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Found 17 results

  1. Mfwetu

    Gin Shaman

    New snow kite from Gin called the Shaman. It looks like it's meant to be a replacement for the Eskimo but interestingly it's a hybrid single skin with cells on either end to increase stability rather than a conventional foil. It certainly looks very stable in the promo videos. It's available in the same sizes as the Flysurfer Peak 3 but I doubt it will be much competition for the Peak in Australia due to the cost. It'll be interesting to see how the European riders rate it.
  2. BigTone

    Born-Kite Racestar 5.0M

    I’ll admit I’m a big fan of Born Kites. I first heard about them from watching a video by John Holgate about the NASA Star 2 kites a few years back. I bought some, and have been a Born-kite fan ever since. I also own 4 of Longstar 2’s, which I like a lot. I was waiting with some anticipation for the RaceStars. And when they were released I decided to get one pretty much straight away. But which size? I debated for about 24 hours with myself, and then, being cash-rich and self control poor, decided to just avoid any hard decision making and buy a full quiver. The kites arrived and sat there taunting me as I had injured my back and could hardly walk, let alone fly - until a few weeks ago at the 24th annual Blue Balls Buggy Bash at Port Waikato in New Zealand. The RaceStars are designed to be a buggy race kite. To go fast on a nice flat, hard pack beach. So in true kiwi style, we tested them in the dunes at port Waikato, because anyone can fly on the flat, but it’s in the dunes where kites and men are truly tested. As usual with Born-kites, the construction is top notch. Like many single skins, the leading edge contains small flexible battens to keep the edge in shape. The sail is pretty much flat, except for a few small triangular ribs that spread the load in places of high stress. This means that unlike most other single skins, the RaceStars are pretty much flat with no "ribs" running down the wing. The biggest difference with the RaceStar over previous Born-Kites is in the bridling. There is much, much less of it than with the longstar2’s and it’s made from a proprietary coated line developed exclusively by Born-kite. Less bridling reduces drag obviously but also makes for a much more pleasant experience when you crash in grass or on a beach with that horrible dry razor sharp weed - no more spending 20 minutes getting that dry seaweed out of the bridles. Born-kites are looking at using this new bridle line on the longstar3 as well. I ordered my kites fitted with the FAS (front area safety). This an optional fifth line safety that essentially folds the kite like a taco. I was intending to use a fifth line setup, but have since changed my mind, as I use an Ozone bar with front line flag out. (Several people asked what that extra line hanging off the kite was until I bundled it up and locked it into its retaining loop) I will probably end up removing it. Shortly after I ordered mine, I received an email from Steffen with a diagram showing that the RaceStars worked best with a 31cm extension on the steering lines. I made some pigtails up and took them with me to the meet. I hooked the 5m RaceStar up to a brand new ozone bar, on 25meter lines and launched it. The kite was responsive but a little twitchy in the air and was suffering a little from some back-stalling. Still quite flyable, but “not quite right”. I’m still fairly new to de-power kites, and still working out what to adjust when things don't feel right. Plummet was keen for a go, so I handed it over. He quickly confirmed that it wasn’t right and reckoned it needed a bit more backline. So we landed and added the recommended 31 cm extensions I’d made to the backline leaders, and relaunched. It was a different kite. No more tendency for back-stalling, much better de-power range, and just really nice to fly. And fly it does, fast, with a nice smooth power build up. Plummet hooked up the 7 and took off into dunes with it. He’s been known to have strong opinions about born-kites in the past, and as a very experienced kiter I respect his judgement, so when he got back pronounced the Racestars “Good. I’d definitely have one of those.” and then went on to give it a good review. I was quite pleased. I had a brief session with the 7 which was fantastic, but most of the weekend the 5 suited the conditions for me. The kite is awesome to fly, the 5 is incredibly fast to turn, which can make powered turns in the buggy a little hard as it tends to pivot around its centre, I think with a little practice fully powered turns would be fine. After a couple of hours tearing around the dunes I really got the feel for the kite and started getting some nice fast runs. The power comes on smooth and fast, but very controlled. As I said upwind performance is fantastic, Plummet says not quite as good as his Chrono, but it’s not far off. I certainly was able to go upwind better than any other kite I own and there were very few times I had to tack to get where I wanted to go. The kite was super stable in the air with no tendency to tip tuck and sat nicely in the window. As Plummet pointed out in his review, it would just drift back into the window when slack-lined and not wad itself into a ball and fall out of the sky. All single skins have a tendency to ‘flap’ (Aka “shopping bagging”) and the race star will if you are de-powered, but when even minimally powered up, the wing pops into shape is very stable with no flapping at all. I only mention it in the Negatives summary because - well - you have to put something in there. The RaceStars two-tone colour scheme with the black looks stunning in the air. There is something about the fabric or dye’s Born-Kite use that gives their kites a vibrancy of colour that other kites just don’t seem to have. I also spent some time with the 7 meter last weekend on a nice stretch of flat beach. And it was a blast. However, I was flying on a 50cm bar, and the kite definitely needs a bigger bar as turning was a bit sluggish unless I tent-poled the floats to give it a bit of extra leverage. But that’s not a kite issue, just something to be aware of when matching your bar up. I haven’t flown the 9 or 11 yet, but I am looking forward to it. So are the RaceStars any good? Hell yes! Fast, responsive, superb upwind, less bridling, and look good. Low bar pressure makes long sessions a breeze. Light and small pack up compared to a high aspect foil. And, as we discovered on the last day of the Blue Balls, fast to pack up when you have lightning storms approaching. If you are buying kite only, just make sure you add the extensions to your rear leaders to give that 31cm extra on the steering lines. I think Born-Kite are a great company who are competing in a tough market by doing innovative things - they haven’t always got it right <cough>longstar1<cough> but sometimes, when a company is trying to innovate, instead of just flog a yearly upgrade, it doesn’t quite work out. But they clearly learn from any mistakes and are committed to designing and producing top notch kites that get better and better. The RaceStars are definitely an example of their innovation and skill in the single skin space. So If you are looking for a buggy engine with serious get up and go, great upwind performance that looks great in the air, buy one - or four, you won’t regret it.
  3. Mfwetu

