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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 ( ) in the island of 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 ( ) 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 ( ) in the tricks page ( ). 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 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, ). 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".
    • 1 comment

    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
    • 1 comment

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  1. Dussehra is the festival celebrated to rejoice the victory of good over evil. Legend has it that the Prince of Ayodhya Lord Rama killed the King of Lanka Ravana on this eve several centuries ago. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Mysore where the festival becomes a ten-day long celebration, in comparison to the other parts of the country where it is celebrated only for a single day. The celebrations begin on the first day of the Navratri and continue on until the day of Vijaydashmi, which is otherwise known as Dussehra in India.

    Every year, the Mysore Palace is lit up with a host of different lights, and the tradition has continued on for centuries now. Since the rule of the Vijaynagar Kings in the 15th century, many athletic competitions have been conducted to celebrate the festival, along with other indulgences like singing and dancing. A wrestling bout also takes place, and people from all over the country come to take part in it.


    The Connection of Mysore Dussehra and Kite Flying

    Another charm of the Dussehra celebrated in Mysore includes the kite flying competition which was introduced as a way to bring back the spotlight on the dying tradition. It was seen that folks in the cities were averting from flying the kites while in the rural areas it was still quite popular. As a result, the festival was integrated with the competition by arranging a challenging friendly match to see who makes the best kites and flies them.


    This was organized by the tourism board of Mysore. Fly360, being a pioneer in designer kites and kite flying, played its role as consultant and helped the tourism board in conducting and managing the kite festival end to end.


    What’s Unique about the Kites in Mysore Dussehra


    The thing that sets the kites flown here apart is that they are all lit up with small LED lights and are flown at night. Every year, on the occasion, people gather and participate in the flying of kites of all sizes, shapes, and colors, in the hopes to win the grand prize which is set aside for the champion. Even though the activity was added quite late to the celebrations of the festival, it has gained popularity, bringing in national and international tourists alike.


    The festivities for the celebrations of Dussehra in Mysore started about half a millenia ago when the Vijaynagar Kings ruled the province. However, the celebrations were not quite like what they are today. The spirit of the festival was once purely religious and focused on the art and culture in an effort to preserve the traditions in the Hindu culture.


    Kite Flying and the Royal Connection


    The festival gained royal patronage under the rule of the Vijaynagar Kings due to their patronizing of the art, architecture, culture, music, and dance. Even after the Wadiyars of Mysore declared their independence from the state, the festival was preserved and given an additional royal treatment. The royal family also had a liking towards kite flying. This is why the tourism board received complete support from the royal family for the event.


    Schedule of the Kite Flying Event During Mysore Dussehra


    In the ten days that the festival is celebrated, the kite flying festival is focused on only during two days of the festival. The night sky is quite mesmerizing to look at with all the glowing kites streaming through the otherwise dark background. Since the younger generation has been lacking the interest in the flying of the kites, the festival is a great way to bring the sport to the frontlines.


    The children are worshipped during the days that the kites are flown and the people who are masters at flying the kites hand out tips to them so that they can learn about the ancient sport. During the two days, the kites are flown from 10 am to 5 pm during the day and then a special occasion is held for the night-time flying as well.


    The whole arrangement is made to indulge the local flyers as well as the people who come from afar. The only condition that is enforced in the competition is that each of the kites that are entered into the competition should be made by the flyers themselves and must be able to fly. The state organizes the competition and there are prizes for the winners as well.


    The first, second, and third prizes roughly come in at INR 15 thousand, INR 10 thousand, and INR 5 thousand, respectively. Consolation prizes are also handed out for those who performed well but could not secure a position.


    There are many other places in India which celebrate the festivals by organizing fun events such as kite flying. These include the celebration of the Utarayan in Ahmedabad with the International Kite Festival, the celebration of Basant Panchmi in Northern India with kite flying, Vaisakhi in Punjab, Independence Day in New Delhi, and other states like Goa and West Bengal as well.


    The Kite Connection: Fly360 and the Mysore Dussehra Kite Festival


    Ever since its conception in 1993, Fly360 has provided enthusiasts with designer kites which are handmade and handcrafted by experts. The trend for the designer kites in India was started by the company and till date, it continues to provide services and products for the various kite festivals which take place in the country.


