KITES; both building and flying them,... mostly quad-lines, although I own others that never seem to get pulled from the bags!<br /><br />I work for the federal government's National Institutes of Health in the printing & graphic design area. <br /><br />I have the best wife/woman in the whole world! <br /><br />I'm part of a local kite club (actually several!, Wings Over Washington is the one that receives most of my attention though) and greatly value the opinions of the friends/ other members I have met. They help me solve developmental issues, as I'm much more of a concept-type of guy, than an actual implementer. I love these three guys (Harold Ames, Dave Ashworth & Mike Mosman) 'cause they're all engineer-geeks. You give them a cocktail napkin sketch and the next week they hand you back a prototype to test.
Myself?,.... probably 60% flying alone, but those trips to "hang with the gang" are truly worth the money (or sacrifices if you prefer).
Next week a big pack of us descend upon Treasure Island (nearby Tampa FL) for a long weekend of flying. It will be two tons of fun, even the misses will enjoy herself (and she's not even a sport kite fan, prefers the art & show kites, particularly the home-builder crowd).
Sport kite competition events are mixed in with the demos (on the same field!) because that's the way the city wants it to be run (we are entertainment). There will be a LARGE group of quads flying from sunrise until late into the night, together with all those "unique" personalities sharing the convenience of walk-out perfection from the Thunderbird.
Dantonio, Shooks & the Smith, Alden Miller, Dugard, Comras, folks from the mid-west and great lakes region,.... a huge assembly all seeking the same thing. A return on their investment in travel expenses thru intense fun!
Sharing the sky is WAY more fun than flying alone. Even if I'm alone flying though, I still want spectators to interact with or it's too boring. I don't understand "flying with intent" but I surely do get the pleasure of chasing my friends when they aren't expecting it or giving kids a lesson with Revolution kites!
conservative estimate?, seven months of using my new Zen has cost me $1.80 per hour (ten hours per week, four weeks per month assumed, = 300 hrs) Barbara paid a big premium for a highly customized build version w/special Diamond frame
The previous Zen lasted about 2-1/2 years or around 1,310 hours of extreme abuse,... using that same calculation,
that equates under $0.34/hr
I gott'a say, Revs are a great financial value for entertainment in my opinion. You can fly 'em until they are a ragged mess of holes, scuffs and tears, they take a beating better than MMA practitioners! Eventually you'll want a replacement though, then freak-out about how nice it flies with a crispy new sail.
With those current modification riggings you can go into bigger wind than you ever thought was appropriate. Remember the whole point of all the rigging front and back is to spread the dynamic forces and increase the responsiveness. Since there's no oversteer wiggle possible in the bridle anymore you'll feel a strong surge of wind (across the center of the window for instance), easy to fly off to the side or up-top riding out a sudden unexpected gust. I give ground, but friends stand lead footed, it's been proven plenty strong, rest easy.
Make sure you have the bridle installed properly, when it's perfect and only then.... "paint" the knots with nail polish. Let this polish dry overnight, not just to your touch with a finger tip.
Tune the bridle with the kite inverted, ideally adjusting the attachment points on the bridle as opposed to the handles (the bottoms). That way when you switch from stock to French bridle it's tuned correctly either way. The kite needs to back-up inverted from the leading edge resting on the ground (in low wind you may need to walk backwards also).
Stock out of the packaging the FB is tuned to 15 inch no-snag handles with Barresi's leader knots. Myself I use longer handles and WAY longer leaders.
If it doesn't fly faster in forward and still hold all the reverse, if it doesn't feel more responsive, then give me a call and I'll coach you though some testing. We'd start with the usual questions. Lines even, laid out cleanly, affixed to the handles which perfectly align in your hands when jerked back tight from a well placed stake or fence post?
I expect you to love this rig like a first borne child, but it might not be the first few flights <LOL!>
don't use CA Glue, instead mix a good portion of 5 minute epoxy (waste some to insure the proper proportions of each component) to reaffix the ferrule. There's just no point in using something that isn't shock resistant for the repairs!
okay, let's try the other end of the catch, down-wind instead! I'm still not convinced this is the proper design for the catch trick. The Speed series kites will dead launch on a smooth surface. Pretty hard to get a long glide when the leading edge has so much pronounced curvature built in.
Anyway, we intent for it to float around in that gradual arc, back to the execution area starting point for the catch (and will position yourself such that you are downwind and approaching a catching point towards the direction the kite is expected to travel).
