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Author Topic: Help on Bridle Settings ... previously "Frustratin'"  (Read 2126 times)
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Ken Bour
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« on: June 25, 2012, 01:16 PM »

Ever since I got my Skynasaur Trooper fixed (coupla weeks), I have been waiting for one single day when the winds might blow favorably (i.e., consistently at a reasonable velocity). I have been advised that this SHOULD be an easy kite to fly; however, most of the time, if the winds are sufficient to keep it in the air, it only lasts a few seconds, then zilch and I'm standing there swatting gnats. Other times, it will get up to 5-6 MPH, but is so gusty that I cannot develop any traction or learn a single maneuver - even a simple figure 8. Today, I thought, OH BOY, the winds were supposed to be around 10 MPH! What I didn't realize, being a neophyte, is that, at that speed, the kite wants to pull my arms out of their sockets! It was all I could do to keep the kite from dragging my bony arse the length of the field. Even sprinting forward wouldn't stall it! When the kite went straight up, it actually started to fly behind me (Dodd Gross didn't cover that in his video)! So, nothing else for me to do except pack it up (I am getting better/faster at that task), come home, drink beer and whine... Cry  The good news is that nothing broke other than my spirits... Sad

I am SOOOOOOO gonna appreciate getting my new ProDancer-SUL for the majority of summer days when the winds are light (not gusty) and, then, hopefully, I can actually learn a few basic kite-flying techniques at something less than a frenetic pace!

The band of flyable wind conditions for a "standard" kite seems to be so narrow (5-6 MPH) that I am developing the impression that inland kiting is a hobby to be enjoyed in UL/SUL winds (< 5 MPH). Everything else is just plain frustratin'...

Ken
« Last Edit: July 09, 2012, 02:49 PM by Ken Bour » Logged

Kites: SkyBurner WidowMaker-STD, SkyBurner ProDancer-SUL, Skynasaur Trooper
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 01:30 PM »

A simple test to evaluate your bridle:

In no wind, tug once on the straps (50-100 ft lines) and see how high the kite goes.

Then wrap the upper bridle leg once around the upper spreader connector, and

reassemble the upper spreader into the connectors.

Once again, tug once on the straps and see how high the kite goes.

If the kite goes higher than it did the first time, add a 2nd wrap on top and repeat.

At some point, the kite will not go as high as it did previously.

At whatever point the kite went the highest, that's how far you should move the

tow point up and then fly without wraps. Each wrap is about an inch of bridle change.

These are big changes to the bridle, but will tell you if your bridle is far off from the

optimal flight angle of attack (AOA).

When the wind picks up, you can always add wraps as before to point the nose into the

wind more, which will reduce the apparent size of the kite to the wind.

These are temporary "fixes", but will allow you to quickly play with the bridle to see

how more permanent (moving the tow point knot) fixes will work.  Smiley
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Ken Bour
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 05:53 AM »

Thanks for this advice, John.

The bridle on the Skynasaur Trooper is still set to the factory original mark. I always assumed it was designed for the best "optimal" performance.

I will give your test a try to see if there is any indication that it might need adjustment.

Ken

P.S. I am regretting my original post now that a day has passed. An experienced pilot commented in another thread, "It is never the wind's fault!" I get that. I simply lack the "tools" (equipment and technique) to deal with the variables just yet. Patience! Wink

P.P.S. Coincidentally, my new WM-STD just arrived yesterday, so I will have a modern and expertly-designed kite to compare to my Skynasaur.
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 07:29 AM »


P.P.S. Coincidentally, my new WM-STD just arrived yesterday, so I will have a modern and expertly-designed kite to compare to my Skynasaur.


 Smiley

Looking forward to future reports with both kites.
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Bob D
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 11:20 AM »

You can't go wrong with the Widow Maker! Great kite!
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Bob D.
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 12:51 PM »

Thanks for this advice, John.

The bridle on the Skynasaur Trooper is still set to the factory original mark. I always assumed it was designed for the best "optimal" performance.

I will give your test a try to see if there is any indication that it might need adjustment.

