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  • jhn.holgate Born Kite Long Star 3M Review


    An awesome looking kite that needs just a little more performance. 

    Positives
    Stunning design.
    Light weight.
    Really grunty and powerful.
    Negatives / Considerations
    Bar is over complex.
    Needs a bit more speed.
    Needs a little more upwind ability.

    A new design from Born Kite is the single skin Longstar.  If you've seen the Nasa Star 2's or 3's you could almost imagine two of them stitched side by side to form a high aspect nasa wing.  The Longstar is also depowerable - it has a line attached to the nose of the kite and when pull is applied to the line, the nose begins to fold over and starts to depower the kite.  You can also dump the kite to the depower line as a safety feature.

    Long Star 3m.jpg

    You can see in the main body of the kite how the bridles are split into two legs forming Steffen's patented 'air half pipes'.  I believe this aids with directional stability.

    Long Star air half pipe.jpg

    Also of note is the 5 line system on this kite.  The bridles are split into power and brake bridles by a Z bridle that attaches them together.  This means that when you pull on the power lines, ALL the lines are pulled evenly (including the brakes) but the brakes can be accessed separately by pulling on the brake lines giving you the ability to back the longstar down on the brakes as it doesn't reverse launch like a Nasa Star can do on just it's power lines.

    If you buy the recommended bar for the Longstar, you'll see the pulleys at the kite end of the lines.  These pulleys are doing two jobs (as far as I can tell).  They a: divide the power equally between the power and brake lines giving half the total force on the bar and the other half of the force on the main lines going through to the chicken loop.  And b: the system adds a little bit of extra brake input into the turn making for a very smooth turning kite.  And to static fly with this system, it is a very powerful and smooth experience with a reasonably wide window.

    3m on brakes.jpg

    There are transport loops to keep all the bridle ends neatly sorted (and color coded).

    Leading Edge Depower 1.jpg

    There is also a nifty little plastic clip that you use to clip all your lines together before disconnecting them - you do it first when you're packing up and last when you're setting up to keep everything from getting in a mess.  Although I have to admit that while it's a great idea, in practice I've found it fiddly and have stopped using it.  The Longstar generates quite a bit of pull (and it can do so in really light winds) and I've struggled with having to hold the bar with both hands.  Steffen has made a 'hook ball' that can secure the bar to the chicken loop, but it's something I think you have to setup before you fly as I'm stuffed if I can clip it while I'm under power.  Mainly because of this, I've fashioned my own bar for the Longstar that I can simply hook a trapeze loop to - simple and secure.  I've also done away with the pulleys at the kite end.  My setup doesn't turn the Longstar quite as smoothly but is much simpler to use.

    Here's the original bar....

    IMGP3046.JPG

    And my version....

    My bar for Longstar.jpg

    The kite occasionally back stalls and this is corrected by either letting the bar out with the factory bar, or a quick tug on the depower line with my bar.  In a few hours of flying the Longstar with the buggy, I think I only had to reach for the depower line on a couple of occasions.  It's not designed to be flown from handles (as there's no way to control the backstall) but we flew it that way at Kingston and it was a lot of fun.  Chook and Doug both said it was a bit like a Rev to fly that way and enjoyed the session.

    While the Nasa Star is known for it's low down the grunt, the Longstar seems to have even more.  It flies with a lot of power and even in 10 knot winds, buggying is no problem.  It turns pretty quick too, though not as fast as the Nasa Star.  I feel the Longstar, despite it's high aspect, still sits too deep in the window.  Upwind ability is only fair as is outright speed - from static flying it, I had thought it may sit a lot further forward in the window than it does.  While I certainly wasn't expecting it to perform like a vapor, I was hoping for a little more speed and upwind ability from it.  If you're buggying in a small area - the grunt and light wind ability are excellent and it seems to be a characteristic of these kites that they're very hard to make luff.  I have never had a Nasa star fold into a ball and drop back into the middle of the window and then unfurl and it seems the same with the Longstar.  The lightweight keeps them up in the lulls too when double skin foils start to struggle.

    Like the Nasa Stars, I'm only using the depower line as a primary safety.  To use the depower on the fly, you'll need to have the bar released and then you'll have half the total force of the kite on the bar which I find too tiring for any length of time and it robs me of being able to point cameras or gesticulate rudely at any overhead drones.  :grin:

    Landing is quick - pull the brake strap the Longstar will drop like a stone.  Similarly, launching is quick and easy.

    The design is really eye catching - I don't think I've seen anything quite like them before and the quality is very high - as is all the Born Kites that I've flown.  The Longstars pack down very small and light.  

    Really grunty, light weight, crash proof, stunning design and it flies with real power and purpose are the kite's positive aspects.  It just needs a little more speed and to sit further forward in the window - then it would be truly awesome.

