1.5 SLE vs B
Posted 03 May 2010 - 11:36 PM
Just something I'm wondering more than a question...
Aside from the frames and the B being designed with vertical channels to account for stretch over time (or venting), what are the performance differences between a B and a SLE sail?
I have a SLE full sail (2009 spec) and a full vent B series, so I can't really do a direct comparison on weight, flight characteristics, etc.
Assuming the same frame, winds, lines, etc - what would the differences between a SLE and a B series be?
More curiosity than a question to solve a problem. I'll no doubt end up with a full sail B down the line anyway, just wondering out loud. Unless I can get my hands on a Bazzer Double Dragon that is, in which case the B series can wait.
Posted 04 May 2010 - 03:41 AM
Why is tougher to answer, other than it feels better, . . . the kite's more alive if you will, on the end of the strings. I believe the pro backs up better because of how the sail parameter is sewn. Two rows of straight stitches instead of the triple zig-zag makes the trailing edge more of ribbon shape, tight and sharp enough that it feels like it cuts thru the air easier/smoother when flying in reverse.
The leading edge shape has over time (pro, B-series, old-style SLE) received a more pronounced curve too, inches now instead of centimeters.
The down spars have been moved closer towards the center and there's also more sail area there than ever before, (better float/center rotational spins but less "left and right individual sidedness", I'm not sure I'd say (out loud) more neutral, but that's the impression I'm left with as I evaluate their different models by direct comparison.
This weekend I demanded my friend Dave Ashworth RE-tune his home-built, so it flies more like a pro series 1.5. He has too much leading edge curve, also tried little micro-carbon battens to shape the sail (works well indoors). It has 3 removable covers (velcro closed) on each wing to tune for different wind conditions, plus an adjustable french bridle. In flight his kite wants to spin centered and I want him to do a corner rotation. Dave can't stick one wind absolutely stationary and move only the other with that kite's current configuration. We switched off kites (doing pairs demos together to mystery ballet by kitebus/Terry Murray) so he could feel my objective.
The experience of Dave as a quad pilot or his legendary building skills are not being called out, but the kites in pairs (or team) do all need to fly the same, so the pilots could use any of them interchangeably. He's an engineer geek (an advisor to the secretary of the navy professionally!), so only changing one variable at time is tough for him to accomplish. On the other side though, he has pushed the boundaries with many trials of errors and huge successes. He would never make the same kite twice, there are always new variables to be explored. Dave Ashworth is a purest, in a dozen years we've been friends I've never seen him pull a visa-card kite from his bag. Here's an prime example, he had the Airbow design at least 8 years before Tim Benson came out with his commercial model! Dave even sews his own down clothing, when he could just as easily have ordered it from Cabela's with the club's logo embroidered on. He makes his own furniture and these finished products look like they could be the illustration image on the cover of Good Housekeeping! How about those famous micro-adjustable quad handles with no knots?
Here's the key thing to remember about the pro series 1.5s.
I am a member of a local kite club with many exceptional kite builders, including a past grand national AKA champion. All of us fly quads together and we have been experimenting/modifying for years. Burka, Dugard, Mosman, King, Ames, myself, all these guys BUY pro-series kites now because they recognize they couldn't make it better themselves anymore. Believe me, that wasn't always the case!
Posted 04 May 2010 - 05:19 AM
I bought an SLE not long after they came out ('98, maybe?) and the fabric is still stiff. Never liked the kite. I didn't buy, and barely flew, another 1.5 until June, 2007 when Elliott Shook handed me the handles to a B up on Jockey's Ridge. I bought one that night, and a full-vent a few months later (the mid-vent wasn't out yet). Since then I've bought a total of 6 B-series kites, including Pros and a Zen. As Paul says, there's simply no point in building my own (well, other than my custom 6')
Paul covered some of the structural differences beyond the sail layout (increased camber, deeper belly, etc.). To me the kite has more presence, more precision.
That said, it'll still come down to what you want to look at on the end of your lines -- many people choose to fly masterpiece series kites because they're beautiful, even though many of them have heavier sails with layers of nylon fabric and/or paint.
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