Support your LKS
I started reading the kite forums with some intensity over four years ago. I had used computers for many years even back before the days of the WWW. It has been quite awhile since I’ve seen that initialism used in any context. I had previously been on a few forums of interest but I was really fired up wanting to learn anything kites. I saw mention of an initialism LKS, Local Kite Store. Out here in the mountains of western Virginia there was no such thing. Maybe a toy store with a few single line kites & a hobby shop that had small selection of dual line kites, both located over sixty miles away in eastern Tennessee. It is five & one half hours, three hundred & forty-four miles, to get to my Local Kite Store, Kligs in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
I try to support the kite stores that I visit with a purchase or two & enjoy talking to the people working them. Some are active fliers, some are just working retail that happens to sell toys & kites. I have been to a store in Mystic, Connecticut that was not much larger than a walk in closet. Most seem to be around the size of a shoe store. Kligs is a very large store with hundreds of kites on display. My first serious kite came from Kitty Hawk Kites back when they had only one location. There are many on the east coast that I still have not visited.
I always check for anything in a bargain or clearance mode & have come away with some nice items. I have learned to ask if they have any used or demo kites also. Scored a nice vintage Prism Alien that way as well as a Sun Oak delta & a couple Revs. Sure, these kites may not be the color I might want or the latest but I get a deal & the sale helps the cash flow of the retailer. I have bought many kites at full retail with no regrets knowing it might help them especially in the off season. Support your local store. The few bucks you might save elsewhere will never make up for a small business lost forever.
When being removed from your comfort flying zone you might get new experiences that you couldn't imagine or predict. This blog entry is also a vacation post card from the medieval city (in the sense that ruins and buildings from that time still exist) of Visby ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visby ) in the island of Gotland ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotland ) in the Baltic Sea as well as an example of how flying during new and non-ideal conditions turned out to be educational, fun and very different from my more normal dual line flying. Most of the last section "Conclusions" is a condensed list of what I learned/experienced for the first time during the stay.
This funnel makes no secret of the initial letter of the island of it's destination - i.e. this is the start of this mini vacation.
Pestilence wort ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petasites_hybridus ) is growing around Visby in several places. Here to the north of the city wall. The leaves becomes rhubarb-like. In spring the flowers appears before the leaves. Before the flower buds open it looks like a small pineapple in my opinion (the photo of the buds is from the 26th of Mars).
St. Lars church ruin. The walls contain passages designed for hiding out during crises and war. Yes, you are allowed to enter them during day(/evening?) time. The second photo is a view from St. Lars through an archers crenel (possibly, at least it is shaped like one on the in- and outside of the opening).
Donners plats is in the central part of Visby with many restaurants etc. The dark green creeper plant in the background to the left is (most likely -but can't tell from a distance) ivy - the province plant of Gotland. This evergreen plant got lobed leaves, except for old stems where the leaves are un-lobed. The ivy is so common here so that I forgot to take any photos of it. And no, it is only ivy, not poison ivy (which seems to be a really unpleasant plant).
The trip, Visby and Visby as a (land) kiting area
My family is here during the medieval week, more by a coincident rather than with the intention of participating by being dressed in medieval-like clothing. Everywhere in the city inside the surrounding defense wall and around, there are people dressed, perhaps every 10th to 5th person, in certain areas even more. The city has today grown beyond the defense wall, but the old part still functions and not only by tourism. There are even areas inside that are close to desolate even during summer vacation times.
Medieval themed market during the medieval week.
I like the mood and mysterious tone in this image.
Alarming news - Gotland is dry! Let me translate part of what was written on the first page of "Gotlands Allehanda", the local newspaper: The medieval beer is finished before the medieval week is over. No it is not as bad as it sounds, I only saw one group and one hotel guest that seamed to have looked to deep into the bottle during my stay.
The ground of the island is sedimented limestone, the pebbles on the beaches and the rocks are also of limestone. Fossils from the Silurian age are very common. Some rocks are high and steep - in other places softer limestone has been eroded only to leave high pillars in odd shapes. The Baltic Sea is a low salinity sea, though it is not a lake so it is not fresh water. Some species living in the salt water on Sweden's west coast (~Atlantic Ocean) has managed to adapt to the water here, but the individuals tend to be much smaller (species, adapt, individual... sounds like something from a Borg "philosophical" discussion). Swimming in these water leaves no sticky salt feeling afterwards as swimming in an ocean does.
Visby as a kiting area is not perfect at least to my knowledge of what is in walking range (a couple of km) from Visby. To the south there is a high plain that ends in steep limestone cliffs (actually if looking carefully one can find a path at in intermediate height level when walking there - it is so beautiful, when I go along the path I can't stop myself, I take photo after photo...). A plain sounds nice, however there are bushes sparsely scattered here from about 2m tall all the way down to a dm high bushes. If the wind is from the sea, going over the cliff edge, the winds can be a bit turbulent (it can also be a bit turbulent in other directions, but you can "always" find a spot to fly on here). To the north of Visby there are beaches, however unfortunately they are mostly very narrow and with trees and walks/roads limiting. Some beaches are of sand, but most of them are of limestone pebbles (well an exception might be perhaps 5km to the north during the parts of the year when beaches are abandoned). To be fair, Visby is just a small bit of Gotland. People living on the East side of the island tend to think that it is very far to the west side (and vice versa...) an opinion rarely shared by "outsiders". Other places are really kite friendly. They even had kite festivals on Gotland. It might also be so that there is no coincident that you can find one of very few kite shops, Drakjohan (translation: "Johan (a personal name) the kiter"), only dedicated to kites here. The result of web searches are a bit confusing - several main pages seem to exist. One of Drakjohans specialities is to make kites out of bird's feathers!
These two images show the area close the path and the start of the path. Following the path here would be to much of a diversion (perhaps another time since I've been doing kiting a bit ahead at an earlier occasion)
Maestro 3 meets water - the first non-travelling day
So driven by my wife's request that I should "be with my family" when they do swimming and "sun worshiping", I didn't go to the bushy plain as I usually do, but to the very limited beaches north of the town. Add to this the to high wind (the LE of kite got deformed in the wind) that makes dual line slack line tricks more difficult. I had only brought one (dual) trick kite to Gotland, the Maestro 3. It is OK, it certainly does not limit my tricking, but is not my favorite kite. The wind was almost parallel to the beach, but still from the sea. I found an opening between the trees, a bit close to the path unfortunately. Not to scare the pedestrians and occasional bicyclists by flying close I could only fly towards the water side. Standing close to the water increased the margin further.
Holding the kite tight when taking an image with the other hand.
The short 15m lines was the only option that worked here. Also the large turning radius that occurs by the edge of the wind window for my kites of newer design (but for none of my kites of older design (why is it so - deep sails?)) reduced the margins further. Perhaps the remedy to the lack of space would be to learn the half axle profoundly and ingrained as a reliable maneuver as an alternative to traditional turning at the edges of the wind window?
I don't own a kite stake, but here it was needed. The amount of stones to hold the handles in the image were just enough.
During forward flight in mid wind window, the round pebbles and the pull and slope of the beach caused the feet to slide. This meant that the situation was so that running downstream to do tricks was quite much out of the question. Doing a (snappily initiated) turtle it moved sideways in random, however seemed often to follow the contour of the beach slope, ending by slowly sinking down or sharply "unturtle" to the ground. The sideways turtle sliding is perhaps not so surprising, since the wind can't go through the sloping beach, the component of the wind normal (90 degrees) to the lines needs to follow the slope as well.
Being one metre up from the sea level, flying the kite to the edge of the wind window I could position the kite under the horison at the wind window edge. When making the transition from the wind window edge position to a stall a couple of metres into the wind window, the kite sank quite rapidly when stalled if you didn't handle it (in spite of the wind and the fact that the bridle setting was so that the nose was slightly tilted towards me). The turning radius at the edge and the sinking stall are the things (I tell myself) that I don't like with the kite. But hey, can't the possibility of making a landing by stalling the kite in hard wind be a feature? No, I haven't really tried out this kite yet, e.g. I've only briefly tested with and without weights when the kite was very new.
