Jump to content

- - - - -

Issue 10 (Jul/Aug 1999): BORK - Reviews

archive rec.kites reviews utopia shockwave elixir gemini alien zero wind

  • Please log in to reply
No replies to this topic

#1 Mike Gillard (RIP)

Mike Gillard (RIP)


  • Staff
  • PipPipPip
  • 190 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Country:United States

Posted 01 August 1999 - 04:00 AM

This month was a busy one with several notable flame wars. You won't find any of that junk on the following pages. After all this is the BEST of Rec.Kites - Thanks to everyone who makes positive contributions to the Newsgroup.

Once again I'm indebted to the faithful BORK staff:
  • Craig Rodgerson
  • Peter C. Hugger Editor
This page is a summary of postings on the rec.kites Usenet news group that our editors believe to be interesting and useful.
Opinions expressed in these postings are not those of KiteLife Magazine or its staff.

Reviews Contents:
  • Utopia
  • Rev Shockwave
  • Zero Wind Kites
  • Elixir
  • Foils
  • Fighter Kites
  • Gemini
  • Illusion
  • Alien
  • Dodd Freestyle
  • Peel or C-Quad

Hi Dave and fellow/future Utopia pilots,

Glad to hear that you are enjoying Utopia. It is quite amazing and will grow on you even more as you put in the hours. Utopia is a definite learning experience in typical Martin Schob fashion :-)

I've been lucky to have been flying it for the past 3 months and it is all that you say and more. Of coarse, it helps a lot that you are a ""rabid" trick tail flyer" ;-)

Utopia responds best to a smooth "feeling" touch that remains in control throughout a maneuver rather than an aggressive "yank it, spank it" style that most associate with "trick" flying.

Just the slightest amount of tension should be felt in both lines during so called "slack line" maneuvers. Control inputs are very compact and vary in speed throughout the pull. Some moves start with a slow pull/push that acellerates, (axels/flat spins). Some start as a fast pull/push that decelerates, (back flip/flares).

Utopia is not a momentum based trick kite that you pop or jerk. Rather a flowing style that requires only enough slack to flatten out as you pull it into (and out of) flat spins. Too much slack and it can get out of control. Fortunately it has a predictable nose up glide and rock solid backflip, so if you get out of control, just give it slack and let it float on its own. It will usually get into a recoverable position or land for recovery all by itself.

A few tips for Utopia:

Re-glue the stops on the (solid carbon-'glass) wing tip spars. Several production Utopias and Icons (which use the same tip spar, though longer) have had these come loose and the wing tip will slide up into the leading edge spar.

As soon as you get somewhat comfortable with the minimal control inputs, switch to the Hi Performance setting. Control inputs become smaller and (to quote Martin) " require exact execution." Precision, stalls and slides improve from very good to EXCELLENT and there is less stress on the spreaders. Once you get used to the HP setting, you will never go back to the introductory settings (besides, it spoils the appearance).

I have heard from at least one pilot who has broken the spreader in only 8-10 mph winds in the introductory setting. Probably a damaged or defective spar though. I have flown mine (Hi Performance setting) in measured 18mph winds with no obvious stresses. In 3 months of flying and demos with many pilots, nothing has broken.

Utopia (like all of Martin's designs) does a beautiful fade launch, though a bit different from the TrickTails. With the kite on it's back nose towards pilot, take a few steps backward to get air to flow under the wing and Utopia will lift off the ground. Pull one line and it will rotate out into "normal" flight. Only a couple of inches of altitude are needed to rotate out of the fade. Very helpfull in turbulent wind when fades are difficult to hold. A very pretty transition/launch is to start in a pancake, (belly down-nose away) back Utopia into a fade and immediately pull one line to rotate out in one smooth-flowing maneuver.

Utopia is an awesome kite but not for everyone. It is nearly as different as going from dual line to quad. It is very much a learning experience and it has a lot to teach. It has capabilities way beyond many of the best of pilots. Think of it as an advanced degree in kite control as well as design. If you don't want to go back to flight school, Utopia is not for you.

Fortunately, if you don't get along with it you can display it as a work of art!

I (as well as several others) hope that Martin makes a full sized (3m?) "Team" version. Utopia has incredible "presence" in the sky as well as excellent precision, wind range, stalls-slides and great trick abilities. It is a natural for a competition kite in a larger scale. Besides, I want to put lights in the TailSail for night flies ;-)

Martin has hinted of an SUL version as well...

He also has Banners (8-9') with a Utopia(ish) TailSail on top, (quite elegent IMO) which should be available this fall.

Brian Todd Gone With The Wind Kites-International Utopia Manual and Field Card: http://www.gwtw-kite...1Utopinstr.html

kw12698@aol.com (KW12698) wrote:

>After spending a day with my "Production Utoipa" all I can think of is, "This kite only costs, how much?" ............Wow.........What a piece of work! Once outt'a the bag (the bag is very different too!) and fully assembled (read the instruction manual a couple times before you put it together) I set about flying in 3-5 mph winds. It's a very smooth flyer, with steady forward speed, instant snap stalls, tight spins, quick axles and flat spins, dumps wind nicely in a spin and backs down the window with perfect control. All the tricks are there, (and here is the killer), The flyer can adjust just about every facet of kite movement, nose billow, tailsail tension, mainsail tension, speed, precision, pull......from wild to mild. Factory settings worked excellent right outt'a the bag. The kite's frame (although it looks sort'a "fragile") is strong and stiff feeling when full of wind... The wind range is perfect for these Arizona Desert winds, light on the lines, silent, and silky smooth. Hand movements and flyer input are purrrrrrrrfect, sit back, relax, and the tricks just flow out, smooth as a peeled............onion.
Such a good value/price, how do they do that?
I don't know, but I sure do like enjoying it.
Can't wait to hear what ya'all have to say about this kite.


