GWTW Forum

Kites! Kites! Kites! => Beginners Corner => Topic started by: chrispie on November 02, 2009, 01:24 AM



Title: Half Axel
Post by: chrispie on November 02, 2009, 01:24 AM
Hi everyone,

I picked up kiting just about a month ago and finally been able to keep it in the sky. Is able to do some not so good backflip, and get a fade from a flare etc..

Now am REALLY STRUGGLING  with the half axel. Many advance pilots in the area agreed that the half axle is the doorway to tricking and I am desperate to get it right.

The way i was taught is that: Say the kite is flying from right to the left, and I will do a small push on top wing immediately followed by a pop on the same wing. At the same time as the pop, give slack to the bottom wing to let the kite flare away.

Here is the problem, everytime i do that, and the kite is flaring away, the kite lost altitude and drops down. I cannot understand how come in the videos that i see, the kite stays almost at the same spot and U-turn there and then.

Any expert here can put in some pointers, or direct me to any video that you think can help me? Thanks!!


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: JimB on November 02, 2009, 01:40 AM
http://sportkiteflyer.spaces.live.com/ (http://sportkiteflyer.spaces.live.com/)

Tutorials on the right hand side of the site.

Don't forget to thank Randy.


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: fidelio on November 02, 2009, 02:13 AM
welcome chrispie to kiting, and the forums. :)
+1 for randy g's video tutorials. they're excellent.
should you watch the videos and struggle with the trick, come on back and you'll find people here happy and willing to discuss the finer points and any needed finesse.

as for your kite losing altitude coming out of the trick, i'd point to two likely possibilities. the first is in lower winds the kite tends to naturally drop a few feet since it's not 'flying' during the trick and gravity wants to take over. the second reason and a cure for the first, is to fly the kite out of the trick. by this i mean in most videos they say 'take up the slack and fly off' or something to that effect, but what they don't say is sometimes the taking up slack and flying off may be the most aggressive of any of the inputs needed to complete the trick. so in the case of the half axel, you stop the kite flying, turn it around, but then you need to make it fly again by pumping the lines, or you'll lose altitude. so instead of letting gravity and falling add speed to the kite to get it to fly again, you provide the energy to do so.

executing the trick faster may minimize the drop, and also doing it in higher winds, but i think you'll find driving the kite out of the trick the most effective.

are you able to axel? i'd consider the half axel something to learn after the axel if you haven't gone through it yet.

congratulations of finding a great sport and again, welcome.


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: DWayne on November 02, 2009, 04:00 AM
Martin does good tutorials too. Maybe this will help. 
Half Axel Tutorial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TExHtY0RUJw#normal)


Denny


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: chrispie on November 02, 2009, 07:38 AM
thanks for all the input  :D

I just ordere Dodd Gross' DVD.. hope its good... :)

Lately find it really hard to fly as there is hardly any wind in Singapore for now.. Im now flying Genesis and also Airwave UL. Really hope to be good enough soon and reward myself with the Widow Maker or Quantum Pro.  ;)


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: fidelio on November 02, 2009, 02:25 PM
if tricks are your preference then between those two kites i'd definitely suggest with the widow maker.  ;)

there's also a fantastic dvd by tim benson called trick or treat. i think it's the best kite dvd out there.

there's also another flier or two on these forums from singapore. watching and flying with others teaches me far more than flying alone.

good luck, and good winds.


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: Gamelord on November 02, 2009, 02:53 PM
The half axle is one of the very few tricks that are done when the kite is under load or in motion.  Most other tricks require you to first stall the kite and then start the trick.

What I struggled with on the half axle is that I was waiting and taking my time trying to get the trick to work.  I finally figured out that the trick needs to be done very precise and quickly.  If you wait to long between "pops" the kite will either flip onto its back and go wacko - or drop out of the air and become worthless.  Also, the kite needs to have some fairly good pressure on the lines to implement (until you really get good at them).  In light winds, the half axle is actually a little harder for me to perform than in stronger winds.  This is why I would recommend trying the half axle more towards the center of the wind window while the kite is still under some pressure - instead of trying it on the edge of the window where the kite has very little pressure.

Push out the top line a fraction and then immediately pop the top wing down, wait for only a split second and the pop the bottom wing back up, once the wing comes back up - immediately pull both lines while taking up slack to launch the kite back the other direction.  The "pops" are very sharp and somewhat aggressive - the wind will designate just how aggressive they need to be.  Too aggressive and the kite will flip over onto its back, not aggressive enough and the kite will just sort of wobble and not flip at all.

Make your top push/pop very very quick....like pa-pop! (for lack of a visual on the push/pull)  Not push--then--pop.  The whole trick should be pa-pop---pop...pull both lines and fly out.

usually, faster pops is better than slower ones. 

