Saturday 22 April 2023

Matrix: Flexi vs Carl - part 3

We've done UL/SULs, we've done Super-venteds, next up were the Standards!

Unlike the other Flexifoil kites, the Standard Matrix came to me as a sail with a bunch of spars, the winglet supports and a complete bridle. So I first had to frame the sail, get the necessary small bits and bobs (connectors, end caps, arrow nocks, etc), make the stand-offs, and bridle it. 

Kite R2F, and off to the field we go!

Flexi Standard flew fine, so no issues with the framing and bridling.

CR Standard flew solid, possibly a bit crispier than the Flexi one.

So let's fly them together, shall we?

There was a small but noticeable speed difference between the two, but rather than adjust the bridle, we thought we'd make use of the speed difference for flying refuels. 

Solid refuels, every single time!

Monday 10 April 2023

Matrix: Flexi vs Carl - part 2

Recently we got our hands on two sets of Matrix kites, one set made by Flexifoil, one set from Carl Robertshaw. That opened up the possibility of flying pairs of Flexi - CR Matrix kites. Following the ULs and SULs a few days ago, the 23-35mph winds today told us to fly the Super-venteds.

First on the lines was the Flexi Supervented.

It really pulled like a truck, so some changes to the bridle settings were required to make the pull manageable.

And then it was the turn of the CR Supervented.

Same story: pulled like a truck and so bridle tweaking required. 

And then of course the aim of the whole exercise: fly the two Matrix kites together.

They flew well together, but the pull remained considerable. 

You may have noticed that the Flexi and CR Matrix kites differ in the exact number and position of the mesh panels (the Flexi Matrix has more removable patches), but nevertheless, we could fly them together without much of a problem.

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Matrix: Flexi vs Carl - part 1

Recently, and via two totally different routes, I got my hands on a set of five Flexifoil Matrix kites (SUL to Super-vented) and a set of four C(arl) R(obertshaw) Matrix kites (UL to Super-vented). 

So I thought it would be fun (and potentially interesting) to 'pair them off'; in other words, to create Flexifoil - Carl Robertshaw pairs and see how such Flexi-Carl pairs fly together. 

Some of the Matrix kites were ready to fly, while others needed more or less TLC; the Flexifoil Standard came as a sail, with a bunch of spars and a bridle, but no stand-offs, connectors or other usual small bits and pieces (it did come with the winglet supports, though). 

With the wind forecast to be good for flying ultralights, we took the Flexifoil UL and SUL and the CR UL to the field. 

First on the lines: Flexi UL.

Struggling when the wind dropped below 5mph, but generally, it flew fine straight out of the box.

Next the CR UL.

Felt pretty much the same as the Flexi UL, and similarly struggling when the wind dropped away.

But how will they compare when flown together? One way to find out ...

The Flexi UL clearly flew slower than the CR UL. We played with the bridles a bit to reduce the difference in speed, but some speed difference remained. Not much, and the speed difference wasn't such that it couldn't be compensated easily, but it was noticeable.

Let's put the Flexi SUL on the lines.

Clearly dealing much better with the wind dropping away, but that's what you would expect from an SUL, with lighter spars, etc.

Given that the CR UL flew a bit faster than the Flexi UL, what would happen if we fly the CR UL together with the Flexi SUL?

Turned out that, not surprisingly, now the CR UL was the slower of the two. 

During all this testing, the wind kept dropping away to almost nothing and then come up again to 5-6mph, so difficult to compare kites when they're not flying together. Just to be sure, we flew the two Flexis, UL vs SUL, together.

That indeed gave the expected result: the SUL flew faster than the UL, and kept flying when the UL struggled to stay in the air.

So .... what have we learned? The CR UL seems to be intermediate between the Flexi UL and the Flexi SUL. When the wind was 5-6mph, it flew best with the Flexi UL; when the wind dropped down, it flew best with the SUL. Maybe best to consider it a (S)UL?

Still three Flexi-Carl pairs to fly: Standard, Vented and Super-vented. But first, I have a standard sail to frame ... Watch this space!

Monday 3 April 2023

Six tails, ready for tangling!

Recently, I got myself a black Peter Powell kite with orange stripes, which we flew together with the black Peter Powell kite with flo-green stripes we already had. They look well when flown together, I think, but I felt more could be done to increase the spectacle. Specifically, both kites could be expanded to a triple-stack by the addition of two entirely black kites. Black tails on the front and back kite, with the middle kite in each stack having either a green or an orange tail. Should look really good in the sky!

Now to be clear, we've never flown two Peter Powell triple-stacks, with tails, together .... It will certainly pose a challenge for us: two triple-stacks means six tails that can get tangled up, with each other or with the many stacking lines!

Each of the stacks on their own look great on the ground as well as in the sky.

But what happens when we put them together?

Here goes ...

The key was to keep all moves big and be very aware of where the tails are in 3-dimensional space. We did have a few 'catches', though, I must admit ....

And of course, there is the inevitable aftermath of flying six tails ....