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  • Exult

    Learning from flying in unfamiliar or non-ideal situations

    By Exult

    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.    Conclusions
    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".
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  • SHBKF

    Support your LKS

    By SHBKF

    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. SHBKF
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Crazy Quilt.

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..

riffclown

riffclown

The Hive is Complete

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.

riffclown

riffclown

 

The Pattern Emerges

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.    

riffclown

riffclown

 

D Leading Edge

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.

riffclown

riffclown

 

Diamonds and Updates

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..  

riffclown

riffclown

 

A First Impression of the One Eleven and Smithi Pro - The Day of the Long Lines

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.

Exult

Exult

 

Different moods of winter - Wide wind window tricking in light winter winds

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.

Exult

Exult

 

Vapor in the dusk

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.

Exult

Exult

 

Digging in the bag

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.. 

riffclown

riffclown

 

Diamonds in the dark

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.

riffclown

riffclown

 

Changing Perspective

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.  

riffclown

riffclown