Sunday 24 November 2013

A full set of T5 kites - part 1

As you may know if you have been following this blog for a while, we have a nice quiver of pair kites, from super-ultra-lights to mega-venteds, but what we do not have is a set of different versions of the same kite. Although we really like to fly all kinds of different kites, having the same kite in different versions does have its advantages, as you don't have to adapt your flying style as much when you switch kites, and don't have to get used to a very different level and/or kind of responsiveness.

Question then becomes: which kite? Bottom line is that the current market is extremely limited when it comes to team kites in a wide range of different versions .... The only real option is Peter Taylor's Airdynamics T5 kite. As you may know, we already have a pair of T5 Taipan SUL kites, and we really like the way it flies and handles, so we could expand that pair to a full 5-pair set ...

If you have been following us on Facebook, you will know that we finally bit the bullet, after a lot of uhm-ing and ah-ing (and getting a nice amount of money back from the tax office helped), and we ordered a full set of T5s (minus the SUL, of course) from Peter: Zero, Standard, V1 and V2.

Next step is of course to decide on the colour schemes. What we wanted was for each pair to be different from all the other pairs, but still for the whole set to 'belong together'. In other words: variations on a theme. Each pair will have one kite with some orange highlights (flown by Irma) and one kite with more green highlights (flown by me). Starting with the lightest of the set, the T5 Cuban Zero is mostly made from cuben fibre, which is extremely light. It's only available in semi-transparent 'white' and grey, but we think we've come up with a design that still fits with our 'team colours'.

For the T5 Taipan Standard, we thought we 'd try and add a wee nod to Flying Fish in the form of two of the panels carrying the Flying Fish logo. If all goes as planned, Roy and Hayley from Kites Up will provide the printed panels. So here's what the final kites will hopefully look like:

We're still discussing the designs for the V1 and V2, and anyone who has used colourisers to design the colour scheme of a kite will know how long that can take; stay tuned!

Sunday 17 November 2013

Double Fire Dart!

In a recent blog post, I made a call for a second Fire Dart. Those of you who have been visiting our  Facebook page may know that I managed to get one, for a very fair price, and which only needed an upper spreader. If every kite was so easily made fly able ...

First time we flew the two Fire Darts together, it became clear that, whatever adjustments we made to the bridles, we couldn't get them to match speed wise. Maybe not a surprise, given that our first Fire Dart (the red-and-black one) was about 100 grams heavier than its blue-and-yellow friend. One framed in quite heavy old 7+mm spars, the other in newer 6mm spars. Hm, what solution would there be for getting the two closer weight wise?

So the red-and-black Fire Dart got a 6mm reframe, and that shaved 60 grams of its weight. Still heavier, but not as much as before. The moment of truth finally arrived yesterday (due to the crap weather recently). Would the two match now? We did need to play around a bit more with the bridle settings, but then: success!

We got them basically matched now, and the kites go down really low, flying with 2mph already. Only when the wind goes that low does the existing weight difference between the two show itself. We got a pair of truly low wind Old School kites added to our quiver!

Sunday 10 November 2013

FINALLY flying again!!!!

Weekend after weekend saw gale-force winds, or heavy downpours, or both ... Today saw a welcome change from that: it was sunny, it was dry, and the wind was not blowing a hooley!

The last few times we flew with the team, we had made a start introducing a few changes to our routine, following a day of team coaching by Barry Savell. But that felt like ages ago when we launched into our routine again .... Let's just say that the first few runs were worse than before ... it all was pretty rusty, people weren't where they were supposed to be, and got their timing wrong. And let's just leave it at that, ok?

But I'm happy to report that once we got back into our stride again, and decided to focus on the first half of the routine, we made some good progress, and ended the day in better shape than where we left it so many weeks ago. The circles off the diagonals in our second infinity after launching are better now (as long as everyone keeps their spacing ....) and especially the 4-kite wrap / unwrap I introduced after the jump works pretty well, and nicely leads into the thread sequence.

Need to work on this first half a couple more times before tackling the rest again. But it was great finally flying again!

Picture credit: Roger Backhouse

Saturday 2 November 2013

Double Peter Powell!

Blogging has been light lately, simply because we've hardly been able to fly these last few weeks, mostly due to bad weather. But this morning, we managed to steal an hour and a half, specifically to fly our latest pair of team kites.

Now I assume most of you reading this are familiar with the Peter Powell Stunter. It was brought on the market in the early 1970s, and brought dual-line flying to the public for the first time. Peter Powell Stunters pop up on eBay regularly, and every multi-line kite flyer should have one, or it least should have flown one once in his or her life. Of course, we do indeed have one: a Mark II with blue plastic sail and red tail.

What many people may not be aware of is that the Peter Powell Stunter is back on the market. Peter's sons have breathed new life into the classic design, and the Peter Powell Mk III is now available to order. Not only that, they can also be ordered with custom graphics on the sail. An opportunity that Flying Fish just could not let pass ...

So here is our pair of Peter Powell Mk III Stunters, completely with Flying Fish graphics, and signed by the man himself!

Flying the pair is a lot of fun, and not only because of the Flying Fish graphics. Of course, they're not as precise as a modern-day delta, but they fly better than the original version. They do need a good wind to perform to their potential; below 10mph, the responsiveness to input clearly decreases. But that makes them the perfect kites for a day with a strong blustery wind. Pull is quite light, and flying complex wrap patterns with the long tube tails gives a really nice effect. 

A unique pair of kites, and a welcome addition to our quiver!