Ken

P.S. I am regretting my original post now that a day has passed. An experienced pilot commented in another thread, "It is never the wind's fault!" I get that. I simply lack the "tools" (equipment and technique) to deal with the variables just yet. Patience! Wink

P.P.S. Coincidentally, my new WM-STD just arrived yesterday, so I will have a modern and expertly-designed kite to compare to my Skynasaur.
No such thing as an optimal bridle setting.  Factory marks are usually set for the middle of a kites wind range and you adjust up to 1 inch up or down from there depending on the kite.  IIRC the trooper always had a lot pull like its cousin the Tracer and was best in 8-12 in the factory mark 1/2 inch above for 3-8 and 16+ and 1/4-1/2 inch bellow for 10-15.  been 20 ish years since I last had a tracer.
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 02:02 PM »


The band of flyable wind conditions for a "standard" kite seems to be so narrow (5-6 MPH) that I am developing the impression that inland kiting is a hobby to be enjoyed in UL/SUL winds (< 5 MPH). Everything else is just plain frustratin'...



Standard kites have the larger wind range,   Smiley  but may have too much pull to be fun.  Huh

Your widow maker will fly in less wind than your Trooper. It also has less pull than the Trooper in the same wind.  Smiley

If you are past the nose plant stage, you may want to fly your window maker.
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Ken Bour
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2012, 02:19 PM »


The band of flyable wind conditions for a "standard" kite seems to be so narrow (5-6 MPH) that I am developing the impression that inland kiting is a hobby to be enjoyed in UL/SUL winds (< 5 MPH). Everything else is just plain frustratin'...


Standard kites have the larger wind range,   Smiley  but may have too much pull to be fun.  Huh

Your widow maker will fly in less wind than your Trooper. It also has less pull than the Trooper in the same wind.  Smiley

If you are past the nose plant stage, you may want to fly your window maker.

Very helpful insight, Wayne. That sums up my dilemma with the Trooper. It seems that I'm either arm-wresting it or struggling to keep it in the air. Not much "in-between" although, eventually, an ideal wind day will occur.

Now that I had my first maiden voyage with the WM-STD this afternoon, it does seem to have less "pull" than the Trooper and the winds were fierce again today. I actually did get it to flip (on its back, I think) and recover and, even acknowledging some delusion on my part, an axel sorta happened or at least a vestige of one. Truly lovely kite -- there is great reason for optimism! 

Ken
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Ken Bour
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 03:12 PM »

No such thing as an optimal bridle setting.  Factory marks are usually set for the middle of a kites wind range and you adjust up to 1 inch up or down from there depending on the kite.  IIRC the trooper always had a lot pull like its cousin the Tracer and was best in 8-12 in the factory mark 1/2 inch above for 3-8 and 16+ and 1/4-1/2 inch bellow for 10-15.  been 20 ish years since I last had a tracer.

Today, since my WM is on its way back to SkyBurner for repairs, I took the Trooper back out for a couple hours this afternoon. I wasn't sure, in the above post, whether "1/2 inch above" or "1/4-1/2 inch below" referred to the mark or the tow point. For starters, we had windy/blustery conditions again, so I moved the tow point up (toward the nose) so that the factory mark is 1/2" below. The kite flew pretty well, actually, or I am just getting more used to the experience of variable winds. I "think" it might have pulled a little bit less, but I'm too new at this to be sure. I did find myself doing more walking, especially toward the kite when the wind gusted. I was able to do a couple of successful (if not graceful) touch landings after more than a few failures. It was certainly more FUN than the other day, so I must be starting to get the "hang" of it...

Now that I know how to adjust the bridle settings, I'll try setting it toward the tail so that the mark is 1/2" above the tow point.

Truthfully, I'm still not sure I understand what moving the tow point is supposed to achieve in terms of kite performance. Gomberg says,
  • In STRONG winds, move the clip (tow point) back (away from nose)
  • In LIGHT winds, move the clip (tow point) forward (toward the nose)
  • EXCEPTION: in REALLY HEAVY winds, move the clip forward (huh?! Undecided)

Because of the windy conditions, I haven't had a chance to try John Chilese's test, but it's on my list of eventual TO DOs.

Ken
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2012, 03:29 PM »

Truthfully, I'm still not sure I understand what moving the tow point is supposed to achieve in terms of kite performance. Gomberg says,
  • In STRONG winds, move the clip (tow point) back (away from nose)
  • In LIGHT winds, move the clip (tow point) forward (toward the nose)
  • EXCEPTION: in REALLY HEAVY winds, move the clip forward (huh?! Undecided)

Changing the bridle changes the kite's angle of attack. If the angle is too low, it doesn't move forward no matter how much wind. It takes the full wind like a wall. You increase the angle so that it flies forward in the wind.

You increase the angle for low winds so that it keeps moving. It might me intuitive to try to catch more of the wind in low wind, but moving is more important. (I don't know if I can explain that. Or if I understand why. Maybe someone else can.)

You decrease the angle as the winds increase so that the kite stays moving at a manageable speed.

