Checking the Member Map shows some people around you, not sure if it's within reason or not - that depends on how bad you want it.
I've learned the majority of the time on my own (save for one trip to the USA so far) so it's possible to learn long distance, it just takes longer. By longer I mean it takes longer to reach the same level you see in videos of other people, but it does not take long to be able to keep it in the air, fly around and be happy.
If you cannot get together with anyone, be sure to read everything you can here, check out the videos at http://www.learnkites.com/ and ask lots of questions.
If at all possible I would extend your definition of "within reason" as much as possible just once so you can get a few hours (or more) with someone who can set you on the correct path. Once you are on the right track, then learning from a distance is much quicker and easier.
As an example, just today I spend about 40 minutes on the beach with an entirely competant power kiter who is also capable of flying dual lines, some single lines and has been flying old Rev 2's (with the 2 piece leading edge) on and off for some time now. He had just purchased my spare B-series set from me while he was down at the coast so I was keen to fly with him and introduce him to the current school of though when it comes to flying Revs. He was on a stock 1.5 vented and I was on my vented - the only difference was the leader setup. Just showing him the current thinking regarding tuning and making him fly my Rev on my tuning has made a big difference to his thinking and literally 2 minutes on my handles has changed the way he plans to fly. He was able to fly his stock setup without any crashes (he IS a competant kite flyer in general), but that one little short event has changed everything and I can see some real enthusiasm. I'm not sure how well the lessons of line management, sail loading, recoveries, drills, etc hit home ... it's the 2 minutes of handle time along with the general chat about tuning throughout that has changed everything for him.
Even if you have to drive 2-3 hours just once ... if you do it to get a few hours with someone who can set you straight it will make a huge difference in your life.
For me, even though I could fly with confidence, engage in team flying and had been at it for over 2 years ... there were tiny moments in the USA when I went that made a dramatic impact on my flying, so its ALWAYS worthwhile if you can get together with people from time to time.
Okay ... the rumors are now officially true ... I'll be there
This swung back and forth a few times between happening and not happening for various reasons, but my flights have JUST been paid for so it's a done deal.
Since my time will be limited I'm not going to be pacing myself so I may be delerious from the sun, wind, flying or exhaustion .... don't let that stop you - please come say hi, chat and fly with me ... no sympathy for me, I will rest once I'm home.
Someone even commented about how parents should hire me and my kite to run their kids tired .... I told them they should see what I can do with dogs ... wonder if I can drum up enough business that way to fly for a living
This weekend I once again had to opportunity to fly for Windsong Kites at the Durban International Boat and Lifestyle Show (http://www.durbanboatshow.co.za/). Last year was the first time we did this and I had a great time, so I didn't hesitate to do it again this year.
The flight location is in a section of reclaimed land inside the harbour itself which normally one would not have access to just go and fly at. It has a reasonable range that the wind can come from and still be flyable so it's nice to be able to get on there and fly. If you take a look at https://maps.google.....00327&t=h&z=19 you can see them actually in the process of reclaiming and building that section.
Last year the Saterday had big wind (I was on my B2 vented) and Sunday was wind so low that I was the only one flying
This year we had super low wind on Saterday (thank goodness for a years worth of skills development, but even the Zen struggled at times) and low to flyable wind on Sunday. The whole weekend was spent on the full sail with a bit of Zen thrown in on Saterday at times. The best fit for line length both last year and this year was 30' lines to allow me to get close to the people and not have to worry about space issues as the winds shift and the show kites now take up part of my window or block my wind. The 30's also allow for lots of 3D work, quick figures in the sky and lets you talk to people while you play with them.
The Saterday weather was a bit bleak and while the rain mostly stayed away, so did the people. Sunday was another story - the crowds were out in full force. In addition to what show kites Greg from Windsong could get in the air (Saterday was almost an exclusive 'Steve on a Rev' day), my Rev Padawan Johnny was able to join me for his first taste of show kites and flying at an event. He's only been at it since December and he was trying to use 50' lines most of the day to give himself more time across the window, but he did well for being thrown in the deep end. It was his first application of the skills learned at our private practice environment so he was learning lots.
Coming back to the point of the post, I got to play with a lot of kids and parents on the Sunday. The wind was challenging at times, but the overall elements of pilot, wind, equipment, etc allowed me to safely engage the crowd at will. Many were actually comfortable with me doing leading edge landings on their heads, tapping them on the shoulder, etc ... either they're all brave or my flying was reasonable enough for them to trust me. The kids had a great time chasing the kite (well, I had a great time of it as well) and the parents seemed amused as well.
I engaged with so many people that I don't recall the faces at all, but the highlight of my day came after playing with one set of kids for 20 minutes and hearing the little girl proclaim rather loudly as they left - "I like kites"
That right there was a measure of a job well done .... people were smiling and the little girls day had been made. Aside from that rather touching moment, most of the kids I played with seemed to insist that their parents buy them a kite
I know JB has spoken of this before, but getting onto 30' lines and getting in with the people is good for kiting and is a very rewarding experience for the pilot as well. I love my 30's for solo work and I love them even more when I get to interact with people. For those that try this, please remember this is a zero tolerance for errors endevour ... you cannot afford one single mistake when you are millimeters from the head of general public - they will not understand or care about the challenges of what just happen, they only know it hurt like hell.