Yes, it seems to me that Flying Wings used the same sized sail clips for the standoffs and tail tension rod. I drilled the fittings out so the tail tension rod would fit. The sail clips are several 1/100 ths of an inch too small in diameter for the larger tail tension rod.



Thanks Brian T. for all the detailed tips and Utopia info, (while setting it up I did glue stopps) and a special thanks for putting the field card and Manual On-Line, as mine looked like my friend "the Mouse Potato" had printed it out on his old "Hewlett Packard"

"That's an awful big sky to fly in"
Dave in Arizona


Hi Steve and fellow Utopia pilots,

The clips for the standoffs are not the same as the TailSail clips, There are 2 distinct sizes (I have both in stock at the store) .080-.098" (standoffs) And .110" (TailSail).

The fit of the TailSail spreader is snug, but will relax with use. The easiest solution is a light sanding of the ends of the spar and before you assemble it, wipe a little oil from your forehead or nose onto the ends of the spar.

Hope that helps.

Gotta fly!
Brian Todd


I used to use a Kitemate for spar removal on TrickTail UL (same fittings as Utopia) but I watched Martin disassemble Utopia by twisting the spar out of the fitting. He pulls the spar from the T and gives it a twist and out it comes.

Lightly sand the ends of the TailSail spreader. Wipe a little nose/forehead oil on the spar ends when you assemble and it will be much easier. The fitting will relax a bit with use.

Hope that helps,

Gotta fly!
Brian Todd


Aernout Hetem wrote: Are there any reviews on the Utopia?
Am looking for an Light weather kite. Apparently the booklet with the kite states 1Mph and up.
Fact or fiction?

dont know, haven't flown mine yet

try http://www.gwtw-kite...ewbtutopia.html http://www.gwtw-kite...m/1.utopia.html

I fly, therefore I am, ...... happy :^) !
John Biggs

Rev Shockwave


I've recently bought myself a shockwave but can't get the thing to fly. After many frustrating hours i can manage to lauch it, but then I have big problems controling it. It refuses to respond to most hand movements and just turns and crashes - no matter what i do to try to turn it, it doesn't work, it just looses the wind ( even in the center of the window ). The kite sometimes appears to be over sensitive at times then at other times shows no response.

Does this kite need any particular wind conditions - at the moment my flying location is far from ideal - relatively light winds and quite a deal of turbulence from lots of surrounding trees .

I've watched the video that comes with the kite many times to no avail.

I have lots of experience with Benson kites and a big stack of Super10's, but this one is getting the better of me.

Please help............


I think that if you bought a Shockwave to learn to fly quad, you didn't make an good choice. The Shockwave and the SuperSonic are the most sensitive Revs that I know, I have som experience on the Rev I, the Rev Ii and the Rev 1.5 and on a Synergy, and when I tried the SuperSonic or the ShockWave, I was very surprised by its high degree of sensibility. It took me a while to adapt. It is definitely not a very forgiving kite, but once get get the hang of it, you're in for some serious fun.

If it really is your first quad, try to learn it together with somebody who has some quad experience, or even better, with a more forgiving quad kite.

I hope this helped.


First things first. I found that the lines from the factory do not come pre streched. Need to get that done first then make sure ALL the lines are the same lenth. Once all done, start with a nice clean air (no trees or building within 300 feet minimum), place the kite strate down wind. The first manuver to practice is going up and down. Try to keep the kite at the center of your window. If you go to far left or right, try using a short pull on the bottom lines to bring the kite back to center. Land and try again. Go up like 20 ft then down. Get the kite higher as you get used to the controls. Every hour of flying you want to swith the top lines and bottoom lines so they stretch out evenly. Do this for about 8 - 10 times till the lines stop streching. If you need more help just email me


Hi folks.

To complement the good advices given so far in this thread I have a few hints.

The first and most important point is to forget everything you know about controling dual line kites. The Revolution kites is controled mainly by rotations of the wrists.

Start in a moderate wind of about 10 to 15 mi/h (15 to 25 km/h) so the pull will not be too much but the kite will transmit enough pull to help you get the feel of it.

Try to grab the handles as far up as you can. The way I do it is by placing my thumb on the top plastic cap and holding the handle with the other fingers. My index and medius are in fact on the metal part between the top line and the foam pad. If the pull is a bit too strong I then grab the handle a little lower to get more leverage. I must also point that I try to keep the handles vertical (both palms of my hands are facing each other).

Since you have the video I presume the explanations are the same as for the Rev. I and II (these are the kite I own). Dont worry I also tried the Shockwave an Supersonic so I know of the handle and I can compare to other Revs. Anyway here is a brief resume of the main principles of control.

Visualise this kite as two independant sails. One on the left and one on the right. Each handle control the angle the sail makes with the wind or angle of attack. By rotating one handle so the top is closer to you and the bottom furter apart you rotate the sail so the top is closer to you and the bottom is further apart. Such an angle of attack will make the sail go up. If you reverse that rotation you reverse the angle of attack so the bottom of the sail will be closer and the top will be further apart. The resulting angle of attack will make the sail go backward.

Then, if you produce the same movement with the two hands you can make the kite go up by rotating both hands with your thumbs in and make the kite by rotating so the thumbs are out. Also, you can stop and hover the kite by adjusting both wrists rotation so the angle of attack become such that the wings are not going up or down. Practice with small movements. Try to keep both hands close together and dont use pull and push motion. Of course, try to stay in the center of the wind window for these first practices.

