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Author Topic: flying learning curves...  (Read 2653 times)
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Scott Blake
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« on: April 23, 2011, 05:05 AM »

Hi all,

I am just curious how people found their kite flying skills developed over time.

For myself, it seems I have stalled - and unfortunately, not that isn't with respect to my ability to stall a kite.  I got up the curve quick on take offs and reasonable landings (no, not snap stalls).  I then one day just instantly got loops on an ultra fast micron - that came courtesy of learning it on a much slower powerkite/foil the day before.  Now those seem just routine/easy.

Unfortunately, thats where things stalled (and no, not the kite).  I am watching videos of fades and stalls and other more complex tricks and I can see what is supposed to be going on but I will be damned if I can get a kite to do it.  Stalls, nah.  Have a kite 'fall' backwards and float in a fade, not possible.  540s and the like, come on now, you are joking.

So what I am trying to figure is what should I be focusing on to get to the next level.  I gather stalls?  I have been trying but where they fall down for me is rocking when I initiate and then to recover requires a mass of air to make for a forceful exit short of a crash.  I also tend to not get great wind so trying stuff on a Prism 4d is a bit too delicate (it will pull apart in my experience) and my micron is too fast; which is why I am working on getting something like an Ocius UL.

So, what did you all experience as you became better pilots?  Was there a magical spot where stalls and the like became simple like loops did for me?  Any tips to make this process faster?

Regards,

Scott
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Hadge
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 06:03 AM »

Learning tricks takes time, especially if you are learning on your own.  The quickest way to learn is from other fliers if there are any in your area. Your next big step is to learn a good stall, so many other tricks depend on you being able to stall the kite anywhere in the window. Take a look at lesson 4 on this page HERE. Also a good video can help, Try Dodd Gross's Flight School which I believe our host Steve sells for around $10.

Start with a stall, then maybe the backflip, axel, flares and then fades...that should keep you busy for a while!
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Flying Fish
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 06:08 AM »

My own experience is one of trying something for a long time, not getting it to work, and then one day, it just 'clicks' and you feel elated. Soon after, you don't understand why you couldn't get it to work before, because it feels so 'easy' now. And this happened for me at all levels so far, starting with flying loops/circles, stalling, axels, fades, etc. So for me, learning to fly kites is not so much a learning 'curve', but more a learning 'staircase'.

You can watch DVDs and videos on the internet for all you want (and I definitely did and do), but getting someone to show you on the field always works better.

So don't give up, just because you're momentarily in a horizontal part of your learning 'staircase'! Most important thing is to have fun, and not to feel that you have to be able to do that particular trick.
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kitelover
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2011, 06:15 AM »

Hi Scott,

I think we all hit plateaus in that learning curve. Often running out of ideas rather than talent. If you don't have skilled fliers near you, one of the tricks tutorial dvd's can help.
The stall would probably be a good next step. You could then move to side slides, tip stands/stabs.
The axle is usually the first move into slack line tricks, which can feel like hitting the proverbial wall. Up to now you have been working on smooth controlled flight, now you're spanking the kite, making it flip flop like a wounded bird and fall out of the sky.
Other fliers, above your skill level, are most helpfull and enjoyable. Crashes are a little more fun when viewed by others.
Good luck with it, don't get discouraged, have fun.
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Magpiesfooty
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2011, 06:26 AM »

Since I am from the old school, this is not going to make much sense to many. I guess that firstly you need to decide what you want out of kiteflying. Fame, fortune, recognitition?  There are a lot of great flyers out there that can tell you that there isn not much fortune out there, no matter how good you are. (This should not discourage you to want to become better...) Now do you want to fly for fun?? Isn't that the main reason that you got into the hobby?? You can always hone the skills on the basic figures until you master them....really master them, in this, you will learn and improve on so many other things. Flying is not all about tricking, as it is not all about kiteboarding or kite buggy flying. Just have the satisfaction of having a set of lines in your hands, the joy and freedom you feel in the ability to have that kite do what you want it to do. The control is not the key, the enjoyment that you get from flying is the most important. Don't focus so much on how far you have to go, but relish in all that you have accomplished this far. Get your hand in the handles of a 10 foot Flexifoil on a 15 MPH wind day, you will re-learn the reason you started this.   Have Fun!!
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Scott Blake
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2011, 06:37 AM »

"flip flop like a wounded bird and fall out of the sky"

If that is a trick, I am a Jedi Master!   Grin

And yea, good points all around.  I fly cause its fun and relaxing (uh, when lines are not getting tangled).  I do wish I felt I had more control to be able to do tricks though - not for others but for me to just know that I can make it do x then y or z rather than my very limited repetoire.  Thats why I want to be able to get better - to be able to watch my kite flown by me look like ones flown by better people.  It just looks so great yet I am nowhere near the skill level.  It will come, I know that but I do need to get in a lot more fly time.
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Allen Carter
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2011, 07:20 AM »

It takes a lot of time.

You really need to spend a lot of time flying. Not trying slack line tricks, just flying. You need to get in tune with the kite. It's all about touch. Your hands, the line, the kite. Flying at the edge of the window is how to learn stall control. Before you work on making the kite stall you should know how to control it in a stall. Sounds like chicken before egg, but the kite stalls all by itself when you fly to the edge. Great place to learn the light touch needed to control the kite.

Don't try this on the micron. Its a terrible kite to try to learn tricks on. Great kite to fly in high wind, but flying is it's main thing
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Allen, AKA kitehead
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 07:39 AM »

Quote
Don't try this on the micron. Its a terrible kite to try to learn tricks on.

