But that’s where it all ended when I decided to call it a day. However, before I – literally – hung up my kite, I did have a LOT of fun with it after the latest modifications, which you can read all about in this post.
I found myself at the beach at about 19:15 in the evening and the winds were in the higher end of the kite’s wind range. No worries though, because the winds in my neck of the woods usually die down in the evening so I was hoping to have a go with the kite in a pretty wide wind range. And yes, so I did!
I started out without the weights just to get a feel for the kite and its 3D shaped sail. The new glass fibre rods seemed to keep up well shaping the sail. They bent out of position a handful of times in some gusts, however, it was just to shake the lines quickly and the GF rod popped back into position. Nice!
One cool thing I noticed this time was that you can launch the kite just by pulling on the front lines. Just grab them with one hand, give them a proper pull and the kite takes off. No, you don’t pull the kite out of the air, you will launch it and fly it! This can be (very) useful when launching in the kite’s very lower wind range. I did it a couple of times when a normal launch was difficult, but by pulling the front lines like described, the kite took off perfectly!
Then I started to add weight to the kite by adding steel nuts to the down spars.
This is a super-easy way to add weight to the upper part of the kite and hopefully, this will make the leading edge sitting a little lower in a backflipped position. Adjusting the weight is also easy as pie. Just add more steel nuts to increase the weight or remove them to reduce the weight. These adjustments literally take just a few seconds and that’s really convenient when testing!
If you take a closer look at the photo you can see the (cut off) connector keeping the nuts in place. Depending on the number of nuts, you can slide this connector up and down so it will keep the nuts – regardless of how many – in place.
I was kind of suspicious if the connector would stay in place when banging the kite around, but it surely took a beating and didn’t slide more than a couple of millimetres after some serious … well … let’s call them “landings”. 😉
Yes, adding weight surely changes the kite’s centre of gravity and the LE is sitting lower in that backflipped position! I ended up with a total of seven nuts on each down spar and even though the wind died down to almost nothing, I could still keep the kite in the air despite its increased weight.
Are the backflips more stable?
Well, yes I think the stability has increased somewhat adding this weight. But there is still a lot of work to do for the pilot to guide the kite in the air to maintain the position. Walking forwards (downwind) seems to be unavoidable and so are careful tending using the lines. However, I sure managed to keep the backflipped position for longer periods than flying without the weights and the more I practised I also managed to keep the position a little longer.
I guess with the right wind conditions and correct piloting you should be able to hold the backflip for a significant period of time.
…and having a twist in your flying lines seems to help. I think this will bring your lines closer together so the flying lines will rest on the trailing edge a little closer to the center of the kite aiding stability.
Another way cool trick(?) is the Belly Pop Up Launch! Due to the kite’s 3D shape, Belly Pop Up Launches are easy as pie! Just put the kite on the ground on its belly and the LE pointing upwind, a sharp tug on the lines will pop the kite off of the ground landing on its down spar wingtips, flying or you can even pop it directly over into a backflip and fly away! Now that is cool!!!
I could do this nine out of ten times, so yes, they’re consistent!
With its weighted LE, I could even do complete roll-ups. However, the walk of shame was required to unwrap them … so… 😉
I didn’t find any problems with self-recovery even after (heavily) weighting the kite. I could go on yanking the lines like a madman, but mostly the kite would quickly return to a flat belly down position and just slowly float downwind until the lines got tight and you could fly it again. Downwind glides are also super efficient and you can easily gain 20-25 meters flying on a 10m (30ft) set of lines!
As you probably have guessed by now, the 3rd test flight was a success! And of course, I have a video to prove it!