Then to rotate the kite you have to rotate only one wing while keepeing the other going at steady speed. For example, you are going up (try to go slowly). Both of your thumbs small be slightly in. Rotate the right thumb a bit more, making the right wing go a little bit faster. The net result will be a slow turn to the left. Do the same with the other hand to steer to the rigth and get back on a vertical path.

Then you can apply a little braking action with the opposite hand. Again, going up slowly, rotate your left thumb out a little. This will brake the left wing and the net result will be a sharper turn to the left. When you get the hang of that you can, of course, combine the two to make very sharp turns. In fact, more complete rotations in reverse directions will allow you to spin the kite on its axis.

Then you can try to do figures in the sky. You will discover that when the kite goes on a straigth line, say from left to rigth, it has a tendency to also drift toward the ground. Thats normal since the kite has weigth and the law of gravity is still working :-)

Then you can use pulling and pushing motion with your hands. If you visualise the kite while rotated so the leading edge is vertical and pointing toward the right, you can see that this is a sail held in the sky by the wind. So this sail needs its own angle of attack. Then to make it going up, the top of the sail needs to be closer to you and the bottom further apart. The top is controled by the left hand and the bottom is controlled, of course, by the right hand. So, if you pull the left hand toward you and push the rigth away from you, the whole kite sail angle of attack will allows it to rise. Similarly, pushing the left hand and pulling the rigth will makes the kite goes down. This is called a sliding motion.

These slides can be done at any angle and after some practice you will discover that you can slide on a curved trajectory to make even more spectacular figures.

Anyway, this is only the basics. Enough bla bla, go and take a good look at:


For many more informations and techniques.

Dont forget that the key to success is practice and, sometime, a lot of it.

Wind or no wind, fly for fun :-)
Jean (Johnny) Lemire


Hi Al,

I have recently bought a Supersonic which is similar to the Shockwave but smaller. I have been flying dual lines kites for six years but it done nothing to prepare me for quad flying. It is a different ball game all together!!!. After two months of flying the quad I am starting to get use to it and it is great fun. The ability to stop the kite and reverse it is amazing. I do not take the Supersonic out unless the wind is strong. In low wind it is very difficult to control.

Keep practicing


Wow, can you take one more lesson?

Your thumbs (top of the handles) are your brakes, reverse and speed control. The bottoms of the handles are what you steer with. If the left BOTTOM of the handle is pointing out, it will go left, if the right bottom handle is out it will go right. If both handles are pointing out--it will confuse the @#*# out of it. :) Make sure they are both pointing in. I say launch "Up & In"

Now always keep all four lines tight. *Major mistakes are tight lines and a launch with hands going forward and up, which gives the lines slack. Keep the lines tight or the wind will launch it for you.

If your elbows are bent and you launch, you have no where to go with your arms.**Step away from your hands before you launch!! This gives your arms extenstion and someplace to go with them. Do not put your hands away from you~that only loosens the lines.

Take off.. don't even go up 10 ft. up 2ft.- bring it down -up 2ft-down. Over & over till you feel the control in your thumbs.. If it goes to the left, push down harder on the right wing to straighten it. (here it's like riding a horse) Go up higher. Bring it down smoothly. If you go push push push.. the kite will go down down down.. if you go steady push.. you'll get a steady down. Practice your turns up high.

*Another common mistake people make is making the bottom of the handles go up (and they do have to go upside down sometimes) but then they lower them as soon as it's launched. Well, they just told the kite to come down, so it does. Keep the bottoms of the handles pointing up. Higher wind will keep it up there, lower wind you have to steer it up there.

Forward is the bottom of the handles pointig to where you want to go. Constant preasure on your thumbs will give it reverse. Slight pressure on your thumbs will control the speed. No matter what direction your coming down hit your brakes and it will stop. (That's Thumbs down) Thumbs down is not a lateral line down, but the rotating wrist action, so your tightening your bottom lines, too. Practice with your handles w/out the kite and picture what it will do to the line and the kite.

Most common mistake people make is not having enough wind. This is so frustrating! Be sure you've got about 8 mph.

Keep at it. You'll get it. Be sure and check your lines they can stretch! I had a 6" difference on my first Rev. (No wonder it flew funny) Have fun! Best Breezes,
Penny rkd2/#kites

Zero Wind Kites

> Thus I am often limited to light irregular winds in inland
> Orange County. I think I need a light wind kite to use on
> days when there isn't enough wind for my Benson Outer Space.

> There is a lot of buzz about the new Pro Wren which I am
> leaning towards. However I have heard good things about the
> Ozone (don't think I'm ready for a Vapor). I invite suggestions
> for a good full-sized light wind kite to complement my Benson
> Outer Space.

Hmm OS will fly pretty darn light with efficient handling. I can probably keep it in the air down to like 3. If you need lighter you are probably looking at something like an indoor/outdoor type kite.

The ozone is a good choice. It's pretty light and can handle alot of stuff. See the string about indoor kites et al. Anyway a nik nak is also a good one to consider. The can both be had for under $150 where as the prowren will cost you like alot more. I havent tried the prowren, so I wont be able to comment on it. I do have a wren and Jeff Howard makes some very nice stuff so I'm sure its also very good if you can swing the pricetag. The Vapor is also nice if you can swing the $$ and is framed in roughly the same breakability of stuff as teh prowren. the niknak and the ozone are a framed in more error forgiving stuff, so that might be the way to go. Anyway take a look at back messages on dejanews or something cuz this topic gets covered every couple weeks. Oh also I hear the Utopia flies very light too. Anyway try b4 u buy if you can.



If you are looking for a Full size kite for zero wind flying I would suggest looking at the Amazing by Level One of Germany. It's cost is $205 through Kinetic Kites. The name explains it all.