The decision to do the Jaws trick was not a sudden decision. In fact, last year I already did a limited attempt, but then decided it was not for me. This was during a language course for my children in Sidmouth (in Devon, UK) last summer. I almost had my Elixir crushed (it looked like) when landing at a depth of a just a few cm, when an Atlantic wave engulfed it. Here in Visby it was a completely different matter, I just noticed that it offered no problems, so I just increased how much the kite was submerged a bit more for every time I landed it in the water. Also, in my much subjective opinion, submerging the kite was beneficial for the look of it. Travelling after geological periods (Devonian in Devon and Silurian in Gotland) was not an active choice. Should I instead actively follow this hinted trend the next summer, I'd go somewhere where the sediments/sedimental rocks are from the (older) Ordovician period.
If you are not familiar with the Jaws trick, the trick is performed by letting the kite sink down while stalled with the nose up and then let it return to the surface and then take off again. You can also read about this and other tricks in the Fractured Axel's Tricky Wiki. Yet another place to look for trick descriptions is in Peter Peters site ( http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/index.html ) in the tricks page ( http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/p.j.f.peters/kites/basics/funcidx.frm.html ). PP's trick list contains a brief description of each trick and how to perform it, but I'm tempted to say it is more of a reference (although it got a helpful list of which tricks to start with as a beginner). Much info is from the last years of the previous millennium in web pages that look typical for the time. The kite terminology is always useful as well. The links list however, is more of a kite museum than a set of working links.
Kite tunnel vision - my family might agree on this image text. Notice the seaweed residues after the Jaws trick (under water landing and take off). Much more of the seaweed mess was to come.
I guess the conditions for submerging it were quite ideal - hard wind so the kite didn't flip forward when taking off, low waves and a OK kite that wasn't one of my most dearest ones. The waves were reduced by a long shallow shelf stretching out from the beach. Here and there the were also boulders breaking through the surface which I guess also could help to reduce the waves. The "OK but not the dearest kite" might also need some explanation. After buying the Infinity the Maestro 3 felt comparatively redundant (however different kites always offer differences useful when learning tricks). For various reasons I'd never fly on this beach in hard wind and practice Jaws for the first time with my e.g. Infinity, Jam Session, Maestrale, Illusion, Elixir... . In a way not flying a "museum kites" wearing silk gloves adds to the usefulness of the Maestro (I wonder how I'll consider the Maestro in 10 years or so).
I feel a bit bad about this. This is the only kite I got whose appearance I don't like. Many colours on a kite can be nice and one colour plus black can be nice as well, but this ... it is extra of everything. It reminds me of my one of my birthdays as a child. I made my own cake and was given full control over the ingredients, so I mixed "everything" that I liked - the result well you can guess... Perhaps this is difficult - if you design many kites and there is a requirement that each of them should have a distinct look, each kite model therefore can't be the best looking or close to best looking.
Another thing I tried out was to attempt to park the kite in harder wind by using the failed Sleeping Beauty maneuver (i.e. you just leave out the take off part) in this harder wind - I just couldn't do the on ground rotation - this calls for further investigation.
As described above the tricking was pretty much limited during the conditions, so I went further to the north to reach a still narrow but instead sandy beach where parts of my family also happened to be (for some more time at least). With the softer ground I dared to do some fades. Considering the quite hard wind (though slightly less than the first beach), I was a bit surprised how well it could hold the fade. Considering both the Maestro's good natured fade and turtle I might have been to hard on the judgement of this kite.
The municipality of Gotland (and in fact at the same time the county of Gotland) must be very kind to kiters, since they obviously offer kite holders on the beach to resting kite walkers.
By the end of the day I was content with myself that the wing nocks were still intact - this is something I've learnt from flying on stony beaches and rocks on earlier occasions. Not covering the wing tips/nocks with plastic caps limits the flying when flying on rocky beaches. If I hadn't forgot to bring the caps I could have allowed myself to do more groundwork. However looking at the nose I've had too much fun anyhow. The spine had almost worn through. Should one treat the nose with some hardening goo or a patch as a preventive measure before flying on hard surfaces?
I was a bit surprised by how quickly the nose could wear out - only one to two hours of rocky beach in hard wind. Did I just go medieval on that nose (which in a way might be appropriate description given the time and place)? Could the sand beach have contributed as well? Previously I've only used my Maestro on grass and to some limited extent on sand. Could the water make things worse by making the fibre in the nose more easily slide relative to each other? Well well, should check the topic http://kitelife.com/forum/topic/6490-weekend-projects-nose-plasti-dip/ again.
Then the feared telephone call came: "Hurry home - we are going out!". At this time he kite and lines were in a mess with much seaweed and sand after a second of some not so successful tricking over water. A kite with lines is a very efficient harvesting tool for seaweed. I tried to coax the large chunks of seaweed from the line - didn't work. Tried to slide it over the sleeves on the kite side of the line - didn't work either, the chunk just stopped at the end of the line. What worked to some degree was to step on the seaweed, grab each side of the line and pull to get parts of the large chunk off. I really didn't like to put the kite in it's current shape in its sleeve and did not have the time to do the cleaning, so I took it for the 4km walk back still assembled with the wind pressing the kite to my side. After a while I reached a low jetty where the sand could be washed away.
On the way back these sea birds also wanted to be on a photo.
Carrying a kite through the town can't be that odd - look at how the other people were dressed. On the way home closer to the city about a third was dressed in medieval clothing. Later that evening once more on the way back home (the children were at the tournament games), going through the botanical garden and city in the dusk (very atmospheric) I really belonged to a minority wearing modern clothing. Now being the deviant, even though the kite was at the hotel.
The budget dual foil gets lured into pulling - the second and last non-travelling day
The next day it should be even slightly more wind and the forecast from the very same morning also promised no rain. Therefore I decided to go to the high plain with my youngest daughter who joined me to try the foil out. To be more specific I was doing the walking and she had rent a bike. Also the rain that should not be, decided to join in during the walk. It was a very long time ago I tried the foil the last time and then it had problems with foil folding. One suggestion I got in KL was to try it in more wind. I had hoped to be blown out of my shoes, but was a bit disappointed, with the current wind direction. There was a forest about a few hundred meters upstream. This meant that there was no direct wind from the sea and the wind was a bit dirty.
Is this the simplest possible "kite bag" (for a single Maestro)? Well, well it turned out that I didn't use it that day, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. The foil was instead in the backpack. A long time ago when I only had two kites I that used on regular bases (a Jam Session and a Maestrale), I used two of these bands to loosely connect the two sleeves - No, no, not tightly tensioned, I can't I can't wrinkle a kite sail if it can be avoided in any way.
"The golden path to the freedom of kiting." It may not look so, but it is perfectly legal to walk here. To the right there is the sewage treatment plant and to the left?... I don't know what that fence does. The plateau can be accessed by anyone from many directions - pointless fence!
What I had hoped for was something moving like a rocket over the sky, forcing the pilot to really struggle. Most of the time this wasn't the case. Largely the kite felt like an empty plastic bag at the end of the lines. Seen from the side when my daughter was piloting the lines never went above 30 degrees above the ground (and she can at least stear a dual line). However going close to the kite (a few meters downstreams) there was a very pleasant sound of speed.
The old cheap foil I previously mentioned in the "What to do in high wind topic". These two photos are not from this trip.
Seen from the other side of the lines almost all sensation of speed was lost. When going straight forward, the kite was quite round in shape in the direction of the spanwidth. It kind of pulsated while going forward, curling up and straightening out, without stability, speed or pull. Doing the slightest turn often resulted in some foil folding starting. Pull turns or push turns made no difference. To the kites defence it say that the foil folding was quite good-natured - the foil folding ended by itself just as quickly as it started.
When this foil goes straight forward or turns slowly I don't give much for it's properties. It got a tendency to collapse or to curl up and never develops any real pull. Tight turning is a completely other issue - it becomes straight in an L-shaped way and starts to pull!
