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Troubleshooting reverse indoor quad flight


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Practice day six of this.  I can now feel and see a transition.  Here is an edited video this time, five minutes long, with some comments I added for what I suspect at various points. I'll still take comments on those if you see something different.

There is a moment of transition where one of several options tend to happen:

  1. Top side moves in reverse, bottom side stays put. Usually this seems to need more pressure.
  2. Kite doesn't have power to move, slides down or stays stationary. Needs more foot power for pressure.
  3. Kite moves in reverse, but bottom wing reverses rapidly and swings up, turning the kite to face the ground. I have discovered I need to push forward drive hard on the bottom side while pushing reverse on the top side.
  4. Top side moves more rapidly into reverse pulling the kite back to level, or entire top half of wing pulls in toward me. Too much pull on the top side of the wing.
  5. Or, SUCCESS, sail catches the air and moves in reverse.

That moment happens at the apex of a stall.  If it has too much momentum #3 or #4 will happen. If it doesn't have pressure #1 or #2 happens. If I turn too strong or too weak #2, 3, or 4 happens.  If I get all of them right, the center body of the sail inflates and the kite moves powerfully in reverse. 

In today's practice I could frequently, but not always and not reliably, fly in reverse. I can also feel and see the transition point that was invisible to me before.  

I think a few days of feeling the different conditions and gaining a more intuitive / automatic feel for the required motion should bring me to reliably completing the action.

It's a small addition I think, but it was hard to overcome so it feels like a huge success.

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The kite MUST back-up from an inverted position, 

regardless of wing or wind (configuration/conditions) indoors or outside.  "That is the quad-line effect". Show me, simple as that, the better demonstrated the more impressive it shall be.  Control, that is the soul of a quad flyer.

Just keep working on it, I start every pilot upside down, the sooner you are comfortable an inch high/inverted, the sooner you are one of us.

Land/balance on the trash can lid too, (when it's a soda pop can instead, that is the control being displayed that impresses other quad-heads) Then you're ready for team or group flies as well, you "stay in your own lane when driving and are welcomed into our traffic patterns!"

Don't think about the flight actions (did you envision water pouring from the faucet this morning, brushing' teeth?), Nope, just felt it happening unconsiously.  Hold the handles so softly you drop 'em occasionally, think "move two feet and stop", then 2 more.

Control, the music happens on the stops.

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Holding an inverted hover indoors isn't difficult for me, that's about keeping the pace up to hold it aloft.

This has been about making an active transition from forward to reverse indoor.  My next phase indoor will be converting "I can have controlled reverse indoor", to "I can always fly in reverse indoor."

I love the mantra: An amateur practices until they can get it right, a professional practices until they cannot get it wrong. 

Outdoors I'm confident (until I have 2000 spectators, then my brain freaks out), I can do the soda can wingtip landing, and I love flying with teams when I can be with them. My current difficulty is holding a position even when the wind doesn't want to cooperate; at SPI in the group flies I lost some control on one instance after holding an inverted diagonal hover in a ball for an extended time in light wind, and more than once had difficulty moving and staying at the very top of the window in light wind. John's calls were reaching right up to the very top of the window and I had been experimenting with adding even more brake; so even fully pulling back my 15" handles so the line and the handle were basically touching the entire length still couldn't gain and hold the position. As mentioned on the last page, doing it even when the

And as for dropping handles occasionally, I spent about 2 hours at SPI pre-event working with the other Paul on some precision work, and my own sudden tugs were sometimes enough to pull it from my grip. It was a bit embarrassing, but he said not to change the position of the grip since it allows better feel and reaction.  When working with Brett on quad axels, I similarly lost the grip a few times, so I think I'm there with the gentle grip.

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I will again stress this - it all is set up by your footwork. The pressure that makes for successful changes in direction, is all set up by getting your feet and body moving in the correct direction, first! Indoors with no wind to help, everything you do is dependant on you providing the source of power. 

Footwork is key!!!

