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  1. 3/4 of a year ago my old time kite guru from the end of the nineties, @Anders Matson, suddenly surfaced on KiteLife and back "into existence" (a very subjective statement on my side) last summer after say 18 years. Anders lives on the west coast, while I live on the east coast (of Sweden i.e.). About a month ago he kindly sent me an animation and an illustrated document describing a QLK kite routine and when I asked he allowed me to share them (they are attached at the end of this post). The kite routine will be performed as a part of the 20th anniversary celebrating Nordic Kite Meeting ( http://kites.aerialis.no/its-getting-closer/ ). This meeting will coincide with the Blokhus - Lökken wind festival on the north west coast of Denmark ( https://www.facebook.com/BlokhusLoekkenWindFestival/?hc_location=group ). This is how I, an absolute quad team (sub-) rookie, approached the routine documents. As there are no serious (non power) kiters around me I had to practice this without a team. In fact, there a no other framed QLKs in this part of the country that I know of and the only framed QLKs I have ever seen are my own. I got the first one, a Rev. B-series 1.5 Std., in June 2017. My two months of intensive QLK started out a month later. This intensive training period was due to (should I really say thanks to?) the missed JB QLK-clinic that happened to take place reasonably geographically nearby (in Denmark), which to my knowledge never has happened before. Feeling frustrated, I set out a goal to at least compensate through intensive practice for this missed opportunity of learning - I raced against imaginary fellow QLK pilots and stopped doing DLKs for the duration of this period. Not until that point that the clinic was over did I return to do DLKing again or rather from that time I did both disciplines. Some remaining questions: What are the most common beginner difficulties? Are there any other things that I missed preparing for (see further down below)? Are there standard routines that are well known and spread so that people can be more prepared for spontaneous formation/team flying at festivals? Where can you today find advice on getting stated (other than the below). Is there a standard vocabulary that a "skipper/captain"(?) would use (talk/shout) when coordinating a group? Initial impression/digestion of the routine description After going through the Anders Matson routine material several times, I realized that I needed to to work with the material in some way to remember it more easily. I looked for sequences that were/could be grouped together and found that the landings formed natural start and endings of the sub sequences. There are several landings in the routine. I believe that this matches well with the designers intention of the routine to be inclusive and allow reasonably skilled QLK pilots to join in, since the landings should serve to collect and synchronize the group (I believe). Even if it has been designed to be available to everyone that can control a QLK, it is certainly not the case (IMO) that you can do this well without practicing. Below is a condensed terse form of the routine that Anders sent me. It contains much of the info, but not everything and is therefore not "stand alone" from the other attached documentation.: Abbreviations RHS Right hand side LL Landed line HL High line CCW Counter clockwise FYK Follow your kite. This will prevent that the kite lines (kite to kite i.e.) get twisted around each other. CW Clockwise ML Mid (height)line OL Offsetted line - the right half is at 60% of wind window and the left is at 40% height. GRID A kite double line - two rows and several columns RSRP Rotate step rotate pause: From horizontal pos. turn 90deg to side, wump sideways one step, rotate 90deg to horizontal. When reaching an end of the line, drop or rise vertically with the LE remaining in orig. direction. The pace of this part is: And rotate, and step, and rotate, and pause WGRID Widen grid The Routine LL - Repeat 4: WAVES(fr. RHS) - LL Repeat 2: LL - ARCHES - LL LL - Repeat 2: CIRCLES(fr. RHS, CCW, FYK, LE forward) - LL LL - ML - OL(FYK +/-2step, form CCW) - GRID - OL - GRID Repeat until orig pos. (CW, FYK): RSRP WGRID HL - LL or shorter LL - Repeat 4: WAVES - LL Repeat 2: LL - ARCHES - LL LL - Repeat 2: CIRCLES - LL LL - ML - OL - GRID - OL - GRID 1 lap: RSRP WGRID HL - LL or even shorter 4 WAVES 2 ARCHES 2 CIRCLES ML 2 (OL,GRID) 1 lap: RSRP HL Mental images for avoiding line tangles The largest worry of managing to do the routine well was flying with others and this thing about getting the lines tangled - the flight pattern of the kite was something that I could practice. Simply how did the line thing work when flying in a team? Anders had clearly