To further investigate and see if i could get any fun aspects of this kite I did something that went against my nature as a framed dual line kiter - I gave a very large input for turning. I've never used this large input ever. The result? - It did several tight turns, but much to my surprise the kite started to pull and became stable without a hint of foil folding. The shape of the kite changed to something L-shaped. On the side you pulled, most of the kite went straight and on the other side a small inward winglet formed. Then there was a long gust and finally, YES! YES!, some (mild) fighting! This kite seems to be meant for spinning. Perhaps the bridle could be tweaked to make the foil straighter without constantly being in a turn to achieve the straighter non-curled up form? A fathers heart was much warmed after sharing this piece of knowledge to my daughter and then seeing the result, (she was still wearing her bicycle helmet after her ride) the look of her happy brutal fighting face and pose. That was until her, sigh!, interest in "Pokemon Go" took over. Patience, patience, never push my interests (maximum offering them is the way to go I believe) - she would instantly protest if I did otherwise.
Since coming out of the foil folding was something that the kite largely managed by itself, I figured perhaps controlled foil folding is the trickflying of foils? Making turns with the rhythm borrowed from half axels (I'm still struggling with proper half axels with framed dual line kite though), the foil could be made to make a turn more or less on the spot with the foil folded, which then unfolded in the last part of the combo.
Nope you wouldn't find these berries tasty. They sit on the Blackthorn/Sloe bush (Prunus Spinosa, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_spinosa ). For them to be used in cooking you should harvest them after the first frost in the autumn. I've heard that you can add them to spirit to make a sweet liqueur, however with a limited shelf life. Normally I'd say that this bush is about 2m high (although up to 4m should be possible). Here on this plateau they tend to be very low. ...Now I see it! If I started a topic for plant interested kiters only it would TOTALLY dominate! ... For kiters I'm afraid that these plants are bad news - The twigs/thorns are not very kind to kite lines. They (well, certainly not me?) are responsible for damaging and me not fully trusting one pair of kite lines to my Fazer XL any longer. During Easter this year during a happy Fazer XL session, I wasn't patient enough to do the walk of contemplation when the lines got caught, but instead tried to solve it from where I stood.
So what was the outcome of this trip? Not waiting for the ideal situations (for a dual line trick/precision flyer that do not own a vented kite), which would have meant never during this trip, I got to test/learn starts with the kite fully submerged. saw that there was a problem with the failed sleeping beauty kite parking in harder winds which further needs to be checked out, saw that the Maestro 3 sat in a turtle and fade even during harder winds, felt some nice pull from a 2-line foil for the first time, studied the problem of the instability/foil folding, came up with temporary fix to do tight turns to handle the instability/lack of pull, got ideas on how to tweak the bridle, found some way of abruptly changing the foils course by utilising some controlled foil folding.
On the family side of things, they seem to be keen on getting medieval clothing for some future time. My youngest daughter also went from the Pokemon Go level of 14 to the level 15. My personal conclusion here: I'd rather Kitemon Go in "civilian" clothing!
Sometimes you get enough of pretty sceneries, evocative cities and too much nature. This ugly view on the way back to the hotel offered some rest.
End of vacation, the return trip to a more mundane life - tomorrow back to work...
If you made it to this very last line you are a very persistent reader - consider to wear a T-shirt with the text:
"I read long and tedious blog entries".
Going off of the look of the Scrapestry, I decided to use the new batch of scraps to do an all color kite.. Some of the scraps were neutral White and Charcoal but I based the placement on the size of the scraps and not the color. Crazy Quilt has begun..
This commissioned sail has been completed and is ready for initial flight tests.. this one is as close to an exact 1.5 size as I could make it and still be faithful to the diamonds techniquen. I don't usually make an exact 1.5 size and the sail isn't as tight as one would expect but a simple glide test was surprising. Bungees are left long for the moment to allow a bit of tweaking if required. This sail has the wear strips, LE Tabs, fold relief and is set up to allow French bridles and magic stick at the request of the owner. You could even put springs on it if you so desire.
Just a short <90 second clip to share how I get to see the Diamonds pattern emerge from a striped sail each time. This is when I get to truly see the stage I call the "mock up" and is the first real indicator of how the final kite will appear.. Until this point the pattern is truly just in my head.
The Layout from the initial stripes isn't a mockup. it allows me to see the color mix but not the actual placement of segments. This difference is far more prevalent when the color count is higher than 3..
A great example of this difference can be shown with the Feeling Gray sails, The Layout doesn't show the real pattern of the sails as they begin to take shape. The real trick to these builds is taking the stripes and de-conflicting the colors in your plan to prevent two diamonds of the same color from ending up side by side.
Added Leading Edges to Scrapestry and Purple Fade this morning..Touch of Blue Leading Edge was done last week and posted. Sunset fade MIGHT be taking a different route to leave more camber and sail area. It may end up being more of a light wind kite for me..In short, there's a bit of sail there that is "extra" and I'm deciding if I want to leave it oversize or trim it down to standard 1.5 dimensions.
It's been a whiles since I added any entries to the blog but it not for lack of sewing kites. After Jester II I decided it was time for some new color chemes AND new fabric.. 22 YArds of Icarex in Black White, Silver and Gray followed soon after.. I decided to take a chance and make an offer on the scrap bin and received a good bit of the full spectrum of colors..A full sunset fade
was the first endeavor followed closely by purple fade with several different shades of purple
A touch of blue was commissioned by a friend and
what color was left went into a true color quilt I call Scrapestry..
I PLAN for all of these kites to get first flight at the Rogallo festival at Jockeys Ridge, Nags Head NC in just over a week. Still a ways to go but Leading edges are made and the panel sewing is all done except for the center panel section of Scrapestry.. Hopefully there will be video soon..
This session I planned to:
Test the new Level One, One Eleven.
Practice QLK (B-series mid vent) with long (40m) lines.
Test the new Smithi Pro kite.
Thu Mar 29 11:00:00 CEST 2018
GF, forecasted 3-4m/s, but was a bit varying
Level One, One Eleven on 35m 75kg lines B-series 1.5 on 40m 40kg lines
Spiderkites, Smithi Pro also on 40m 40kg lines
Disclaimer: Do not consider this to be two proper reviews - it is just a first impression of the One Eleven and the Smithi Pro during a three kite session.
The One Eleven
One Eleven, a 2.6m span width kite with a weight per area being very close to that of the HQ Shadow.
Though rarely using as long lines as 35m, I felt that this line length suited this large kite of 2.6m (8.53ft) well. I'd say that this kite extends the flight properties of my kite collection. There the closest thing would be the Tramontana. A very subjective description of the feeling when piloting the One Eleven (that unfortunately sounds piecewise negative): A very precise (and very light) barn door that moves on rails with close to zero radius turns. Very close and long powered ground passes could be performed, because I felt so much in control.
It tricks, but perhaps needless to say, tricking is performed with large hand movements, but without feeling ridiculously large. Another thing is the sound level, if my Hydra and Kymera sometimes gently hums for me, the One Eleven is more like a construction site angle grinder or a starting truck. Though to be fair I must say that I never attempted to tighten the leech line. The effect is striking when the sound stops or starts e.g. when doing a "snap" stall, initiating/ending a side slide, landing/starting, etc... I put the quote marks around "snap" because it is not so snappy - you can't aggressively tear this light kite it out of flight. Instead you need to be careful to extend the arms or move forward when doing the snapstall.
Spiral wound carbon fibre tubes - who needs them? This large kite use only two one piece loong 5.5mm tubes in the LEs - No possibility to disassemble the LE to make a half length LE package. Even the LS is loong, it is a one piece tube that you fold along the spine for transport. The kite doesn't fit into any of my (two) kite bags. You can't really be tough on the kite when when doing ground work. Nope no tubes broke, but one side of the (single piece) LS popped out of the equally slim fitting. Perhaps this will be as input taming for groundwork as my 4D was for general flight input? I kind of like this approach with the slim fittings on this kite though.
In a way, and this may sound strange, this kite makes me think of the Prism 4D. It is not only the colours that match, but also the narrow spar diameter (5.5mm tubes) in relation to the size of the kite. So let's see how close in a weight to area sense the One Eleven is to a couple of other kites. The areas used below are projected areas extracted from photos of assembled kites (by the number of the pixels of the kite), while the weight is from on-line kite data, mostly from the manufacturers sites.
4D (1.47m): 70.9g / 0.355m2 = 200g/m2
Shadow (2.07m): 195g / 0.603m2 = 323g/m2
One Eleven (2.6m): 280g / 0.833m2 = 336g/m2
Infinity (2.46m): 362g / 0.732m2 = 495g/m2
Nope, from these numbers the One Eleven seems to be more like a large Shadow than a 4D.
