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Everything posted by BrianS

  1. For a first flight, I'd recommend starting with the Quantum as long as the wind speed is low enough that you're not fighting the pull. Since it's a larger wing than the Nexus, it'll move and turn a little more slowly than the Nexus. You'll appreciate having the extra reaction time while you're still getting the "muscle memory" trained.
  2. Thanks for posting the video, Rob. I love the axel-to-side-slide move. Just so you know, I'm totally going to steal that if I can figure out how to do it...
  3. Well...I got a *few* of them. I have a long way to go before I own them. I hope you get to do more flying in 2016. I always look forward to seeing those videos from Long Island!
  4. Sorry to jump into a thread that's been dormant for several months, but I just wanted to give a shout out to all of the folks who took the time to explain the Taz subtleties. This thread has been a huge help to me. In the past, I've managed to do a few Taz Machines on other peoples' kites, but not with my own kite. I finally had a breakthrough today and managed to coax a few of them out of my own kite. At first, I was only getting them flying right to left, but then managed to get two in a row flying left to right. This is still very much a work in progress for me and it'll take a lot of practice to become consistent...but it sure felt great to get a little taste of success. Many thanks to all of the folks who take the time to offer their advice and help here on the forum. Your interest and enthusiasm is a big reason that this place is such a great resource!
  5. That's the one that gets me excited every time I watch that video. It's a rare treat to see a move like that executed so cleanly.
  6. I don't have a video reference, but here's the Reader's Digest version in a nutshell: Adding weight (usually to the tail) increases the kite's moment of inertia for pitch rotations. All other things equal, this provides more angular momentum that helps carry the kite through the yoyo. You want to add the weight as close to the ends of the spine as possible, since this gives you the most advantage in moment of inertia for a given amount of weight. (If you were to add the weight at the kite's center of mass, you wouldn't accomplish anything other than making the kite heavier.) You'll also occasionally see people add weights to the wing tips to increase the moment of inertia for rotation tricks like the Taz Machine. A little goes a long way. If you add too much tail weight, you'll significantly shift the kite's center of mass and throw everything off balance so that it won't fly quite right. To some extent, you can bring it back closer to the proper balance by also adding some nose weight, but you can end up with a pretty heavy kite by the time you're done. I've occasionally added temporary weights to help work through some trouble spots when learning tricks, but I always end up reverting back to using the stock tail weights provided by the manufacturer to return to the best overall performance for the kite.
  7. In another recent thread we were suggesting that Phil might want to try out some longer lines to give himself a bit more reaction time, since he's still in the early days of getting the feel for a dual line kite. With a little more flying time under his belt, the 65' line set will have all of the advantages Rob mentioned. In the meantime, I still think it might be valuable to work with longer lines. From the description in the other thread, it sounds like there's more than enough wind for an 85' set.
  8. Phil, You'll probably find that a longer line set will make life easier (if your flying field is large enough that you don't have to dodge obstacles or something). Think of it this way: the kite will fly at the same speed on long lines or short lines, but with the long lines the kite has to travel a longer distance to get to the edge of the wind window. That longer distance gives you more time to think about what to do next. Another thing you can do to slow things down is take a few steps towards the kite. The effective wind speed will be reduced by your walking speed. This is really helpful if you're headed for an unscheduled landing and can't remember how to steer out of it -- just walk (or run) towards the kite and the kite will have a much softer landing. Both of these issues are really the same problem: difficulty controlling the kite at the extreme edge of the wind window. In one case, you're at the edge of the window directly overhead and in the other case it's to the side. When you're right at the edge of the window, you don't have much tension in the lines and it takes a certain amount of delicate finesse to keep the kite under control. Inputs generally need to be very small -- it's really easy to over-do it. It probably won't take much more than a few more hours on the lines for you to start developing that muscle memory and feel for the