Hope that helps.


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: chrispie on November 02, 2009, 03:40 PM
Hi gamelord, thanks for the reply, i find it very insightful.

I was gg through my mind what is wrong (no point keep doing the wrong thing)...

I reckon that:

Problem: I tend to fly the kite towards the edge of the window before i execute the push-pop action. And the lines tend to slack too much. No tension, and i cant pick up the slack fast enough, it drops like a fly.

Ans: I think like what Gamelord said, probably as there is lesser wind at the edge, and I popped too hard, causing the kite to be pulled towards me too much. That probably caused the excessive slack, and thus lost of control.

Gamelord, you did not mention giving slack to the lower wing after the pushpop action. I always thought that is neccesary for the kite to rotate on its belly?

Another thing is that at those obscure moments, when i managed to get the kite to flare (You can imagine the happiness at the moment), my hands froze, kite drops or wobbles like mad...became a full axel. Ok, question is, once the kite has rotated, are you suppose to do anything during the flare to make the kite turns back to flying position, or the wind will do the job based on the kite's turning momentum?

Thanks!!  ;)


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: tpatter on November 02, 2009, 04:15 PM
I "lift" (little pop) what was the lower wing up after the flare position and then take up both lines when back to horizontal  to fly off.

Different kites require different amounts of setup (the first slight release of tension on the top wing while slightly popping the bottom) from almost none to quite a bit so you have to experiment for your specific kite.

Also, some folks do not lift the bottom wing, but just let it flop and then pull both lines to fly off.  Learning to lift the bottom wing now will make the cascade much easier for you later.  I think its hard to get super sharp looking cascades or half-axels without the additional pop.  With it, you can do them as fast or as slow as you like in most any wind by just varying your timing.

Good luck!


 


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: lasapcheong on November 02, 2009, 05:13 PM
Hello ChrisPie,

Ditto to all the good advice given. I remembered I learnt the half axel when the wind is stronger, as opposed to very little wind.

Do you fly at Sengkang? There are a few dual line flyers there. It helps to have somebody doing it in front of you as a visual is worth a thousand words.

Just bear with the wind for now. Its pretty much sucky wind season with the rain we've been getting and it will gradually pick up and blow from the Northeast I think come end December all the way to Feb-Mar. By then you might be complaining of too much wind  :)

-Darryl


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: chrispie on November 02, 2009, 10:29 PM
Hello ChrisPie,

Ditto to all the good advice given. I remembered I learnt the half axel when the wind is stronger, as opposed to very little wind.

Do you fly at Sengkang? There are a few dual line flyers there. It helps to have somebody doing it in front of you as a visual is worth a thousand words.

Just bear with the wind for now. Its pretty much sucky wind season with the rain we've been getting and it will gradually pick up and blow from the Northeast I think come end December all the way to Feb-Mar. By then you might be complaining of too much wind  :)

-Darryl

Hi Darryl, (i see your nick i supposed u are from singapore)

Last time I flew at Buangkok field with Ken and Patrick. Picked up many tips from them... i made a bet with a friend to learn the half axel within a month!! Now panicking already.. haha... :-X

Lately the spots i went had very inconsistent wind, both in intensity and direction.. so quite frustrating as very quickly i ran out of ground.

My main concern now is actually about the definition of 'pop'.

Let say the full force is exerted in the hand displacement of a certain distance, can anyone roughly tell me what is this distance?

(e.g. The full force is transmitted via the string in a pull of say 20cm from start to the end of the action etc).

I ask this as i wonder, if it is that what we want to achieve is to transmit the sudden tension with minimal shortening of the distance of the kite from you, thus the force, is short and snappy. On contrary to what i have done, is probably that the pop is too draggy, thus though the force is exerted and causing a rotation, but the pull took too long a time and created unneccesary slack in the lines.


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: fidelio on November 03, 2009, 12:44 AM
the intensity and timing of your inputs will change based on wind conditions, kite, and how you want the trick to look.

focus more on the positions you want to achieve with the kite, then play around with the intensity and timing of your inputs to get the kite to pass through those desired positions.

this way further on when you're learning other tricks you can assemble the new trick out of pieces of other tricks you already know how to do, and when you do encounter difficulty you can more easily identify the section of a trick in which the kite isn't cooperating.

of course like most instruction related to kite flying, these are subjective statements and someone else may have a completely different perspective on how to achieve the same results.

so much of kite flying is feel, it's a bit like trying to describe how to walk down a staircase. experience pays huge dividends. so get some time on the lines, some wind at your back, and most importantly, have fun. the rest will come in time. :)


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: obijuankenobe on November 03, 2009, 01:09 AM
I will take a stab at it.  The half-axel is one trick I can definitely do well.   :D

Think less about the pop, and more about the slack.