Another 4D comparison is the IMO unnecessary end caps on the stand offs that just falls off and gets stuck in the unnecessary large stand off fittings sitting on the LS. A small glue dot on the 4D stand off side that goes into the LS stand off fitting should reduce any possible risk of carbon fibres fraying/splitting? One Eleven starts in the configuration that my 4D happened to end in - there are no small end caps on the stand off here by design (and the LS stand off fittings are small instead).
I was a bit worried when unboxing the kite since the TS seemed to be too short - there were creases along the LE. I contacted Level One to get the correct line length. They responded promptly. If anything, it was actually a slightly longer than the nominal length. My worries seemed to be exaggerated. In the wind already on the ground the creases were largely gone. In the air the sail was like a smooth glittering silk/milk bubble!
For this large and light kite one compromise/sacrifice has been the required length of the kite (tyvek) sleeve. There are no mid LE fittings so that the leading edges can't be disassembled - this comes with the bonus of no extra weight for them. This is fine with me. I kind of appreciate when getting something different - a clear personality of the kite. Perhaps I'll add external straps to hold the sleeve on one of the kite bags. The only out-of-the-box working "kite" bag for this long kite is the ski bag. On the plus side is that the One Eleven sleeve is quite narrow.
Wing tips and tyvek bag of the One Eleven.
The mid vent
I couldn't get hold of a lime/yellow B-series mid vent that would have matched the B-series full sail and full vent sails better, since the type became rare and discontinued. The ski tracks behind the mid vent are a bit surprising. These tracks have survived this late in the year (mid Mars), though there is little shade there - they must have put on much snow on these tracks.
I can't remember if I have used the 40m line set before (initially I wasn't even sure I had one). However the lines had all been adjusted to the same length. Then I saw that two lines were covering the other two lines (perhaps I had used it for dual DLKs last summer?). They can't have been much used though, because when winding the line up I got the Climax yellow left index finger tip that is characteristic of a new line.
For the varying wind of the day I chose to use the B-series 1.5 mid vent. The two feather tubes were often too flexible for the wind, so I switched to three feathers. The motto for the day was: you don't need to do something fancy to improve. Just break your habits, make a turn&wump sequence that you don't usually do and make it shine. Stomp the bugs out of your flying one after one. Don't be lazy - don't do the inverted hoover when the wind drops, though the inverted hover would be easier to hold.
Though the ground appeared dry and warm, the kite stake screw driver couldn't easily be put into the ground today, because a few cm below the surface, the ground was still frozen - using this phillips screwdriver as a drill to get through the semi-frozen ground was the way to go. In the image another way of handling the frozen ground from a two week earlier session is displayed - Just put the stake through the hard snow/ice hybrid.
The Smithi Pro
So finally it was time to test the kite that I have had in mind for so long time. Except for some youtube videos and some general data about the kite, I didn't really know what to expect.
The Smithi Pro - the foil that can go backwards and hover but then requires quite active input.
To this point I've only tried two other foils: my 5m2 Peter Lynn Peel foil ( https://web.archive.org/web/20010303105904/http://www.kmd-sportdrakar.com:80/Peel4linor.html ) a couple of times (about five I'd say) in the end of the nineties and a budget not so very well working two line foil. I wasn't very thrilled by the Peel flight properties. Compared to my HQ Jam Session and HQ Maerstrale (which were the kites I flew at this time) it felt like a slow sleeping mattress with two brakes in the TE (OK I'm terribly unfair here, after all this Peter Lynn foil was a power kite, not a trick kite and my (foil) time at the lines was much limited). Nonetheless, I used it for it intended purpose (traction) at least two times. I did one (two?) practice sessions on skies on the Gärdet (full name: Ladugårdsgärdet) field in Stockholm. I then tended to end downwind to my initial starting point, but "cheated" and took the bus (line 69 - a bus line with a quite large share of tourists) back home again. With this much limited experience I went on a weekend chartered bus trip to Sälen (in the Swedish mountain range fjällen). There I proceeded beyond the end of the ski lift towards the top to try the traction foil out again. The wind was OK and the forward speed was low/moderate, which was good because of the many very low trees (spruce or birch tree - I can't remember - this was 1999 after all). After a while I got unexpected company, the snow mobile ridden rescue team showed up and asked if everything was OK (which it was). Perhaps they had mistaken the traction foil for a crashing paraglider?? I'd say that this top tour was the end(?) and height of any traction adventures. Non the less this kite might still be the most important one of them all - It was during this weekend that I saw my wife for the first time. Ohh, did I just get slightly off today's topic?
So how was the Smithi Pro compared to the framed (Rev) quads? Nope, it is not the same thing - it is, big surprise, a (quad) foil. Maintaining hovers demands more active input (like DLK slides???), the kite (in my rookie foil hands) tended to choose either to fly forwards or backwards. Yes backward flight is possible, to my understanding a kind of hallmark of the Smithi Pro. The air ram intakes are so that the backwards flight is possible. However anything but the slowest of side slides would fold a wing tip. The trickiest one was to fly side slide upwards - this always folded it. The above sounds too negative since I judge this foil seen through the glasses of framed Revkites. The above being said, it is a very maneuverable kite on its own:
In the sales text it said that the Smithi Pro wouldn't pull so hard and that one should use light lines to enhance the low wind performance of the kite. According to Christoph Fokken (the designer), the Smithi Pro got better low wind performance than the larger Smithi due to the materials used in the kite. Well today wasn't the day to calmly explore the low wind properties.
When I got the recommendation to go for the smaller Smithi Pro due to the low wind capabilities of the kite to better fit the low wind in my area, I felt a sting of disappointment fearing that I hardly would feel the pull. There was no need to worry - I got a pleasant and forceful pull without any worries that I'd snap any frames or change delicate properties by permanently stretching the sail or just having a general feeling that I just shouldn't. I did not want any more pull though, since I only got 40kg lines out today. Now I need to wait for the regular power kiters to show up here on some future session, so that I can do some kite control showing off (I hope).
There is one test I'd like to do with this kite and that is to add (tape) something flexible to the wing tips to postpone the collapse when attempting side sliding. For this test I'd use the plastic foil construction tape since it leaves no residues. Whatever flexible beam used of whatever width, should be flexible enough not to crack and while possibly even so soft that it can follow the shape of the foil. Another approach could be to add a 1.5mm (?) carbon rod along the LE and the wing tip?
Unboxing/inspection of the Smithi Pro in progress.
Mars 2018, ITW Kymera 25m lines
One, lately a bit rare , pre-work session on a piece wise slippery field. This morning offered a sun dog scenery along with a faint halo.
My current DLK main focus is to get the flic flac going/start/getting a tiny bit reliable. Considering that the FAs are not 100% it is actually more than one thing that is being practiced in parallel. Sometimes even one rung of a JL just happens to come out of it (typically if the light pop when flared was uneven and you happen to end up in a turtle). It is kind of a continuation of last springs "tricking en masse" (~keep the kite unstable and let it tumble around without the lines getting tangled) project, but perhaps/hopefully some more intent shows though.
This focus (and also the, to date, three quarter of year of QLKing) means that other tricks get less attention, so I guess that (if the above would get successful), the next project could be to make earlier tricks (now more neglected) to co-exist - all available simultaneously.
First image: Notice the sun dog and a faint halo around the sun.
Second and third image: I like the mood of the greenish toned winter. In addition the green themed Kymera goes well along with it. However I can't say if the reddish or the blueish image from the same session is the truest one.
Beginner flic flac problems:
Feet stopping when they should be running downwind typically during the flare after the first fade.
Sometimes the kite just gets towed instead of exiting the fade (to flare) - it is getting rarer now though.
Sometimes the short tug that ends the flare is un-even and "un-planned tumbling" is initiated.
Not really knowing the details to look for or feel that should trigger the movements when doing the trick (but I just recollected the hint about looking for the spine in http://kitelife.com/forum/topic/8554-zephyr/?do=findComment&comment=69059 , so that is something to try).
Sad news: my Infinity starts to get worn.
