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Author Topic: Flying a Gomberg inflatable Manta with a pilot kite  (Read 3114 times)
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Josiah
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« on: May 02, 2010, 06:21 PM »

I though I knew what I was doing, but was clearly proved wrong in my attempt to fly my Gomberg Manta using my Skyform 60 as a pilot.  To get things started, I launched my Skyform with its matching 50' banner tail.  It was bumpy wind kind of day, but after letting out 150' of line or so, I was into some slightly smoother air.  The wind was in the range of a 4 or 5 on the trusty Beaufort scale, which I thought should be more than enough, even given its bumpy nature.   My Skyform tends to fly at a surprisingly low angle of attack. I'm not sure if maybe there wasn't enough wind for the kite and all that tail, or if maybe there is something wrong with the bridle.  I'm actually confused about that anyway since all the bridle lines attach to fabric keels, seemingly eliminating anyway to tune it?

Anyway, once I had the Skyform up, I figured launching the Manta would be a snap.  I'd made a yoke that attached to the two forward most bridle points on the Manta, (the two points right at the top of its mouth).  This is the general setup suggested on Gomberg's site for flying a medium-sized kite on its own line using the pilot kite's line as a separate guide.  The yoke is about 3' long on each leg, and using a carabiner, I clipped the middle of the yoke onto the line of the Skyform.  I inflated the Manta, and started letting its own, separate line out.  At first it seemed OK, but maybe 20' into the air, the Manta started trying to fly at a higher angle of attack than the Skyform, wrapped around the line of the Skyform, and promptly twisted itself into a giant mess!  I pulled it back down, untangled it, and tried again with pretty much the exact same results...

So now I'm wondering what is the problem.  My first guess is that maybe for the given wind, the banner-tail was too much for the SKyform, dragging the angle of attack way down so the Manta would always over-fly the pilot line. Also, maybe the bumpy wind was just killing the normal flight for a foil. My next guess would be some problem with where I attached the yoke to the Manta, or that I made the yoke line to short.  My last guess would be some kind of problem with the Skyform that is causing it to fly at too low of angle for it to make an effective pilot.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!
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MtnFlyer
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2010, 07:49 PM »

Hi Josiah,

It seems you've read the FAQs on DG's site. That's good. Great info!

First, a couple of clarifying questions...
Which Manta Ray do you have, the 20' or 48'?
I presume you're talking about the 50' Streamer here.
Do you really mean you were flying in 13-24 mph (4-5 bft)?

Assuming... mid-sized Ray (48') "medium-sized" as you put it; that's the streamer you're flying; the wind was the upper teens.

IMHO that's too much tail for that kite if you're using it as a pilot. Use a smaller tail with less drag to try to increase the flight angle, or a real Pilot 50 that you can adjust and that doesn't need a tail.

That may be too small a flowform to act as a pilot for that size inflatable. Flowforms do need some drag. Pilots are designed for that purpose. Depends on a lot of variables but that sounds like the FF's on the edge. I have that particular FF, too. I prefer a Pilot as a pilot.

The high teens are about the high end in which to fly the inflatables anyway. Try some better winds if you can.

If the Ray is flying so well on its own, don't bother with a pilot kite.

I've had an mid-octo overfly a Pilot 50 before, but it also wasn't adjusted correctly at the time and flew at too low an angle. Unless you have a lot of time with inflatables like DG and others, it's just intelligent trial and error until you find that sweet combination. Then you can start it all over again for a different wind and turbulence scenario.  Wink

Hope that helps.
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Bob
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2010, 08:28 PM »

I had exactly the same problem with my Manta when I first flew it under a pilot.  You have two choices

1. Don't clip the manta onto the pilot line, instead fly the pilot from the top of the manta on a shorter line.  Trouble with this, you have the pull of both kites on your manta line, and you need to make sure where the lifter loop attaches onto the manta is well reinforced.

2. Anchor your manta further forward i.e. separately from the pilot anchor, and under the pilot line.  Trouble with this, if the wind changes direction the anchors don't line up and you can still have difficulties with tangling.  The angle of flight changes with wind speed, so you can still get the manta overflying if the wind speed picks up

I reinforced the lifter loop attachment points on my manta and use the first method.  It works fine!

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Kevin Sanders

Willunga, South Australia
Josiah
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2010, 09:24 PM »

Bob: I've got the 20' Manta, just picked it up from the swap meet a couple weeks ago. Yes, it is the 50' "Giant Streamer.  Really it was gusting into the upper teens, and had lulls easily down to maybe 5mph. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it was averaging 8-10.  Sort of shifty in direction too...

The field I was at leaves a lot to be desired.  It is small, narrow, and edged by houses on one side and a little league field (that keeps the gates chained shut) on the other.  The winds were too shifty for the Manta to stay up on its own.  It tended to get blown to one edge of the window, then have a gust make it overfly the edge and aim for the ground.  With the giant tail, the skyform was a lot more resistant to that which is why I wanted to use it as a pilot for the Manta.