Check it out at Feline kites: http://www.revkites.com/aft-frame.htm

Kinetic Kites: http://www.telepath.com/kiteman/


> I have a 3D and a HotPepper. I like both, but the 3D comes out
> of the bag about 5 times as often as the HotPepper. It flies in
> lighter wind and seems to handle a wider wind range better.

> In the near future I will be looking to acquire a small 0-5 mph
> wind kite to fly (this should read crash) both indoors and out.
> I have been considering the 3D by Prism, the Babytana from HQ
> (smart colour scheme ! ) and the Hot Pepper( which I can't find
> a review on anywhere). These are all broadly speaking in the same
> price bracket,ie £30-£50 stg.
> I would welcome any personal preferences/observations/alternative
> suggestions. Wherever you may be, let your wind blow free?
> Thanks in advance
> Stu.

I own a Prism 3-D and love it. I have also built four Trick Tac kites which are UL kites (2-regular size, 1-150% scaled up, 1-115% scaled up). The 150% flies surprisingly similar to my 3-D and has a similar wingspan. The 3-D is quieter and tricks just slightly easier. As a newfound kite junkie, I am not experienced enough to do all the tricks either kite is capable of yet.


Howdy all-
I've been flying my Elixer for quite a few hours now and I'm really enjoying everything about it but the rather frequent walks I have to make to take the bridle line out from behind the outer stand off tabs at the trailing edge of the sail. I have put a cheat line on it and that's almost eliminated wing wraps (the ones I do get are very easy to undo). Could this be a trade off? Fixed wing wraps but a new bridle wrapping problem by installing a cheat line? Seems like it would snag before it was put on. I consider myself a normal flyer of several types of stunt kites from an Alien to a Trick Tail UL and can confidently fly them but this one's got me stumped. Am I the only one dealing with this? I could eliminate this problem by not doing any tricks that slack the bridle on it's back but they're too fun not to do. I have to say, aside from this snag problem, that the kite is way cool to fly (in any wind). I've been able to Cascade it easier than any kite I own and it's the ONLY one I can Flapjack.

Heh, it happens to me alot too. Sometimes even on my illusion I get snagged on the outer standoff clip too. I think it's a problem with the clip design or where it is used. It clamps onto that peg that goes through the sail, but when it's put on a tab like that there is a sharp bend between the tab and the sail clip so that it sticks out a little. That little protrusion snags the bridle and then the bridle forces the clip open a bit and gets stuck down inside, so you have to walk. What I like to do is take a piece of tape and slap it over the gap so the string cant get stuck there. Sometimes it still snags but you can at least jiggle it out so you dont have to walk. In comp that would be a no no cuz you wouldnt want to get caught at all. Maybe some kinda snag line would be good so that it just cant snag. BTW, you are right. The Elixir, is the easiest kite to flapjack I've ever tried. Good luck with your snag problems and let us know if you find a happy solution.
-- Walter J Park


I haven't had this problem with my Elixir (yet anyway), but had it big time with my Illusion, and Fanatic. I made a line from the upper spreader/leading edge point, to approx. the middle of the lower outboard leg of the bridle. On the Elixir the line should probably be more outboard since the tab you caught on is more outboard. Tie the line on the lower leg tight, but have enough slack that the line you add doesn't change any of Mark's excellent work. You don't want to effect the bridle in any way except to keep the lower leg from reaching that tab when slack. A couple of Prism fliers I know have actually changed the standoff connectors to a low profile model on their Illusions, but I didn't want to alter my tabs. Also I had the extra line already. WT P.S. There is a web page with a picture of this mod somewhere, help me out guys.

Dave Douglass


While browsing through "Into the Wind", I came across the Featured Kite, Parastunter ($49). I have a few hours of flight time under my belt with a small delta, and the Foils look attractive.

Would you recommend I move to a foil next? I have enjoyed watching the slow graceful motion of foils as I observed them in parks.

If a foil is a good "next step", which one would you recommend? I would like the thrill of "moderate Tug".

Also, can you comment on the additional equipment (Wrist straps, line, etc.) that would need to be included in the initial package price?

Also2, does anyone have an extra foil sitting around they would like to part with that meets the above criteria?

Thanks! Justin


>a 6' or so starter, rather than the 4'6" one, as it will probably be

I think you may be in for a surprized on the parastunter, By the way its 5' 6" NOT 4'6" and come with spectra pre sleeved 80 lb line, All I did was add a sky claw to this kite kit. Bang for the buck you can't go wrong, Yes I do agree that windancer may be a better kite but its also 2 times the price and bigger so I would hope it would preform better!

>more graceful, if that's what you want. But I have not been able to find a 6' cheapy on the net. I bought mine locally (Western Australia) from a kite shop.
One thing. As far as I can find out, these foils cannot be stacked. This was possible only with the FlexiFoil, as it attached right at the leading edge of the kite, lending itself to stacking. Stacked kites >present one of the most visually graceful and spectacular views, in my opinion.
As for equipment, WindDance have a handle drawing and description that I thought very sensible, and tell you how to build it. Lines depend on the conditions you fly in. Around here 150lb ++ line is popular, as we have strong winds. But this generates drag and in lighter winds can _be_ a drag. Light winds, shorter, lighter strings.
I would also suggest you organise a stake for launching/laying out strings etc. The sparless Foils are not as easy to launch as a delta, in a high wind. You need to weigh them down, or they flop about or even take off. You can't "lay them back" as you do a delta. Alternatively, you can use a fibreglass stake, and actually place the kite against it, so it folds back around it. To take off, tug on the strings as usual, and take a step back. I do have aproblem with flying back and forth acrsoo a sharp peice of fibreglass, however.
Sorry if I'm gibbering stuff at you that is "well, Duuuh!", but I feel better now <G>.
Nick White HEAD:Hertz Music
nwhite@iinet.net.au >please remove ns from my header email address to reply >....damn spam


I am only one step ahead of you in kite flying development. I have flown delats for quite a while, and have always hankered after foils. I could never make myself pay for the price of a FlexiFoil.