Good thing: In the often light winter winds the green (for some reason I currently seem to fancy green) ITW Kymera is a good option for the flic-flac training. Even though the Infinity was the kite that first allowed me to do a few flic-flacs, the Kymera allows me to get the same training in somewhat lighter winds.
These finger straps are OK once when they are on, but it is tricky with gloved hands to get fingers in since the straps have a tendency to go flat. The now not so cold weather allows the easiest approach to get the finger straps on and off - just take the gloves on/off when before/after the walk of shame/contemplation.
Sat Feb 17 18:00:00 CET 2018
Golf course, forecasted 1m/s, in reality possibly no wind
Vapor on 15m 20kg lines
One February afternoon my wife turned hopeful - there was a thin layer of snow - perhaps it would be possible to do some cross country skiing again. Towards the end of the day me and my wife left for the wintry golf course. I wasn't so sure, so I left the skies at home and "only" brought my Prism Vapor. We went by two cars because my wife feared that I for some reason could get stuck while doing kiting (toootally unfair...). When arriving at the parking there were unusually few other cars there - I guess that few had made the same optimistic assumption about the possibility for skiing. She is very enthusiastic about this type of skiing and her whole being kind of shines up during and after skiing. It turned out that the snow layer was just sufficient and I would have gotten more time for the kiting if I would have put the Vapor in a back pack and had gone to the (largest) field by skies - instead I walked, carefully avoiding going near or on the tracks not to annoy the skiers.
I have not gotten to know the Vapor properly yet (which is another way of saying that it has been somewhat neglected), so I really handle it with silk gloves. I realized that I should have rehearsed the assembly instructions before the session (especially about the trick line), but I had to hurry up anyhow since it was towards the end of the day. When doing the 360ies I could hardly feel any differences in how much backwards you needed to move for any part of the circle, so this was very close to a no wind situation.
Finding the way home - the traditional way.
I realize that this blog entry is not so much a report about the kiting, but more in what context the kiting session took place. Most memorable for me is the mood of the nature and session. And frankly it wasn't very much of a session. I felt that I needed to work quite hard for the 360ies. The up and overs had a similar problem. For them it seemed like 15m lines were too long. When pulling downwards when the kite is on its way to the top the hands get too close to the ground. Next time I really should try shorter lines.
When the few enthusiastic skiers circulating the field were almost all gone I realized that it really was time to head for home. I guess that this was a situation that I could have gotten acquainted with the map-app of my not yet familiar phone, but I instead opted for moving before it got dark. My wife had already left (she accepts my kiting but is not an enthusiast herself) for her car, while I had continued with the kiting. I was a little concerned because it was getting dark and she is the one that knows the area best. I was quite glad that I had my footprints to follow - the ski tracks went in "all directions" so they were not much of a help. I watched the footprints carefully and didn't let go of them more or less until I saw the silhouette of the car.
So I came to a rude awakening yesterday.. Despite my best attempts, it's really hard to get all my framed quads in an easy configuration for travel.. Part of this is because I don't know how to leave ANYTHING behind.. Given that I've made a bunch of kites since my last outing to OBX, I decided to make a dig bag. I came up with a 11"x11"x44" pumpkin of a bag after visiting Joann's Fabrics this morning.. I picked up some Orange duck cloth and zippers that all combined with a tiedown strp I had handy to form this bag.. Definitely a first effort but also a usable item.,,Lots of space for Revs, Freileins and home mades. So far, it has my home made rolloup bag, My Freilein Dig bag with all the Revs and both the Freilein and Spectrum stacks inside with room to spare.. Pretty sure it will hold ALL of my framed quads without breaking a sweat..
Diamonds in the dark
Decided I wanted to take my seaming technique to a feasible limit. Using the same materials as the Midnight Royal and Yonder, I went with a diamond pattern and worked it through nearly the entire sail yielding over 450 panels. Encouraged by the mock up, I pressed forward. Once the sides were nearly done I realized how much actual area I had lost with the 1/4' overlap.. i decided to wedge some poly at the top to give it a bit of a retro look. Ready to join the center and make this a flyable sail at this point.. More to come soon.
I've decided to take all of the perspective kites (Except for The Jester) and finish the individual panels.. I'll mix and match those to make 5 or six kites (maybe even 7) and fly as a stack for a bit..
By finishing them all at once I can ensure they are identically sized and with same aspect ratios. So the panels will progress but no finished kites until I'm ready to finish them all. This was the strategy for the Spectrum Stack and it worked well for me.. Otherwise I tend to have slightly different sizes and aspect ratios. Keep in mind I don't use a pattern and these kites don't have a fixed size except for LE length.. While this makes for great kites to explore flying characteristics, it's not a good thing for stacking those same sails.. More to follow on perspective soon.. Have to wait for some more materials to get here.
Wed Jan 10 11:03:35 CET 2018
A tennis court in a sports hotel in Schladming in the Austrian Alps
Prism 4D on about 3m (10 ft set, but with adjustable length) 20kg lines
(The 4D was the only kite that fitted into the suitcase - brought it just in case...)
This reminds me of a Swedish proverb: "Som en åsna mellan två hötappar" - like a donkey between two hay feeding stations. This means here that there is a problem of choosing a preferred activity. The surface of this tennis court was a bit odd. The first time I played tennis during the trip I didn't realize that that the smooth surface was made up of green rubber gravel. Those handles were not as quick to adjust as I had hoped for unfortunately. Perhaps one should add a little knob on the handles to wind the line around to make the process evening the length simpler?
Line tension, line tension and line tension or should I rather say that technique, technique and reliability training was the theme of the week. On vacation in the alps the key occupation has been skiing of course, but the circumstances provided opportunities to do tennis and kiting as well. The reason for the opportunity for the tennis and kiting? Waiting for a teenager daughter not really appreciating any morning I had a chance to use the always free tennis courts of the hotel.
Before starting with the kiting session I'd like to point out one similarity between all three sport activities and that is the constant aim of improvement in technique and reliability. Furthermore I'd say that kiting (which is the activity I spend most time doing) has introduced/evolved an ability (I hope) to find the most important thing learnt from a session and then to take a short note of that. If you have this goal of not wasting lessons learned, it comes natural to think through the previous session(s) and have an idea of what to think of and what to practice the next time. I believe one reason for starting out with the notes and written preparations is that on the field there are no other persons to learn from. Well, when learning from videos, as others have already pointed out, it can be difficult to remember it once you are out on the field. Then resorting to watching videos is not what you would like to spend time on there - field time is precious.
My belief is that you teach yourself mainly (with the possible exception of introductions etc.), and only occasionally you get some nugget of spot-on info from others. Another reason is limited session time. If you never made any notes, never read them through/thought them through and never did any (tennis) swing rehearsal the evening before the weekly 1h session, much of the session might have passed before you get to practice the current issues and think the thoughts you had the last time.
Preparation and indoor location
Well for this session I didn't have much prepared since I've never flown indoors before, but have only done some low wind sessions with a minimal line length of 6m (20ft). Almost always when I play tennis (indoors) it is before work and I'm in a rush leaving no time to ask for permission to use a free tennis court for kiting. I only had two things to practice that I had decided before - the 360deg (the kite goes around you) and the up and overs (you guessed it, the kite goes up and over you).
I didn't really know what line length to use other than that that they should be shorter than 6m (20ft) "since it was indoors". I was also encouraged here to go short by the "Kaiju" line length of 2.13m (7ft), but at the same time being a bit conservative by making it slightly longer. When measuring the lines after the session I had ended up on 3m (well 2.98m + handle length).
The handles were quickly made (while packing for the trip) by cutting a paint stirrer stick and making a few strokes with the file. The evening before the session I started out with the 6m lines and tried to make the length extending from the winder equal by winding in the same way - didn't work, needed to wind taking some short turns (normal to the original wind direction) as well, to make the line length somewhat even. Since it took some time to get the an equal line length, I never came to change the line length during the session. Finished up with the rubber bands to hold the line to the handle. I had planned to make a slidable cover using a wide heat shrink tube. The idea was booth to keep the lines in place and make a small well defined exit for the lines from the handle. Turned out that the widest dimension of heat shrink tube I had was just a fraction too small. If you would try to use heat shrink tubing anywhere near Dyneema/spectra/polyethene/polyethylene lines (which also can include bridle lines!) you should be aware that they start to melt at about 130deg and one common temperature for shrinking of heat shrink tubes is about 125degC. From experience I know that it is a bad idea to add wear resistance to the bridle line on a Rev around the (original) bridle line where it goes over the LE nock by shrinking a heat shrink tube around it - the core of the bridle line melted. It worked however for another bridle line of other material (the core fibres were black and never melted - carbon?).