    Ozone Explore

    New single skin kite from Ozone for 2019 called the "Explore". It will be available in 4, 6, 9 & 12m and looks to be aimed as direct competition to the FS Peak. Manufacturer's blurb: "The new Explore by Ozone has something to offer for everyone. Consistent pull through the wind window, instant de-power, minimal upward lift, relatively slow flying speed, and damage-resistant single surface design make the Explore an amazing kite for entry level and intermediate riders. Advanced riders can push the boundaries - tight and dynamic or slow lazy loops can navigate difficult terrain while excellent drift allows riding down slopes without worring about the kite. For experts the lightweight design means it can fly in very light wind, allowing you to work the low end efficiently without having to worry about keeping the kite in the sky. The proven Re-Ride System means you can land the kite quickly and safely." I was thinking of getting the 12m Shaman 2 as a low wind engine but it looks like I'm going to have to wait a bit now. https://ozonekites.com/products/land-snow-kites/explore-v1/ https://vimeo.com/293139314
  4. BigE

    A New Year .... a New Build

    As some of you will already know I build my own kites, starting from simple one colour NasaParaWings (which started life with NASA as a re-entry chute) to the new breed of single skin kites which have their roots in the paragliding world. I've had a long spell from kiting (well for me @ 6months). After building three new style kites 12m, 7m and a 5m which I call the "Hammers", why? Because of the punch they deliver, don't get me wrong they are not snatchy, they are very smooth and progressive. After spending a lot of time trying to push the limits of NPWs I could not get the window of a foil, that said what I did have was a quiver of very usable and unique kites that I used religiously and enjoyed every minute. Then an internet search lead me to someone who was building single skin paragliders and offered the design software free on-line, the seed was sewn could that be used as a basis for a traction kite? I jumped in feet first and went for a whooping 12m2 which flew straight off the sewing machine. The 7m and 5m soon followed with changes to wing shape and AR. The build for this type of kite is much more than the NPW and means I need to amass more brownie points before a build So my plans for the new year is a 3m2 AR6 fixed bridle, plans are printed out, colours decided, now to check out what needs ordering. I reckon it'll take @7.5m x 1.5m of material and 48m of bridle lines, estimate of time @92hrs
  5. BigE