     

     

     

     

    Long Star 3m bridles.jpg



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    User Feedback


    ssayre

    Posted

    Nice write up John.  The video of the guys flying it on handles really surprised me.  It really looked agile and much more fun than the nasa stars.  However, static fun is a secondary bonus for me and not a requirement.  I would definitely use your bar set up versus the stock bar.  A couple questions and I apologize if you covered this and I missed it.  First, is there a Z bridle attached at the kite on your bar set up?  Second, I assume with your bar set up, that when unhooked that 100% of the power is on your arms?  Even if so, I would always use it hooked in in the buggy.  If they are anything like nasa stars, they would be an uncomfortable handful for any length of time.  Like more than 60 seconds.

    Also, would it be possible to hook brake and power together to "streetkite"?

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    jhn.holgate

    Posted

    Hi Sean.

    Yes, there is a factory Z bridle already set up on the kite.  (I leave it that way with my bar setup).

    Unhooked, all the power would be on the bar....but as you let the bar out the depower will kick in the same as the Nasa Stars.  (assuming you clip the depower line to your harness separately).

    The only drawback from only hooking onto the power lines and using it in 'streetkite' mode would be if it landed upside down - the Nasa star will reverse launch without the need for brakes.  The Longstar needs the brakes to reverse launch.  Other than that, on my setup, the kite flies solely from the power lines (that is, all the lines) and the only time the brakes are called into play is when I grab the brake strap.  It doesn't turn quite as smoothly as with Steffen's bar as he has added a little brake input into the turn via the pulleys, but unless you flew them back to back, you probably wouldn't notice.

    It was a lot of fun to fly on handles.  There was the occasional back stall to make things interesting but the boys were used to flying Rev's and handled it no problemo.  Except having a lot of pull it wore us all out pretty quick!

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    ssayre

    Posted

    I see. So you could fly it unhooked in "streetkite" mode with exactly how you have it up with the depow line unhooked, then just use the brake strap for reverse launch.  It would be more difficult to grab the depow line while unhooked to prevent a backstall I assume.

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    jhn.holgate

    Posted

    7 hours ago, ssayre said:

     It would be more difficult to grab the depow line while unhooked to prevent a backstall I assume.

    Isn't there a video with Steffen holding the depower line between his teeth??  hmmm...I may have that confused with something else.  Ya, could be tricky.

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    ssayre

    Posted

    Hah forgot about that one. He does have a video doing that somewhere. 

    Even with some of the unique qualities of these kites, I would still love to try the 3m in a nice breeze on longboard

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    windstruck

    Posted

    Nice write up John.  I think you are spot on in your assessments.  I have enjoyed flying the LSs from the modified bar I worked up mimicking your revised bar.  In some ways the LS represents an interesting evolution beyond the NS3s.  Way cooler looking IMHO.  Brake strap a more refined way of reverse launching.  The 5th line scrunching of the kite is also more refined than on the NS3s, but at the price of being quite a bit harder to pull under high load.  The big drawback for me compared to the NS3 quiver I own is that five lines is just more to fiddle with than three.  I know it doesn't matter if the outer two lines are twisted on each other, but I just can't look up at tangled lines when flying so I spend the extra time on the ground walking my lines to ensure that doesn't happen.  Then there are five lines to attach versus three...

    I've offered up my LS quiver and modified bar for sale on PKF as you would have seen,  My quiver is now 18 kites which is just getting silly so if I had a buyer for the three kite set I'd unload them and reduce the quiver to a mere 15!

    In a perfect world I'd have a bar and line set up for each Born Kite.  That would be sweet and would transform the experience with them.  Pipe dream.

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    jhn.holgate

    Posted

    Next time I get the right conditions down the beach, I'll run the NS3 3.2m and LS 3m back to back and do several runs with each and use my gps to track the speeds and the camera to record where they sit in the window.  Despite having more power, I get the feeling that the LS won't actually out perform the NS3 on a long run.....I could be wrong but it will be an interesting comparison.

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    jhn.holgate

    Posted

    As it turns out, I wasn't wrong.  The NS3 does have a bit of extra speed over the Long Star.  Even though the Long Star certainly pulls a lot harder and has a wider window when static flying - but at speed, the Long Star seems a little 'held back' by something.  They both sit roughly in the same spot in the window - although at times I thought the NS3 was sitting a little further forward than the Long Star.  Was an interesting shootout.  I've put in a photo of the relevant bit of the GPS log at the end and you can see even though there's a rising trend in the wind, the NS3 was immediately faster.  In a light wind race in the paddock, the Long Star would most likely win out with more power, but not on a straight run.  Did I mention I hate 5 line bar setups?  Even my own simplified version ended up all twisted up!

    On the plus side, the Long Star is a bit more fun to fly as it has more 'whoosh' and 'swoop'. :grin:

     

     

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