In the highest winds the kite can take, you increase the angle again so that you don't break the kite. (Think of the wall again. Don't make your kite a wall in high winds!) Yes, it will be fast, but it won't break.
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 06:33 PM »

No such thing as an optimal bridle setting.  Factory marks are usually set for the middle of a kites wind range and you adjust up to 1 inch up or down from there depending on the kite.  IIRC the trooper always had a lot pull like its cousin the Tracer and was best in 8-12 in the factory mark 1/2 inch above for 3-8 and 16+ and 1/4-1/2 inch bellow for 10-15.  been 20 ish years since I last had a tracer.

Today, since my WM is on its way back to SkyBurner for repairs, I took the Trooper back out for a couple hours this afternoon. I wasn't sure, in the above post, whether "1/2 inch above" or "1/4-1/2 inch below" referred to the mark or the tow point. For starters, we had windy/blustery conditions again, so I moved the tow point up (toward the nose) so that the factory mark is 1/2" below. The kite flew pretty well, actually, or I am just getting more used to the experience of variable winds. I "think" it might have pulled a little bit less, but I'm too new at this to be sure. I did find myself doing more walking, especially toward the kite when the wind gusted. I was able to do a couple of successful (if not graceful) touch landings after more than a few failures. It was certainly more FUN than the other day, so I must be starting to get the "hang" of it...

Now that I know how to adjust the bridle settings, I'll try setting it toward the tail so that the mark is 1/2" above the tow point.

Truthfully, I'm still not sure I understand what moving the tow point is supposed to achieve in terms of kite performance. Gomberg says,
  • In STRONG winds, move the clip (tow point) back (away from nose)
  • In LIGHT winds, move the clip (tow point) forward (toward the nose)
  • EXCEPTION: in REALLY HEAVY winds, move the clip forward (huh?! Undecided)

Because of the windy conditions, I haven't had a chance to try John Chilese's test, but it's on my list of eventual TO DOs.

Ken
OK imagine your skipping rocks across a pond.   YOU throw a rock at the water standing straight up and it dives in right away (Kite bridle set too far below factory mark for the winds and won't fly).  THen you stoop down a bit for the next throw going for a shallower angle when the rock hits and you get 1-2 skips before it dives (kite bridle set bellow factory mark but barely flyable and has a hard pull).  Next toss you stoop lower shallowing the angle even more and you get a good 10 skips before it dives (kite set right for the winds with good drive and easily  stalls).  Last toss you go for a really flat angle and the rock skips to the other side of the pond and never dives (kite set too far above factory mark. Flies fast but won't stall no matter what and light pull).  Basically what the kite does on the wind is similar to the rock skipping on a pond.  THe lighter the wind the shallower you  want the angle of the sail to the wind to get good forward drive but can still stall and float.

Now imagine that same pond with a strong current and waves.  Here you go for that really flat toss angle so the current and waves don't stop the rock and you don't smack hard into a wave. THis is your kite in high winds or heavy gusts and the rock smacking a wave is your kite snapping from a gust or grabbing too much wind.  Going to the low wind setting (above factory mark) lets  you skim the top of the winds minimizing the pull and stress in high winds.

OH and yes I was referring to above and bellow the factory mark.
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Ken Bour
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2012, 06:11 AM »

No such thing as an optimal bridle setting.  Factory marks are usually set for the middle of a kites wind range and you adjust up to 1 inch up or down from there depending on the kite.  IIRC the trooper always had a lot pull like its cousin the Tracer and was best in 8-12 in the factory mark 1/2 inch above for 3-8 and 16+ and 1/4-1/2 inch bellow for 10-15.  been 20 ish years since I last had a tracer.

Truthfully, I'm still not sure I understand what moving the tow point is supposed to achieve in terms of kite performance. Gomberg says,
  • In STRONG winds, move the clip (tow point) back (away from nose)
  • In LIGHT winds, move the clip (tow point) forward (toward the nose)
  • EXCEPTION: in REALLY HEAVY winds, move the clip forward (huh?! Undecided)

Because of the windy conditions, I haven't had a chance to try John Chilese's test, but it's on my list of eventual TO DOs.