I think the ParaStunter package is not bad value, but I have opted to get a WindDance kite, which costs a fair bit more, and is a (hopefully) much higher performance kite.

Having said that, I originally bought something _like_ a ParaStunter; which is to say, an entry-level parafoil, although a little larger (6').

Foils ARE more graceful than Deltas. Read the WindDance pages to find out why. They are quite "rabid" about this <G>. Even my cheap starter one feels quite different from my 6' delta, and I prefer the feeling. It is possible to do some more violent maneuvres, but it requires more string/arm movement to achieve.

In a decent wind you certainly get pull! The kites are faster, generally, than the average stunt delta, and generate pretty impressive lift. I weigh over 80Kg (13 stone odd) and it can drag me about a bit. This can be adjusted for on the bridle, to an extent.

The only thought I had about the ParaStunter was that it may require a bit more wind to get going, being fairly small. And it will not be as graceful as a 6-8' foil, which is what you probably normally see, as it is much smaller. However, it may stunt quite well. that depends on its design. Like all kites, they can be built/bridled to behave in different ways. There are draggers and stunters <G.

My 6' model has flown, with moderate guidability, in winds less than 3-4mph...just enough to inflate the bags. It won't really perform in this, but was still predictable, even though the wind was just puffing. Many kites that can handle 30 ++ mph winds (which this one has) will not even _fly_ in 3-4mph, I reckon.

I reckon the cheaper foils differ from the more expensive ones in that they tend more to be "windbags" (no comments about this long post either <G>) in that the inflation openings are fairly wide, and the shape therefore loses a lot of its true foil shape. Therefore they have to set the bridle further back and use drag to generate lift. This slows them down and affects poerformance. Look at a WindDance, and you see that they follow a foil shape quite strongly on the leading edge. I hope they've managed this without too much risk of deflation! The leading edge of a wing is where most of the work starts and is done, so theoretically the WindDance will perform heaps better than my starter model.

So if you're not sure about foils, either find someone else's to fly (although I wouldn't let you....nothing personal, but if you plough _these_ into the ground, you can burst them! I have been told by those that _know_ that it's always someone else that busts your kite <G>) or buy the ParaStunter or another starter type, as they're cheaper. But they do have limitations, so you will probably want to try a _good_ one later, just to see how much better....etc Anyway that's what is happening to me. :-(

I am not a complete "bigger is better" freak, but I _would_ try to get a 6' or so starter, rather than the 4'6" one, as it will probably be more graceful, if that's what you want. But I have not been able to find a 6' cheapy on the net. I bought mine locally (Western Australia) from a kite shop.

One thing. As far as I can find out, these foils cannot be stacked. This was possible only with the FlexiFoil, as it attached right at the leading edge of the kite, lending itself to stacking. Stacked kites present one of the most visually graceful and spectacular views, in my opinion.

As for equipment, WindDance have a handle drawing and description that I thought very sensible, and tell you how to build it. Lines depend on the conditions you fly in. Around here 150lb ++ line is popular, as we have strong winds. But this generates drag and in lighter winds can _be_ a drag. Light winds, shorter, lighter strings.

I would also suggest you organise a stake for launching/laying out strings etc. The sparless Foils are not as easy to launch as a delta, in a high wind. You need to weigh them down, or they flop about or even take off. You can't "lay them back" as you do a delta. Alternatively, you can use a fibreglass stake, and actually place the kite against it, so it folds back around it. To take off, tug on the strings as usual, and take a step back. I do have aproblem with flying back and forth acrsoo a sharp peice of fibreglass, however.

Sorry if I'm gibbering stuff at you that is "well, Duuuh!", but I feel better now <G>.

Nick White HEAD:Hertz Music


i have a $70 6' Thunderfoil and its fun. i have the black, white and red one on 125ft spectra lines. it pulls really well and can pull me off balance sometimes. got mine at World Wind Kites in Austin Tx. check out their website: http://www.worldwind.com/

good luck, ben

Fighter Kites

In article <7if2gu$ea4@newsops.execpc.com>, Ted Reinke <treinke@execpc.com> wrote:
> >I've checked Deja News and see that apparently there has not been any recent requests for beginner - intermediate fighter kite recommendations. I do have a 20 yr. old Vic fighter ( mylar, wood spine and metal rod bow) which I happened to get out of storage and start flying about 6 weeks ago. I don't have much trouble keeping this classic in the air but now would like to expand my collection. Since I don't have anyone to "fight" with I fly this kite because of the active participation it requires. As a corollary to this question are there any commercial fighters to avoid because they are impossible to control without much experience with "lesser" models.

We've got a few reviews and discussons about fighters off rec.kites


under the heading of "Types of Fighters", and some plans if you want to make your own


It's not really very hard, all you need is some mylar, sticks and tape :)

Gina's web site has a fairly good list of commercial fighters


and shops that are selling fighter kites


Fabric fighters are a bit more durable for beginners or for high wind conditions where even the best flyer may pack it into the ground.

On thing you can do is check Gombergs' kite store listings


or check the Yellow Pages under "KITES" to see if there's any shops nearby.

