the time I spent provoking the kite, going from trick to trick without necessarily setting it up perfectly. This session I managed to hit the lazies a little snappier than before, but I need to work more on maintaining the turtled position all the way to the end of the lazy rotation.

 

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If having more than one kite out + lines it is not uncommon to accidentally lift the lines of the grounded/resting kite with the wing tip of the active kite. Normally these line tangles are good natured and hardly anything needs to be done at all to handle it. This time when the lines of the Kymera got picked up by the the wing tip of the Fazer XXL the tangle was worse, took something like 10 minutes to handle and the short unintentional air ride had even made a knot on the Kymera line. Normally some separation of the lines in the tangle (so that the loops of the lines can slide out of the tangle) is sufficient - not so this time untieing was required..

 

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Time to go home...

 

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When I came home I flew a large green kite with another colour layout than the XXL. It was in two or three shades of green and had no large black areas and and no text on the sail. Then I flew a 2m purple orchid flower slowly gliding over the sky. It's movement was smooth, constant speed, but with digitized directions, somewhat like the control that the combination four keys can offer in an old style computer games. Then my wife accidentally woke me up. Yes, of course I was dreaming. After a day like this with the nice feeling after a day of physical exercise I had rapidly fell asleep quite soon after the head hit the pillow.

 

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I then realized, considering the radically different flight pattern of the orchid from the green kite, that I just had a quad dream.

Artists: The photo of the orchid was taken by D Ramey Logan and is Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licenced (this should make the dream scene image share alike as well). The dream scene was drawn by Exult while trying to learn more of the vector graphics drawing program Inkscape. It can be argued whether he should give up that activity and stick to kiting instead. The clipping is from the Scream, a painting by Edvard Munch and is nowadays in the public domain.

 

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Kind of Cascading
Mon Feb 12 19:00:00 CET 2017
GB forecasted 2-3m/s
Hydra on 20m 38 kg lines
Kymera on 25m, 38kg lines

A beautiful winter day. The parking lot at the beach was more occupied than empty for a change (during winter) - the tour skaters found the ice good and trustworthy and were therefore active today. There was even an iceboat far out from the beach. Due to the wind direction, close to parallel to the beach, I was again forced to fly the kites among outdoor furniture. This kind of interfered with my plans to do "en masse" tricking. The main reason was that I wanted to avoid the following recoveries and having the kite/lines getting entangled in a table, bench, etc... If I flew from the water towards the lawn the wind got gustier and if I tricked over the ice most recoveries get trickier. On ice, if the kite is "ground turtled", it only slides on its back instead of tilting up into start position. If the ice is not perfectly smooth you can sometimes make a (dead launch like) double tug to get it into start position, from where you can do a basic start. True dead launches on ice didn't work out for me the few times I tried them, though I think that they would have been rather safe on ice. Another ice interacting trick that I haven't tried before (I think) were LE launches that became very smooth.

One "sideways localised" trick suited the limited "effective space" well and that is the cascade. Typically ending on the ground in a turtle just under where you started. I don't claim the trick: I can only go a couple of cycles before the a half axle turns into a rixel (ie. the kite goes into a turtle) and I don't do the ending tug of the new top wing in the end of the half axle. The Hydra is the kite kite of my choise for the cascade practicing. So I ended up doing a lot of cascade practicing. The way to get them going a bit longer (still without the second tug of the half axle) was to make the half axels by quick tugs and kind of letting the top wing half bounce on stiff lines (alternating wing halves of course). It kind of felt crude with the feeling similar to having a thin steel wire stiffly suspended and the other side connected to a steel dank. Then, to describe the tug, drop the steel dank.  (I have abandoned this method now for ... read on and you'll see)

Today's annoyance, only one wing tip had an end cap, so the Kymera nock broke (it could just still function though).

 

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In one of these photos you can find a tour skater/traction kiter. When zooming in the image quality of this skater is unfortunately of traditional "proof of UFO quality". The foil kite was orange and black (sorry no more info).

 

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At home, the last remaining end cap...

