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Author Topic: Tips on light to zero wind flying  (Read 1979 times)
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Wayner
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« on: September 29, 2011, 01:58 PM »

Getting back into flying stunt kites. Been forced to fly in little to no winds.

I have gotten some good advice so far but I could use some more.  Smiley

Getting a better light touch  but I am nowhere near being able to fly in zero wind.
Forced to fly like a shark. always keep moving. once the kite stalls I'm dead.
Trying to temper my inputs as a quick step back and I'm pulling the kite out of the sky.

I do best with my Wren. I can now keep my Airwave zero in the air. Love the Shadow but I need about 5mph. Tried the new Ocius SUL. Great kite but I need about 2mph to keep it flying.

I have a hard time recovering from
  1) The kite slows down and then stalls with no forward drive.
  2) Pulling an axel that moving forward and I lose contact so it just floats or drops to the ground

Thanks
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 04:48 PM by Wayner » Logged
RobB
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2011, 03:25 PM »

Hey there, W...
One thing I figured out about light/no wind flying is that the rule of keeping your hands at your side doesn't apply. I keep my hands out in front of me so I can get an extra pump when I need it. Too little slack when flying in light wind is rarely a problem. I am gifted with long arms, so light wind flying usually doesn't require much footwork, just smooth, long  arm sweeps. All of the kites you list should be capable of close to zero wind flight if properly adjusted.
I made a light wind video a few months ago, and you can see what I'm talking about clearly. It's not much for the tricks, just really about the flying when the wind is that light.  Smiley

Flying the Vapor in fickle April winds...


~Rob.
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mikenchico
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2011, 03:40 PM »

Best observation for light wind flying came from Steve here, a master of light wind flying and the Trick Tail UL. Your window is vertical. That is keep the kite directly downwind (down air movement?). Don't fly too far side to side, you know how a kite stalls as you approach the edge? the edges narrow as the wind speed drops.

More directed to flying rather then tricking but practice the three step, whenever the kite is nose up and climbing slowly take three steps backward, whenever the kite is nose down take three larger steps forward or more if possible.

Many tricks can take a small step or two forward even in light wind. The biggest problem with light wind flying is ending up with your back against the fence. Many UL's and even some standards can fly with just the slight help of slowly walking backward, get in the habit of reclaiming that ground at every opportunity.

PS: Rob might think he doesn't use much footwork but watching that video he just posted he practices the 3 step, it's become such a natural process he doesn't even realize he's doing it  Wink

« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 03:43 PM by mikenchico » Logged

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Allen Carter
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2011, 04:38 PM »

+1 on Mikenchico's info.

Thanks for the vid, RobB. It is actually a great example of footwork. You feet aren't still for more than a few seconds anywhere in there. The parts where you had real wind (for a Vapor) really show how much down wind movement is needed for things like 540s with a really light kite. At 2-3 MPH a kite like the Vapor is like a standard weight kite in 12MPH.

Wayner, keep in mind that large, high end SULs such as the Vapor are generally the easiest to fly in low/no wind. Smaller kites are much more likely to get pulled out of the sky over and over again. But I learned low wind on a tiny little 3D, so it can be done and it's just as much fun.

Problem is, very few people make old skool SULs these days. Modern SULs designed for tricks are often much harder to fly in low/no wind than older, floatier designs.

Light wind flying is HARD, but keep at it. It's pretty much all I do these days.
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mikenchico
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2011, 05:11 PM »

But light wind flying is the quickest road to Kite Zen, Nirvana,  Aoxomoxoa, the "Zone ", whatever you prefer. It's a dance, pure rythm. Rob has the dance down to the point he doesn't think of the dance, the music, he is just enjoying the rythm. Up and back,  down and forward, right and left, left and right.

How to get there? I used to spend hours just flying big lazy infinitys (horizontal figure 8s). As the kite climbs step back, as it moves to the right step back and to the left,  reverse and step forward when decending. Reverse the 8s so it's natural to both sides. Fly straight up and down while doing the step. Light winds are the best time to play with the Flare, Flare to a half spin to straight back up. You could even Turtle to half Lazy to slow unroll to dive at the top. Rythm, repetition, DANCE.