    Fly360 played a pivotal role in being a consultant to the Kite flying event held during Mysore Dussehra, due to the great response from all quarters, the event is also going to be held this year during September 29th and 30th.

    The schedule for this year’s kite festival in Mysore has not yet been announced and the state tourism board promises to do so at the earliest in October. With less than a month left for the celebrations to start, the registrations for the competitions are to begin soon and the glory to the winner ensures that the people will participate in it, fueled with energy and enthusiasm.

















  2. A beautiful day and some time away from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.  It was the first kite fly of autumn.

    A Beautiful Day And Some Time Away

  3. GRay III field tested today. Overall Pretty happy with this sail.












  4. 20180329_135024.jpg
    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 ( ) 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.

  5. 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.


  6. RobB
    Latest Entry

    Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I have posted anything here. I have been consumed by work & life over the last few months, without much if any time to get the kites out. Not a huge deal, as this is the off-season for kite flying where I live (at least in my book.).

    I have had a few brief moments to get out and fly on the way home from work. Quick, half hour sessions do a stressed mind a world of good. Recently, a friend of ours in the kiting community passed away (BobbyB) and I took a little time at the end of my day to fly one of his kites and think about things. Just a picture perfect day with lab-grade winds... couldn't ask for anything more, other than having not heard of the passing of a friend earlier in the day. Anyway, here's Bobby's kite basking in the late day sun...



    Most of my free time is spent keeping the 3 kids busy, enjoying summertime activities. We recently took a day trip out to Montauk, and I brought the KAP backpack, hoping to get some shots of the cliffs & the lighthouse. Unfortunately, the wind was low & iffy, so I was lucky to get the kite alone in the air for a little while...


    The girls are at the age that they enjoy the SLKs still...


    We took turns flying the Ultrafoil 15...


    We took a long weekend trip up to Vermont a couple weeks ago. Vermont ? Sounds like a terrible place to fly a kite, right ?

    You just have to have the right kinda kite ! The Plutz3 was awesome in the lack of wind in the mountains & woods. I flew that Plutz in one weekend more than I had ever flown it. The girls also learned how to fly a glider & had a great time !





    Yes, I fly gliders with a wand. That's how I learned & don't really get how people fly them on a loose line without tripping over it & getting all knotted up...



    So, hopefully there will be a lot more flying to report next time, as Kite Season will be officially underway around here in about 10 days. Looking forward to that LBI kite festival, too, this year will be the 3rd Annual.


  7. In the mid-sixties I had a paper route in Brigham City, Utah delivering the Deseret News.  It was my first experience in how to operate a small business as we were all essentially independent contractors.  My route took about an hour & one half delivering 50 to 60 papers on my 3 speed English bike.  The newspaper company was always trying to get us to sign up new subscribers.  Incentives were given based on the number of new subscribers we recruited.  The most memorable premium I ever received was a Gayla Sky Spy kite.  While not my first it was a very good kite.  I could stand out in the street in front of the house & launch it by propping the kite up, laying out about thirty feet of line & towing it until it cleared the roof top & got into some clean air.  I considered this advanced kite technique at the time.  I was fourteen. 

    Once in the air it was easy to go to the end of a 500' spool of line.  We used the latest kite technology, Hi-Flier Megalon Super Strength kite cord made of thin light nylon.  It was much better than the old cotton string of the fifties.  You could splice on more line but after a while the kite could not lift more line & it would not go higher, just further away.  If you had out enough line you could let go of the line & the kite would still have enough tension on it to keep flying as the line slowly slipped along the ground.  It was a lot of effort to reel in a thousand feet of line using an empty Suran wrap tube.  One time we even tried to use an Erector set motor to make a power winder but long extension cords were hard to come by which was the limiting factor on that effort.  Eventually I got a Hi-Flier spin winder.