Fully agree. It's a hoot to fly when the wind picks up, and will really test the speed of your responses simply to keep it flying, but it ain't suitable for learning slack-line tricks. That isn't to say it can't be forced into something reminiscent of an axel in low winds, but that's not what it was designed to do.
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RonG
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2011, 08:39 AM »

If you've got access to other skilled fliers or good instructional videos (I started w/ Flight School back in 1997), devote the majority of your attention to watching hand and body movements.  There are subtleties that are hard to grasp in print, voice instruction, or by watching what the kite is doing.  I pretty much wore out my first FS tape by watching, rewinding, watching, rewinding, etc.  Most of the time I'd turn off the sound, ignore the kite, and just watch what Dodd was doing - wrist motion, arm motion, footwork.  In fact, I'd rank footwork as the both the most important and overlooked aspect of flying.  Watch any really good flier - they're almost never standing still.

And what everyone else said is true - it takes time.  But in my experience there are "breakthrough" moments, such as when the snap stall and half axel fall into place.  Those are the basic building blocks of many, many other tricks, so getting a handle on them makes picking up quite a few other tricks relatively straightforward.
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Scott Blake
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2011, 09:05 AM »

Hehe,

I remember when I bought the micron I thought 'well its not a lot of money so I can try things out'.  I had watched some videos (promos I am pretty sure) but they were the whole line of kites promos.  So I was seeing some other kites in there thinking they were microns.  Funnily enough I get a micron and am thinking "uh, this thing does not want to stall nor does it want to do anything 'tricky'".  Don't get me wrong, I think that little thing is fun as can be and makes a great noise buzzing around - but I now know I am not going to trick it into doing much other than lightning fast passes and loops and buzzing the local bird population.  The nice thing about learning some basics on that is that everything else seems relatively slow.

As such, I am going to try and get my Acrobatx up more (but the wind isn't very forgiving) and get a lighter full sized kite (which is leaning towards being an Ocius UL).
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tpatter
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2011, 09:34 AM »

Get a big, slow moving, slow tricking, kite that is easy to trick and work with that.

I think that the Silver Fox line is just about perfect for learning tricks.  Those kites trick very well and are comparatively inexpensive to most, so while you are 'learning', you are not trashing a $400 kite.
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DWayne
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2011, 09:41 AM »

Along with what everyone else has said I'd add, that if you want to learn tricks, a full size kite designed to trick will make the process a lot easier.

Denny
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mikenchico
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2011, 11:06 AM »

Here's the most telling part of your whole post.

"...but I will be damned if I can get a kite to do it. Stalls, nah."


Almost all slack line tricks begin with a Stall even though some may not look like it. But the first move made is to basically stall the kite, it may happen so quick you don't see it but you do a small pop or push to blow/wash the air out of the sail. That is to disrupt the airflow over the sail as used in forward flight.

Don't push yourself into tricks, FLY, that should be a reflex action first, it'll really be a benifit when the kite powers up nose down after a fail.

Now learn to stall and control the stall. Allens advise to experience a stall at the edge is good and that is the best place to experience your first axle.

Mike (zippy8) just posted this link to another thread


Dang, instructions for the Axle when it was invented. At first the description appears to be for 540's but if you follow the thread by clicking at the bottom you'll find instructions for what we currently call the Axle. After a half dozen or more clicks, and having learned a lot of history, you'll get here, Dave Butler's advise on how to do your first axle by flying into a stall (like Allen suggests above) at the left edge of the window.

My first one was done at the right edge. Here's how I was taught.

Fly to the right edge of the window until the kite quits any forward movement (stalled), push toward the kite with your right hand (bottom wing) just enough to get the kite to rotate slowly toward a nose up position. Let the nose rotate a few degrees past nose up, say the 10:30-11:00 position then QUICKLY snap your right hand forward (no more then a wrist movement would give you) and immediately POP it back while throwing your left hand toward the kite to slack that line. A step toward the kite at this point won't hurt and will get you in a good habit for the future. When the kite has done a full 360* rotation and the nose is pointed back at you bring your hands evenly back to your sides or chest depending on your flying style and where you started the trick from to tension the lines again, you may need to take a step back to recover that ground too depending on the wind.

Setting your kite a bit heavy can help with stalls, slides, and your first axles etc.

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Scott Blake
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2011, 12:12 PM »

I have a week on a beach coming up in another week.  My plan is to use that time to try and really hammer out the stall (and if lucky get in something like a snap lazy turn that I think look really cool).
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fidelio
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2011, 01:08 PM »

as ron g. said, footwork is important. if your kite stalls at 5mph (in the center of the window*) and the wind is blowing 7mph this means to stall the kite more than momentarily (in the center of the window*) you're going to have to walk forward at 2mph.

this is also one reason why we have SUL's, UL's, Std's, etc. because they stall at different wind speeds (in the center of the window*). the greater the differential between when the kite stalls, and the wind conditions, the more you'll have to move your feet. past a certain differential you'd consider the kite no longer matches the conditions, and pull out a different kite (if you have a selection to choose from).

within a kite's wind range you can change the speed at which it stalls (some) with bridle adjustments.

you can practice getting in the habit of moving your feet by walking backwards whey you fly the kite upward, and walking forward when you fly towards the ground. you'd do this to keep the speed of the kite constant when it's fly up and when it flies down. if you don't move your feet you'll notice the kite speed up flying down, and slow down, flying up. move your feet to even it out.

edit: * added
« Last Edit: April 24, 2011, 01:02 AM by fidelio » Logged

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