There was a suggestion on another thread that I go with a large slow kite because of my obviously glacial senior citizen reflexes. Well, a quick check with the sun dial out in the garden satisfied me that wouldn't be a problem
, so I ended up getting a Level One Jumping Jack Flash Excalibur Std. With a little luck it should be here next week.
My first choice was a JJF Matzel Edition but Level One didn't respond to my inquiries and the cost through a kite shop was prohibitive. Next choice was a shop demo plain vanilla JJF at a very good price. When my initial email didn't get a response I phoned the shop, the owner said he would check stock and email me back right away...that was the last I heard of him.
Although I was hesitant on the price, I really liked the TNT, however again no response to my inquiries, that was enough to settle it. Same story with some other vendors and kite stores. Disappointing but sure makes it easier to pare down the choices!
There were several possible used kites available, most thanks to a very helpful forum member who sent me a nice pdf list. In the end the prices just weren't low enough to take me in that direction.
I settled on a Jumping Jack Flash Excalibur Std.
I haven't been able to fly the it which of course does present some risk. In fact except for 1-2 times at the now defunct local kite shop kite fly I haven't flown at all in the last dozen or so years. Living in a small town far from any large city means no access to kite shops or other flyers which would enable me to test fly some kites.
A very generous forum member offered to send me some nice kites to try out which I haven't done for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don't have a base line to compare them to. But more importantly I don't have any flying experience with 'new skewl' kites and my flying skills are no doubt quite rusty (if not fossilised). It's going to take some time before I'd feel comfortable enough with my flying to start whipping someone else's expensive kites around the sky. I also thought it best to be solid with enough maneuvers so the my own sloppy flying doesn't bias my experience of different kites.
So why the Excalibur?
Well the looks are acceptable if not great (looks are important to me!) The quality should be good if perhaps not sterling. It looks graceful enough in flight. It appears to be a good polyvalent flyer. At 2.05m x .92m it's quite agile (I used to love flying my Little Sister which would dance around with a flick of the wrist compared to my Phantom which felt ponderous), but not too quick.
From what I've read and been able to see in videos it's fairly sensitive and doesn't require large inputs (I'm into finesse rather than jerk it around the sky flying). It doesn't seem to be particularly challenging to fly; there's a lot of discussion about it in a German kite forum, several flyers agreed it was a good beginner's kite and no one objected.
I was leaning towards the UL but in the end went for the STD for more useful wind range and hopefully a little better durability. I thought about the plain vanilla JJF but am hoping the Excalibur version provides somewhat more consistent, precise, predictable response to facilitate learning some new stuff.
Well that's no doubt a lot more than you wanted to know!
Thanks for reading,