    Building is a journey

    With a Z-Bridle fitted to my new 3m, I've been itching for more flying, a business trip to Irvine, west coast of Scotland, so in to my hand luggage went the kite, I was expecting to be asked what was in my luggage but nothing! Straight through it went. First evening good wind coming nearly off the sea, roughly 12mph, first attempt, kite leapt up and straight back down, second time, up around 12ft then a reverse death spin, WTF still too much brake? Or have I created a new "Damien". Moved the brakes a bit more, up she went, still short of the zenith but oh lordy did it pull, virtually no tip collapse, with a coastal wind everything is so much easier, pulling 20-30ft scuds with ease, down loops making loads of power. While walking back I was thinking maybe one more mod to the brakes, to keep the wing tips inflated, it's holding the kite back. So an evening of tinkering. Second evening, laid kite out, NO WIND! Just the odd rustle of neck hair, tried a few catch the slight breeze and walk back, no more reversing, no wing tip folding just sliding down when there was just too little wind, by this time the tide was on it's way in and the wind started to pick-up a steady 6-8mph, this time the difference at the zenith between where it did park and now does is halved. Feeling much better, power still piles on with a loop, all looking good. Weather and work were against me for the next evening, like a scratch you can't reach, I still think there is a touch more to get in terms of speed / window, so I have partially reduced the AoA, which will drop the power a touch and give more speed / window, well that's the theory anyway. Now to go back to watching trees for the next opportunity to fly. Damien: Was a 3m HA NPW9 I built a while back , it flew like a stunt kite, had less window and when I tried it in the buggy was a nightmare, fully powered it just wanted to reverse given the slightest opportunity. I tried all sorts but could not crack it. Thinking how that flew compared to my new 3m they are poles apart, the thing that really keeps striking me is the power it generates, although I could pull longs scuds sending it up was not creating heaps of lift, but nor was there anywhere in the window to rest, even parked at the top it was still pulling. Here is Damien: I you're thinking of making a 3m HA NPW or less for traction this is me trying to buggy Damien Vid
  6. BigE


    The Z-Bridle, firstly why use it: Some single skin kites need some brake input to keep the kite inflated, flying without one, you need to hold the handles with your hands below the top power line to keep a power to brake balance. While flying static, you get "in tune" with the kite and start to fly instinctively applying/releasing the brakes without thinking just based on what the kite is doing. Now jump in a buggy or on a board and this can become a pain as your eye is no longer always on the kite. The other thing is try an NPW style kite on a bar without a Z-bridle and you will have your work cut out! Turn left and the tension is applied to the lhs bridles releasing the rhs and obviously that includes the brake which can cause the rhs to start collapsing. This is how I make mine, I make it in two separate pieces, I'm sure there is a calculation to work out how big the Z bridle should be, this is a copy of one I made for my 5m2 kite and works a treat so I guessed it's not going to be far off for my 3m2. I'm using 3mm dyneema "static" line which has a breaking load of 370Kg I start by cutting and burning the ends of 4 pieces of line: Two 128cm long and two 64cm. I then mark 27cm down from each end of the long pieces and just one end on the short. I take the end down to the mark and that give me a 13.5cm long loop, I start sewing the loops 4cm from the end. The longer pieces now have a loop on each end, I put the two ends together then move till I have one leg 2cm longer than the other, I run a couple of stitches to hold it in place. Double stopper knots are now tied to the ends (checking each pair of lines are the same), the long leg will be the brake line (from knot the diagonal): And now fitted to kite leaders (power lines on the rhs), you can see now releasing the brakes at the handle/bar end will give slack lines but the Z-bridle will maintain some tension to the brake bridle: Tuning: I always tune on handles first, holding your handles now as you would a foil (fingers each side of power line), fully release the brakes: If the kite doesn't lift or climbs then back stalls: the brake connection needs moving further away from the kite, if there is no more leader, then move the power side closer to the kite. If the kite lifts and there is some collapse: the brake connection needs moving closer to the kite. Once you get to the point where it is only slightly doing one or the other, then it only needs a 2mm to 5mm per change.
  7. BigE