Man, this will have to be some edge of low-end wind range practice season too or that thing will come back towards the pilot very fast! (scary?)
I'll probably go to very long lines first, but now the flying field location also comes into play. Is the surface sufficiently tangle-free to allow these lines to move as slack while I'm repositioning myself?
I can do this occasionally (in ideal conditions!) with a full sail Pro or the Zen on 120s. Where you can walk along side the kite as it's floating on the breeze (not going up-wind though) and decide when to pick it out of the flight path with your catch. Do I want to rush ahead slightly and have it land in my lap as I sit underneath it's expected zone? Of just that over-passing me into the backwards facing "beheaded catch",.... sitting on the ground? Catch it standing and then swing the kite around "sword style" back at the spectators?
I might have to run a trick-line around all the end-caps of my supersonic to prevent a snag with all the slack in the flying lines. Then onto magic sticks? so it won't require my walk-of-shame as I flail around, we'll see.
If anyone shows up, I'll try to get some video this sunday of this outlandish exercise, then the SS will go back into the closet for another few years.
I haven't had my Supersonic out of the bag for years, I'll have to search for it. But hey, we have wind in the cooler months, so maybe I need to shake off the dust of it. All the other speed series kites I have liquidated to other fliers, except never owned that 4/8 big boy!
All my long throw & catch efforts are on the more traditional platforms. I guess 'cause I have more practice with these kites.
Both of these tricks also easier when you don't have much wind (to overcome, honestly!)
Maybe this weekend, I will at least put it together and make sure nothing is out of kilter.
120 throws need all the mass present in the shockwave, combined with all the glide capabilities of the zen. You step a couple of times into the throw, like a javelin toss,... Then race backwards as fast as possible to take up the slack. I generally throw left-handed, heading for the lower right corner of the wind window. Place both handles, pinky finger between the grips, facing full reverse, in one hand and at the end of the throw, it winds up inverted, in the corner, hovering just above the soil, like u meant to do that!
120 catches are much more reliable, than the throwing part, maybe 80/20
Rick Harmer acquired a new Pro w/diamond sticks which we "tested & abused" this past weekend up at the Sam Lewis State Park (York PA). A great spot to fly, low wind most of the day, eventually though we were pulling 120s and should have switched to mid-vents! We stayed on the diamond sticks and spanked 'em hard. It's a tough stick,... or it wouldn't survive all my flailing and throwing it around. It dropped countless times out of the sky impacting mother earth hard. (I'm working on a one-string yank to almost impact, timing is everything <LOL!>)
Meanwhile Rick's banging and bouncing the leading edge off of a park bench to Stevie Ray Vaughan.
His great new kite, all new, slick and crispy, makes mine seem so unworthy to share the hill's air.
Certainly a home-run for many of the folks occasionally complaining about low wind conditions.
Comparisons are so much fun! Comparisons make it easy to decide which things go and which stay when contemplating modifications or adjustments.
My "more responsive" is someone else's "too darn twitchy" It's not better, just different..... my own preferences, developed around a no-wind environment forced upon me by moving. Then enough hours to prove it's worth the change, expense.
Believe me, I watched a-plenty from the sidelines before mastering these difficult conditions. I moved from Chicago to Ft Lauderdale, then to DC and none of my darn kites would fly anymore! When you hang around a bunch of builders/engineers it's quite natural to fiddle with things. Most experiments end in failure. The important part is what did you learn? I've learned a lot and now want all that crap I like on my kites. I used to build kites myself but the factory can set you up with stuff better than I can craft myself (now anyway, that wasn't always the case!)
I have two Old Glory masterpiece kites, one with a french bridle and one stock. I also keep two 75% shook mesh kites the same way. What's really fun is trying to fly two at once with different bridles. It keeps you honest. Dugard makes this easy looking though.
You can't buy hours of experience with a visa card or I'd be one of the best pilots <LOL!>
The newest Zen is still my favorite kite for November!
First one out & last one put away, unless the conditions are simply too extreme for it to remain assembled. It flies from zip/zero wind to around the flying conditions when most have switched to mid-vent 1.5 Pros, certainly comfortable to double digit wind speeds.
It's unfair to my friends and perfect for relaxing (on long lines ~ early in the morning) when everything is quiet and calm as the sun rises. A special zen moment to be shared with my favorite kite and any witnesses to the antics.