Issue 40: Team Tirades (manuevers)

One of the goals of any serious team is to create a maneuver that is unique to their team. Inventing a totally unique maneuver takes experience, a lot of practice and a through understanding of what your kites and your team members are capable of doing in the air!

In 1994 I was flying team with Rick and Robyne Gardner and Vicki Romanoff as Pair of Pairs. We were flying several maneuvers I had created for us. Some were totally new ones and others were modified variation of those flown by other teams changed in a way that made the maneuver uniquely our own!

In 1989 Ron Reich created a maneuver for a three person team that he called Razzle Dazzle This maneuver was a series of four threads, with each flier arcing in a turn to take up a different position in the threads (with two fliers as the “needle” and one as the “thread”)

I personally thought that Ron’s maneuver had a lot of style, and something similar to Razzle Dazzle would fit nicely with the music we had selected for our routine, besides I thought that it would be ‘appropriate’ to design a maneuver that was an evolution of a Team Classic first created by Ron.

We had four fliers and Razzle Dazzle is a three person move. What to do?

I sat down at the drawing board with Ron’s maneuver in front of me. I began to add that fourth flier into the three person threads. I have to admit that I had a lot of problems in the beginning. With many of the threads for four fliers I would end up with a line wrap or twist between two of the fliers that would not allow those fliers to continue exchanging positions. I worked on what I began to call Quadra Dazzle for about three weeks. During this time the four of us as a team ‘attempted’ to fly the maneuver out on the practice field. My hope was that Rick, Rob or Vicki would be able to help me figure out that ‘twist and tangle’ I was having troubles with! As many of you that are team fliers know, ‘In the Air’ is the worst place to figure out a maneuver, and we spent a lot of time simply untangling kites after a lots of failed attempts at Quadra Dazzle.

I finally decided to send Ron a video of our attempts and all my paperwork and drawings of Quadra Dazzle. Ron was very helpful, and pretty pleased that we were adding to his original maneuver. Being the superb technical flier that he is, he saw my problem almost immediately! His simple answer was, “Al, you already have the correct answer on paper. Your just too close to the problem to see it.” Ron suggested that I rearrange the order of the treads from the original Razzle Dazzle as used in the new maneuver. So I already had the maneuver correct, but just in the wrong order!

Sure enough when I changed the thread sequence in Quadra Dazzle I had all four of us in the right positions without getting into any twists or wrapped lines. The maneuver worked perfectly. It did take Pair of Pairs Kite Team several practices to actually get the symmetry and correct thread distances down pat, but Quadra Dazzle became one of our ‘Class A’ maneuvers in several different routines! Robyne Gardner always said, “That maneuver brings tears to my eyes. Maybe we should issue Kleenex to the spectators before we fly?”

The following diagrams are the actual drawings I use when presenting a maneuver to a team. I try to make them as detailed and easily understood as possible. The most important thing for a team to fly a maneuver correctly is to ‘See the Picture.’ Meaning that they have to have a complete and accurate picture of what they will be flying in the sky, in order to complete the maneuvers ‘as drawn’

I will first describe Ron Reich’s original maneuver ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and then give you the written description that Pair of Pairs used for the POP’s maneuver ‘Quadra Dazzle’

Razzle Dazzle by Ron Reich 1989

Diagram #1

  • Three fliers enter from Left of window. Equally spaced.
  • All make a ‘Flank Left’ turn vertical.
  • When flier #1 reaches 80% of window, #1 arcs to the right, #2 arcs to the left, #3 arcs to the left parallel to #2
  • #2 and #3 on left are spaced 20 ft apart. #1 on right is positioned in the center of the approaching thread.

Diagram #2

  • All three kites thread horizontally with 10% spacing.
  • #2 arcs left to vertical
  • #1 arcs right to vertical
  • Both #1 & #2 fly vertical (down) at 20% spacing
  • #3 arcs right to vertical and becomes the center thread between #1 & #2

Diagram #3

  • All three kites thread vertically with 10% spacing
  • #3 arcs right to horizontal
  • #1 arcs left to horizontal
  • Both #1 & #3 fly horizontal (R to L) at 20% spacing
  • #2 arcs right to horizontal (L to R) and becomes the center thread between #1 & #3

Diagram #4

  • All three kites thread horizontally with 10% spacing.
  • #2 arcs right to vertical
  • #3 arcs left to vertical
  • Both #2 & #3 fly vertical (up) at 20% spacing
  • #1 arcs right to vertical (down) and becomes the center thread between #2 & #3

Diagram #5

  • All three kites thread vertically with 10% spacing
  • #1 arcs right to horizontal
  • #3 arcs left to horizontal
  • Both #1 & #3 fly horizontal (L to R) at 20% spacing
  • #2 arcs right to horizontal (R to L) and becomes the center thread between #1 & #3

Diagram #6

  • All three kites flank up (#1 left, #2 right, #3 left) to a three kite follow.

Note:

The easiest way to remember this maneuvers is:

#1 turns Right, Right, Left, Right, Right
#2 turns Left, Left, Right, Right, Right
#3 turns Left, Right, Right, Left, Left

In my discussions with Ron he mentioned that the best way to begin flying Razzle Dazzle is to make the arcing turns very large. And as you get the turns, spacing, timing and positions down you can make the figure smaller and smaller.