If you're used to a Vics' then you'll probably be happier with another mylar kite rather than rip-stop. I can recommend Stafford Wallaces' mylar/ bamboo fighters. They fly very well. I believe you can still get them in the states from Rick Miller ( kitefiter@lascruces.com ) or directly from Stafford in England ( stafford@lucknow.demon.co.uk ).

Bruce Lambert has bunches of Indonesian Paper fighters for reasonable prices


Glad you're in the air again and good winds to ya. -- "Chickenoids From Jupiter Landed In My WC Tank And Ate Forty-Eight Of My Best Tangerines" Claims Cindi Lauper -- Brian Johnsen johnsen@eskimo.com


I've got a lot of kites, but I've had more fun with my PKC Fighter than any other. You can read my completely unbiased (right!) review at: http://www.csun.edu/...33/review4.html

Durability has been a key feature of this kite. If I had to worry about where the ground is all the time, it would be a shame. I like to bounce or roll this one and head back into the air!

You can buy these and just about any thing else (kite related) at Gone With The Wind http://www.gwtw-kite...erkitepage.html



Hi there,

I'd recommend a Patang, made by Richard Gareau...I think you can get them from WindPower sports, (www.windpowersports.com)

There is a picture of one at my website, on the "kitebag" page. There is also a link to Richard's kites at my links page.

Best wishes, Steve Rezac


I would like to recommend a couple of websites you should check out. First, try www.csun.edu/~hfoao033/fighters.html. This site is hosted by Gina Hsuing, whose husband Johnny is one of the best fighter fliers around. It contains LOTS of info of all kinds about fighter kites, fliers, clubs, store, events, etc. HIGHLY recommended. Also, check out www.eskimo.com/~johnsen/nfka. This is the site of the Northwest Fighter Kite Association, hosted by Brian Johnsen, also a top flier (and all-around good guy).

Steve Millspaugh


To be honest, I am not a fighter kite expert, far from it. As a matter of fact, I have a hard time flying fighter kites. Except for one: Jeff Howard's Indoor/Zero Wind Fighter. It is easy as all get up to fly and has an incredible wind range. It flies incredibly well indoors and out. Relaunches nicely, better than the outdoor versions. It's quick, accurate and a blast to fly. I keep it in the car all the time just in case.

With summer coming and calm winds just around the corner, I'm glad I have it.

And as far as I know, it's name is original. It needs a better name though, like Whispering Thunder or something.

Keep Looking Up! Mike Reagan


I was fortunate enough to spend quite a long time flying the new Benson/Wardley Gemini kite this weekend at Bath Kite Festival, so here are my preliminary thoughts. This is all IMHO and I reserve the right to change my view on any of what I have written at any point in the future ;-) This was the first public viewing of the production version of the new twin-spined kite. A blank prototype was at Blackheath and you can see a picture of that kite here: http://www.slack.org...ject-aurora.jpg A few changes have been made since that kite, but you get the idea...

During the afternoon/evening of Bath Kite Festival, I managed to spend a good amount of time flying the Gemini. What can I say? Well, firstly, the sail design is /great/. I find it really attractive. It is not overly complicated and does not use loads of colours, but that is what makes it so good. I have a couple of photos of it, but I'll need to fire off another 32 photos before the film comes out of the camera...

Anyhow as far as flying the thing goes, I found that it was, without a doubt, the best kite I have ever flown. Now, before I go on, bear in mind that I have not flown all the kites that there are on the market, nor have I yet flown the Area51, and as some of you know, I am a fan of the 'Benson feel'. So what did I like about the kite? All IMHO, of course...

Well, to start simple, it axels much better (nicer motion through the air) than a BoT, 540s are straightforward and easy, the oversteer that was apparent in the Blackheath prototype has gone and it flies like the rest of the Bensons. It does actually /feel/ like the other Benson kites I have flown --- in other words, I immediately felt comfortable with it. Continuing, the Gemini is a Cascade/Fountain machine. My Cascades are never that good, but with the Gemini, you just pop the line, the kite axels and then sits there waiting. You pop the other line, the kite axels and then sits there waiting. You pop the first line again, the kite axels and sits there waiting... You get the idea. No skill required --- even I can do it. I managed to get a couple of untidy fountains and the cascades pretty much just hung in the same spot in the sky (probably because I was doing full rather than half axels...).

I noticed that this kite is not quite as easy to Lazy Susan as the prototype I was playing with at Blackheath, but hey... It seems to Flic Flac quite nicely when you get it right.

Erm, what else... Well one /great/ thing I noticed was that I can do really solid 3 (4? :-) point landings with it. With the BoT, my landings are never /that/ great; I come towards the ground, snap the kite to dump the air for a landing and find that the kite hovers a little off horizontal for a split second, then catches the wind and flies off again. With the Gemini, I come in from /any/ angle, snap the kite, it rotates just the right amount so that the wingtips are parallel to the ground and then sits there waiting... and waiting. So I start to walk forwards and the kite gently lowers itself to its wingtips. Wow.

The kite seems to track straight and Richard Beckett was claiming to be able cut square corners with it.

There was something I found slightly perculiar about the kite; not bad perculiar; in fact it was rather good; it's just that I have not experienced it to this extent before. While the kite was driving through the air, it really generated a good amount of feedback and pull on the lines. As soon as you hit the stall, the kite goes into floaty mode. None of this immediate pick up and rush off; you simply have plenty of time to do the tricks you want, think about it, pause to catch your breath, then fly away. Super.

I found that I couldn't dead launch this final version like I could the proto at Blackheath, but who cares...