drawn how the pilots should move on the ground, but it didn't feel like it was a good general way to just memorize it. I therefore sought a model that one can "always" apply. First I imagined that the pilots movements were an in the horizon mirrored image of the kites movements. That was a valid image but was to complicated for me to to function in real time when practicing the routine. The next picture I made to avoid line tangle was to follow the shadow of the kite on the ground (provided that it was a back lit kite). This was easier to remember. After the second routine training session I narrowed it down to just follow your kite (sideways). The down wind/up wind (ground) movements didn't need a mental image. It is intuitive - when you want the kite to go down you walk towards it when you want it to rise you walk backwards. Line set choice, handle adjustments and general wind challenge identification First action to get prepared for the event was to start using the (completely?) unused 40m line set, since Anders recommended 35m to 40m lines for the routine. Handling this new line gives me Climax (the line manufacturer i.e.) yellow left index finger tip when winding the line set up. The so far three 40m line practice sessions I have had here revealed some wind related possible problems. If the wind dips and/or there is ground turbulence, keeping the place of the kite in the (imagined) formation became difficult without much upstream movement/backing. To create more margin I moved the larks head in from the outermost position on the top leaders a couple of knots closer to the middle of the knot range. I imagine that one easily could cause disorder in the team if some of the members started to run backwards. I expect that the first ones to run backwards are those whose kites are lowest in the formation, because the wind is typically lower there. When they try to back the other pilots might not have the same need, because they got more wind as the kites are higher up. On the other hand, in the upper part of the wind range the challenge is another one. There maintaining position or a stable slow pace in the strongest gusts in a carefully planned way was the challenge. Nowadays I don't mind making a mixed DLK/QLK session as in this image from my latest session to prepare for the routine. I believe it increases the over all efficiency if one aims to progress in both types of kiting. I also think that the colours of my 1.5 B-series mid vent and my Level One Oneleven match very well. Drills related to the routine General The stand by position of a quad IMO is inverted. It is the easiest position to hover the kite in light wind. For me (and for many others I assume) it is also the stable position that minimizes any kite movement. Compared to any other hover, the inverted just looks best for me. It doesn't stop there, I see the inverted slides as the easy one and most often end up doing this rather than the non-inverted. This means it makes sense to practice the very basic regular hover since the routine is 100% free of any inverted hovers and other inverted moves. The waves and the arches Not much to say about flying forward and up. What requires some practice is to fly backwards and down as fast as possible in some possibly turbulent winds without having the kite wobbling. The circles Initially I assumed that you flow the circle much like a DLK. It was then quite straight forward, only the part around "07:30" in the CCW circles needed some finishing. Then during a mid vent session in a high wind period not really suited for the mid vent I dropped the assumption that the kite was choosing the speed and then more slowly positioned the kite along the circle. Now it became a challenge and a more thorough preparation for the event. The formation, execution and end of the grid This is the most challenging part, both in complexity (to remember) and skill of kite moves required. Apart from memorizing the paths/patterns, several things needed practice here: The snappiness of the 90deg clockwork like rotations. Maintaining the height in turbulent winds when being in the lower row of the grid. Doing the vertical slide upwards quickly (I originally thought this was very necessary and the single most demanding part). Keeping track of the four steps (backward/forward) required when doing the vertical slides. I have not been happy with my clockwork's snappiness. Now it is high time to start working on it. If one use flicking movements of the (lower side of the) handle. Then the kite movement will be snappy as well. If you inputted the right amount of start and stop movement of the handles you just made as successful snappy 90deg kite rotation. Still working on reliably avoiding wobble here. My first idea of the pace of the steps (the above RSRP) of