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frob last won the day on May 7

frob had the most liked content!

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About frob

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday April 18

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  • Favorite Kite(s)
    Like asking me to choose my favorite child.
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    United States

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  1. frob

    Light or Dark

    I've never really seen a list of materials. The sail cloth generally I know is Icarex if you're going for brand name, or treated (water and UV resistant) PC31 or even lighter PC25 / PC21 for indoors or if you don't mind occasional patches. Stitching is preferred to be a wide zig-zag for body pieces, although the machine I've got doesn't have the same shape I see on all my professional kites. Trailing edge and stretch strips use a straight stitch. I recall reading Kevlar or Dacron for the leading edge, but I don't know what specific fabric works well for leading edges or for meshes. Fittings and connections can be purchased from many different kite stores. I know people use a board to tie knots. I've watched them be used on three different occasions, but other than knowing it lets you tie knots at the exact distance the nails are pegged in place, know little more. Before I actually make them I'll probably hit one of the kite building clinics near a festival, but that requires me actually traveling to another festival that has them. I've only been to Oregon / Washington coast kite events twice (it was a 13 hour drive at the time, I lived in SLC), and two California beach events with a similar drive. About the biggest thing that came to SLC was iQuad's final fly at one of the big events that was only held a few times. I moved from there about three years ago from work, now in Austin. At my current home it is only 6 hours to the SPI festival, a major event I haven't missed since the move. There are occasional events out by Houston / Galveston that's only a 3 hour drive for. There is an event in Dallas I'm driving out with a 2.5 hour drive this weekend (and participating on the fun side of the ropes), but no kite making there. The Austin End of the Line kite team are great, and I've met with them at their practice and a few individuals a few times for personal flying, but they're far more casual than me in regards to what they do. While they have more experience team flying on duals, they don't have skills in topics I want to learn like better indoor flying, trick flying, quad team fly, and modifications. It would be nice to have more options to learn, but geography is a limiting factor. But that's leading in to a different topic. I'd love to learn and do so much more, but would need to overcome both time (scheduling) and space (distances) to do it.
  2. frob

    Light or Dark

    Yup, that's exactly the temptation I know eventually I will succumb to. But for now I will just appreciate your effort and results.
  3. frob

    Light or Dark

    I made a patchwork quilt with my wife (then fiance) decades ago, so I know the work involved for sewing that kind of monster. Hours and hours assembling everything. I'll willingly sew my own kite bag, and I've sewn a few modifications to my own sails, but so far the temptation to sew an entire sail (along with buying all the requisite fabrics and tapes) hasn't been enough to make the leap. Maybe someday. I've got a few patterns like an Archimedes Screw kite design bookmarked, but I'm not quite ready yet. I love seeing your creations.
  4. frob