    The Devil's place

    I'm Working down in Hertfordshire in a large town called Stevenage. I always have a kite or two in the car, so finished work and headed for the local park. Although the park is a good size it's in the middle of a large sprawling town and the wind that goes through it is spawned by the devil himself. Using my faceometer I reckon the wind was around 16mph, maybe too much but what the he'll let's see how it goes. Left the kite in the bag, run the lines out, stake handles, pulled kite from bag, immediately sprang out and sat there. Picked up the handles, let the brakes off... three feet up and back down. s!h!t maybe still too much brake on the Z bridle, give it another go. Three, four feet, I'm now looking at the handles moving skyward and my new PL killers stretching out in front of me.... please hold, then calm the kite drops back to ground in to the only muddy patch for miles around. I always religiously wear killers, the once I didn't ended up with the electricity ppl being called out and 400 ppl with no power but that is another story. I managed to skirt around the center of the window, but there really was no place to rest. 1/2hr and my arms are screaming. Packed up and checked in to my hotel, first job get the kite out to dry, omg it stank, that muddy pool must have been the aftermath of an elephant eating a local curry! So into a nice warm bath it went, the joys of a kite hobby. Now nice and clean and dry.
  8. BigE

    Tuning - Z-Bridle Fitted

    Z-Bridle fitted, wind was a bit all over from nothing to around 8mph. First take-off, no brake input at the handles massive wing collapse, only the middle third of the kite was inflated, the wing tips just hung down. Pulled the bottom of the handles back and hey presto it jumped in to shape. Made a big adjustment at the brake leaders on the kite moving the Z bridle towards the kite by about 10cm Second take-off ... you guessed it massive back stall, it only just lifted. Moved the knot away from the kite by 5 cm to split the difference and it's almost there, felt like it's got just a touch too much brake at the moment, didn't make another change due to time, so just did a bit of flying, reckon I'll back it off another 1cm before taking it out again. Zooming in on the couple of pics I took confirmed the feeling I got, the D bridles (last set before the TE) are running slightly slack due to the brake pressure but it's not much.
  9. BigE

    First Flight

    Weather not ideal, wind gusting 5 to @12mph. Lines on staked down and it looks... tiny in the field. Two things I've tried this time: 1 - higher AR, 2 - adjustable wing tips. How did it fly? It's feisty, from take-off went straight up to just short of the zenith, wind dropped right down and so did the kite, wing tips folded in and it slid out of the sky. More wind and up it went again, it's fast through the window, really sensitive to input with either just handle or handle/brake. Did a few figure eights and swooping, sent up to the top, right hand pull and in to a down turn, 3 o'clock the power's raising 4,5 its getting faster and piling the power on, by 7 I'm being pulled forward. Moved my hands under the power lines to keep a little brake tension. Issues at the moment: Wing tips, I'd kicked them back, but too much, I did shorten them whilst out but think they need more. Really pleased with the first flight, different kite altogether than the others, didn't overshoot, which surprised me, could be the wind or new location I'd tried, fast and more "snatchy" than the others, feels raw.
  10. BigE

    Phase 4 -COMPLETE!