Asking if it was OK to use the tennis courts at the hotel for kiting always ended in the same way. I had to explain that indoor kiting was possible and showing the packed/folded kite. No one however, could say if it was a good or bad idea, just "go and ask that other person (hotel employee)" - so I didn't in the end.
Using the initial setting with the nose neutral or slightly backwards, the kite didn't even take off. Changed to almost maximum nose toward pilot setting which made the take off possible.
Nose towards pilot - required for take off.
To this point when doing (and/or attempting) 360deg outdoors on 6m or 15m lines I've found that when doing the backwards running around in circles, running in a direction that makes the kite to fly into tensioned lines, i.e. in the leading side of the temporary wind window, works. This time I instead tried the suggested method here (KL) of extending the arms while rotating and then combine it with only a little jogging/walking in circles. Yes, this was calmer, but I don't know if this was from the line length or if it was from the arms extended way of doing it. The most common way to fail? - failing to maintain line tension. More practice required.
The first parts of the up and overs went fine, but ending it was another matter. Following the advice to pull downwards when the kite was above was almost intuitive and most often went well. The problem was to turn to the side when finishing the up and over. The turn lagged so much so that the kite hit the floor most of the times. I pulled more aggressively in the ending turn but really never got any control here. I'm sure that this aggressive pull is the wrong way of doing it, should try it more times with a moderate pull. What would happen if one instead would have attempted to land on the wing tips? Perhaps it is the heavy nose forward setting that is contributing to the slow turn?
The floor surface consisted of a quite densely packed rubber gravel in a thin layer, a type that I've never seen before, yet somewhat surprisingly, slightly more slippery than "my" normal indoor tennis court. The short lines could just be used to roll the kite up (lying on its back) from the ground to relaunch position, without slipping on the tips of the standoffs. This was possible if the kite was given (pitch) rotational speed when getting to the launch position. To get it into launch position more easily, perhaps some high friction layer could be added on the wing tips and where the stand offs goes through the sail?
The rubber bands on the adjustable lengths handles had an unexpected use. They had a good enough grip onto the floor so that they the kite could be placed on its wingtips ready in launch position. Very good since none of the methods of starts where the kite was tossed worked out for me. Had more luck when starting the kite from ground in a flared position. I then got it in a 2-point start position in a kind of quick rotation direct from the initial pull on one line.
Nope the kite is not leaning against the net here. Instead it is hanging on the handles whose rubber bands had enough friction to balance the kite.
How much physical exercise was an indoor kiting session compared to tennis? Well that depends on what you attempt to do and how, but both activities makes you thirsty.
Thoughts and preparations for the next time
Maintaining line tension is the thing, also try to see when the tension can be reduced, perhaps that can help making that ending turn of the up and overs better?
Continue to work on pancake landings pop-up launches. In particular the pancake to (2-point) launch position.
Study videos of throw launches. Is some weight somewhere along the spine required here?
Try other line lengths than 3m.
The area and the trip and more skiing
Being a ski resort in the Alps, Schladming offers beautiful views of the mountains obviously. By the end of the week we still hadn't tried all the available ski slopes. The scale of it was impressive. E.g. they had arranged with dams looking like mini lakes in the mountains to supply the water to the everywhere present snow guns.
This has been the place for Word Ski championship in (as can be seen in the huge yellow sign) 2013.
Schladming town from above
Ski "high way" to the next slope.
A ski lift and a view over Schladming.
Those mean looking ski stands were moving on floor rails as well.
I appreciate the culinary differences. The portions were typically large and hunger a distant idea. Odd stuff: pancake soup, omnipresent gulash soup, a fondness of horse radish (spicy), germknödel (fat warm steamed bun with plum jam, a bit sweet mix between a lunch and a desert) and (less appreciated) alcohol being served in restaurants in the ski slopes. I mean I don't mind any category of alcohol containing drinks in general, but mixing downhill skiing and jagertee/beer is not really a good idea.
One day we took the train to Salzburg ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salzburg ) for a four hour visit in the old town mainly (really short yes). I remarked to my family, that this time we were like a flock of hurried tourists at home in the old town of Stockholm. Mozart balls (chocolate, pistachio marzipan and nougat) were being sold "everywhere".
A fountain in the Mirabell garden.
The Mozart residence.
The Swedish nature might be less extreme than the Alps (at least in terms of the mountain areas) but it still offers beauty. The below images is from a cross country ski trip on the local golf course one week after coming home. Daytime during summer those those fields are a no-go area due to the many golfers. But I have also ruled them out as kiting fields because they are not very large, probably giving too turbulent winds. Perhaps these fields would be good for low wind (less turbulent?) session during off golf season?
Tracks from humans (on skiis), a hare and a dog(?).
Layers of mist.
A shortcut between two more "official" tracks.
Though a bit destructive, as a kiter I can't help thinking of how it would be to fly a low/zero wind kite through those mist layers.
Since the new year, I've turned my attention to materials other than tails.. Nothing wrong with the tails constructions but I wanted a new perspective.. and that perspective was perspective..
Angled shapes started out as a lazy harlequin pattern in complimentary colors. Because of the pattern it became the Jester. This was my first run at edge joining materials that were not already hemmed.
The Jester followed by a vanishing point perspective in dissimilar materials.
Because of keeping the grain of the fabric somewhat aligned for Midnight Royal Taboo, those strips fit together in a B2 sized kite I call Yonder. (Those that participated in my Christmas riddle got the reference right away)
Finally I went back to the Jester color scheme and created a new kite experiment with 2 perspective.. I suppose this was also inspired the cubic look of some of the @Polo design. The sail shape tens to lend itself to the dual perspective images in a somewhat natural progression. . Going with the Jest from Jester and the obvious checkerboard effect, Jest Checking In is laid out and ready for sewing.
Enjoying the way it truly bends the eyes, I decide to move the vanishing point to the bottom and the center instead of the top.
While I have to finish one kite before I lay out another, I did use the small endpieces you see in the Jest Checking In picture to mock up a 70 panel version. Nothing precision here, just wanted to see if the pattern will stay consistent.
It was pointed out tp me the points of the pattern don't line up perfectly. and I will acknowledge that fact. My goal here isn't perfection but effect. It has to look right at the end of the lines.. the overlap for the long angular strips (in all three kites since the Jester) is 1/4" those angle just don't line up when you slice and overlap them in a different direction.. but at 100ft the effect is still there so I'm happy with it..
I have a bit more of the orange and blue so a large triple perspective will probably be next but I want to finish what's laid out before going down that route..
Mon Dec 25 13:00:00 CET 2017
GB, Forecasted 4m/s (gusts 8m/s)
Cross Kites Speedwing X1
25m 38kg lines
Looks small (113cm span), but is capable of surprising you (much like the Monty Python monster rabbit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCI18qAoKq4 ?). Looks wrinkled as well? Don't worry - once in the air everything gets smooth.
Conditions/background: Quite OK wind, but I still wouldn't hesitate to trick trickable kites. Rain on frozen ground... My flick flack exercising earlier during the day felt a bit stalled, so switching to something completely new felt like a fresh breeze.
Much is speedy about this kite:
Assembly is just one spreader. No standoffs. No battens. No bridle/standoff tangle.
Nose back/forward bridle adjustment is only one knotted line/larks head.
Speed (obviously) forward and angular speed (though not necessarily very tight/small radius).
So, except for the above, what is this kite anyhow? - A no spine speed kite with a deep (strange looking) bridle! Bought it mostly to see and learn how it was made.
