It's just a kite
Posted by bartman, 10 May 2009 · 36 views
Those four words, typed by John B. just hours before he would be leaving Japan were just what I needed. Perfect timing.
My friend and I were leaving on a three hour drive for a Fun Fly. The weather forecast, yet again, was not looking good. I was still feeling down about the lack of good weather, the lack of good flying and the lack of any kind of advancement. I didn't feel confident that I'd be doing any better with a snap turn this time than the last couple of times I tried to wrap my head around it. "It's just a kite", got me thinking that perhaps I shouldn't worry about anything at the fun fly and just do, well, whatever.
We arrived at the field to be treated to very little wind and pending rain. There were a few single line big kites staked and in the air and that was it.
The plan was to meet kitecowboy for the first time. I didn't see any other Revs in the field so wasn't sure if he just hadn't made it down yet or had to cancel. Mike, our host, said he was already setting up and pointed him out. He was busy getting his family set up with kites and hadn't broke out his lime/black b-series yet. Some quick introductions were in order then down to business. My friend got his foil in the air and Cowboy (Paul) and I set up our std sails with the race rods and 120 foot lines. Neither of us has tried the 120's before. I normally use 100 at home and didn't find it too different to go to 120, but Paul used much shorter so it was a big change for him.
It was a challenge to fly for both of us in the low (at best) wind and at times we just had to put down and just wait for more breeze. As we did get wind we worked and "getting closer" to each other and sharing the same air space. For us, that was a big deal. Neither of us have ever flown with another Rev pilot in the immediate area and we were more than a little concerned about a mid-air accident. I suggested that we try something "simple" like a circle and just do one line wrap before reversing. We decided the worst that could happen would be that we would fall out of the sky and need to untangle. So after a couple false starts and early bailouts we did a circle and undid the circle and stayed in the air. We gritted our teeth when our lines wrapped around each other and made the most horrifying noise I've ever heard. Clearly one must learn to not listen to that and to look beyond that twist 'cause it will freak out the first timer big time! At least we are not line wrap virgins anymore. I hope it was good for Paul as well... lol.
It was later in the afternoon, after the 10 minute rain shower, that things got most interesting. Finally a half decent wind came around so it was less fighting the wind to stay in the air and more "fun fly." We were able to manage decent enough hovers to put our leading edges together and maintain it for a few seconds. We called it "the bowtie". Everyone else calls it "kissing". I'm here to tell you it was a BOWTIE! We tried "stacking" which was much harder to do without banging the kites together. We shared air space with little fear of each other, but lots of fear from Paul's wife Candace (who was just flying her first Rev that day and scared us many times as it darted into the window from out of nowhere) and his six year old son Joe who drove a dual line around the sky with purpose and no fear and into our space as well. Thankfully we had brakes and reverse to get out of the way! Good practice for us since no time to think about it, just do it!)
My friend tried Paul's big foil and was doing good until a major gust took the wind from little to a lot instantly. He was airborne for a second then dragged about 20 feet. We missed it as did everyone else which he was grateful for, but he hurt himself enough to pack up for the last hour. His shoulders are a bit sore today, but he's still laughing about it. The story now is us "Rev Snobs" put the boots to him for flying a foil near us. He's upgrading his own foil now to a quad line and has been talking about a buggy so perhaps next year he'll be running us over.
Many highlights at the fun fly. I got to share the air with another Rev pilot, got to try tricks and moves that can't be done with just one flyer, got to just have fun and forgot about what I can't do (although I did manage a 12 to 3 snap turn once), was doing inverted, stable hovers with less brake than I have ever used before without the kite sinking in the process and got to be a celebrity with Paul as the local paper took our photos and information!
Probably the best, though, was meeting Paul and his family. If you have ever wondered what kitecowboy was like I can tell you that the way he is here is the way he was in person. A fun guy! We spent the majority of the time laughing and just playing in the air. The time went far too fast before we had to make our respective drives back home.
Thanks for the fun!