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First summer Progress :)

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Happyspoon

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September first seemed like as good a time as any for a first post. I'm going to fill in my story up till today, and hopefully make mroe regular postings in the future. 

 I flew my first dual-line kite on April 20th and have been hooked ever since! It was a $20 In the Breeze Colorwave kite with a 48" wingspan. The wind was strong but the group of us were all still able to get the basics of kite control down :) I flew that kite at least a couple times a week every week. After we replaced the standoffs with coat hangers it could even be stalled and could kindasorta do a side-slide. The leading edges of that kite only just broke last weekend teaching a few new people the ropes. Here are 30 sec of me flying that kite a month ago. 

I won a Prism Quantum in the karma drawing which I have been flying since mid/late July. It is a totally different kite and a joy to fly. It wasn't until last week that I started to get the hang of snap stalls (still lots of work to do). For the next little while I'm all about getting stalls and slides down, and possibly trying the axle a bunch. Here is a 5min shot of playing with the quantum last week (winds are a little low) There is also a 15min video from a couple days earlier on my channel. It has better wind, but I clearly hadn't cracked snap stalls yet.

 

My wonderful boyfriend found me a couple used kites on Craigslist so I am also the owner of a Prism Ozone and an Illusion 2k. I've taken the ozone out a handful of times now that I'm not terrified of breaking it and it is an amazing kite. Here is me flying it in very low wind. 

I have a lot of learning to do but am hugely excited to have found something that captivates me. I'd love feedback on my flying anytime! I'm only just starting to connect with local flyers as they come back from vacation so I've relied on reading these forums and on youtube for most of my education.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to this vibrant community!

Chris

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Nice to see your story of progress. Commenting in videos as you did here is also an efficient way of conveying a message. Your choice of kites appears to be well thought through - you seem to cover a large wind range. From low to a bit high, from Ozone via Illusion 2K to a Quantum. To be honest I don't know about the Illusion 2K, but I have an "oldie" Illusion and more assumes a similarity. If the Illusion 2K and Illusion are much alike, be very gentle with the LLEs - they would then snap easily and are no longer manufactured. 

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Thanks Exult! I'm hoping to film myself to force me to think harder about my actions as well as to communicate my progression to whomever is interested! It has worked well in other areas of my life and been lots of fun at the same time. I'm not much of a videographer yet so that's also going to be a constantly improving process. 

I'm loving the hunt for used kites too! I have all the time in the world to get into brand new ones :) We are a  pretty industrious household so I'm hoping to get into kite repair and building in the future. That's the most abuse I've ever given the ozone by far and mostly because the line slipped off my finger... whoops!

I'm pretty happy with the range I can fly in, but I haven't pushed the upper limit of the quantum much as I'm still not good at handling the pull after a failed snap stall in the middle of the window. 

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For being active during just a summer you have progressed far. In hindsight, while the memory of your process is still fresh, may I ask what were the greatest challenges and the best pieces of advice that you got? What would be your own suggestions be to get someone else to reach the point that you are at today?

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OK! I think I've summarized some of the best advice I've gotten recently in this post but here are the tips I'd have for first time flyers, my realizations as I got a a little more control of the kite, and some of my greatest challenges! Here goes, and I'd love advice on where I'm off the mark in all of this. I'm not above editing anything (and will note edits) for clarity. edited to add Thanks Exult for the advice! I've spattered in a few edits.

 

Some tips for starting out:

When you first get your kite set up get someone to hold the kite above their head for launches. This lets you evenly and gently pull both lines and (if the wind is decent) the kite will just lift out of their hands. Keep the tension even on both lines and the kite will climb up straight.

Don’t try and “steer” the lines like a car. It is absolutely the first impulse but it just doesn’t help. I found just bending my elbows and trying to keep the tension on the lines even was a good place to start. The kite will kind of lead you but as long as you only make small, gentle changes to tension you will ‘damp’ any oscillations and more or less keep the kite at 12:00 in the window.

I found thinking of the lines like tank joysticks helped a lot. If I kept one hand still I could gently “push” and “pull” the other hand much like a joystick to turn. Switch hands after that and practice moving the other hand. Once I got that I started to feel better using both hands at the same time for ‘combo turns’.

Find the Prism Way to fly (Fade, side slideaxle) Link Dodd Gross' stuff, and dpMama74's stuff on youtube. John's article "flying with Intent" is one of the best things recommended to me for getting in to a learner's mindset while flying.

Edit: I'd suggest getting an ultra light kite such as the Prism 4D (I'd recommend the Ozone but they don't make it anymore and I had a great time flying another kiter's 4D recently) in addition to a standard kite. I've found it hard to judge what the wind where I fly will be like even with forecasts. It isn't fun to get out there and not be able to fly. I found lower wind (within a kite's range) is much more interesting to fly in than high wind. I'd love to get a vented now so that I don't have to fight the wind ever again (lol)!