 

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En Masse Tricking Leading the Way to Longer Cascading
Sun Feb 19 11:49:39 CET 2017
GB forecasted 4-5m/s
Hydra on 20m 38 kg lines
Kymera on 25m, 38kg lines


So how is it going with the trick en masse approach? The conditions at the beach felt much the same as last week - same direction and there was still ice. The wind felt quite light in spite of the forecast. I started out on the lawn but left because of two reasons. A mother and some children were making an open fire with twigs from a pine branch that fallen down in some high wind. The still humid wood and the green needles caused much smoke drifting over the lawn, so I was driven off the lawn. I also went towards the beach hoping to find a fraction more wind there. She made some comment regarding the smoke and I replied by calmly asking if her "charcoal" had the SIS mark (a "proof of quality" from a Swedish test institute and yes some bags of coal actually do have this mark) and further referred to the battle of Lützen (which is commonly used to describe dense fog: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lützen_(1632) ). She did not get upset, but told me that they did have a (stunt I assume) kite, but that they didn't manage to get it going very much/well. She also described seeing the kiters during the 90-ies in Fiskebäckskil (Swedish west coast) and that she had visited a Kite store (still during the 90-ies) in Gothenburg. It could have been the same shop whose owner shared so much info through the phone (I am in debt) and that I bought the HQ Maestrale from. However I never did visit Gothenburg during that period. When leaving she thanked for the getting-started/going-hints that she had gotten just from observing the kiting.

So the place and conditions and limitations were much the same as the last weekend. I therefore continued with the cascade training mostly with the Hydra. To modify the input "control noise" during the "en masse" part I did move the arms back so that I could feel a second tug in the other arm slightly after the large axel tug. I don't know how this works, but it seems to be delaying the rixeling that is the end of the cascades. (more cascade training/observations in my next blog entry).

A trick that fitted the Kymera well in the light wind was the belly launch. Angle the nose a dm to the side from the centre and then just do a quick light tug on the "shortest" line (that's all). The Kymera pops high up with the nose pointing towards 10:30/01:30 roughly. I didn't have the same luck with the Hydra, but had some difficulties in making the nose point upwards. Is this because it demands more wind or is it a "feature" of the kite? - To be tested and compared in more wind. Why didn't I try some more already in this low wind session by combining the start with backwards running or at least while pulling back (more?) on both arms?

 

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Cape Evil photographed from the table of obstruction. You were created with the sole purpose of ruining the wind and tangle/catch the lines. It could be worse though, and it will, during summer the hordes of chaos will have their picnics of malice in order to turn the beach into a crowded mess, restricting me to off hours of doziness and into the gloomy rain of misery. And I'm a complete whiner with misanthropic tendencies today - NO MORE GRUMPINESS! Sunshine is overrated and a summer rain is not that bad at least if it is not combined with too light wind. And if I can't fly because it is crowded I got plenty of kites to repair and fix (and so does the garden and the house as well).


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At Last the Fazer XXL in Decent Wind - or the Session of Wear and Tear
Sat Feb 25 15:55:33 CET 2017
GF forecasted 5m/s
Fazer XXL on 35m 180kg lines

No scheduled tennis next two weeks and most likely no kiting in the next few days - today I went all in. I "knew" that I would get profoundly sore muscles, but no other activities would suffer from it. I almost aimed for it since it is a receipt of that the physical exercise gave some effect (my belief - am no expert in these matters).
The ratio of pulling (as expected from this large kite) and (possibility to do) tricking was just right. Gaining ground was done by flying the kite to the top of the wind window and then backing - the opposite of a fly away (in low wind), where you let the kite glide downwards from you. Regarding the tricking I'm sure tricking purists could make an objection like "my NN (their favourite) kite tricks better" "and this kite feels murky (mushy?) in comparison". It is different, the kite gives a massive feeling and its up to you whether you appreciate it or not. The possibility to do tricking (and doing them at a somewhat rapid rate) is dependent both on your tricking skills and your physical fitness - I intend to improve in both. Sitting on the ground in high wind while steering the kite back and forth and possibly be dragged sitting would feel a little limited ( http://kitelife.com/forum/topic/6989-you-need-a-really-big-van-to-have-this-one-in-the-back-with-the-le-assembled/?do=findComment&comment=61306) - though the sound is cool.