It sounds like too much tail and crappy wind is the real problem here.  How little tail can I use on the Skyform 60 and still have it stay put?  I realize that stable wind would help a lot, so assuming I make the drive out to the beach for some smooth wind, how little tail could I get away with then?

Kaos: I really like the basic idea of the messenger arrangement, that is running a kite up a separate guide line instead of stacking them off the same line.  Unfortunately I see exactly what you mean about the anchor points not being lined up when the wind shifts if I move it far enough forward too keep it from over flying the pilot line. 

Thanks to both of your for the good advice and help!  I'm only getting into flying bigger kites this year, and am of course learning about all the new, interesting challenges these kites create.  Smiley
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 09:26 PM by Josiah » Logged
KaoS
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2010, 11:42 PM »

Hi Josiah

A Skyform 60 is a HUGE pilot for a 20' Ray.  That sized Ray will fly really well with a 6' delta as it's pilot (that's how I fly mine).  That size Ray doesn't need to be lifted it just needs to be protected from collapsing in turbulent winds.

I don't have a photo of mine right now, I'll see if I can get it out in the next couple of days

Cheers
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Kevin Sanders

Willunga, South Australia
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2010, 08:12 AM »

Hi Josiah,

KaoS is right, the SkyForm 60 is huge for the 20' Ray, and a delta or rok, with it's higher flight angle, would be a much better choice.

Also and according to DG, the mini- and mid-size inflatables are not built to serve as the anchor point for the pilot. The lifter loop is for guiding only. If you use it as the anchor point, reinforce it into the structure (not just the fabric) very well as KaoS did, or to the top center bridle lines.

I can't tell you what size tail to use on the FF. It really depends on the wind and what you're trying to do/lift with it. Just big enough to do the job, unless you want a good show from it.

Winds can create havoc. Saturday I was flying a Pilot 90 150' above a maxi-octo (that is designed to directly anchor the pilot kite) on a split bridle. The octo would sometimes shift left and the Pilot to the right! Wind shears and turbulence, but you get what you get.
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Bob
Josiah
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2010, 09:45 AM »

Thanks again for the advice guys.  I realize the Skyform is a bit out of scale to the Manta, but  that is all I have.  The only other choice for a pilot would have been my 11' Ghost, or 5' DC, neither of which seemed appropriate, but maybe the Ghost would have worked after all.  It certainly has a steeper angle of attack than my Skyform.

No worries about ripping my Manta apart! I read more than enough to know not to tie a lifter or pilot off the top of the little Manta.  Wink

Looks like I just need to get out there and fly more to build up a certain level of experience with these kites to know what winds/tails/combinations work and which won't...  Also looks like a should start watching the swap meet for a big sparred kite.
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KaoS
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 10:40 PM »

...The only other choice for a pilot would have been my 11' Ghost, or 5' DC, neither of which seemed appropriate...



Actually, the delta I use for mine is a 6' conyne derivative.  You might find your 5' one is ideal.


No worries about ripping my Manta apart! I read more than enough to know not to tie a lifter or pilot off the top of the little Manta.  Wink



I'm not sure how the Gomberg rays are made these days.  My ray is a Peter Lynn original from about 12 years ago, and I had to fit my own lifter loop.  In order to fly it with the pilot directly from the lifter loop I replaced the two innermost bridle lines with 150 lb line, then attached a lifter loop on the top of the kite directly behind the replaced bridle lines (at the other end of the internal through cords).  This effectively transfers the pull of the lifter kite directly to the ray's bridle tow point.



Hope this helps  Smiley
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Kevin Sanders

Willunga, South Australia
Josiah
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2010, 12:31 PM »

Thanks again to both of you!  Kevin, your picture is very helpful.  I think I'll make that modification to mine too, since it won't interfere if I want to fly it by itself or even in the "2-line, messenger configuration."
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WhataKite
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2010, 06:21 AM »

Hello,
This is a common problem. The Ray can fly at a much steeper angle than the Pilot/lifter.
The ray will actually try to fly around the main flying line, resulting in  the wreak. 
I tried several things in years past.
1. Put a separate line thru the Ray to the bridle point of the kite. Fly off to the side.
you can put several in a stack this way. Tension just snug. Let the main kite line have
the most load.  Stake out the Ray far enough away to not tangle into the mainline.
Note: Robert DeWeers flies huge numbers of his beautiful fish off of 3-4 lines this way.

2. You can flatten out the Rays bridles to depower him. Thus stopping the overfly.
Shorten up the front bridle lines,  the middle ones half as much, and leave the back
alone.

3.Add a fish drogue or some other drogue to his tail. This works really well, as the Ray
is a little light on tail pull as it is.  The 2 ft Gomberg fish drogue is about right.

I have done all of the above over the years. Just depends on what YOU want
to do.
Best Regards
Barry
WhataKite.com
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BIG KITES, the Bigger, the Better!
Barry Ogletree
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