 

Realizations:

I noticed there was a difference in how a turn felt depending on how quick I made the pushes/pulls. If I keep them gentle the kite kinda ‘springs’ back when I returned to the middle. If I made quick motions I would feel some ‘slack’ on the line I pulled when I released the pull. This was where my flying first split I think into “figure” and “trick” flying. I’ve noticed now that if I’m flying squares I try to avoid tugging  hard enough to create that slack, as it slows the kite (sometimes too much). (edited to add) Instead, I'm now working on finding the hardest combo turn I can make without losing 'contact' with the kite. Of course snap stalls are all about creating that ‘slack’.

Before I tried any actual tricks I wanted to get good at stalling the kite and at controlling the kite in a stall. I’ve learned 3 easy ways to get the kite into a stall, from Kite Life and from the r/kites subreddit.

1.       Fly over to the edge of the wind window then turn my nose up. The kite will stall but the edge of the window is weird for learning stall control (edited to add) because I'm turning out of the wind window and sometimes the outside wing loses all wind.

2.       Spin the kite by throwing one hand forward (a biiig push) while keeping tension on the other line then pull hard enough with the same hand to counter the spin with the nose pointed up, all while walking forward. This works pretty well but is tricky to do.

3.       Stall Launches (as called by a helpful reddit user here). Basically I launch the kite then immediately throw both hands forward enough to stall the kite.  I feel like I get way better at stall control from just a little of this practice. Now I stall launch almost every time. I wish I had known this a long time ago!

I also practiced getting into and holding side-slides (or floats) across as much of the wind window as possible. A side slide is pretty much ¾ of a turn followed by a very gentle snap stall to point the nose up. Do the turn slowly enough that you are heading in the direction you want to slide in at a half decent speed before you snap. The snap is very gentle so it was a great way for me to practice and get the feel of the lines as the kite stalls. This was the first snap stall motion I learned and it is one you can practice in almost any wind because you are at the edge of the window.

Speaking of snap stalls here are my thoughts. A snap stall is effectively tugging one hand to dump the air from that side, then tugging the other hand both to dump air from that side and to compensate for the turning started by the first snap. I got a lot of insight on this flying the ozone in low wind and watching the frame/sail deform in a wave across the kite when I snapped. Snapping the other hand before that first wave made it through the kite would stall it beautifully. Does this make any sense??

Edited to add: Another thing that helped me was coming to terms with the fact that I'm not going to improve much over the course of an actual session. Sleeping on things seems to make a big difference though. That's why I'm glad I can get out decently often, even if not for very long each time. Even if I can run out to practice stalls for 20min it is probably worth it :)

 

Challenges

One big challenge is sorting out how much of my success and failure on a given day was due to the wind, the kite, or my skills. The difference between the ‘low wind’ (nose towards you) and ‘high wind’ (nose away from you) bridle settings can be significant. I’m still not totally sure which settings I like, and I feel like it isn’t easy to understand how the settings change flight characteristics.

As for the wind, low wind is challenging but very good for learning stall control, energy efficiency, and landings even if it isn’t good for learning how to stall or for practicing sharp turns. High wind means no snap stall practice in the middle of the window, but doesn’t rule out side-slides or even things like dives and snap stalls nearer to the edge of the window. If you try this I noticed that the closer the kite is to the edge of the window the less even the tension in the lines is when the kite is perfectly stalled. (edit: added) If I turn to face the kite head on it helps a bit with evening the required tension.

Another challenge has been the footwork required for stall control and certain tricks. I have started flying big circles while walking forward during the down and backward during the up parts to keep the kite at the same speed and it is helping.

It has taken me awhile to get over the fear of breaking my kite and push my limits more often. If you also have that fear here is a compilation of some slow motion crashes my quantum has taken with no issues.

Right this second I’m focused on “flying with intent (link)” including flying better figures, and at axles and turtles. I’m also hoping to learn fade control before I learn to enter a fade. I haven’t had the chance to try this, but I saw online that you can just get a friend to hold the kite in fade position until you have it under control then get them to let go!

 

 

Stuff I’m not at all sure about.

Different “modes” of kite control

1.       “full sail” (There is probably a better word for this)- Lines under at least some tension. Kite goes in the direction the nose is pointed. Pulling dumps air from that side of the kite, slowing it, and causing the nose to rotate toward that side. Pushing opens up the side of the sail pushed, speeding it up as it gets more wind (?? I think??), causing the nose to rotate away from it.

2.       Stall- lines are ‘in contact’ with the kite (as in, there is a very slight amount of tension). Pulling on a line pulls that side of the sail over the air, causing that side to rise. A quick push can slow that side of the sail down enough to drop it. This is how you keep the nose pointed up during a stall’

3.       Fade- Tugging a line pulls that side of the kite toward you, which increases air speed under it and raises that side. Keeping the nose pointed up by tugging on each side lets the wind lift the kite while it is upside down.