1.  First, you must interrupt the flow of air to initiate the flare.  That can be done a number of ways.  The worst way (for me) is the way you described in the original post.  Giving slack to the top wing is a very ineffective way to do this.  If you watch RandyG's video, you can see how he (and I, from watching him) does it: a small input on the lower wing.  This small pop sets up lower pressure (thus more lift way from the pilot) on the bottom vs. the top, making the main input to the top wing much more effective.

2.  Now, after you pop the top wing, to reach an even flare, you MUST step forward.  Reach to the kite to flare it out.

3.  Then, all that's left is to lift what was the lower wing up by adding tension first to that wing.  Then you can adjust tension on both and fly away in the opposite direction.

The key is learning to interrupt the flow of air with the combination of 'bottom-TOP' inputs.  They are in rapid succession, and must be followed by slack (one step forward).  Depending on wind conditions, you may need to be quicker with the step forward, or maybe not really need to do more than reach forward a bit.  But without slack, the kite will do something other than flare evenly, and you want this for a real tasty half-axel.

Good luck.
obi 


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: obijuankenobe on November 03, 2009, 01:22 AM
BTW, you can also easily see from Martin's tutorial the same 'bottom-TOP' set of inputs to get to the flare.  Imagine what the kite is doing.  With your method, you are essentially doing the same thing, but using slack on top rather than pressure on the bottom to set up the top wing to fall forward.  In most conditions, a small pop will do more at the kite than any 'fast' slack you can throw.  In higher winds, your method will be even more difficult. 

Finally, try to think of a 'pop' as a sharp increase in pressure, without sustaining the hand position.  So in slow motion, your hand would move rapidly backward and then RETURN to the start position.  This motion must be followed by slack in the lines, otherwise the airflow will return and the kite will just fly off again. 

obi


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: lasapcheong on November 03, 2009, 01:49 AM
Apart from what everybody have contributed, I'd recommend (at least for the next 2 months of sucky wind before the full force of the Northeast Monsoon hits end December - January) learning it on your Airwave UL instead of the Genesis (I'm assuming its a Standard?), on longer lines if possible (75feet and longer at least), even when you feel that the wind is "standard wind".

I find learning the half axel easier for a start when you already have enough drive to fly the kite throughout the whole window without too much effort, as opposed having to pump all the time. Do it at the edges of the window in higher wind. Alternatively you could just cheat by flying the kite to the edge of the window, hovering it for a while, pop an axel then flying it off in the opposite direction - and repeat in the opposite direction. It may look ugly but at least you can get the feel that way, then slowly make it look prettier.

But if you are doing this, fly carefully and immediately head to the edge of the window if the wind picks up to the point of generating too much stress on your UL frame and kite.

-Darryl


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: benjai on November 03, 2009, 07:27 AM
I made a little video to try to explain half-axels a little while back too. Actually, I was trying out multi-camera synchronisation and the HA was a good trick to use... Maybe it helps a little?

Half Axels (http://vimeo.com/4985171)


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: fidelio on November 03, 2009, 05:07 PM
woohoo, look at you go. nice video benjai. :)


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: anOldMan on November 03, 2009, 09:27 PM
Ben, Very good video. Had a little problem matching the inputs from you with the actions of the kite. Haveing the camera view between the kite and the flyer is different. Very nice action of the kite.  :)


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: chrispie on December 08, 2009, 01:45 AM
Hi all.. my half axels is finally getting somewhere... started with the left side.. only to find that im struggling with the right.

Question.. when i do my half axel, at times (especially on the right side) when the kite goes into the flare position, rather then it being flat on its belly then turn into opposite direction with a small input on the inside hand to bring the previously bottom wing up, it goes nose up (about 45 deg upwards, but still on its belly, nose away from me). What is the key reason for that? (sure hope u guys understood what i said)


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: mikenchico on December 08, 2009, 01:00 PM
I use the top/top method myself and very aggressively as explained above, no stall needed. Slack the top line just a bit 6 - 12 inches then hammer it hard and give slack with both hands, how hard depends on wind conditions, the higher the wind the harder you hit it. I don't feel I really do a second input to bring the wing back up like you would do in a cascade, since I'm planning on exiting and flying off in the opposite direction I just pull back hard and evenly with both hands after the kite has rotated a bit past the 90 degree point. If you gave too much slack or the winds are lower you may need a step back too. That grabs what will be the bottom wing, the furthest away from you at that point, and pulls it back out, so I guess you could say that was a second input since it will hit that furthest wing first but it's one movement in my mind. It brings the kite out with a satisfying almost drum like pop to the sail in higher winds. I like that immediate reversal, pop, and acceleration out, hence the two hand pull, benjia shows it at 1:45 above.