Ken

OK imagine your skipping rocks across a pond.   YOU throw a rock at the water standing straight up and it dives in right away (Kite bridle set too far below factory mark for the winds and won't fly).  THen you stoop down a bit for the next throw going for a shallower angle when the rock hits and you get 1-2 skips before it dives (kite bridle set bellow factory mark but barely flyable and has a hard pull).  Next toss you stoop lower shallowing the angle even more and you get a good 10 skips before it dives (kite set right for the winds with good drive and easily  stalls).  Last toss you go for a really flat angle and the rock skips to the other side of the pond and never dives (kite set too far above factory mark. Flies fast but won't stall no matter what and light pull).  Basically what the kite does on the wind is similar to the rock skipping on a pond.  THe lighter the wind the shallower you  want the angle of the sail to the wind to get good forward drive but can still stall and float.

Now imagine that same pond with a strong current and waves.  Here you go for that really flat toss angle so the current and waves don't stop the rock and you don't smack hard into a wave. THis is your kite in high winds or heavy gusts and the rock smacking a wave is your kite snapping from a gust or grabbing too much wind.  Going to the low wind setting (above factory mark) lets  you skim the top of the winds minimizing the pull and stress in high winds.

OH and yes I was referring to above and bellow the factory mark.

Very helpful analogy, Ca Ike!

It is amazing to me that it takes only 1" (or less) of bridle movement in either direction to cause the full range of performance effects you mention.

Incidentally, something happened (or didn't) with the Trooper yesterday and I was wondering if you could help me understand.

When I flew the WidowMaker the previous day in strong winds, it would occasionally land nose toward me - an unrecoverable state for me. My standard routine is to drop the lines, walk to it, and just lay it on its back for another launch. Because the winds were so brisk, the kite would start skittering across the field before I could get back to the wraps! I learned a trick that, if I flip the kite one more time on its belly (nose to pilot, wrapping the lines around it); then, (1) it would stay put in the strong winds, and (2) if I pull both lines quickly, the kite would flip to a standing position from which I could launch. I did that maneuver successfully several times with the WidowMaker.

When I tried that trick yesterday with the Trooper, the kite just pulled into the ground and slid toward me. I couldn't get it to flip no matter how quickly or lightly I pulled. 

Any ideas as to why it wouldn't work? Is it attributable to the kite's basic design/structure or could the bridle adjustment I made have affected that capability (tow point 1/2" above mark)?

Thanks,

Ken

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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2012, 02:47 PM »

Regarding bridle settings on my WidowMaker, I see that, where the upper spreader connects to the two leading edges, a line extends with 5 knot positions. If "X" (see below) represents the connection to the the leading edge, then the numbers correspond to the knots. The 1st knot is about 1" from the X and the others are 1/2" apart. The bridle line is attached by a larks head and I believe it came on the 3rd position.

X--------1----2----3----4----5

If I am understanding the earlier explanations, the top knot (#1) would be used for the lightest winds and, as well, the most extreme conditions (to increase AoA and minimize frame stress).

Can I infer, correctly, that, as the winds increase, I should keep moving the bridle position down the knots? Would the following scheme be a close approximation?
  • Knot 1: 3-5; > 15
  • Knot 2: 5-7
  • Knot 3: 7-10
  • Knot 4: 10-12
  • Knot 5: 12-15

Should I generally try to find the lowest position (away from X) where the kite will drive and stall easily?

I also notice that there is a knot on the lower bridle just above where the fly lines are attached (similar to my Trooper). It looks like there might be a white "factory mark" there. Is there ever a reason to adjust the tow point at that location?

Thanks, Ken
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2012, 04:10 PM »

Usually, the kite comes at the default setting.  I rarely move 1 knot above or below that setting. 

I've always put it nose-most-forward (usually the top knot) for light winds, but also for high winds, the default knot for general flying (probably the middle knot), and the the last knot for perfect smooth winds.   The kite will generally pull more as you move to lower knots which can help with precision, but depending on the wind can also make it a handful to control or fly and it will also have less drive and fly slower.

In my opinion, bridle adjustments are best left to fine-tuning the kite after you have spent ALOT of time on it on the default settings.  Depending on the specific kite, an inch one way or the other can make it fly very badly.  I've flown a few kites that have been just horrible at anything other than the default.  However, it should fly pretty well in a wide range of any reasonable wind on the default knot.    I guess what I am saying is that with a decent high end kite, you typically don't spend time messing about with the bridle (or at least I haven't).   

There should be no need to adjust the bridle every few mph in wind changes.

Good luck,
-Tom
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2012, 10:37 PM »

Don't think I've ever felt the need to move that point on my Widowmakers. I flew one once that the owner stated he always moves the point one knot (i don't recall heavier or lighter) but I didn't like it so I've never mucked with mine. I do fly in low winds but if the wind is high enough that I would need take some pressure off I tend to put the full size kites away and grab something smaller or something will drag me around without worry.



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