4.       Slack (?) I’ve been told it is all about making sure there is enough line available to the kite to complete the trick, and not so much that loops get caught on the kite (and so you can take up all that slack easily enough)

Edited by Happyspoon
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4 hours ago, Happyspoon said:

It has taken me awhile to get over the fear of breaking my kite and push my limits more often. If you also have that fear here is a compilation of some slow motion crashes my quantum has taken with no issues.

 

I was at Clover during the week during some high wind. I was making some hard turns, and somehow managed to pop both lower spreaders out of the center T and the same time. Poor Quantum fluttered to the ground like a smashed butterfly. Found out later I'd also managed to break the ferrule loose from the center T. Bit of crazy glue, and it's as good as new. So yeah, the Quantum can take a pretty good beating.

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Wow I'm glad it survived! I popped the lower spreader out of one of the APCs once and it was quite startling. Kudos on pulling out the crazy glue and just fixing the problem! I'm not sure I'd be so confidant :) I know who I'm talking to when I inevitably need to repair this thing ;) Hope to see you on the field this weekend!

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11 hours ago, Happyspoon said:

A snap stall is effectively tugging one hand to dump the air from that side, then tugging the other hand both to dump air from that side and to compensate for the turning started by the first snap. I got a lot of insight on this flying the ozone in low wind and watching the frame/sail deform in a wave across the kite when I snapped. Snapping the other hand before that first wave made it through the kite would stall it beautifully.

I have been contemplating on snap stalls without really coming to the "definite answer". I have been thinking that it is so that the flow gets ruined on the other side than the one that one is pulling, due to induced slack in the sail? I think you can do snap stalls both the slower wave through the sail way and also by doing the left-hand right-hand pull (or right left) very rapidly with almost no time in between. On my personal video wishing list I'd like to see the sail during both these versions in slo-mo. A long time ago (makes me a bit uncertain about the timing in input) when flying in rain I shook the water out of the sail with a sail cracking like slow snap stall. Is this was the slow(/quick) snap stall does, shakes the wind flow pattern (and if present - water) out of the sail?

11 hours ago, Happyspoon said:

Stall Launches (as called by a helpful reddit user here). Basically I launch the kite then immediately throw both hands forward enough to stall the kite.  I feel like I get way better at stall control from just a little of this practice. Now I stall launch almost every time. I wish I had known this a long time ago!

I have "kite student" that is my first one in many years, not counting my youngest daughter. He has only flown twice. His flights has a tendency to last for about 5s before the lawn-dart or other un-controlled landings happen. By end of the second session (a little more than a week ago) we tried out to make a small flight of only one metre, then a second flight of 1.5m, then 2m... After this exercise, the duration of his flights increased and he seemed to be more relaxed. Lets see if the effects of this are lasting. I think that these mini flights and launching the kite with one large smooth sweeping movement both serve the purpose to make the student relax/take it easy/avoid panic and, as you said Happyspoon, serve as stall training. I called it "kite-jumps", but I think that "Stall Launches" describes it better.

12 hours ago, Happyspoon said:

It has taken me awhile to get over the fear of breaking my kite and push my limits more often. If you also have that fear here is a compilation of some slow motion crashes my quantum has taken with no issues.

I think that the crash compilation serves as an illustration of the distinction between: the kite tumbles (gently) down to the ground and the kite hits the ground powered by wind/line tension (though the lines themselves are difficult record since they are so narrow). Some "good" crashes are at 0:08, 0:44(!), 1:34(?) and 1:47(!) in the video, others are more like tumbling leaves. Not to break the kite, I'd say that getting the reflexes to slack the lines immediately when something goes out of control within 2m from the ground as early as possible in the training is important. I must also say that the detail that the camera catches is impressing.

Happyspoon you have very nice and structured beginners tutorial in your comment above.

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Hey that's great to hear! The spars seem much lighter than those on the Quantum!!

 I took the I2K out briefly the other day so my BF could fly the quantum. It was totally unfly-able (lagged, then sorta 'floated', almost completely uncontrollable) until I adjusted the bridle from high wind to stock. The standoffs were furthest to the outside. I'm going to sit with it for awhile and go through all the standoff/bridle combinations if the wind is nice next weekend :) It seems like an interesting kite! I'd rather play with the quantum until I'm competent with some slack line tricks though. I'd also like to find a better way of tensioning the leading edge, I think I saw a guide on this forum when I was deciding if I should buy it. 

 

I2K.jpg

I2K2.jpg

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Don't worry too much about the I2K, it's a tough kite. It has a lot of built in tension when properly assembled, and I think that adds to it's strength. The leading edges should be curved when you have the proper amount of tension on the tips. I hope you have the Spoilerz for it, they make the kite fly comfortably in winds that you would normally need a vented kite for. I don't know if the Prism site has the documentation available for the I2K still, so I attached the field cards below...

http://ferob.com/kites/prism-illusion.pdf

 

http://ferob.com/kites/illusionHighWindSpoilers.pdf

 

P1090104.JPG

My I2K with the Spoilerz installed...

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