I had the fortunate pleasure of attending the Indoor Event on Memorial Day at the Wildwood Convention Center, as part of the 30th Wildwoods International Kite Festival. The venue was large with a wall of glass windows to the east, looking out at the beach and Atlantic Ocean. Indoor kite flying Heaven! Thank you Beatrix Pelton for a great Festival! Reconnected with many of my kiting friends from the 1990s, while making a lot of new friends. Itís always a pleasure seeing and talking with Dennis Smith, Jim Cosca, Scott and Darren Weider, Steve Santos and Sue Moscowitz. My old friend Dennis Smith ran the event and the sound system, with a great team of judges. It was a flash back to the 1990s for me when I use to compete in dual line, with Dennis on the microphone. Itís hard to believe that my first kite competition was at this great event back in 1991, flying my Falcon stunt kite in Intermediate Precision and Ballet.
Drove down that day (3 hour drive and no traffic) and arrived at the venue a little early to dust off my indoor flying skills and try out the three versions of the BOP 36: stock at 7.2 grams, 3-panel at 7.6 grams and the heavier blue version at 9.2 grams. Dennis was already there playing music. Lisa and Ian Willoughby showed up next. Lisa and I had a great time flying the three different versions of the BOP 36. A short time later, a large group of kiting flyers arrived. The stock BOP 36 was big hit and flown by many that day. I can't remember all of the names, but I recall Lisa Willoughby, Blake Pelton, Jose Sainz, Jim Cosca, Laura Berg and Glenn Davison were some of the kite flyers having fun with the stock BOP 36 during the day. I was going to bring down three extra stock BOP 36s just in case for others, but two sold before I left for the event. Lisa and I flew the three variations of the BOP 36, and she still like the stock one the best. Lisa flew my prototype BOP 36 in competition and purchased the extra stock one I had with me at the end of the event. It was great to watch Lisa putting the BOP 36 through its paces with very little time on the kite. I was pleasantly surprised that right after Blake flew the BOP 36, he ordered one on the spot. This week Jose also ordered one. It will be a pleasure building a stock BOP 36 for these two great guys.
Regarding the three variations, I love each version and they each have unique benefits. With the great indoor conditions, the glide slope for each version was incredibly long and flat. The stock BOP 36 is still the best ultra-light glider I own at only 7.2 grams, where it can do no wrong and always recovers from mishaps with the flying line (human error). At my age, human error always needs to be taken into consideration. During Lisaís routine, she got the fly line wrapped around one of the wings and the BOP 36 just kept on gliding like it wasnít there. The 3-panel/3-color Cuben BOP 36 at 7.6 grams is very cool looking in the air and climbs a little better than the stock BOP 36. This is because the nose and center of the sail is stiffer, being made from the slightly heavier Cuben fabric. The stiffness only took away a very slight amount of the forgiveness for the design. For the single ballet event, I had a hard time choosing between the stock version and the 3-panel version. I took the easy way out and selected the stock version to fly, to cover up my human errors from bad allergies and head cold.
During the event, I had several BOP 36s assembled along with the BOP 96. I was pleasantly surprised when Peter Dolphin stopped by after my single line routine and took a close look at my BOP kites. He was impressed by the construction and light weight of the BOP 36, but really liked the BOP 96 and my workmanship. The complements from Peter made my day. With the venue being that large, I was hoping to have a chance to test the BOP 96 indoors with the lighter frame and the new wing spar/center spine joiner. The opportunity became available after the competition was over. I stood the BOP 96 up at the far closed bleachers and spooled out about 100 feet of 50 lb. spectra line. Got up the nerve to pull it in the air and was quite surprised. It climbed all the way up to the fixtures hanging from the high ceiling and gracefully and slowly glided across the entire area. Tensioned the line slightly and hoped for a graceful turn and again was quite surprised. It turned like the BOP 36, just over a larger area. When the BOP 96 got under 10 feet, did several snap turns over my head, which looked like an old school 8-foot stunt kite doing flat graceful axles. Now realizing its potential, I flew it close to the ground and did some slow flat turns and then climbed back up to over 20 feet. That was my jaw dropping moment for the day! After I landed, others kite flyers, such as Blake Pelton, Jim Cosca and Laura Berg, took a turn flying this majestic glider kite. This was its first flight with the new lighter frame and it just needs a little more nose weight. Never expected the BOP 96 to do so well indoors. If we didnít accidently get a loop knot in the flying line, I would have flown the BOP 96 until they closed the building.
With the knot in the flying line for the BOP 96, I was able to get in some more air time on the 3-panel and blue BOP 36. The 3-panel at 7.6 grams will most likely be my new go to indoor glider kite. I can fly it a little more aggressively than the stock version and the 3-panels/3-colors look great in the air. The additional weigh only increased the gliding speed a very slight amount. Regarding the heavier blue version at 9.2 grams, the glide speed was only a slight amount faster than the stock version. The stiffer sail made the kite climb better and it was more responsive, but slightly less forgiving to human errors due to the stiffer sail. I found myself flying this version higher in the air, because of the better climb. Some kite flyers actually like this version better than the stock BOP 36. The real cool benefit is that this version can cover a lot of ground. What we learned with these great indoor conditions is the stock BOP 36 is very sensitive to line drag during the glide, and it will slowly turn after about 20 to 30 feet. Itís like having a dog on a leash, where it always comes back to you. This is a great attribute that I use during my ballet routine. The BOP 36 made from the blue Cuben fabric is much more resistant to change from the line drag, so you can let it run out much further. On one run, I wanted to see how far it would glide and I let it take the entire 50 feet of 10 lb. spectra line right through my hands before I realized it. It glided straight until I chased down the line. This is a great kite for larger venues and outdoors.
Since I had way too much fun flying and helping others fly, I didnít take any pictures. Sorry. I sent out a request to the people who that did take pictures and hope to post them in the future. If you have any, please send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
. Blake Pelton shot a great video of Jose Sainz flying the stock BOP 36, which he posted on Facebook. Blake let me have a copy and I will post the video when I get home later today.
In closing, it was one of the best days of kite flying I have had in many years, and on par with the fun I had recently up at the Dedham, MA event. Thank you for the great event and complements about my design. Way too much fun for this old engineer. Need to do this again in the very near future.
Yours in kiting,