Anyway, thats story for one aspect that made for a very successful weekend. As luck would have it, an organizer for a different event has invited Windsong Kites (along with me and Johnny) to come fly at an event of theirs in August ... can I get a whoop whoop
For outdoor use I have 20, 30, 50, 80 and 120 (yes, there is a pattern there) line sets in my bag.
The 20's don't see much use, but the rest get flown lots. My choice of length (Laser Pro is my brand) comes down to where I am flying (space available), who I am flying with (what do they have) and if I'm flying solo, what type of flying do I want to do. Because I only fly 90# line the wind speed also has some bearing on my choice of length, but that is partially tied in with what type of flying I want to do.
The 120 is the standard for team flying, but I have flown pairs on my 30, 50 and 80 as well because thats what the other guy had. For solo work, the 120 make for a much bigger window and really slow things down for you so you can think between things - I use them for big slow solo work.
The 80 set is used by me in wind where I want the bigger window but the 120 set creates too much line drag and slows things down too much for what I want to do. I can still fly the 120 in this range, but it's slow and steady and I'm in the mood for a bit more punch to my flying. Obviously this is also my 'short' long line set for when space is an issue.
The 50 set is my long short line set and probably one of my most used lengths for me. This is largely due to the depth of our beaches here (80's would often be a very tight squeeze) as well as as being used for low wind and solo work. They're quick to set up, give a reasonable wind window, still allow 3D work, fit into smaller spaces, get you closer to the objecst or people you're playing with, etc. For me they're just an awesome length to fly solo on.
The 30 set is also a very well used set for me. It makes small spaces into big spaces, is my favourite set for catches, brings you up close and personal for interactions, gives a lot of punch and flair to solo work, super fast to setup, great in light wind, teaches you lots by being able to see all the details of whats happening with the kite and is perfect for urban flying.
Your conditions, preferences and needs may vary so apply to your own conditions.
The only negative thing about the weekend was having them actually fly my kites. Now I no longer have a scapegoat to blame - the kites fly just fine, the problem is the operator:kid_brooding: Oh well, guess that just means I need to spend more time on the beach!
Happens to us all... I still remembering an old school guy doing bicycle rotations with my B series and it just looked like black magic to me since I couldn't make it do anything close.
Fortunately, I have had many opportunities to pay this one forward since that day (and if I've done my job well, they too will get to pay it forward)
I'm so glad I found my original post here after spending a month with a Pro..
Originally, aside from feeling a difference in weight (perhaps balance of weight may be more accurate) and materials I mentioned above ... I couldn't really identify much of a difference between the two in terms of handling. Now that I have put some flight time in on the Pro, I can feel it when I go back to the B .... and I must say I try to avoid flying the B now that I'm used to the pro
I think the Pro is a kite that most will not feel the difference with, even when flying back to back with the B, unless they have a lot of experience and a very educated hand. I am currently of the opinion you will only feel the difference after spending time on the Pro and then going back to the B series. Until you've done that, you probably won't understand or justify why there is a price difference between the two.
The standard B is by NO means a bad kite, and if you never handled a Pro or only tried it once you would probably never be unhappy with your B series at all. It's only once you've spent some flight hours on the Pro that you will long for that Pro to be in your bag instead of the B.
In terms of what I've notices in flight so far, the Pro feels tighter, smoother and hangs in a lot longer in reverse before it's unhappy about how far you're pushing it. I also had opportunity to do basic pairs with a new guy with both my B and my Pro (he has a on the same day and I could clearly see a difference in flight. Because he doesn't have speed control, follows were all flat out with him in the lead - leaving me to react to any bad inputs he made. The B series pair flew almost identically, but when I switched to the Pro I could see a difference in speed, rotation, etc which I had to start accounting for to match with him.
Do you NEED a Pro series to fly revs .... no
Is the Pro better than the B .... yes
Is the increased cost justified .... yes
Is the increased cost worth it .... only you can answer that, and it requires handle time with the Pro
If it counts for anything, I've ordered my own custom set of Pro series after putting in the flight time to learn the difference
The actual change I can do ... the time required on each setup developing a feel for it is another story - especially when I don't think I have the skill and knowledge to know exactly what I'm looking at/for
With limited flight time I prefer to hear what others have experienced and found so that I can optimise my time and have a clue what I'm looking for or trying to replicate. Make no mistake, I will get around to it at some point and I never take anyones word for things ... but I do like to have a clue during my experiments. You guys are really lucky to be able to interact, share info and play on each others setups ... for those of us who have to go the solo hard way, we like to try save ourselves what we can where we can. If you prefer, you can ship yourself, Steve de Rooy or Spence over here to accelerate my learning and free up more time for experimentation