    Now suffering with sewer's back, from being hunched over the sewing machine like Rumpelstiltskin, bar fitting the four leaders as it comes down from it's hanging place, this puppy is ready for a test flight
  11. BigE

    Phase 4 - Pause for thought

    All brake bridles and secondary "A" bridles fitted, from this point I'll work my way across all the secondary bridles then build the main cascades up. Why "Pause for thought" I was thinking as a boy I loved making Airfix kits, tanks, planes and ships, Meccano was another favourite, are we slowly moving away from children making things? Everything today is so easy and electronic gizzmos galore, they don't have to think about much in terms of creating anything or working out how something works. I can see how skills from the past get lost and wonder how many skills "we" will loose. That said if you are inclined to "do-it-yourself" there are so many resources now on how to do almost anything, but that depends on whether you can be bothered to do it yourself and reap the reward of self satisfaction. Here is where I'm at, although this is the point I drive my wife mad, "but darling I have to keep it hung up"
  12. BigE

    Phase 4 - Bridles

    Before I start a bit of background: For my NPW builds I did all the cascade bridling using double slipper knots and double stopper knots, this made the bridling fairly easy and relatively quick, also means any line can be easily adjusted or even replaced, the down side is the knots have a tendency to snag once packed away, I haven't had any issues but care needs to be taken that the kite is fully shaken out and all lines are clear before flying. Now I know there is a second method, using a fid or piano wire to "feed" the end of the line into the core of the line, pictures and "how-to's" make it look easy, but when you're dealing with 0.6mm line I just can't get me eyes to see that let alone my udder like fingers to try it What I do now for a knot-less bridle is make a loop and sew the lines together (I'll take a pic once started), this means no snagging, but the line with a loop at each end is fixed so no adjustment is available, I start from the kite with a larks head and move outwards to the final collection point larks head at each bridle junction. This is my line of choice: For Secondaries (closest to the kite) I use 33daN line, for the Primaries I use 49daN rated line. For this kite I need to make-up 118 lines in total, Making allowances for loops it'll take 39m of primary line and 85m of secondary line.
  13. BigE

    Phase 4 - First Bridle

    I do all my bridle lines in pairs, same one for each side and check both are the same length. Firstly I make a loop on the end of the line on the reel, I make the loop 12cm long with 2cm at the end unsewn: Marked out: First loop complete, then I measure the bridle length (plus 12cm for the other loop) and cut: First brake secondary pair finished: And attached straight on to kite (to prevent any mix-ups!)
  14. BigE

    Phase 3 - Complete!!!!

    One complete kite, hot off the machine: Time for a little sewing machine rest. Now for a bit a trigonometry, the software package I've been using doesn't cater for the modification I've done to the wing tips, so I need to recalculate the 4 wing tip lines with additional brake to a 5 line cascade no brake. It's something I did on my 12 and 7m after flying but by trial and error, this time I want to calculate it prior.
  15. BigE

    Phase 2 - All prep done

    End of my second phase, appliqué design sewn on, all panels hemmed on the TE and LE. Stats for anyone who is curious: Flat area 2.99m2 - Projected 2.45m2 AR 6 - Projected 4.5 Wingspan 4.23m - Projected 3.32m (It's only 30cm shorter than my 5m!) And this is what it currently looks like before it goes back under the sewing machine for final assembly:
  16. BigE

    Nothing to show yet

    In my head the build has started, in reality nothing to show yet, after a recent house move I've put my stash of material (for this build) somewhere very very safe! In the meantime I've tweaked my wing tip design, printed all the templates (in A3) and stuck them all together. Done some web surfing and settled on a design to appliqué to the wing (or maybe both sides). Only problem is the design will be in black, you can't see through the material to trace so it's a matter of cutting the design out and drawing round it on the material, but more of that later..... where the f@@@ is that material? This is top of the list to run across the mid section of the wing:
  17. The Niviuk "Skin" paraglider looks like a different way to introduce higher performance into a single skin wing design. Essentially its a single skin wing with a few "closed" cells. It would be interesting to see whether this type of design makes it way to single skin kites. website: http://www.niviuk.com/product.asp?prod=JNMOIPH8 video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3JFdajtppk video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov5tzXZBHUo