the grid was a 1-2 or a 1-2-3, but Anders informed me that it was much slower: and rotate, and step, and rotate, and pause. When thinking the 1-2 or the 1-2-3 option was the case, I saw it as a problem to be able to do the vertical slide upwards quickly enough. Speed of the upwards vertical slide might still be required so this is something I practice. So a general rule of thumb to counteract the DLK steering effect when setting the left/right kite angle to drive the kite sideways (in the direction of the LE) is to add to LE angle by twisting the left/right handles in opposite directions. In other words, enhance the LE slide angle (that is set by extending one arm) by twisting the handles relative to each other. Pretend that you have the top of the handles connected with a rubber band that you want to stretch as much as possible by adding a twist to the handles. Being aware that this is what you do in a slide to maintain the orientation of the kite, enabled me to exaggerate hand movements/positions and run upwind and still keep the kite orientation in the upwards slide. To make my muscles remember this I did an exercise. I let the kite do an upside down "U" while sliding from left to right and keeping the LE pointing outwards. In the straight parts of the "U", both up and down, angle the top of the handle that you keep closest to you so that the handle top comes even closer to you, while on the extended arm angle the top of the handle from you. In the curved part of the upside down "U" reduce the relative twist of the handles. The second exercise I had that was related to the grid was also geared towards the vertical slides. I pretended the team consists of two or four persons so that the part of the time I did the vertical slides increased. The steps of the grid was then repeated over and over and over. After the latest training session I came to the realization that this art sometimes requires a sacrifice. Finally, before publishing this post I got the bright idea to read what other experienced pilots have written: https://web.archive.org/web/20060127225614/http://www.kitelife.com:80/archives/SEPT991/team.htm http://www.rehilliard.net/pdf/AKATeamFlyingManualbyTroyGunn.pdf (thanks again A. for the link) http://kitelife.com/1998/05/01/issue-2-beginning-ballet/ http://kitelife.com/1998/06/01/issue-3-team-basics/ Ouch, there were many issues with coordinating with others in the above links, this is a bit hard to do on your own. Perhaps I'll try to do the mini kite on a stick anyhow to rehearse the routine (for the event above) as also recommended in the links above. Perhaps it is more efficient for learning than the compressed terse text form is? But on the other hand, writing/reading text during a public transportation ride doesn't look funny, while waving a stick kite could. In an unrestricted wish list, there would be an online common stick practice simulator with verbal communication option, so that at least that aspect of team flying without distant travelling could be covered. Perhaps a (sub set of a) FPS like WASD/mouse control input for controlling your online kite? Rev rutin BLOKHUS.mp4 NKM2018Revrutin.pdf
  2. The big day - First cold session with the Fazer XXL Fri Jan 6 17:10:50 CET 2017 GF, forecasted 3m/s, (-11degC) Fazer XXL on 35m 180kg lines Today was the big day, the first time with the Fazer XXL. I therefore went to the big field with room for the lines - the closest field is not just big enough. This larger field is not next to a beach so that the wind is typically a bit less than the forecast suggests here. That was something I saw as a bonus when approaching the field not really knowing what to expect regarding the pull of the kite. This kite will most likely be the one kite whose leading edges I take apart before transport. The length of the Fazer XXL's sleeve with the LE assembled is about 2.25m and my ski bag (mostly used for kites however) is 2.15m. When seeing the kite assembled you realize that you never will find it beautiful. However I have gradually learnt to accept the appearance of it and mind it less and less. It turned out that it was a lighter wind than to my liking - I should have been on one of the "kite hills" of the field to get a bit higher wind close to the ground, but I didn't want to compete too much about the space with the skiing powerkiters there. I had expected that the XXL also would have the corresponding oversteer as the XL. but quite quickly noticed that this wasn't the case. Yet I have shortened the upper outhaul of the XL by centimeters! The 90 deg turns of the were just a bit less instant than other kites (which is not surprising considering the size of the kite and perhaps the low wind), but there is no corresponding oversteer! I should compare the two bridles (and why not the