So, finally, onto that bit you all want to hear about... Backspins! So I started trying to Backspin the kite. My major problem was getting the kite into a good fade. Although Tim and Andy seemed able to get the kite into a solid fade, it didn't work quite so well for me. Ah, quick note here, the Gemini did not seem to be the kind of kite that you could fade, stake down and walk away, but that does mean that you get superior flic flac performance. Anyhow, Andy wandered up and said, "Dave, you'll find it easier if as you come to the edge of the window, you pop the axel with the outside hand, then fade, then give plenty of slack to one hand and then pop the backspin with the same hand". Okay thinks Dave, I'll do exactly that. First two attempts were a bit messy and didn't work; third attempt, I hit a fairly shakey fade, reached way out with my right arm and popped. Backspin! Pop. Backspin! Pop. Backspin! Well, I got about 6 or seven Backspins out of the kite before I made the recovery and flew off. Er, how cool? Well, there you have it, one sentence of instruction and I managed to get the kite backspinning.

To sum up the kite. It is a kite that will happily do all the tricks that I know how to do with such ease and grace. It flies really nicely and if you like flying Benson kites, you won't find it in any way odd to fly. This is why I say that it is without a doubt the best kite I have ever flown. I want one. I /really/ want one. I wonder what I can sell in order to buy one. Let's try this:

Andy, nice kite you've designed there, Mister. Can I have one please?

Well, if that doesn't work, then I reckon that this kite slutting business is not all it is cracked up to be.


email: dave@kites.org.uk


What are you after? The Illusion is the most versatile kite in my bag for the 4 to 15mph range. Prism rates the kite to 20mph and it will do it, but I don't care for it that high. After about 10 to 12mph it is more comfortable to fly precision, and stop tricking for me. Wonderful straight lines, sharp corners, and more tricks than I am capable of. Flick Flacs are kind of slow, but graceful. If you want more precision from Prism, go Prophecy. If you want more tricks, go Elixir. If you want to do it all, the Illusion. Prism kites have a "feel" to them just like Benson kites have a "feel" to them. Each are different, not necessarily better than the other. WT


The sales talk goes only half way! My Illusion is my kite of choice most times I am out on the field. I even own four of them and my SO has another. It is a great light wind flyer. It is wonderful at 5-8 mph, just floating there waiting for you to ask it to do something. It is a little work at 3-4 but still is fun and I am sure there are others that fly it down to zero but that is starting to be too much work for me. Over 8 mph it gets pretty fast. It is still lots of fun but you need to pay attention. While it is rated to 20 mph, I never fly it in much over 14-15 and anyway I have a vented Illusion for then which is another story (if you like double axles give one a try). My 97 Illusion was pretty fragile and I felt like an unpaid test pilot with that one or worse considering what I spent on replacing spars, but the newer ones are tough. I slam them into the ground pretty hard doing an axle landing in 15 mph wind and I have perhaps only replaced one or two spars on my Illusions in the past year. It is the best kite in my bag.

Tony Heeschen


I'm a relative newcomer to sport kites and I can honestly say my Illusion is the best investment I've made. When I started flying it back in January it was so easy and forgiving I had a ton of fun just goofing around. When I started to get more serious about improving my skills the Illusion was a perfect partner. It really is an all-around kite. If I had to have just one kite, it would be my custom red, grey and white Illy.

I have found the GForce-UL rods to be a bit less durable than the SkyShark rods in another kite, but two sticks in six months is no big deal. In general the kite has taken a great deal of abuse, especially some serious high wind flying to be ready for anything I might have to fly in in competion. The Illy can pull pretty hard in the upper wind range, so I'm planning on getting a vented version as soon as I can.



Oooooh. And they call *ME* bitchy ?!? :-)

Here's my $1.95 on the Illusion (2c for MY thoughts ?!?).

It's one of the best allround kites. It's not the Holy Grail of stunt kite design (perfect at everything) but there's only a few kites that I've flown that mix it up quite as well as the Illusion.

If you want one kite to do lots of stuff with it's a good choice. If you want to really excel in one extreme aspect of flying (be it figures or tricks) then choose a specialised kite without the compromises.

The Precision side of the Illusion is due to the responsiveness of the kite. You fly this kite precisely rather than it being naturally precise. Unless you pay close attention to it will wander.

It is extremely adaptable to line length. It will happily accept 30' or 130' lines. Some other kites really *need* short or long lines. The Illusion copes with a wide range.

If you fly in changeable winds expect quite a lot of fiddling with the standoff and bridle adjustments to keep it in trim. They make a difference to the flight performance (notably pull/speed). Finding your own "sweet spot" for a particular wind can be tiresome or part of the fun. You choose.

You'll break spars. You just will.

You must make your own appraisal as to whether or not it's worth the money. Prism have done a good job (in marketing terms) of moving the price point for full-sized kites upwards but for the same money you could also purchase a custom-made, craftsman kite. As well made as the Illusion is (and it is very good) it is still a production line kite.

Conclusion: one very good kite but let's not get carried away. Justifiably popular (mine is a year old and is #2200) so Prism must be doing something right.

I now await reprisals from the Prism Glee Club. :-) Mike.


I sold my Illusion, because it just was not my type of kite. As someone mentioned Prism kites have a different "feel" from Benson kites.

I love Tim Bensons kites, pity I can't say the same about Prism's kites. But that's just my preference.

Try one before you buy it... just in case it's not what you want.

Cheers Jo


Hi there,
after a period of doubt, I decided to buy the Prism Alien in stead of the Psycho.... now i don`t know if that was the right choice... The main problem with the alien is, that is tends to catch the line.... very irritating. I have fussed around with bridle settings and agreed that the best setting is the innermost whisker, and lowered the bridle 2 or 3 mm`s.
But it still is hard to axel without catching the line. Sometimes it`s better than oher times, but then when i compare it to my JamSession and BoT, it`s rather strange. These two kites just axle, and the BoT is really easy... pull and *flap* it axels. But the alien -pull- *wrap* > *maybe axel*
Is there a special technique involved in tricking the Alien?
I have tried more slack, less slack but there isn`t much improvement...
Thanx for the advice!!