First launch, nose angle was medium setting - no problems to launch. No problems to control - until getting close to the edge of the wind window. Kite just tumbled out of control to the ground. No standoffs - didn't even try to avoid the walk of contemplation therefore. I guess there could be two reasons for the difficulties here. If you have no spine, you don't have this flatter area around the spine to fly on when the flow around the wing tip fails to function at the edge of the wind window (think of the varying angles of attack along the span of an ordinary DLK). For the Speedwing the whole wing seems to fail at once it appears. Add to this that you are likely to have some momentum forward (due to the high speed) when you enter the edge of the wind window, driving you a longer bit into it than when using trick kites. Also when the sail fails, there are no standoffs that holds it in place, so you can more or less pull the lines and frame, but there is little effect on the sail once it goes non-filled. As you might have guessed, stalling and tricking - no success there. Stayed away from the edges and more trick attempts and had no further problems when using the medium nose back/forward angle setting.
A larks head knot under a bridle setting knot gets you the best of two worlds. First an easy launch. Once in the air the kite starts to pull and the larks head slides out to the outmost knot. Now you are in nose back "speed kite mode".
It felt "fresh", speedy and a pull that "shouldn't" be in such as small kite, but I wanted more, so I adjusted the nose back. The following start then failed - just tumbling around with no forward drive. Then (I'm proud to say) I got an idea. Why not adjust the nose forward to the medium setting, but instead put the larks head just under the mid one of the overhand knots in the nose. During the launch the nose was enough forward to give a simple launch, but in the air when the kite started to pull, the larks head slided down to the outmost knot giving the kite a nose back speed kite like angle - and this just worked out of the box (I'm sure such a simple and efficient fix must be a standard launching method?)!
The turns got tighter after the adjustment, but don't make them to tight to preserve full pull/speed. In gusts the lines begun to sing (even in the centre of the wind window) and the sail gave a swosh like sound (much like when powering up a Rev QLK without having a flapping trailing edge). Normally for DLK trick kites I get the singing when "parking" them at the edge of the wind window (for the Speedwing I just avoided the edge because the kite had just fallen out of the air there previously).
The kite was quite easy to control, not at all like my few and very short attempts with the Atrax. Even some limited (and quick) figure flying was possible: straight lines, 180 deg turns, squares, circles, figure eights. After a while I begun to think how to land it. Stalling didn't seem to be easy, so I flung my arms forward to kill the forward drive. It worked well, say 5m from the ground it kind of entered a mode resembling the tumbling start when the nose had been adjusted in this nose most backwards position. To recover from the tumbling it was sufficient to pull one line rather much for a moment. I guess the angle of the kite to the wind changed so it got some at least sideways drive. How the nose of the kite caught up with the direction the kite was going in I didn't get even at the time. Returning to the landing attempts, I just flung the arms forward once again but without making any tumbling recovery attempt. The kite then tumbled to the ground.
The disassembly was even quicker. When the kite had tumbled down to land, the only spreader had already slid out of the fitting on one side.
Much wind a problem? - No I look forward to more of it! The kite is small so it could be in the bag as some kind of high wind insurance, though I should have some slightly longer and stronger lines as well for the really windy days. And who knows, getting enough experience with the Speedwing, I might later even learn the Spiderkites Atrax. I was quite happy with the session - 20 much interesting minutes where much was not familiar.
I was inspired by the information shared in recent posts regarding the existence of something called a "Nail Board" to help tie accurate "Knot Systems" such as bridles, leader lines for handles and potentially other applications. I decided that what I am about to share is too lengthy for a forum post so I have posted this as a blog instead. I hope you find it useful. SF
Nail Board Instructions for Knot Tying
A Nail Board consists of a “flat board” with physical markers defining the spacing between knots tied in a line for a specific purpose. “Bridles” and “Leader Lines for Handles” are good examples but there may be other line applications that a Nail Board can be used for.
A Nail Board serves two purposes that provide an advantage to using a tape measure or rule for tying lines with knots that require precise and symmetric spacing:
1. The location of each knot can be consistently and accurately marked.
2. The line material can be pulled under light tension when making the marks using the physical markers. This allows the spacing of the knots to remain proportional when stretched during wind-loaded flying conditions.
What a Nail Board does not do for you:
You can’t tie single or multiple loops from the dimensions on the board; the dimensions on the board are “final” dimensions of the “knot system” you are tying. Prior to tying looped knots you must determine the length of line that is required to tie the loops, or other knots, to fit the final dimensions of the physical markers on the Nail Board.
Knot Tying vs Knot Marking.
The process of tying the knots is separate from the marking of their location. Each type of line material has a specific diameter and each knot and type of knot takes a specific length of line to tie. This must be determined beforehand.
The actual line required to tie a knot system is defined as:
Line spacing defined between the knots + “length to tie” for all knots in the system.
Calculating the length of your line to tie a loop knot (“Length to Tie”):
Mark a 12” length of the line with which you will be tying a knot. Call this “D1”
Note: in the picture I used blue tape as a mark only for the purpose of illustration. I use a white “cloth marking pencil” to make my marks which does not show up well in a photograph. Tape is not a good material to use for marks since it can slip on the line while tying.
Tie the specific knot that you will be tying. I have used an overhand knot for this example to form a loop. The marks that you previously made should be behind the knot by ~1”. The marks should match each other below the knot.
Make sure that the knot is “Well Formed”. All lays are parallel with each other as the knot is formed; no crossing between the lays.
Pull the knot taught with force after tying; I use my forceps in the top of the loop and pull very hard on the opposite end.
Now measure the distance from your marks to the top of the loop. Call it “D2”
Length to Tie = D1 – 2 x D2 . this will be the “Length to Tie” for this line and this loop knot.
The length to tie a loop per knot for my material is 1 1/8” believe it or knot (100# bridle line)
Here is an example:
In this example there are two loops. The total length of the knot system is 3” (2 ¼” + ¾”). The length of line required without knot consideration is 6”. There are two knots in this loop system, one at the bottom and one towards the top, which will take 1 1/8” each for my line material.
The total length of line to tie both knots in this system is 6” + 1 1/8” + 1 1/8” = 8 1/4”.
For a single knot (not a loop) in a line the “Length to Tie” is simply:
Length to Tie = D1 –D2 after you have performed the same experiment with a single knot in one line.
How to use the “Length to Tie”
The “Length to Tie” must be added to the line dimensions when you are tying your knots. After they are tied, they should fit back on the Nail Board and be under slight tension.
Following these procedures and using a Nail Board should result in very accurate knot placement for your projects. When tying more than one identical knot systems, they will end up being perfectly symmetric.
Materials and tools required to make "my" board are:
#18 x 3/4” wire brads.
36” x 5 ½ x 3/4” Pine Board (premium grade, flat, actual measured dimensions shown)
Drill press with depth stop capability (not required but adds precision and protects the drill bit).
3/64” drill bit (available for Dremel tools or other sources)
Long Straight edge rule 4 ft (for drawing straight lines on the wood)
Tape measure for measurements of marker placements.
Sat Sep 30 16:38:39 CEST 2017
GF, forecasted 3-4m/s
Fazer XL and XXL stacked on 35m 180kg lines
Two 23m (75 ft) prism tube tails
To carry stuff
After the soon 3 months on QLKing I decided to end that test/project and return to DLKs (and "at the same time" continue with QLKs). During the QLK time I got kind of "transportation spoiled". I only had two kites to carry around: B-series 1.5 std and full vent. The full vent venting holes are patched with removable thin sheets of cellophane attached with (centimeter wide strips of) tape.* Included in the package was two, three and four wrap spars, so these two kites could handle (well could be used by me to practice at least) all the wind conditions that I met during this period. The two quite small QLK kite sleeves were tied together using the strings already on the sleeves (the strings normally used to close the bags i.e.) and hung comfortably over the shoulder and backpack during transport - it wasn't even necessary with a kite bag. Today however the ski bag was the available option to carry the Fazers, the tails and the QLKs and a few line sets. Suddenly a 5.5 kg (12 lb) ski bag was hanging on the shoulder again.
* The second iteration of cellophane/tape patching would be to make the tape strips towards the LE somewhat wider. The reason for this is that sometimes I need to press it at the start of the session and possibly one more time to make it stick well. Hopefully the wider tape closer to the LE would improve things. The tape used here is intended for large sheets of polyethene/polyethylene used here because the glue has never left any residues for me.