Steve used to talk and dream about those "Butterfly fart " days, those are the days you become one with the kite & wind. Don't fight them, dance with them.

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jeepersjoey
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2011, 07:39 PM »

I think of myself as very good at light to no wind.

My feet never stop moving...not just moving forward and back but also walking side to side depending on the pull.

I use finger straps and I can feel when the little gust of wind (+0.5mph) comes up.

My hands and arms are always moving.

My eyes are always on the kite.

Never let the kite stall...it needs to always be in motion.  Like racing cars...you are either on the gas or the brake, anything inbetween is wasted.  In light wind if you are going to the top of the wind window you want to continue the momentum and arc in the natural position and not try to reverse direction at the top of the window.   If you think about it, you are breaking the natural flow of air.

I can do 360s all day long.

I love the Ocius SUL and can fly indoors without any issue.  That kite will fly in absolutely NO wind without much effort and a good amount of pull.

Practice, practice, practice.  When I fly my kites I fly the entire time.  If there is light wind I am flying while EVERYONE else is sitting.  Yea, it is a lot of work but I have learned skills that others do not even try to obtain because it is too much work.

Last but not least...you have to be in control of the kite at all times.  If you do not have control and finese you are lost.
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2011, 09:56 PM »

Tried the new Ocius SUL. Great kite but I need about 2mph to keep it flying.

Maybe try making sure the settings are correct on the kite and the angle of attk is where its grabbing the most wind? That kite should be able to fly with no issue in 2mph winds.

What everyones said is great advice. Movement and smooth inputs are really the key (imo) to light/next to no wind flying. Its all about finesse.

Good luck!  Smiley
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JimB
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2011, 09:59 PM »

jeepers wrote..

"My feet never stop moving...not just moving forward and back but also walking side to side depending on the pull."

And that's a good point: Don't just walk up and down. Move around. Use your movement to power and de-power the kite.

When you walk side to side as the kite flies either in the same or the opposite direction, you can accomplish much more.

When walking in the direction of kite travel in low wind you insure that the kite stays in, or close to, the center of the wind window which helps you to maintain pressure on the sail.

if you also add a backward component to your movement, you are now walking diagonally backward, maintaining even more pressure on the sail while keeping the kite at or close to the center of the wind window.

Walking forward to gain ground you can also use sideways/diagonal forward movement to stay at or close to the point of maximum sail pressure for a given wind speed by insuring you are as close to the center of the (meager) wind window as possible which allows you to steer the kite around the window more effectively.

Walking against the direction of kite travel when moving forward or backward, with or without a diagonal component, is an effective way to power the kite to increase sail pressure. This can be an effective way to gain or give ground as well as freeing you (temporarily) from the constraints of a tiny wind window.

While this is all useful in light wind, don't stop there. There is a lot of subtle control left on the table if you are not using these techniques in higher winds as well.

Of course, in true Zero wind, the wind window is as large or small as you make it. You are the wind. lol.


« Last Edit: September 30, 2011, 12:22 AM by JimB » Logged
Dolphinboy
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2011, 11:24 PM »

Keep moving but don't move anymore than needed or you may tucker out quickly. When the wind is super low, it's all about how much effort you are willing to put out to keep the kite tricking.

Move whatever you need to to keep going, arms, legs, lean, run,walk, skip, whatever.

Watch your slack. When you pump the kite up the window, pull then ease to slack otherwise you'll have too much and no connection with the kite. Be as gentle as you can when ever possible.

Use the appropriate kite, that Ocius SUL will do just fine.

The # one thing that will help in SUL wind is experience. So fly however light it seems.
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John Welden
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2011, 04:37 PM »

The only way to really learn is to go put in some serious hours of practice.  Anyone can learn to fly in light wind.