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Yes, comparing the videos there is far more footwork and motion in this latest than in the first or second clip, and in the comments in the video I can now identify times where even more foot power and foot direction was needed. That's why I put in those big captions.

The difference is now I know. Before I could not see or feel it. 

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Progressing admirably. 👍🏻

Hands are getting closer when you initiate the reverse (good), and the highest brake line "pull" you're doing (inefficient) on some of your reverse initiations is reducing as you find more pressure on the backside of the transition to reverse (good).

Remember, the most pressure is generated by a "square on" sail - any line pulled more than 8" or so than the others causes the sail to shed air and depower, veer even.

Carry on, AMAZING discussion.

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  • 1 year later...

As the board is quiet, and it's been about 18 months since starting the topic, here's a current video:

(I'm now regularly posting videos of my flying. Not all the sessions, but enough.) About the first 10 minutes of this clip are still focusing on improving the basic reverse 360s. I'm comfortable with my goal from 18 months ago, which is to be able to do it consistently on demand. 

If I could go back in time and teach myself, here are what I'd do:

  • The biggest #1 issue was keeping the sail engaged. There MUST be pressure kept in the sail. Even now, 18 months and about 37 actual-time-on-the-line practice hours later (and 4 performance hours later) my biggest source of problems is keeping the sail pressure up. Don't be afraid to take a few steps back or interrupting other motion to add sail pressure.
  • Walk backward faster. Faster pace and larger backward steps. It may not look like much, but it must be much stronger than what I was initially doing, the precise speed is variable but must be strong enough to keep the kite under pressure.
  • Even though it is "casual flying", I personally need to think of it as far more athletic than I initially was. Yes, this means dripping sweat, and that's okay. 
  • When on the demo floor, the backward pace should be even faster. Not to fly faster, but for even more sail pressure to make sure you've always got enough. If you aren't sweating hard at the end of a 3 minute song, you weren't pushing yourself hard enough. Other performers were working that hard, you just were never close enough to see/smell it. There is a reason the actual demo sets are so short, not because they're just on for one song, but because they're in a performance mindset they're putting that much more athletic effort into it.
  • Speed increases sail pressure, just like outdoor. Basically, it's Bernoulli wing lift. Going faster in reverse is often easier than going slower in reverse. Try to keep it even, but the motion itself is critical to help ensure pressure.
  • The initial tuning I did myself was good, but after some tuning with Weider and Fletch, could be pushed just a little more to good effect. It absolutely needed it when new. The increased tension means less effort to keep it engaged, it is already under tension and pre-engaged.
  • Keep the bottom hand tucked in. I'm still working on this. Even though it can feel easier and more relaxed to keep both hands out, keeping the bottom hand in keeps the kite more engaged.
  • Stick with the pattern of forward drive, sweep up, then back down into reverse. To come out of it and go to forward flight requires significant drive, and therefore, even more reverse walking and sail pressure.
  • Don't do that downward turn, you misremembered. Always be pulling something upward. 
  • The wingtip pendulum (which I had worked on outdoors) works great indoors for changing direction with relatively little pressure.
  • The dizziness will pass with experience and practice. Trying to be mindful of the compass points helps, but not as much as treating it like looking out the car window; focus on the kite being in front of me and stable, let the scenery pass. 

My most helpful practice times (which include the first 10 minutes of the practice in this video) begin with trying to keep the sail under stable pressure regardless of air conditioning and walking through my own wake. If the sail pressure isn't there, everything else falls apart.

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And part of today's practice focused on trying to flip from forward flight into reverse flight as smooth as possible.

I still sometimes find myself with my lower hand extended a bit, and sometimes find the upper lines going slack or rarely having the thing collapse, but it's getting less frequent.

I think I'll keep it my focus until I can reliably do a smooth turn that starts to approach a bicycle or traveling bicycle, just a smooth turn from flying in one direction forward into flying the same direction in reverse, then smoothly flying back again. 

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