sails at the same time?) closely one day. Perhaps one wind less day put a horisontal tight rope in the garden and let the XL and XXL hang down from the tow-points? The LE to LS fittings couldn't take negative forces - I often needed to do the walk of contemplation because a LS had popped out. It didn't take any hard ground contact for them to disconnect. On one occasion a cart wheel caused it to pop. This was the one most important thing to address when getting home. From the start and perhaps during the first hour I was very careful - after all this is a large kite. During the first half of the session the required force was somewhat a disappointment, but not the cardiovascular exercise that was provided by the conditions - running in the snow to keep the kite airborne and the large arm movements required made the heart pound. Later when the wind picked up somewhat, the position of the arms were more in front of me compared to when using other kites. It was kind of strange feeling having a kite that pulls noticeably and at the same time could feel a little under powered in the current wind. I had imagined that axels would be difficult to achieve and pitch based tricks to be more accessible. Well axels were no problem. Entering a turtle was something I didn't manage to do the few times I tried - the winds were a bit to light and sometimes more or less not there. There light wind conditions gave a bit crowded feel, but to my surprise axeling was a way to turn the kite during this limited maneuverability circumstances. Tricks were most often single isolated with few trick combos. I hope this will improve in a bit more wind. With a kite this size the trick execution took longer time. I could focus on following the kite during the axle and taking up slack during the revolution. Can this be the way to figure out the second pull of the half axle? Fade launches worked out well unless the wind was too low and the (very) local snow depth too deep (OUUUUUPS!!! - I fell backwards, but the snow made the fall soft!). Belly launches, that suited the light wind well, worked out well. Side slides and landing the kite backwards from a high altitude were also quite accessible - the large kite kind of evened out the "noise in input" (like a large low pass filter). When going home I talked to the remaining powerkiter. It seemed to be a nice person and I hope it wasn't the one who had previously shouted aggressively and rudely to the dog (and dog owner I presume) when the dog approached his kite. The rudeness in the shouting is really a bad move. In some board, some group, some meeting some where, some time that have the power of deciding what is a permitted activity, it is very much more likely to have dog owners than kiters represented! Well back to the topic - what we talked of was naturally kites: places (unfortunately no new near fields were reveled) and compared our activities. He was so into the powerkiting, so I saw no point in promoting duals. However when I mentioned that I knew of a very maneuverable smaller quad foil that wasn't so expensive (the Smithi Pro), he appeared interested and seemed careful to memorize this. For how I dealt with the low temperature this day see the posts http://kitelife.com/forum/topic/7601-prism-nexus-maiden-flight/?do=findComment&comment=62116 and http://kitelife.com/forum/topic/7601-prism-nexus-maiden-flight/?do=findComment&comment=62178 . Follow up - minor mods and physical exercise aspects: The most urgent mod to the kite was to do something to the LS that kept popping out from the LE fitting at the slightest ground contact. A very simple solution - wind tape a couple of turns around the outer side of the LS to increase the diameter. I used some white "general purpose" tape (much like electrical insulation tape). The tape was only added to outmost part the LS so that it couldn't be seen when inserted in the LE fitting. If it would pop out (even if I don't think it will) I would see it more easily now as a white dot against the sail (from 35m away). The second and third mod was to add small string loops to secure the sail tensioners and also the battens. I used a budget 1.5 mm synthetic line. It turned out that it was not possible to make knots that lasted (strange since the line was sold as bricklayer's cord - they must also be able to make knots) First I tried to melt the knots so that they wouldn't open. This failed because it weakened the molten/non-molten interface too much. What seemed to work was to seal the knot with hot glue (but not too much heat could be applied or the line would go weak again). If I only had ordered more of the (quite thin) sleeved 90kg dyneema line to use instead! I got something that a rarely get when doing kiting: sore muscles and this time it was close to everywhere (e.g. it completely beats me how you can get sore abdominal muscles from kite flying!)