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  1. jhn.holgate

    Born Kite Nasa Star 2

    I've been flying these over the last few years now and have done lots of km's in the buggy with them. The things that stand out for me are they are just so bloody easy to fly. They are Steffen Born's take on the NPW design with his patented 'air half pipes' which are two narrow panels down either side with bridles on each side to create a sort of 'half pipe'. I've never actually flown a regular NPW wing to say what difference it makes, but the Nasa Star 2's are incredibly stable with great directional stability when in motion. The other main draw for me is that my home has pretty gusty winds often characterized by lulls in the wind which cause my foils to tend to collapse and luff. The NS2's are very light and tend to stay up in the lulls. I have never had one luff, then crumple into a ball and fall back into the power zone and then suddenly unfurl. Both FB and Depower foils have done this to me plenty. My NS2's are made in EU and their stitching and construction certainly seem first class to me. The other unique thing about the NS2's is the depower line on the nose. Pull this line and the nose will start to fold over reducing power. Unlike a regular depower which will sit further forward and speed up when depowering, the Nasa Star 2 will sit back a little and slow down just a bit when depowering. Possibly an excellent thing if your on a longboard or skates with the kite high, but not quite what I'm after in the buggy. As a result, I tend to occasionally pull the depower if I get a sudden gust or I use it as a primary safety if the poo hits the fan and in those cases it works perfectly well for me. You can fly them on a bar as a two line kite plus the third depower line, or you can rig them on 4 line handles without the depower line. You can rig them up quite a few different ways to suit. I quite like the 2 line bar plus depower line - it's simple, steering is wonderfully direct and unless it's really windy and I'm super powered up, I can fly with one hand on the bar and wave the camera around with the other. Speaking of power, these things are the 4wd low range gear of kites. They produce power almost as soon as you start moving them. One or two sines and it's park 'n ride and away you go. The 4m pictured here is quite buggyable from about 10 - 11 knots up to 20 knots. I'll usually swap to a smaller NS2 around the 17-18knot mark. Being single skin, you can't bust anything if you crash it head first into the ground, it just crumples up. A quick step back and it flies up backwards, a quick turn and away you go again. Very handy - but there is a small price to pay for the backward launching ability - if you try and hold the kite steady in light winds and there's a bit of a lull, the Nasa Star 2 will drop a little then begin to fly backwards. A little disconcerting the first few times it happens but once you get used to it, you can feel when the wind is getting too light and you just move the kite around a little. It really hasn't been a problem for me over the last couple years. There are a couple limitations with this design. It has a relatively narrow window which means a: quite a lot of sidepull, b: relatively slow speeds and c: harder to get upwind. You won't keep up with a mid aspect foil or depower, so if speed and upwind ability are your goals, then this is not your kite. The sidepull also means you'll need a comfy harness or you'll tire the arms out pretty quick. Having said that, the wonderful ease of flying and stability have made these the only kite I have buggy'd with since Nov 2013. I've sold my Apex's and haven't used my Ozone Access since then such is my pleasure of flying these kites. Speed wise, I'd say I lose about 15kph top speed when compared to my Ozone Methods - but if I'm doing 40 - 50, I'm quite happy. The other feature of this design is very little lift. Almost none. If you're wanting to jump, then these are not the kite for you. If you want something that won't lift you out of the buggy when you put it over your head, then these are great. They probably will lift you in the wrong wind, but compared to most foils, there is very little lift. I've had the 4m NS2 on the beach running side by side with a 4m Octane (could have been a Ozone Flow...). There was only ever a couple kph difference between the two kites. In lighter winds, the NS2 would pull away a little. In stronger winds, the Octane/Flow would pull away a little. Performance differences between the two kites were small. Other advantages is they are relatively cheap and they pack really, really small. If you were going to do a bit of an expedition somewhere, you could do a lot worse than have a few of these stashed away. If you want a kite to cruise with that's child's play to fly with tons of low down pulling power, these are great. You will need a comfy harness and you'll need to fly with a bit of power to gain ground upwind but you'll soon get used to that. Safety is a big factor for me and the NS2's are slower to react to gusts than my foils - it gives me more time to react to gusts and the gusts tend to be absorbed a little more with these kties than something with a higher aspect ratio. These are the best kites that I've ever flown - not performance wise and not speed wise, but just for putting that stupid grin on my face when I'm cruising up and down the beach.