    Certain times of the year the west wind would blow for days.  I don't know why we left the kite up all night for the first time.  But once we found out it was possible we would try to go for a record number of hours.  The best we ever did was three days.  When the kite did come down unattended we would leap on our bikes & follow the string for a couple blocks to hopefully find the tough little kite laying in a yard some ways away.  Eventually there came a day when the kite was not to be found.  Then I went into a dark time of no kites, but the girls kept me distracted....   SHBKF

  8. Suddenly, it's May!   The weather has been turning colder here over the last few (eight!) weeks.   Work has been busy, and combined with the end of daylight savings time, it has definitely put a crimp on my flying!   I finally got a chance to debut my new ribbon tails last weekend, they looked great!   Unfortunately I can't show you any video, the GoPro wasn't working properly - operator error!  Then I got rained on and it dawned on me that I now had to work out a way of drying 2 x 25ft tails...

    The answer I settled on was pulling each tail through a folded towel, that seemed to work pretty well!   I managed to put my first puncture in the sail, but my kite repair kit came to the rescue and it handily patched the small hole before it had the chance to become bigger.

    I got to go out and play for about an hour the following day in about 10 - 14 km/h winds, I had a lot of fun just keeping the kite in the air and moving it around in the window.  Nothing fancy.   I need to go back and review all the slack line trick videos again before I go out next time, that wind speed seemed ripe for trying a lot of tricks.

  9. Flynhi
    Latest Entry

    Sharing the sky 🎏🍃🛫

    A video posted by Michael Green (@pipakite) on

    Riverview Park is directly under the flight path for Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, 8 miles away. 
    It is fun to share the sky with the big birds.

    Link to the 4k version of this instagram video.

  10. Phew, it has been busy these past couple weeks. Changing weather and a bad flu really cut into my flying but I've still managed to get out a bit!. I've been trying to accomplish four things while on the field:

    1) Fractured Axel practice. I'd like to get much more consistent with them which I think involves two things. First is to make sure the kit is in the middle of the axle before pulling for the fade. I can do this in the middle of the window, but I miss most attempts when trying this near the edge. I think this has something to do with the asymmetry already present in the lines when flying at the edge of the window? I have to think about it a bit more though. The other thing I need to do is Give.More.Slack. Every time I watch the footage of my sessions I can see line tension screwing up the trick. I think I err on the side of too little slack because I'm usually practicing in lower wind and don't want to have to regain ground lost when I take up slack. When there is finally enough wind to sustain a fade with the Quantum though I just don't give enough. 

    2) Virtual Freestyle practice. Less than a week left to get an entry in! I'm trying to get an entry that starts with the kite on the ground, includes at least one fractured axel and one nice slide, and ends with the kite deliberately (not crashed) on the ground within 1min 30sec. This has been hard! I'm starting to 'check in' with the ground, landing more frequently which is helping for sure. 

    3) Axels. I've been working on more deliberate control of my axels. This has involved trying them with the nose pointed every direction 'above' horizontal, and with both wings. I'm still not usually giving a snappy enough tug or enough slack for the kite to come all the way around but I've learned to bail out of them into horizontal flight and maintain/gain momentum in the process which is good for low wind flight. I've also been working a bit on 'Push Axels' -- Axels started from a 180  90 degree push turn instead of a stall.  I don't think they look quite as good but they are very fluid,and very easy to do. 

    Exult sent me this link to a great trick list that has a lot of insight in the descriptions. From that list I turned what I thought had been constant failures at Half Axels into repeatable successes with Rixels! This is the most reliable way I have right now of getting into a turtle.

    Finally, my BF bought me a new camera! He got a super deal on a new GoPro Hero 5 my anniversary, Xmas, and Birthday gift. Worth it!!!! The videos included here are all from the GoPro.

    This first one is probably  the least exciting! It was filmed at 2.7k but converted to 1080p cause Windows movie maker doesn't do higher res. It has a lot of Fractured Axel attempts, and some Virtual Freestyle practice. It also has a few Rixels and one snap turtle :)

    The next videos are done with GoPro studio. It is OK, but I like Windows Movie Maker more. Oh well! This Push Axels video is filmed at 2.7k and uploaded to Youtube, which downscales it to 1440p.

    This video was mostly me screwing around with the camera as there was no wind all morning. It is in 1440p resolution but 4:3 aspect ratio. with the gopro this means much more sky is visible. I'm not sure how I feel about this aspect ratio! Nice to see more of the sky, but I don't like black boarders. 

