Issue 5: Doin’ it Indoors

yikes1We’re half way through summer and the last thing most people have on their mind is indoor flying. However, being summer, the evening hours often bring dead calm once the sun begins to set. What a great time to bring out the indoor kites and get a head start for the upcoming season.

I’ve taken to using longer lines on my zero wind dual liners lately. When I fly indoors, I usually use 12 or 13 feet of line. Outside in zero wind I’ve increased the length to 20-25 feet. The one problem I seem to encounter most with a zero wind kite outdoors is that some tend to turn very slow when there is even a slight breeze. I’m not the person most likely to go messing with bridle adjustments. I know the settings on my kites are just right for indoors, so I’m not going to change a thing. By using lines longer then what I’m used to, it gives a slow turning kite more time to turn.

I’ve been flying the Innerspace quite a bit outdoors lately. It is one of those that turns slow, but it will fly in nothing effortlessly. Plus it’s big and impressive. It also has that beefy feel to it.

A kite that is ideal for indoors or out in no wind is the Buena Vista Pi. It is NOT one of those kites that turns slow outdoors in wind. And long lines are not needed either. It is quick, agile and incredibly durable. It’s priced right too. Everyone can afford this one. It’s great to have regardless of your flying expertise. Because it is so affordable, you can have one around for all those times someone wants to try the expensive ones.

Get a jump on the competition. Instead of sweating in the gym in the middle of summer, wait until the sun calls it a day and the wind drops and take out the indoor gear.

Dual Line Trick Launch

Here’s an incredibly beautiful launch technique that always gets spectators to notice: launching by the kite’s nose. This can be done in several ways and I’ll cover a couple of my favorites here.

The first is to hold the kite by the nose, belly down. Extend your arm out, hand just above your head and push the kite out and away from you. Now depending on the particular kite that you are flying, you may have to aim the kite in a certain way. Some kites, like the Wren, you have to push away and at the same time aim the tail up. Others you can push out level and some you need to aim the tail down. It all depends on how the kite is balanced and/or the effects of the kite’s own flying surfaces going backwards. Experiment. Once you have pushed the kite away, you need to be moving in the opposite direction, ready to take the slack out of the lines and begin flying.

Another nose launch that impresses people is a variation of this first launch. Instead of pushing the kite away, this time you are going to put the kite into a spin right in front of you. Hold the kite’s nose in your hand, fingers on top, thumb on the bottom. The kite should be FLAT and shoulder level. Then you want to release the kite by spinning it clockwise and pushing away at the same time. More spinning then pushing though. Depending on your kite, you may have to angle the kite in your hand before releasing, but still keeping the kite FLAT. By this I mean holding it so that the nose is pointing to your left or right shoulder. Some kites spin faster then others. Some are bigger and slower and may need more time to spin all the way around. Again, experiment. When you release the kite, you still need to move away and take out the slack in the lines once the kite reaches a stall position. So if the kite isn’t making it all the way around, orif it has spun around before you’ve had a chance to move away, experiment with the position of the kite when you start the spin.

A Couple of Quad Line Launches

If you fly a Revolution or reasonable facsimile, here’s a nice launch I haven’t seen anyone else do, yet. Put both handles in your left hand. Grip the kite where the right vertical spar meets the leading edge, fingers on top, thumb on the front of the sail. Hold it so that your fingers actually cross over the spar and the tip of your index finger is touching the leading edge. Hold your left hand out a little bit in front of you, so that when you walk, you won’t be stepping on the lines. With your right arm extended out to your side, hold the kite almost flat, leading edge forward. The end farthest away from you should be pointing down slightly. With your thumb, push up a tiny bit so that the wing closest to you is just pointing up.

Once you have obtained this position, walk in a counter-clockwise circle, about 3-4 feet in diameter. When you are ready to release, you will flick your wrist and push the kite away, releasing at about the 2 o’clock position. As the kite is leaving your hand, push off firmly with your index finger. I know it may sound dumb, but it is this little push that actually makes the kite turn just that much faster so that it spins smooth and fast enough to get all the way around.

When done correctly, the kite should make a full revolution and end up away from you, upside down and ready to fly out to the left. It’s a real pretty launch. I’ll never forget the first time Curtiss Mitchell saw me do this one. He looked genuinely impressed and said, “Cool, how’d you do that?” Made my day.

Now for you Deca fliers, and speaking of Curtiss, here’s a launch I’ve seen him do and quickly assimilated. (Resistance is futile.)

While the kite is in a normal prelaunch position, stand in front of the kite, take it by the bow and flip the kite, top toward you. Let it come to rest on the top end caps and then lean back on the bow.

Walk back to your handles, pick them up in the proper hands and when ready to launch, pull the handles so that you are doing the pulling with the lines that connect to the bottom of the kite when in a normal position. Give a quick tug straight back, just above knee level.

When done correctly, the kite will gently unwrap itself, leaving it in the ready to launch “normal” position.

***Just a note, I don’t know who came up with any particular move. I may or may not tell you where I saw it done. I don’t really believe it matters who was the very first to do it. Afterall, this is kite flying. A fun activity. A century from now, school children will not be quizzed on who invented the axel or a fade. My feeling is, if I contribute in any way by means of passing on something I have learned or invented, then I am that much less in debt for the countless things I have taken and used from others. Fly for fun!