Preparation, making and repair
This the first time I pilot a stack or see any stacks of more lines than one. Some info on how I made it can be found in in http://kitelife.com/forum/gallery/image/6234-stack-work-in-progress/ :
The stack was made earlier during the summer. The kites themselves have also been resting for more than half a year. Part of the reason has been broken stand offs that had snapped/cracked. The reason why only the Fazer stand offs are the only ones that snap for me is due to the often long line lengths making it difficult to see if a line is wrapped around a wing. You also typically pull harder when starting, meaning that if the line happen to be around the wing the stand off is more likely to break.
This Fazer XL stand off was damaged during a start resulting in delamination and snapping fibre (bundles).
Could tape keep the fibre bundles together and work as a mold during the repair?
Nope, the tape mold approach didn't work out well. The resulting surface was very rough - best seen in the shadow edge. And, I really dislike sanding down glass fibre - itchy, itchy, itchy!
The Fazer XXL's stand off was instead repaired using heat shrink tubing. Here the heat shrink tube and epoxy repair had to be split into a two step process, because the cracks were long and the tubing could not be slid over the ends of the standoff. Look closely and you can see that the first step is already finished.
No sanding required when heat shrink tubing was used. The pin was not absolutely straight afterwards. Using some kind of a alignment jig would likely have produced a straighter result. To the right you can see the hot air gun used to shrink the tube.
The dog in the background might look cute, but is really internally about to explode:
"The BALL, the BALL - STUPID!!! Can't you see the BALL stuuupiiid??!!".
She might not be of much use when it comes to get work done in outdoors (making you feel bad for not playing with her constantly), but at least fanatically returns any tennis ball shot if you work on your serves in the garden. When playing with (stealing from) the German shepherd she wins by outmaneuvering, even though the German shepherd runs faster when running in straight line on a field. A very never ending playful dog!
I decided to try to repair the stand off rods themselves instead of making new ones. I believe that there are several benefits in getting better with epoxy and fibre repairs (or other plastic fibre composites?): if spares/spars break at the wrong time and you don't have spares you have a way out, the feeling "I did this" instead of buying, if your kite ever would require no longer available rods, doing composite repairs could offer a way out. I also consider (/an idea could be) to increase the strength in LE of DLKs just to make it more robust when tip stabbing etc. or if I ever would come to the kite surgery of making a frame lighter. Spars are often uniform throught out the length, while the loads are not. You can have an extra high load in LE connectors or just below the LLE/LS-connector e.g. When it comes to keeping the fibres (somewhat) together, squeezing out excess epoxy, speeding up the curing of the epoxi and minimizing the after work, heat shrink tubing rules and tape "sucks" (to my somewhat limited experience). A requirement is that there is enough room so that you can slide the heat shrink tubing on and it shrinks enough. Tape however is good for masking - covering places where you don't want any epoxy.
A common type of heat shrink tubing shrinks to half of its original size (1:2). You can however get hold of (in shops like (Farnell, RS components, ELFA, etc...) sorts that does 1:4 and 1:6 shrinkage at various temperatures.
Out on the field
The wind was a bit on the lower side for the somewhat heavy Fazers. I had to work a bit to keep them in the air. After briefly testing the XXL just to verify that I remembered the DLK (Fazer) control well enough (after the DLK pause) I assembled and connected the XL to the XXL. The result was surprising - it just worked out of the box! I didn't feel that it was necessary to do any tweaking. On the other hand one of the to sources of how to do the stack lines was KL so the bridle should be just fine.
In the stack the XXL nose was tilted backwards about a centimeter relative to the XL. The stack line connectors on the Fazer XL were prepared for further adjustments, but it didn't seem necessary.
The XL had a slight tendency to wobble a bit during most starts, but was quite well behaved otherwise - unless you are "asking for it". Perhaps not so strange oversteer has always been a "hallmark" of the (my?) XL. It is not such a bad thing once I learned to handle it. During windier days I'd say the XL got the temperament of a leaping calf that suddenly can grab you and make you end up three steps downwind. Only one time during this session I was a bit surprised when the stack fell out of the sky after a snap stall.
Unless provoked, the kites flew synced, albeit the XL got some oversteer.
The main goal of the day was to get the stack working and if it did, try it with the tails. In the a bit low wind and new circumstances I limited the flying to figure flying (how much more than that can you do with a stack b.t.w.?). Only a few times I had the privilege of being dragged by the stack. The most trick like I accomplished was a cart wheel, which demanded a bit more persuasion than usual to work with the stack of different sized kites. Side slides were also possible. Well another thing, but I don't know if you can call it trick-like, was when running quickly backwards to stabilize the stack in the low wind during a start, which caused me to fall backwards like some fall in a Laurel and Hardy movie:
Even though I somersaulted backwards on the ground over one of the shoulders it didn't hurt. I guess the pull from the kite limited the speed of the fall.
Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the stack in flight. The tails were attached to the bridle of the XXL where the LS meet the LE. Visually it would have given the same effect if the tails were attached to the wingtips of the XL. The perspective I had of the kite almost made it look like one kite except if the XL was oversteering/wobbling. Otherwise the size of the stack, long lines, double tails and slow flight gave it kind of dignified look. The effect of the double tail when doing tight loops was however a bit of a disappointment (slow turns of forward travel looked great though). The inner wing tip and tail hardly moved. Moving the tails inwards to somewhere closer to the stand offs could be one way to make the tight loops look better. Another way to make the loops look better could be to attach one tail to each spine (should at least be interesting to see from the side). Perhaps tight loops with the current position also looks better from the side, but piloting the kite meant that I hadn't that view.
The position of the tails can be adjusted to make the tight loops look better. Forward flight looked good (as seen from the pilots view).
The Fazers are quite robust (heavy). One project I consider (i.e. I like the idea but it is not very likely to be implemented) is to make an extra set lower spreaders to use in lighter winds. The diameter of the current ones are 10 mm for the XL and 12 mm for the XXL. Preferably, if it would be good if it would be possible to get hold of thin walled tubes of the same or larger diameter so that the stiffness of the tubes didn't go down too much. What I really would like to do when I "grow up" as a kiter (if you can ever do that with kites) is learn how to handle my sewing machine well and for some reason get an enormous amount of spare time. Then I'd do a kite based on a truss construction ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truss , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forth_Bridge ) instead of single spars. A starter project could be weight reduced spreaders for the Fazers. The weight of the Fazer XL spreaders, 1 TS +2 LS, (according to a very old scale) are 190g for the Fazer XL (680g for the whole kite incl. the stack bridle connectors, total weight according to the Fazer XL datasheet is 615g) and the spreaders of the Fazer XXL are 410g (1305g or 46oz for the whole kite including stack lines and end caps, literally "~xxx g" in the Fazer XXL datasheet). A truss shaped spreader could have a smaller cross section area, while the larger total diameter prevents them from flexing out sideways during compressive load. The, still dreaming, project after that would be the all truss and all mylar sail kites. On the other hand (still sticking to large kites) acquiring another large kite (like Topas 3.0 or Hot Stripe XL?) could get the diameter of the spars down and hopefully the kite up more easily in low winds. No I haven't done much research here - sometimes you just want a kite.
No I don't think that I'll fly this stack very often. I miss the tricking possibilities to much. My plan is to get somewhat more acquainted with the control and also to see how much wind I can handle. For next years kite festival the stack is a possible contribution, provided I can find a good place with good winds a bit from the centre of the festival and with not to many people around. Although there have been no good multi line kites during at the festival the two last years (which equals to the times I have been there) I like to increase the competitiveness (yes there are a few prices) by always offering something new and most likely put a tail on it. Does this approach have a light scent of crowd-pleasing? During the last festival I handled it in the following way: Before the price ceremony I flew dual DLKs with tails and after the ceremony I did DLK (one kite) tricking to also demonstrate that aspect of kiting as well. If there would be room for the Fazer stack at the next festival I'd say that the odds look good - the bystander interaction today consisted of three chats, while the usual number could be a chat perhaps every third time.
When walking of the field after the 4h stacked session it instead felt like after long day of outdoor (garden/house) work. It was early to bed that night. A slight muscle soreness remained for a few days after as a receipt of that kiting can offer good physical exercise.