delicate control. I usually recommend that beginners avoid flying all the way to the extreme edges of the window for the first few sessions -- it'll save a lot of frustration. So how do you avoid the edges? Remember that kites are very literal. If you launch and point the kite straight up, it'll just keep flying straight up over your head unless you make it turn before it gets there. If it's flying horizontally and you keep even tension on both lines, it'll just keep flying that path all the way to the edge. All you have to do to avoid the edge is make a turn before the kite gets there. Try to feel the tension on the lines while you're flying. You'll notice that the tension is highest in the center of the wind window. As you get farther away from the center, the tension gets correspondingly lighter. When you start to feel that tension dropping below your comfort zone, turn the kite and fly it back towards the center of the window. Remember that when you want to turn, the kite only understands differential tension on the lines. It's a push/pull action. (I know this sounds obvious, but it's not a natural reflex for most people during the first few flying sessions. When things start moving fast, I see a lot of new flyers trying to turn by swinging both hands together towards one side or the other or crossing left over right or something like that.) Take heart, this will all get ingrained into muscle memory and become a natural reflex after just a few more hours of practice. Stick with it, you're well on your way. If you can find an experienced flier to work with you, that'll be a huge help to quickly climb the learning curve. Those "local experienced fliers" are sometimes not easy to find, so don't hesitate to ask questions here. There are lots of friendly folks on the forum who will be happy to help. -Brian
  9. Got it -- that all makes sense! Thanks for the detailed explanation
  10. I want to be sure I'm understanding the essence of the advice... Is the basic idea that during the tricks you want the spine to be aligned either parallel or perpendicular to the horizon?
  11. Thanks for the photos and excellent write-up, Joanna!
  12. Dramatic improvement. No more out-of-memory errors or page-loading failures. Thanks, John!
  13. Is there any chance you could post a few minutes of video that shows the problem you're having? (Even a cell phone video would be fine.) This is one of those a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words situations. I'll bet that we could get you pointed in the right direction if we could see it happen. It sort of sounds like you might be over-powering the inputs and then throwing too much slack. The quickest path to success is to get some help on the field in-person with someone who knows how to do the tricks you're learning. (I realize that it's not always easy to find someone like that, which is why I suggested posting a video.) Just a comment about those "simpler" tricks you're learning: some of them aren't necessarily simple. I realize that at least one of the popular videos implies that Side Slides are an easy trick, but I would personally put them in the advanced category. I find that they require a lot of finesse with the outside hand, so don't be discouraged if it takes a lot of practice to get them right. Once you can stall the kite you shouldn't have much difficulty mastering the Axel. The Widow Maker loves to do Backflips and Lazy Susans. If you haven't already learned those, I'd suggest putting them on the short list of tricks to learn. They'll help you get the feel for managing slack in the lines and that's a valuable skill that will help you with the other tricks.
  14. Drew Bembenek was working with the dual line fliers. Mark Quirmbach, Joanna Chen and Steve Lewis were helping out the quad line fliers. Drew also jumped onto the quads in the afternoon after the wind really started to pick up. Following the usual tradition, a number of the Rev fliers got together for a group fly. Despite some challenging conditions (0 - 3 mph wind in the morning that abruptly rose to "ballistic" in the span of about 10 minutes) it was an excellent event. I've talked to several of the first-time attendees and everyone said they learned a lot and enjoyed the day. One of the first-time attendees was kind enough to send me some photos from the event and gave me permission to post several of them on my website. You can view them here: http://kitenotes.net . (She was busy flying her kite after the wind picked up, so most of these are from the morning session.)
  15. So far, I've only been to Berkeley Kite Festival. The ones up in Washington sound like great events, so I'll have to keep those on my radar. I'll probably be in Seattle for a few days in July, so there might be an opportunity to do a little flying then as well. Awesome! Please let us all know how you get along with it after you've had a chance to give it a proper workout. I'm always on the lookout for some good kite intel...