! I don't know if this would have been better if there would have been more wind so that there would be less requirement of running around in snow (which slows you down). The only time that I got something that resembles this is from a few windy sessions with the Fazer XL, but the soreness was then less. In a way this is great news. From an hour of tennis I don't get sore muscles (possibly a very slight and modest receipt-of-activity the day after, but I don't think of it as soreness or discomfort), so to make a more complete healthy exercise/training I should add a weekly Fazer XXL session. No, not realistic, to time consuming to get to the large field, but at least some times when I happen to be there I try to add some XXL time for the sake of training - I mean this is way more fun than just jogging/running or doing push-ups etc (which therefore never gets done)... ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ Forgetting how to FA and some tricking on ice Sun Jan 22 15:14:34 CET 2017 GB forecasted 6 m/s (didn't matter though... much less in reality) Hydra on 20m 38 kg lines Kymera on 25m, 38kg lines There has been a long time since I flew something "normal" during "normal" conditions. The last time for this was with the Infinity and the Kymera in the beginning of December. The reasons for these few and "abnormal" sessions that I can recall are: a low wind session in rain, traveling, a very hard wind session and the new Fazer XXL. As the title says, I didn't get the FAs going today and I also didn't feel much in touch with the finer control. OK, even though the flying was not great I guess this was a necessary session - After a (kind of) break there is always a first session of (hopefully) coming back in form. Can using a large kite affect how you handle normal sized ones? How much of the muscle memory carries over from one activity to another after days weeks and perhaps also more or less permanent habits? Two observations from recent tennis playing. My wife and daughter watched for some minutes when I was playing - a quite rare event since we play at different times and groups. They said something like (but not literally) that when I run it is with long steps that looks like something of an elk on the loose (you must be close to someone to hear the truth). So now to the parallel in kiting, how do you run backwards and forwards there? - You increase the length of the step and run smoothly to be able to maintain constant tension or slack. Another tennis example: another player remarked that it seemed to be a god day for me because many aspects worked out, but that I constantly forgot to stop completely when running to the net and doing volleys (you should stand as stable as possible when aiming and be equally prepared for a ball coming on either side of you). Unfortunately, the player that kindly had praised my play that day, didn't make any reservations when I mentioned my family's elk analogy. So the kiting parallel to running to the net could be moving forwards when doing a 540 or a FA in the centre of the wind window on a somewhat windy day. After the flare of the 540 and to maintain a fade I've trained hard to maintain the forward motion (and not to stop as when doing volleys in tennis) Does this sound exaggerated? - Well I certainly spend more time kiting than playing tennis, so if there is any cross-talk in the pattern of one's movement between these activities I'd expect kiting to dominate. Normally the preferred wind direction is normal to the beach. But today the wind was close to parallel. I therefore got a chance to try the kite (the kite - not me) on ice. Tested some side slides while in contact with the ice (such as those shown a while ago in the "Follow us on Facebook" frame in the top right corner of the KL forum main page). The sliding on Ice was quite straight forward with the only pit fall being if the kite fell from or towards you. Due to the low friction the nocks won't only slide side-wards but can also happen to slide forwards or backwards so that the kite falls. This made normal starts difficult as well. If the kite was on it's back I needed to tow the kite on the ice until I could find a stone or a stick that someone had thrown out (and now was stuck in the ice) and use that to hold one nock so that the kite could be pulled up into start position. The sleeping beauty starts were instead helped by the smooth ice layer - there was nothing that could accidentally grab the nose when doing the "ground back spin". When thinking of it - could I have done some risk free dead launch practice on the ice (or would the hard floor like surface of the ice make dead launches impossible)?
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