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Found 2 results

  1. jhn.holgate

    Born Kite Long Star 3M

    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. 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. 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. There are transport loops to keep all the bridle ends neatly sorted (and color coded). 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.... And my version.... 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. 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.
  2. jhn.holgate

    Born Kite Nasa Star 3 3.2M

    Released earlier this year is the latest of the Nasa Stars, the Nasa Star 3. A depowerable single skin design that can be flown from handles or a bar. I fly mine on the same 3 line bar as all my other NS's - that is the middle line connected to the nose (the depower line) and the outside lines of the bar connected to the bridles. Flying it this way, it is, in effect, a two line kite with a central depower line. On my 3 line bar, this means using a trapeze loop on the bar to hook into, so no spinning the bar. There's also a 'pro depower' bar for it which uses 4 lines. The depower is activated via pulleys - I quite like it but it sort of needs it's own review thread to explain it! Same as the NS2, the depower works by incrementally pulling the nose over, which stuffs up the airflow and reduces the lift. Like the NS2, the kite will sit back a little and lose a bit of speed and power when depowered. It's quite effective but feels a bit weird flying it depowered at speed in the buggy. I don't like flying it that way so I keep it fully powered and only use the depower line for unexpected gusts or as a primary safety. If you prefer handles, no problems, you can stow the depower line on it's transport loop just under the nose of the kite and run it on handles with or without a Z bridle. If you buy it as standard, you'll have to separate the bridles yourself into brakes & power. Otherwise Steffen can send it to you with Z bridle attached and ready to go. For an explanation of the Z bridle, check the video on my NS2 review. Like the NS2, this is Steffen Born's take on the NPW design. Being single skin, it packs extremely small and is much easier to keep up during the lulls than normal foils. It's also a little slower through the air than a foil so it doesn't tend to react as suddenly to gusts. These are the best kites I have yet to fly in the gusty conditions I get at home - they are far easier to keep in the air and pull from very slow speeds. Think low range 4wd. They are also incredibly direct and easy to steer. Flying them really is child's play. Which suits me as I like to cruise and take in the surroundings, wave a camera around and not have to concentrate on the kite. They are also very stable. For me, they are nearly the perfect buggy engine. But not quite - they have a narrower window than a mid aspect foil and they fly pretty deep in the window. This means a fair bit of side pull, more power needed to get upwind and ultimately slower speeds. I think these are faster than the NS2's - my first run on the beach at Kingston this year with them got me a 56kph which I feel is a little faster than I could have gone with the NS2's. A mid aspect foil would have, I suspect, been 10kph faster than that. I feel upwind is a little easier on the NS3 than the NS2 and turning feels tighter and smoother. Not by much - it's hard to put a figure on...but everything just feels a little better. Materials and workmanship is again, first class. These are really nicely made. They look like they have been sewn with care and attention to detail. If you want lift, forget it. You can throw these over your head to slow the buggy down and they rarely threaten to lift you out of the seat. Landing is a little unusual. I used to release to the depower line to land but always found that a bit messy. The best way is to fly it right to the side of the window and nose it into the ground then point the bar at it. you can then hook the other end of the bar around your footpeg and the kite will just sit there. Watch the vid for a better explanation. The 3.2m starts pulling the buggy nicely at around 13- 14 knots or so and you're really powered towards 20 knots. Probably be ok to 23 knots or so but by then I would have put up the 2.5m. Similar to the NS2, you can stack the NS3 nose first into the ground without fear of damage (providing there's nothing sharp of course). Then a quick pull back and it will fly up backwards - spin it round and your off and flying again. A very neat trick. Being bridled this way does have one interesting side effect - if you're static flying it in low wind and get a lull while holding it at the edge of the window, it can start flying backwards by itself. You soon get to recognize when this is likely to happen and just keep it moving to avoid it. In the buggy or in a bit of wind, it just isn't a problem. This particular kite is my all time favorite buggy engine to date. It is just so easy and relaxing to fly with heaps of grunt. No, it's not fast and won't go upwind as much as I'd like but even so, you'd have to prize it out of my cold dead fingers. My review vid: And having a damn good time....
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