That Widow Maker thrives on this method, really  ;D



Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: chrispie on December 08, 2009, 09:29 PM
I use the top/top method myself and very aggressively as explained above, no stall needed. Slack the top line just a bit 6 - 12 inches then hammer it hard and give slack with both hands, how hard depends on wind conditions, the higher the wind the harder you hit it. I don't feel I really do a second input to bring the wing back up like you would do in a cascade, since I'm planning on exiting and flying off in the opposite direction I just pull back hard and evenly with both hands after the kite has rotated a bit past the 90 degree point. If you gave too much slack or the winds are lower you may need a step back too. That grabs what will be the bottom wing, the furthest away from you at that point, and pulls it back out, so I guess you could say that was a second input since it will hit that furthest wing first but it's one movement in my mind. It brings the kite out with a satisfying almost drum like pop to the sail in higher winds. I like that immediate reversal, pop, and acceleration out, hence the two hand pull, benjia shows it at 1:45 above.

That Widow Maker thrives on this method, really  ;D



darn.. how did u know im eyeing the Widow Maker intently...  :-\

On the part where u mentioned about Benjia's video, you noticed that he has 3 inputs too..

Say kite is flying to left, he does a small pop with left, the bigger pop with right (now kite turns into flare), and he has a very minute pull on the left hand again to bring the once lower wing up before flying off..

I had been thinking about the problem where my flare tends to get too nose up..  i reckon that i could be popping too hard with the right hand, and was too late to recover, and thus the kite goes nose up when it hits the wind as it flys away in the flare. U guys think im right?


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: mikenchico on December 08, 2009, 11:38 PM

darn.. how did u know im eyeing the Widow Maker intently...  :-\

On the part where u mentioned about Benjia's video, you noticed that he has 3 inputs too..


Could be your avatar of the colorizer  ;)

Yeah he uses the bottom/top method too, both are acceptable, and they can be kite specific too. Technically I think Benjia's method is the more widely accepted. Just pointing out there are often different ways to do the same thing, one may work better for you or for your kite then another method.

Try both

Steve started a thread a few weeks ago about just that, sort of a 'is it a 540 if it's a 540 flat spin initiated from a vertical downward flight even though you didn't push to initiate flare?' - I don't think a consensus was ever reached.

BTW the Widow Maker has been my kite of choice for a couple years now ... just in case you need a little push to get one. I just get along with it, and it gets along with me  ;D



Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: benjai on December 09, 2009, 05:29 AM

On the part where u mentioned about Benjia's video, you noticed that he has 3 inputs too..

Say kite is flying to left, he does a small pop with left, the bigger pop with right (now kite turns into flare), and he has a very minute pull on the left hand again to bring the once lower wing up before flying off..

I had been thinking about the problem where my flare tends to get too nose up..  i reckon that i could be popping too hard with the right hand, and was too late to recover, and thus the kite goes nose up when it hits the wind as it flys away in the flare. U guys think im right?

Yep... I think you're spot on - it's either the second input into the flare is too agressive, or else you don't choke the flare off with the final input. In high winds, this is the way I do it so the whole thing is rather agressive. It's also a good way to make the sail make a loud snap... (not the sticks hopefully), but it does stress the frame of the kite. You can stop the nose going high by restricting the amount of slack you give after the flare input - actually to the point where you switch the tension between the lines without both being slack. Of course, on the Widowmaker, if you get into a nose-high flare, just give a strong recovery tug and lots of slack and you'll make all your buddies jeaslous by making a perfect Taz... The Widowmaker gives them away...

HTH.


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: chrispie on December 09, 2009, 07:24 AM
thanks for all the advise.. just ordered my Widow Maker...

3rd kite in 3 months..  :P


Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: mikenchico on December 09, 2009, 01:14 PM
thanks for all the advise.. just ordered my Widow Maker...

3rd kite in 3 months..  :P


 :D  :D   ^ ^ ^     Hook, Line & Sinker  :D  :D

Welcome to the club

Got a nice bag going, hope you enjoy the Widow Maker, it made a lot of things easier for me, or at least gave me the first succesfull atempts at a lot of tricks.

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2134/2112333310_199dd382fc_m.jpg)



Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: tpatter on December 09, 2009, 03:08 PM
Call me a proud dad, I post this one every chance I get.  This was my son a year ago - you should see him now!  We only flew the kite for a day - it is easy to work with right off.


Widow Maker Demo Kite (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGdubvQdAtE#normal)



Title: Re: Half Axel
Post by: chrispie on December 09, 2009, 04:30 PM
wow! He is good! Im 5% there... slowly slowly...