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Flying a zen


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#1 ahofer

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:14 AM

I took out my zen again yesterday when the wind died down in the evening. I was flying on 50 foot lines and what I found really frustrating was that I couldn't find a setting on my leaders that gave me enough 'down' but flew normally with the leading edge up. I use 15" handles with 1.5s and 13" with B2s, so I wonder if longer handles might help me get the range I'm looking for.

Not that I fly it all that often. The chief use of the Zen for the Jersey Crew is that the wind tends to pick up right after you set one up. So it is a solution for low wind, but you never actually fly it - just leave it staked at the side of the flying grounds. It worked last night as well.
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#2 SkyPuppet

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:25 AM

Hello ahofer,

Based on what you described above, I'd say the reason you couldn't find a good "neutral" setting was due to bad wind. Not a lack of wind, just a poor wind condition.
I feel like I experience these conditions too. When the wind is poor and I'm flying the Zen, I forget about trying to fly upright hovers, upright slides, and upright clockwork positions.
I think that moving to longer handles in this situation would make your setup very sensitive, but not more responsive. Meaning you could easily pull harder on the brake, but a harder pull isn't necessarily going to make the brake work better. This is how it feels for me, anyways, when I move from 13" to 15" handles when flying the Zen in the above-described conditions. Anything is worth a try though, and maybe someone has 17" handles you could borrow?

I hope someone has a solution! I could use the advice myself.

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#3 Clin

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:55 PM

I took out my zen again yesterday when the wind died down in the evening. I was flying on 50 foot lines and what I found really frustrating was that I couldn't find a setting on my leaders that gave me enough 'down' but flew normally with the leading edge up. I use 15" handles with 1.5s and 13" with B2s, so I wonder if longer handles might help me get the range I'm looking for.

Not that I fly it all that often. The chief use of the Zen for the Jersey Crew is that the wind tends to pick up right after you set one up. So it is a solution for low wind, but you never actually fly it - just leave it staked at the side of the flying grounds. It worked last night as well.


Are you using the stock Zen rods?

#4 REVflyer

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 03:42 AM

some of the Zen's excessive mass (it is large overall though!) helps it to penetrate squirrly wind. I fly mine on longer lines (90# 90ft or 120ft 50#) than you were using. Location can have a profound impact, bad wind is bad wind regardless of the kite, nothing flies in the deadly hoover vacuum-cleaner tight spiral swirls!

My kites has the stock Zen frame and I think it is perfect for my needs. For ultimate tricking around and 3D stuff I use 60 feet of Skybond 100# on 17 inch handles made of titanium tube. That measurement distance is NOT the length of the tube, it is the gap between the two attachment points.

You set up the zen to fly in reverse, (start with the leading edge inverted, keep adding "down" until it will back-up, you may need to walk backwards in a dead calm) then add an inch of forward (or some part thereof only IF it absolutely will not go forward at all!) Now the sail is square to the wind.

Handle lengths matter only as to how much effort you want to expel, longer length is more sensitive (or "responsive" depending on your comfort level and point of view). Shorter handles are smoother in flight dynamics, more of using both handles in opposite direction to effect flight, as opposed to just yanking on one side severely.

Since the Zen is a large presence, so also shall your movements be large, particularly if is dead calm outside. Face it, YOU are the wind, either thru arms, feet or the kite's movement, sometimes all three!!!

take some time and insure your lines and handles align perfectly before you affix to the kite.

Examine your footing carefully,..... where are you going to go? Can you recover your field, or throw the kite back to where you started? Can you 360 back to your starting point? If the lines are short enough, you could work on your up & overs, maybe even backwards?!!?

Take frequent breaks in the action, you are muscling the kite around (but making it look all smooth, graceful and planned-out)

You can make longer handles, just investigate some of the methods that have been used previously. for years we forced fiberglass tubes into the ends of Rev2 handles, then epoxied Rev end-caps onto the ends of these inserts. There are lots of choices of materials, maybe your neighbor has a pipe bender, just like mine. You don't necessarily need them too strong either, they are for low wind after all. Aluminum tubes will make a nice light weight set, you don't need spaceship worthy materials.

When the flying conditions just suck is when you will benefit/learn the most. Take breaks, but keep coming back to your mission impossible, it will get easier with more time invested.

#5 quaa714

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:35 AM

You set up the zen to fly in reverse, (start with the leading edge inverted, keep adding "down" until it will back-up, you may need to walk backwards in a dead calm) then add an inch of forward (or some part thereof only IF it absolutely will not go forward at all!) Now the sail is square to the wind.


When the flying conditions just suck is when you will benefit/learn the most. Take breaks, but keep coming back to your mission impossible, it will get easier with more time invested.




The above 2 points cannot be stressed enough.

While the first seems counterintuitive (why put so much down in a kite when you're trying to get it up) when the reality is, in a light wind, most of your flight will be inverted so why not keep the sail flat/squared to the wind with as much sail area as possible?!

As for point 2, while it is frustrating and an energy drain, not to mention down right annoying to fail at an appointed task, taking the time to learn light wind flying techniques, goes a long way to making a seemingly bad day to fly a good one!!!! Stay with it, be aware of your surroundings and stay safe...........

"Cya in the Sand!....."

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