    Finally, here are two virtual freestyle attempts plus a couple half axels :) This was filmed at 2.7k which was used to crop a 1080p frame. It is a great way to keep the kite in frame the whole time, but I already miss the higher resolution of the full 2.7k image. 

    I can't wait to play with this camera in more appropriate winds! There's no upper spreader in my kites for almost all of these :)

    This week will be much of the same, VF attempts, FAs, and as many axels as I can while getting to know this camera. I might have to learn howto fly with gloves on soon though, getting cold!!


  11. Oops, a bit overdue on this one.  

    Memorial Day weekend brought around the San Ramon Art and Wind Festival.  It is a Sunday-Monday festival, this year held on May 29-30, 2016.  

    Sunday started off on a good note, with temperatures not terribly hot, and there was wind!  Bumpy, inland wind with lots of "holes" typical of that location, but nevertheless there was wind.  Sport kite fliers flew demos most of the day, interspersed with some other attractions.  Penny Lingenfelter put on a show with kids from the audience, giving them kites to fly and briefing them on the story they were acting out before taking center stage.  

    We also ran bol races, where older kids got to pull bols into the wind and attempt to run to the finish line.  


    A couple of giant octopus kites also went up.  


    Here is Team AirZone getting ready to perform.  You can see the octopus still being put away on the ground.  


    We ended the day with a quad line megafly as we like to do.  

    Unfortunately, we were not as lucky on Monday.  Temperatures were already picking up in the morning, and on top of that, there was no wind.  But the show must go on.  For the first few hours, demo fliers were flying on short lines, some even flying their indoor routines on indoor kites.  I got creative and flew a mystery ballet with a single line glider.  

    Since it was Memorial Day, we also had a red, white, and blue fly, with people running their kites across the field to get some lift.  One guy tied three cube kites (red, white, and blue; I believe they were Shanti cubes) to a banner pole and was using it as a giant wand to fly the kites.  


    Banner display that was put up on Monday.  


    We did finally get some wind later in the afternoon, so we were able to fly the routines we typically fly at outdoor festivals.  Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head home.  

  12. It has been a little over 3 months since my last entry. Wow! Time flies doesn't it! Work was booooming and I was taking advantage of all the extra shift hours available. However. I miss spending time with the things that make me happy. The important things. My growing family. My friends. My kites. 


    My son, our middle child, just turned 8. Growing into a fine young boy. Around 2 years ago, when he was 6 and this still blows me away, said "he wanted a kite just like mine but different". After talking with him for a while to find out exactly what he was after, yep he wanted a Rev. So I set him up on Watties colouriser.!/ He played with it for a while, came up with some pretty cool designs too. We chatted about different kites. I told him that he could earn extra money by doing jobs and that if he stuck with it I would match him dollar for dollar. After explaining what that meant, he had a quiet grin of determination. Then it hit me. He might get a Pro before I do!! He did all sorts of jobs to keep topping up the kite fund. Some were easy, some were not. He went without lots of treats to put that money to it as well. I began taking him out flying with me. His attention span got better and a kind of stillness would come over him when we flew. We sat down a month before his 8th birthday and did the numbers. He was about 6 months from a B Series, poor little fella wanted it sooner than that. I had a quiet word to my wife, then began to feel him out for a scheme. He had gone off his technicolor dream coat rev, thank me later Baz! He was liking the older style Blue Grey B Series. Which is good as it would match my Red and Grey B's. We got a Travel frame package ready to fly. It came just before his party so he could show all his mates. We have had a couple of flights on his new sail. The winds were a little light for the 3 wrap travel frame but he had fun. I would like to say a big thanks to Kevin Sanders as he sent my boy a set of his handles and a stake. A much lay appreciated gift. 


    Now, once he's got the hang of it, I'm putting him on some 30's and we are going to the streets!!!


     (because uploading to "edited" blog produced some kind of error -200)





  14. Getting Whump...

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    John Barresi
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    By John Barresi,

    And my favorite video so far by teammate @mystainedskin (Scott Benz)...



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