  16. Oh yeah, I'm also trying to concentrate on that wrist snap. It's a work in progress. We should fly together sometime and compare notes. I was flying with the wind screens yesterday when I just wanted to slow the kite down to help practice some new skills. I'm not sure how it's possible, but they have remarkably little impact on most of the handling and flying characteristics of the kite. You'll feel pretty much the same amount of pull on the lines. The biggest thing you'll notice is that they slow down the kite. At first, it's a bit awkward to get them on and off of the kite, but you get the hang of that pretty quickly. I'm not sure I would've ever tried them, except that one of the other local Widow Maker owners gave them a strong recommendation. It's something you might want to consider -- they're inexpensive, easy to tuck into the kite bag and give you one more adjustment option on those days when the wind is starting to get a little bit aggressive.
  17. These discussions about "trickable wind range" come up a lot. I've seen some amazing tricks in strong wind. I'm reminded of an event last summer when I was flying in ballistic winds at Crissy Field with the X-Masque vents wide open. I handed the straps over to John Barresi and challenged him to fly straight down and do a nose-down yo-yo in the middle of the wind window. Of course he did it...and made it look easy. (My kites can do some amazing things when other people are flying them ). There are a couple of guys in the area who almost exclusively focus on dual-line tricks. Since we get some pretty strong winds in the summer, their solution is to fly with really short lines of only 30 to 40 feet (!). Their logic is that for tricking in strong winds, they're spending a lot of time at the edge of the wind window, so the short lines allow them to quickly get across the middle of the window so that they can get back to tricking at the edges. The question of whether or not it's worth investing in a vented kite is difficult to answer. When John B. pulled off that amazing yo-yo-from-a-nose-dive in a 22 mph wind, the vents probably helped him keep the speed under control. In those conditions, however, that particular trick was beyond my ability level with or without vents in the kite. The guys who fly at the window edges with the short lines seem to do just fine without vented kites. If you decide to go the vented route, be sure to choose a kite that's been tuned for doing tricks. Many of the vented dual-line kites have an unfortunate vent placement that gives them a mushy feel and makes them somewhat unresponsive to the slack-line trick inputs. Sadly, it's not always possible to test out other peoples' kites, since the vented dualies aren't very common. Since 15+ mph winds are very common around here, I feel that a vented kite is a valuable addition to my bag and I wouldn't want to give it up. If the strong winds were just an occasional thing, I'd probably just get by with putting the wind screens on the Widow Maker, setting the bridle adjustment on the top knot and avoiding the center of the window.
  18. I use an X-Masque VV from l'Atelier kites in high winds. It doesn't feel "mushy," even with the vents wide open, so it's very trick-capable. Of all my kites, it probably also has the best precision, at least in the minimum- and medium-vent configurations. With any dual-line kite, however, be prepared that you'll need to really step up your game to do tricks in high wind. The vents help a lot to keep the kite from being over-powered when it's in a normal flying position, but you still need to be on your toes to maintain slack through the tricks. I have a few photos of the kite here: http://kitenotes.net and here: http://kitenotes.net/faq . Good luck with your search, Brian
  19. This is a good reminder that I need to contact the administrators of kitemap.org. For a while now, it's been returning a php error message when you try to search. I keep forgetting to let them know. Hope it can get up and running again soon, since it's been a valuable resource.
  20. It just doesn't get much better than that. Thanks for posting!
  21. There's no time like the present. What are you waiting for? It will get you sooner or later. Don't waste time; you'll miss so many smiles if you do. And badass urban flying Don't forget that dualies can do some badass urban flying, too!
  22. Nice flying, Tristan! It was fun to see you flying in places I recognized from when I lived there several years ago. Thanks for posting! -Brian
  23. Are we talking about a dual-line kite here? If so, the ferrule probably feeds through the center T, so you'd want to account for the width of the T when determining how far to push the ferrule back into the tube when you're re-gluing it (i.e., you don't want to go all the way to the halfway point on the ferrule). The idea is that you want to get approximately the same amount of ferrule inside each tube when the kite is assembled. I'm a big fan of the masking tape method Wayne described. It works really well and helps ensure that you get everything glued at the perfect distance before the glue sets. It's also well worth your effort to use some fine sandpaper to remove all of the old glue before you attempt to re-glue it. This improves the reliability of the new glue joint and helps prevent the same kind of failure from happening again. -Brian
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