We employed this same procedure when we worked on the POP’s maneuver Quadra Dazzle. We began to practice with very large turns and at a certain point the team reached a size for the maneuver that became comfortable to all of us and began to match the music sequence we had selected to match the maneuver.

You’ll see the similarity to Ron’s maneuver as I describe Quadra Dazzle. We added the fourth flier without changing the basic idea of Ron’s original. Most fliers that have seen us fly this maneuver immediately recognize that it’s variation of Ron’s, which was my original intention!

Quadra Dazzle by Al Hargus 1995

Diagram #1

  • Four fliers enter from Left of window. Equally spaced.
  • All make a ‘Flank Left’ turn vertical. When flier #1 reaches 80% of window,
  • #3 arcs left and fly to horizontal (arc parallel to #4)
  • #4 arcs left and fly to horizontal (arc parallel to #3)
  • Both #3 & #4 fly horizontal (L to R) at 20% spacing
  • #1 & #2 arc in a follow to the right and fly to horizontal (R to L)
    and become the center thread between #3 & #4

Diagram #2

  • All four kites thread horizontally with 10% spacing (#3 & #4 needle, #1 & #2 thread)
  • #1 arcs left to vertical (leads #4)
  • #2 arcs right to vertical
  • #3 arcs left to vertical
  • #4 arcs right to vertical (follows #1)
  • Both #2 & #3 fly vertical (down) at 20% spacing
  • #1 &#4 fly vertical (up) and becomes the center thread between #2 &
    #3

Diagram #3

  • All four kites thread vertically with 10% spacing (#2 & #3 needle, #1
    & #4 thread)
  • #1 arcs right to horizontal
  • #2 arcs left to horizontal
  • #3 arcs right to horizontal (follows #4)
  • #4 arcs left to horizontal (leads #3)
  • Both #2 & #3 fly horizontal (R to L) at 20% spacing
  • #1 & #4 fly horizontal (L to R) and become the center thread between #2 & #3

Diagram # 4

  • All four kites thread horizontally with 10% spacing ( #1 & #2 needle, #3 & #4 thread)
  • #1 arcs left to vertical
  • #2 arcs right to vertical (follows #3)
  • #3 arcs left to vertical (follows #2)
  • #4 arcs right to vertical
  • Both #1 & #4 fly vertical (up) at 20% spacing
  • #3 & #2 fly vertical (down) and become the center thread between # 1 & #4

Diagram #5

  • All four kites thread vertical with 10% spacing ( # 1 & #4 needle, #2 & #3 thread)
  • #1 arcs right to horizontal
  • #3 arcs left to horizontal
  • #1 & #3 parallel (R to L) at 20% spacing
  • #2 arcs right to horizontal
  • #4 arcs left to horizontal
  • #2 & #4 parallel (L to R) at 20% spacing

Diagram #6

  • All four kites flank up (#1 right, #2 left, #3 right, #4 left) to a four kite follow.

Note:

The easiest way to remember this maneuvers is:

#1 turns Right, Left, Right, Left, Right
#2 turns Right, Right, Left, Right, Right
#3 turns Left, Left, Right, Left, Left
#4 turns Left, Right, Left, Right, Left

You will find that either of these two maneuvers are quite simple if each flier remembers the turns (in the order as noted) that they are supposed to make. There are no line wraps or twists in fliers lines at any time during either of these two maneuvers. There is some initial difficulty remembering who follows who through the four person threads! (One or two line tangles clears that problem up quickly) Timing in the outside crossovers take a little time to get correct, but it’s actually pretty simple after a few attempts!

The Quadra Dazzle variation of Ron Reich’s Razzle Dazzle is very easy to fly, and after a little practice you will be reducing the size of the arcs and when the maneuver is performed smaller and quicker it can be quite exciting!

I carried this idea of Ron’s original maneuver through to the six person team Shanti Air in 1998 when we flew Razzle Dazzle first as three pairs in follows (we tried to do the maneuver docked, but that proved to be too difficult) Flying Ron’s maneuver as three pairs required us to fly a pairs unwrap afterwards, which never looked good. So by the time we traveled to the World Cup in Dieppe France we had changed the maneuver to flying Razzle Dazzle, just like Ron’s original maneuver only with two separate flights of three fliers side by side.

So I took a Classic Team maneuver and modified it to fit a four person team. Does that make my version a classic as well? Not really, but Quadra Dazzle is unique so that’s a plus for any team maneuver. I have to give a lot of credit for the creation of this maneuver to my team mates Rick and Robyne Gardner and Vicki Romanoff, because although I did all the paperwork. They helped to make that set of drawings into a Picture in the Sky with their perseverance and efforts out on the practice field!

The part I’m most proud of concerning Quadra Dazzle came at the AKA Grand Nationals in Santa Monica CA in 1996 when Ron Reich watched Pair of Pairs Kite Team fly Quadra Dazzle for him.

Ron said, “I couldn’t have done better myself” As a team flier you can’t ask for a higher compliment then that!

Good winds,

Al Hargus

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Author:Al Hargus (RIP)

A leader and expert on all things kiting for over 20 years, Al Hargus III was regularly involved in all aspects of the community, he could often be found walking through the audience at various events, speaking with and educating the public while they were there, experiencing what kiting was all about... We lost him to the great unknown in December of 2006, he is dearly missed.

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