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Author Topic: Black Mamba VV  (Read 8437 times)
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2014, 05:02 AM »

This wouldn't be complete without a discussion of the Black Mamba mods.  When Ken brought a proto Mongoose to Michigan, he also brought an all white Mamba proto he called the Black Mamba and said if designing the Mamba today he would use an updated standoff geometry. This is the TE profile of the standard Mamba:

Here is the Black Mamba:

Note the inner standoffs are moved out 3" and the tunnel flatten by using equal length standoffs.  The wider keel helps slow the kite and moderate acceleration. Some tricks such as the backspin are more accessible.  The solid fade and other Mamba goodness are all still there.  The flattened tunnel does allow the kite to rotate more freely and induces some oversteer which is easily controlled by moving the tow points out 1/2".

These are not radical changes but some of the veteran Mamba flyers really liked the kite and where throwing some pretty impressive moves with the Black Mamba.

The changes are pretty easy to make, add a new standoff position, make a set of standoffs, move the bridle.  I went a little further and replaced all the TE reinforcements to look like my later Mambas:

There are a few optional mods you may want to do.  The adjustable standoffs were used by Paul Shirey on his Sano and make it easy to fine tune the TE profile.  You can do much of this by pushing the individual standoff connectors around but the coupled standoffs make it easier.

The knotted pigtail and slider knot on the uphaul make it easy to isolate bridle adjustments and equalize the bridle halves after the inevitable knot tightening and cord stretching.

Lastly, even though later Mambas use Nitro LEs, those long wingtips can induce frame shudder in higher bumpy winds.  This is virtually eliminated with an additional bridle leg from the middle of the LE.  Ken did this on a number of his earlier kites and JonT puts one on the Ocius std.  The additional leg does not seem to interfere with tricks and helps the kite feel very solid all the way up to where the LSs start to bend in big winds.

In conclusion, if you've been flying a steady diet of trick flippy monsters, pull out your turn of the century classics like the Mamba and remember what it is to fly a kite that just flies well.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 07:15 AM by stapp59 » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2014, 07:51 AM »

Wasn't the coupled standoffs referred to as the "Shapeshifter?"

Seemed to remember you or someone else doing a writeup of it on the BMK forum.

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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2014, 08:24 AM »

Yes and guilty!  Still tinkering...

Wasn't the coupled standoffs referred to as the "Shapeshifter?"

Seemed to remember you or someone else doing a writeup of it on the BMK forum.

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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2014, 04:15 PM »

Have spent the last week with the Mamba.  Good thing it has variable vents as the winds have been all over the place.  While the classic settings are great and the Black Mamba settings add some nice characteristics, I actually prefer something between the two.  Currently the inner standoffs are moved  out 1" (instead of 3") and the TE flattened to 1.75" (approx halfway between 3.25 and .5" ).  The tow points are moved out 1/2" to keep the precision crisp.  I suppose you could call this one Mamba the grey, nicknamed Gandalf.

None of these updates turn the Mamba into a 'modern' trick kite.  It remains a classic ballet kite that can do many tricks when asked.  I'll pull out the Exile, Monster, Superfly etc (higher aspect ratios, swept forward LE, weighted, etc) for more tricks.  Of the three only the Exile retains the overall flyability and classic feel of the Mamba.  Not a surprise as it is a Ken kite after all.

When flown after the Mamba, the Superfly seems like a U2 spy plane  Cheesy  While the Superfly is tricking with abandon and complaining about the bumpy winds, the Mamba is just up there flying and somehow seems to find the little puffs to keep flying around its broad wind window.  The Mamba throws graceful rotational moves to remind the Superfly how that's done.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 04:11 AM by stapp59 » Logged
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