 

Today when initiating the side slides it was common to overshoot the horisontal slide position ending up with the inside wing a bit higher up. Instead of trying to go on with the initial input of the FA with the outer hand I did it with the inner hand. I think this was easier, but I must look further into it. Another observation was that I got the inhaul snagged around the rear end of the spine a few times - who knows I might even add keeper lines on the bridle one day.

 

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Has this ferrule gotten bent (and if so from axel to wing tip landings)?

 

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The ferrules has worn through the LE dacron - I suspect the LE launches.

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I was very wrong and should have studied the worn LE dacron better. When looking at the upper side it was clear that it was not the LE launches that was the likely cause. The adjustable bridle catching segment ("the extra bridle line") that can be used to reduce LE vibration in harder wind had worn through the dacron in the back side of the kite. It seems like the holes (front and backside about a cm apart) in the dacron for this bridle segment were a bit too far from the LE carbon tube. Now today there was enough wind to tension the catching segment causing the edge of the back side dacron hole to take the load of this bridle segments rather than the carbon tube and therefore started to tear/wear.

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A slightly worn nose. What is the main cause: LE-launches, failed fade launches, semi successful belly landings, cart wheels... ? OK, not so much wear, but I only used the kite three times of which one was in soft snow.

 

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The clip(s?) on the spine has moved allowing the centre-T to make a rip in the dacron of the sail. Is this the result of some less successful fade launches? Fazer XL had very badly glued clips - the inner surfaces were not even in proper contact because they were not completely smooth. I think the I ended up gluing (some lose, others to reinforce) all (about 16?) of them of the XL. Looks like I should do some preventive gluing here as well. If you look closely in the image you see the tape field-fix that prevents the centre T-from sliding. Before gluing properly I'll remove the tape residues with some propanol.

 

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The clips around one of the LS to LE connectors had come loose, while the other had not. More clips to glue and find their proper positions of. Why do I never learn that I should mark the original position with a thin marker of all clips as the first thing to do before even going to the field the first time?

A sudden suspicion grew - this leading edge somewhat start to resemble that of a Prism Alien. Is the ferrule bent from e.g the axel to wing tip landings? I start to think about the square cube law (for structural strength versus "accelerated mass"/force) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square-cube_law ), the inherent problems of large designs to support itself when scaling up a small design (such as a large kite) while exactly preserving the shape of all details. I end up getting lost (doesn't end up with the same result) when trying to consider the (kinetic to potential) energy of e.g. a tip stab of a small versus a scaled up large kite. Can it really be so that the energy required for breaking by bending a LLE scales in the same way as the mass when increasing the size of the kite? And how does abrasion (~small scale structural strength?) work for large kites? Imagine putting a sticker around the LE of a 4D, normal sized kite and a Fazer XXL and then do a couple of LE launches on a lawn and then on rocks? Which kite would wear out the sticker or itself quickest? How much of the wear is from kite weight and how much is from the wind load during a LE launch? ... Naaah!!! -  I stick to the practical piloting aspects instead. Anyhow glad that I haven't snapped a LLE yet on the XXL - I did so about 1.5 years ago on the XL when a half unexpected tip stab turned out to be a little too hard. I should measure the span width of the XXL to see if it remains constant or if the ferrules bend with time.

After the session
So how did it go with the sore muscles the following days? Not that bad and not at all as the first time I used the Fazer XXL (then in somewhat deep snow and low wind conditions). Perhaps it then was caused by that I was completely new to the kite or the running around in snow to keep it in air in low wind? It looks like that there is little limitation in how I can use the Fazer XXL regarding the possibility to do other sports during the following days. There was no reason to put off what should have been done before so I measured the span width. 3.58m when standing up on its wing tips and 3.57m when resting on its belly (the LE flexes when the kite supports itself). When holding the LEs together in the nose and pressing the ferrules together the right nock was about 2cm from the left one. This latter comparison is a bit inconclusive - I'd expect that the left one would be the most bent one (and not the right that was the case), since the LLEs that I've broken have all been on the left side.

 

Thank you, readers of great stamina!



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