So this is the week. A year ago, I was futilely trying to keep ANY conversation alive over on the Revolution forum when @John Barresi said, join us over here at KiteLife. Now, I been at Kitelife a year and what a year that has been. In that time my kiting world has changed immensely. I started out like many others, as a free member and quickly saw the advantages of this special community and now I'm a paid subscriber for at least the next 2 years or so. I feel I've made some lifelong friends here and I wholly appreciate the open arms and open minds with which you, my fellow KiteLife members and kiters, have extended to me. I've made my first (and second) overnight kiting trips. First to the Corolla Quad Clinic followed by Private JB Lessons. Until the Corolla clinic, I had never made more than a day trip for kiting. Second trip was to the Rogallo Festival which quickly became a Corolla Class reunion. It's an event I go to every year but this year was very special because I was able to stay over and enjoy night flying and comradery with some fellow quad friends (Almost all of the Corolla group in fact).
Since January, I've started spending more time with the sewing machine and gained drastic insight into the flying characteristics of the bowtie style quads. I even made my first Stack from tails. The "Sails from Tails" thing started out as a shortcut to be able to make myself a mesh since I couldn't budget a Shook when I started. Now I have two Shook Masterpieces and a great relationship with Eliot who advised me on some finer points of kite engineering. He and Cath have even flown some of my designs which I considered an honor. For those that don't know Eliot Shook, there's a reason his kites are called masterpieces. In his hands, the Icarex takes a life of its own on the form of his mesh and weave kites. My mesh kites are in homage to the creative genius that Cath and Eliot of Flying Smiles Kites, harbors.
For those that don't know me, I get a lot of satisfaction from having others that I respect fly my kites. That's one reason my bag is always open to ANY of you. At the Corolla clinic, my Symphony 2.2.4 was placed into the very capable hands of @John Barresi with amazing results and fortunately for all of us, several cameras were recording. If rumor is true, as I celebrate my first year on KiteLife Saturday, a few of my Symphony 2.2.4 conversions may be debuting at the Berkeley Kite Festival in the hands of two members of Team KiteLife. @John Barresi, V-I-D-E-O!!!
@SHBKF @dragonfish @photomom @khsidekick @Wayne Dowler @Bill Clay& @John Barresi the chat sessions we've had, have given me ideas I've incorporated into some of my kite designs and flying style. When the announcement was made to the effect that chat would be phasing out, I was not only honored, but obligated to do whatever was needed to keep it alive. For those of you that don't frequent the chat channels, you are missing out on conversations that easily rival the fun conversations at a festival or convention, but without the heat. @everyone, drop by the chatroom and say "Hi!" We'd love to chat with you about most anything (especially kites) but PLEASE remember to close it out when you leave. It's no fun talking to an empty room and it makes it harder to connect with active chatters when the ghosts are sitting there.
All in all, it's been a great kiting year for me. I've learned a lot about kiting, flying and people in general. This shared hobby of ours has not only made me a better kiter, but interaction here with many of you has hopefully made me a better person.
By request a repost and update of my Reflex Review
The Rev Reflex is a different animal indeed. The Springs do change the wing shape and dead launch from face down is almost as easy as a standard reverse launch. The springs did however also change some of the responsiveness in the very light wind conditions.. When step accelerating a dive, you have the load the wing with a heavier hand at each step and plan again for loading the wing with the dive stop. It's almost like a delayed reaction. I like the larger size but, dislike that I don't have multiple frame options and interchangeability with the other Revs. This kite does makes a big difference at the edges.
Extreme edge of the window, the kite reacted differently than expected. I was at the point where the springs were trying to make it float but I was still able to give input via the lines.. Not necessarily a bad thing, just one aspect of this wing that I wasn't expecting. All in All a 5 star experience. This is a very forgiving kite that will make a difference in the novice flyer and intermediate flyer's hands. I can't speak for the Advanced Kiter or Professional's take, as I consider myself neither of those. Looking forward to more handle time with the Rev Reflex.
About the video.. Some raw footage of putting the Reflex through its paces. This was only my second flight with this kite and it DOES act differently than a typical Rev. I intentionally tried to destabilize the kite at the end and flew it well past apex.. It floated right back into the wind gracefully.
On the backside of each wing attached to the vertical spar and to the sail via velcro is a small metal spring that shapes the sail. IT keeps the sail from being perfectly flat and thus induces float when the sail is in any kind of neutral profile. It makes the dead launch from facedown possible and makes it more stable in the air.. But if any of your tricks or moves are based on a flat sail, you'll have to adjust, relearn or abandon..
After a lot of flying, the handles started to show a lot of internal slack. I used the following methood to tighten them up. .
. I've let some friends from all over "test" the kite including Jim Cosca, Paul LeMasters and Fletch. Fletch used it almost exclusively for the ODSKC along with his Phantom SUL. In Paul's hands it truly got put to its paces and seems a capable durable kite. I'd like to see a bit more spring to the springs. Over time they tend to bend a bit and have to be reshaped..
All in all a nice sail with some unique characteristics but in the long run this was not a sail i would keep. The trade offs the springs bring to the mix impact the way i fly negatively more than they help other aspects of my flying..