Very strange indeed since the Alien is probably the most forgiving kite I've ever flown. (do you have the stock trick line attached?) just curious. I've found that tip wraps (for me) were the result of not enough slack when performing an axel. When I started to learn the axel wraps were a problem, but a year later they are rare and certainly unheard of with the Alien for sure. This kite is capible of double and triple axels with ease (with far more slack required for the dbl and triples.) Below in your text you mention you... - pull - *wrap* axel... the axel is really a pop not a pull. Pulling for an axel will not provide slack fast enough to keep the line to taught to clear the wing tip. A "pop" at your side or across the front of you pops the kite into a rotation and quickly provides the slack needed to get the line out of the way of the wing tip.


The two things I can think of that seem to be different with the Alien and axles when I'm flying are: 1. If you are doing axles from a stall, make sure you are popping the line on the wing that has the highest wing tip. If you pop the lower one you get wraps with the Alien. Not so with a lot of other kites. 2. I often times do an axle without giving slack to the off hand until after the kite starts the rotation. This gives axles that aren't as flat, and rotate around a wing which is how I get double, and triple axles. WT


Trade it for a Psycho It's the most fun I've had with a kite in high winds and very undersold. Nothing will teach you how to trick a kite like a Psycho. (and I have no connection with Flexifoil!) Incidentally a short length of 4 mm rod glued inside the top of the lower leading edge rod saves an awful lot of carbon and only seems to add slightly to the oversteer ;-)

-- 0 Mike Armstrong


Hi There,

I have a Alien and a Psycho. I have no problems with the Alien. I can Axel or double Axel it at will with no problems. I would say it is an easy kite to Axel anywhere in the window. I am sorry I can't help with special "techniques".




I had about the same experience, the only difference was that I was looking for a high wind trick kite, owning already a Box of Tricks.

The first weeks on the Alien were very dissapointing, but since on our coast (Belgium) as well as on yours, we have more of 4 bft then 2 bft, I kept using the Alien. And to my surprise, after a few months, those wing wraps dissapeared. And now, sometimes I mind that wind is too light to unpack the Alien.

I think the Alien is a kite that you have to get used to. Probably timing is important. It is hard to give you any tips, since I didn't saw you fly the Alien. I would advise you to keep on trying, you will get there, and discover the real Alien.

Dodd Freestyle

Kent Williams wrote:

> I'm considering getting a Dodd's Freestyle. How does this kite compare with the most popular freestyle kites out there? How does it compare to a Box of Tricks, for instance? If anyone has flown it and preferred a different kite, could you explain your reasons for choosing a different kite? Thanks in advance! -Kent : Utah Kite Nerd

Hi There,

I have a Freestyle and I love it. It is a graceful kite that can trick well. I don't think you can compare it to the BOT since the BOT is a higher aspect ratio kite hence more "radical". I have a Psycho and an Alien which are much faster kites for higher wind but when the wind is moderate I always go to the Freestyle. Recently I managed to get the Freestyle to fade which is great. If I had a choice I would have bought it again.



Peel or C-Quad

Well... Peel or C-Quad... That make shtings much more clear.

Peels (parafoils) are more powerful. C-Quads are single surface kites... Made to be used over water where foils have a big disadvantage when they get wet.

So it isn't the kite that matters so much... but the application where it is used.

Hammers are great tools... But a saw cuts wood better. (That old kites to carpentry analogy again)



Coreykite wrote: > > Peels (parafoils) are more powerful.

Uh, no. Area for area, C-Quads are far more powerfull than Peels.

It's amazing the amount of mis-information here on the web. :) (Sorry Corey, couldn't resist...just ribbing you)

I own a CQ 3.2 and 2.2, my frind Job owns a Peel 3.6 and 6.4UL (which is sitting in my livingroom awaiting repairs). I can say from experience that the C-Quads are definatly more powerfull, and you have much more control over that power.

That said...the C-Quads are crap quality wise. They fall apart. It has been rumored that there is a new improved model, but if you are looking to buy one, check to see if the bridle is tied directly to the frame, or to webbing tabs. If it's tied directly - don't buy it. It's the old model, and you will be repairing it almost daily.

BTW, there are pics of these kites in action on my page... http:\\www.digitalfidelity.com\kites (URL sic...but linked accurately...ED.)

Enjoy! Gene Matocha


Oops. I think you have not used C-quad much Mr. Bensen. My experience, though limited at this point, says the opposite. Inch for inch.

Now we also know why she crossed the road. . .

total AoxomoxoA brought to you by. . . . . . dean jordan


huh? I've been flying mine for 5 months now and have had no trouble at all I do see some wear on one of the leading edge bridle lines where it goes round the spar, but it's only a few fluffy threads. I figured it was just some ground work's fault, and I plan not to do that anymore.

steam and wind


You've gotten lucky, or they are selling a different version here in the US. Both of mine have broken numerous times. The two other people I know personally who own them have had theirs break - the entire bridle of Bernd's 2.2 came off the kite 10 minutes after it came out of the bag! If you need more convincing, search dejanews for C-Quad articles since about March...it's all complaints about broken kites.

Peter Lynn has come out with an outstanding design. If he doesn't make it reasonably durable, however, he is going to loose a lot of market as soon as another company comes out with a similar design.

Enjoy! Gene Matocha
Mike Gillard

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: archive, rec.kites, reviews, utopia, shockwave, elixir, gemini, alien, zero wind

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Sign In