Every kiter struggles with it for a while. If you're a kite nut you'll stick with it and then it will be a real joy.  It's by far my favorite type of flying.

I can't really add anything about technique that hasn't already been said other than one thing.  Get used to your kite flying really slow and try not to panic when it stalls or almost stalls. Relax, be smooth.... it's not magic.
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tpatter
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2011, 05:25 PM »

Relax, be smooth.... it's not magic.

The way that you fly your Vapor, it is!  Honestly, it is like watching a dance with the kite.
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John Welden
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2011, 05:50 PM »

Relax, be smooth.... it's not magic.

The way that you fly your Vapor, it is!  Honestly, it is like watching a dance with the kite.


Thanks Tom.

You are the kite hill guru these days:) 
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ae
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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2011, 01:35 PM »

My 2 cent of advice,

Remember to keep assisting the kite on its way up, that can be as subtle as waving your body back in the up part of a loop and forward on the way down, assisting the gravity. This keeps the speed pretty constant and you are not losing ground.

Move only as much as you need, that saves your stamina and the kite is better to control, since you feel better when the wind is in fact enough to fly or when you need to assist with movement.

The direction you are flying is also important, horizontal movements need less wind then a straight up vertical one. If the wind is not enough to fly straight up, try to fly at an angle up, like 45 degrees, it needs less wind.
Or if the wind is only enough for a horizontal move, try to ladder the kite up, fly horizontal, loop upward while assisting the kite, fly towards the other side, loop up again, and so on.

Learn when you can move towards the kite. Gaining ground is important, otherwise you will run out of room to back paddle on.

If you need to quickly recover ground, a 360 is a good move to gain ground downwind, since that is the direction you move yourself into the most during a 360. A Headover works for this as well, but its harder to do, since you are pulling the kite overhead directly into wind, less marking for error and ramping up your movement.

The quality of the wind is also very important, try if possible in thise light morning, evening breezes, the more stable the wind the easier.
Air temperature plays a big role as well, its much easier during the winter, when the air is colder and therefore heavier then during the heat waves in summer. But that of course is hardly anything we can have any control over, just something to be aware of.

Be aware of the ground in your flying spot, holes? thrash on the ground, other kites or lines on the ground.

Your flying line also plays a big role, length, weight and diameter wise. The longer your line is the more you have to move to keep the kite in the air, since the line weight drags it down and the line itself acts as break due to the surface area that is dragged through the air. 20-40lbs breaking strength lines are more then enough for zero and very low wind flying. Which you want in the thinnest diameter you can get. Of course trick flying influences the choice as well. For tricking you want generally speaking thicker lines, less harm to the kite during wrap ups etc from that.
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2011, 09:59 PM »

The quality of the wind is also very important, try if possible in thise light morning, evening breezes, the more stable the wind the easier.
Air temperature plays a big role as well, its much easier during the winter, when the air is colder and therefore heavier then during the heat waves in summer. But that of course is hardly anything we can have any control over, just something to be aware of.
THis is true but during hot summer days depending on your flying field using the thermal up drafts can help a lot.  Catch em when flying my vapor from time to time and it makes for near endless pinwheels Smiley
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Wayner
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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2011, 09:49 AM »

Thanks to you all for the wisdom. I love this site.  Smiley

Putting all these ideas together I have lowered my wind flying wind speed by 2 m.p.h.  Grin 

Now I'm flying in lighter winds vs. just fighting to keep the kite in the air.  Cool

What I learned.
  - I put my "old school" Wren on 20' lines (instead of 60') and can fly in zero winds.   Wink
  - RobB's video and all your comments help me understand smooth. All my movements were to quick.
  - To develop control and precision by avoiding slack and keeping the kite moving.

What blew my mind and open up a new world to me.
  - mikenchico idea of flying vertical because the wind window is narrow
  - JimB idea of walking around when the kite is in the window to maintain sail pressure.

I have spend a lot of time flying with poor technique. It was a joy to start flying properly and start developing the proper skills.




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