    Light or Dark

    The colors turned out beautifully. You've almost convinced me to buy a pile of fabric and try it myself, you make it look easy. Fortunately I know better, the work involved is significant. Keep it up.
  5. Many kite bag designs include multiple large pockets, often made of mesh, cargo netting, or similar material easily seen through. These are great for storing several sets of line, among other items.
  6. After watching a bunch of videos today hunting for downward 180 turns, that stall seems an unavoidable part of the maneuver. From a bit more watching, people generally leverage the downward 180 as a lead into another motion, and rarely use it to continue on as a forward-drive 180 turn. From assorted indoor videos it seems the downward turns are used to lead into a bicycle (especially Watty and John), a larger circle (more common for Brett Marchel and Amy Doran), lead-in to an axel (Brett), a lead-in for a long glide (common with Paul LeMasters & Conner Doran), and especially for transitioning to reverse flight leveraging the stall to reverse (common for John, Paul, Conner, and many other people's videos). Fletch was the only person I could find in videos who regularly used the downward 180 to actually reverse the direction of forward travel, and those turns often included the kite trying to lay flat and stalling briefly, exactly what I've been experiencing. For a few people (like Mario Di Lucca) I couldn't find many downward 180 turns at all. Most of those transitions benefit from stalled motion. The upward 180 seems to be the direction reversal of choice, downward 180 is a lead to something else. All that watching made me wish there was something like other sports statistics. Like percent of freethows made, statistics of how often particular baseball throws are made, or in this case, the percent of time specific maneuvers were chosen. But alas, it's just watching YouTube at faster speeds and watching for specific actions.
  7. Three hours today and I'm a bit more consistent. I switched lines a few times and found it easier with longer lines, 15 feet instead of 8. Adding a small upward swing before the turn also helped a little. Unfortunately that put me at risk of hitting the ceiling on the long lines. In positive terms, I managed eight in a row downward 180 turns at one point during practice, and I had to abort less than half of the time near the end. Upward 180 turns are much easier.
  8. Based on feedback, I've increased my sail tension even more than before, and added longer leaders by an additional seven inches or so. This gives much deeper arc on the leading edge from the tension, and all the brake means leaning back about 1.5 feet when the handles are vertical. With these adjustments, the drive on the kite has changed significantly. Some of it is for the better, the kite moves much slower and more controlled, and takes less pressure before catching the air. Unfortunately, with the changes when making 180 turns it feels like all power cuts out. Sometimes the kite flips itself into a glide I didn't intend, with the wingtip inside the turn falling toward me and laying flat (0:22, 0:30, 0:59) for a difficult recovery. Other times it de-powers, forcing a landing or crash (0:08, 0:30) . Still other times (0:45, 1:02, 1:20) I can pull through it; the power loss has several waves, one where it catches itself after the turn, another where it hits the wind wake from the previous pass, and then it stabilizes. When it happens the kite does a bit of a swooping motion, easier seen than described. Here are some clips. Before the adjustments, less brake meant easier recovery and tighter turns. Is this an expected amount of stall, or turbulence, or whatever it is for proper adjustments and I just need to compensate for it with practice, or is there something you can see in my actions or tuning that needs to improve?
  9. I know a few places that are okay, they all have turbulent variable breezes since we're several hundred miles from the coast. During the summer months parks are quite hot, but I try to fly every Saturday weather permitting. Zilker Park near downtown is big but is off-leash and usually has multiple dogs running around. I know some people who fly on some of the UT Austin fields on occasion. I usually fly at the Old Settler's Park complex closer to my home. I've run across a few random kite flyers, but those I've talked with have always said they fly on a whim on windy days once or twice a year rather than weekly/monthly/etc. But more on that could probably discussed elsewhere. For this topic, I'm just happy to have my name in the drawing.
  10. That's always an issue for us inland folks. Those who live near an ocean coast mostly it is a matter of scheduling and perhaps an hour or two of driving. For those deeper inland you're often looking at a full day or multi-day trip to meet with people. Moving to Austin a few years ago it's now only a 6 hour drive to a beach where I know people sometimes fly, less than half the travel time. And as for the kite, it's a lovely color combination, and mid-vent is my usual choice. I kept putting that stock combination in the online shopping carts, but always took it back out again as my second favorite. I love bright kites in the sky. That's why 1464 is the number to pick. ;-)
  11. My work is talking about possibly flying me out to Seattle the second week of August. Just a hop, skip, and four hour drive away the week before the festival, so I could make flying cross-country contingent on a week off. Right now the odds of traveling are fairly low (probably 25% chance) but that's better than the 0% chance I was expecting for watching from Texas. I don't see an option for a "maybe" on the form. Should I sign up so I can get the information as it comes out, or wait until firmer travel decisions?
  12. There have been times in my life I wished I could have similar. Work in a place for a while, get a bunch of employee discounts and ultra-cheap clearance items that still work perfectly, all the scratch-and-dents that only have cosmetic issues, etc. Also a chance to try out all the different options to get a good feel for them. Not just kites, but get to use all the cars, get to use all the musical instruments, get to use all the ultra-comfy mattresses, get to try all the audio systems, all the latest and greatest computers, etc. Another would be being the driver in the commercials where they pop up the warning, "professional driver, closed course, do not attempt".
  13. I'm not sure where in "Cackalacky" you are located, but assuming North Carolina, there are plenty of kite stores along the coast, such as Kitty Hawk, where you can pick up the kite in person immediately from their stock. You'll find EXPs for certain, and the Reflex models. Depending on the store they may have some B-series or New York Minute models on their older inventory, too. EXP is ready to fly. The others will need buying line and handles.
  14. frob

    Storing Kites

    Either way, remove the tension for storage. Elastics and fabric both stretch out. On most kite designs it isn't too hard to swap out old elastics unless they're sewn along an edge, but once the fabric stretches the tension is gone forever. Laid open on a floor seems risky for punctures, tripping hazards, and other damage. I'd prefer something hung on a wall over being on the floor just for the safety issues.
  15. There are two basic styles. You described the second. The first style is called stacked kites. Here are some YouTube videos. Basically a bunch of similar kites are tied together in a stack. They can be single line, or multiple line if the pilot wants to control them. My current profile picture to the left is two kites stacked together, then flown as one. These kites can have tremendous pull even in light winds. Sometimes pilots have multiple people helping them, ready to grab hold and keep the pilot from lifting to the air or from dragging across the field. The other style is called line laundry. Here are some YouTube videos. This starts with a strong, powerfully lifting kite like a sled or parafoil. Smaller items are attached to the line, such as spinners, streamers, climbers, smaller kites, and they are lifted with the kite. Large show kites can have tremendous pull, capable of lifting several hundred pounds, so they need to be securely anchored. They can be beautiful, and are common at kite festivals. If you're interested, find a kite show and chat with the people involved. The can be fun, but needs caution and experience. The bigger and more elements you add, the more dangerous it becomes. In both styles there is risk involved because of the high strengths and tensions involved. People are sometimes injured or maimed. The two biggest risks are being pulled into the air and having your fingers or hands twisted in the lines due to a gust. I have met people who have suffered both kinds of injuries (two people with missing fingertips, one man whose legs and ankles were completely rebuilt after being thrown into the air and blowing out his knees and ankles on a hard landing) and read many tales of people who suffered such injuries. Even when you're prepared and experienced, accidents happen. I know of a man, Dean Jordan, was in charge of kite field operations for various AKA events, owned a kite manufacturing company, and was experienced with that style of high pull and man-lifting kites. At an event where he was surrounded with experienced people, after a few hours of enjoying high power man-lifting kites and properly wearing assorted safety gear, he made a small mistake that nearly cost his life, shattering his pelvis and breaking assorted bones, landing him in the hospital for an extended time.
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