I have now flown Mark's Mongoose on 2 occasions.
If you just go by specs, the Mongoose is very similar in size to a Mantis and about 4 inches shorter in height than a Mamba. I have very little time on a Mantis, so can't really comment on a comparison to it. I do have a fair amount of time on my Mamba and the Mongoose is more forgiving, builds up speed less quickly and tricks a bit quicker. They both track very well.
Build Quality: Ken McNeill
Panel Layout: 18 panels (same as the Mamba) but with a bold "lightning bolt" cutting throught the "normal" panels (I have already spent too much time with the colorizer for this one)
The first time I flew the Mongoose was Friday night in low wind. There were 3 kites in the air at the time:
1 Talon UL
2 Vendetta UL (incorrectly originally stated as WM UL)
3 Mongoose std
Yesindeedy, the Mongoose with that Nitro frame exposes a lot of rigid sail and was flying gracefully in UL conditions. The Mongoose has a fairly long spine which must act as an excellent stabilizer, as there are no standoffs near the wingtips to add tracking as on the Mamba.
First and foremost, this kite is meant to fly. It feels a bit like the offspring of the AirFX and Mamba. Certainly a worthy heritage. I found myself wanting to practice my lines and figures, which have really deteriorated over the last several years.
The question on all you flippers and floppers on the Forum. I flew the kite with stock bridle, no yoyo stoppers and 2 of the 4 tail weights. This is not a jerk-and-watch-it-do-something-kite. The set up needs to be more deliberate and the lines tended more throughout the trick. It's almost more of flying the kite through the trick with just enough slack to get it through some transitions.
I was able to do a few roll-ups and unwind from the over rotated Jacob's Ladder entry. The kite does barrel-rolls instead of backspins. Darren did some Comete cycles on it. They were slow enough to recognize each input, which I liked. The kite will easily do 1 or 2 pop cascades slowly. In fact all tricks are done at a leisurely pace where you can watch what is happening. The timing is very different than a Talon type kite.
Hopefully Darren can add to this aspect as he is a much better trickster than myself.
Darren did it once, but we didn't know what happened at the time. I've done it twice since then. On the 2nd occasion I flew the Mongoose, winds were around 8 mph and I figured out what Darren had accidentally done that was so cool. The trick works better on lines under 100 feet and close to the ground. Basically it's a fairly flat axel to rolled-up position. I've never seen it before, although I'm sure one of you experts has done it.
1 Get the Mongoose close to the ground.
2 Start an axel, but keep the lines tended closely
3 As the wingtip comes around toward you
4 Bring the lines above the wingtip
5 Let the Mongoose continue around to finish the axel
6 As the nose points toward you
7 Raise the nose of the kite between the lines
8 You now have a rolled-up kite with a twist in the lines to help keep the lines near the nose, which helps since this kite had no yoyo stoppers.
I did it twice, on purpose, once I figured out what had happened to Darren. It's very cool and should allow kites that don't yoyo to get into a wound up flying position.
I'm open to comments on this trick as it is new to me.
If you want a great flying, well built custom kite that will do tricks slowly and on purpose, this will fit the bill perfectly. It does not hand out tricks, but it will reward you with them when done the way it wants them done.
I'm looking forward to more time on it as this kite demands more of a learning curve in the tricks department. As far as flying, my lines and corners are coming back.
Mark might not get his kite back for a long time.