A Softer Leading Edge

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I have had this feeling for a short while. I’m not quite satisfied with the forward drive of my A-Quad Diamond Ghost. It feels …..

…just a tad too light on the lines and doesn’t have the right oomph when powered up.

You know, when you do a sharp tug, like when taking off, I like the kite to kind of “grip” the air and accelerate while “sending” significant feedback back to the front lines. Actually, the same goes for quick and powerful accelerations wherever the kite happens to be in the wind window. Currently I feel the Ghost is lacking somewhat in this department.

The kite feels very light on the lines and it won’t fly as fast as I like it to.

So…. what could be wrong?

That was what I was after when I went flying this weekend … and I had a suspicion… the leading edge!

My original plan was to frame the leading edge using SkyShark P90 all around, but no matter where I looked, I could find one P90 rod only. Hmmm… Over to Plan B then.

Being a SUL, I off course opted for light rods and finally it all boiled down to two tapered SkyShark 2PTs, definetly light enough to keep the kite a SUL.

…and it does fine in almost any aspect of flying except from the acceleration. My suspicion is that (especially) the 2PTs are too stiff for the leading edge. The 2PTs are also tapered which adds stiffness. I can see the LE isn’t flexing much when I give the front line that really sharp tug. The LE stays pretty straight no matter how hard I pull.

I think this rigid LE prevents the required flex to ensure the kite “grips” the air when accelerating. You can check out the video below and probably see what I mean.

A Softer Leading Edge

I also checked out other videos of SUL quad lined kites, like the prototype Djinndoor by Kiteforge and also Anders’ and Farid’s videos from the weekend. If I’m not mistaking, all kites in these videos seem to have a more flexible LE than my Ghost, so naturally I have done a quick modification and replaced the stiff LE with a more flexible one.

Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out yet, but it’s sitting in my car ready to fly as soon as the occasion emerges.

So stay tuned for an update anytime soon! ?

4 Responses

  1. This is not a right or wrong type of comment. It is more my low wind LE stiffness preferences formed by my limited set of Revs/Hadzicki wings and progress using them.

    Initially when just keeping the Rev 1.5 B-series std in the air at all in no/low wind was a challenge I was much helped using the flexible P90 LE instead of the somewhat stiffer 2-layer Revolution tubes. The gradual response of the flexible P90 LE was also appreciated. I guess that when one tugs the lines during the start e.g. the sail’s TE (yes lower end) will flex out from the pilot and the kite will slide on top of the air in front of the kite (as seen from from the pilot) if one holds the handles by the top. Perhaps this could help when using a stiffer LE?

    The Rev Indoor (which I have been piloting for soon 1.5 year) on the other side haven’t got a so flexible LE (and I have never tried anything but the original tubes). At least it is what it feels like . One should keep in mind that the Rev 1.5 got a bridle and the Rev Indoor doesn’t which may affect the *apparent* stiffness of the LE. So how does it work with a bit stiffer LE and sometimes zero wind then? My guess is that by tugging the handles at that start moment the lower (brake) side will for an instant point toward the kite. Yes the LE/sail do deform here, but to a lesser degree than with a softer LE. Tugging hard on all lines to deform the kite and make it jump forward also got its place and can be striking.

    The other effect the Rev Indoor has had is that it has taught me to actively fly the kite as a wing and if you don’t do it right the kite will certainly tell you. To maintain the kite flying forwards with few footsteps the required angle of the handle is really sensitive and is less forgiving then the 1.5 in more normal wind. Speed forward AND the just right angle of the kites is required to maximize the pressure from the sail. I have now when using the Rev 1.5 B-series moved away from the soft P90 LE in low wind and have now mostly returned to the Revolution 2-layer tubes. Though I suppose I should go back to P90 again to evaluate this closer.

    To understand what I mean when piloting the kite in light wind with a bit stiffer tubes, try to pilot the kite brake heavy as an constantly moving forward wing during optimal conditions (handle angle). Every time when deviating from this ideal situation the pull from the kite will be much reduced. Here is an exercise for no(low) wind flying, but I guess it should work in light wind inside the normal wind window as well:


    Think of DLKs. A speed kite is shallow and got short stand-offs (the whole sail works well or the whole sail fails at the same time), while a trick kite that ”always” should have a sail surface to fly on got longer stand-offs.

    B.t.w. tried to statically induce a bit more billow/camber by tightening the LE? I don’t usually try these things, but after tightening the Rev Indoor LE slightly it was easier to back the kite I think.

  2. Just to clarify, kites with a soft LE can also be well piloted in light wind:


    I guess it is safe to say that low wind (Rev-like) quad kiting can be done both with a soft and somewhat stiffer LE. In the end of the video quads with stiffer LEs are piloted (but it looks like the wind has increased somewhat).

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