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Author Topic: Beginner's Questions  (Read 1934 times)
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Ken Bour
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2012, 06:58 AM »

Where do you fly and in what kind of winds?
If your near someone you can try before you buy.
Do you want to fly tricks or just patterns?
what is your budget?
Welcome to the forum! Kites are like potato chips, you can't have just one!
I have a nice open grass field to fly in and the winds rarely get above 25 mphs. I want a kite that I can get started with not anything that are used in freestyle competitions or anything simple patterns. I have a budget of $100 but I could go to $150. Money isn't a issue but I prefer to keep it under that number.

I am a newbie to sport kiting also and have asked lots of similar questions in this forum. I am not a moderator, but I would point out that there is a "Beginners Corner" topic under "Kites! Kites! Kites!" I use it regularly and find that there are many gurus who keep an eye on those threads and are happy to offer their knowledge and advice.

I will defer to the expert pilots here regarding your first sport kite. I ask for kite recommendations frequently and, as you are discovering, they really know the landscape. Concerning vendors, I can tell you that I have received outstanding products and services from both Skyburner and Gone With The Wind Kites.

Before you make your initial purchase, especially if it is going to be just one kite, the type of winds you experience deserves more thorough attention. For my principle kite, I bought what is termed a "Standard" model (Skyburner WidowMaker) and, although it is rated for winds 3-20 MPH, I find that, with my newbie skills, I need a steady 5 MPH to keep her in the air. I live in northern VA and, during these summer months, the winds typically range from 0-3 MPH! I also purchased a Skyburner ProDancer Super UltraLight (SUL), which allows me to fly as long as there is at least a 2 MPH breeze! Even though the WidowMaker is an outstanding kite, I haven't been able to get much air time with her due to the prevailing inland winds where I live. My next kite will be an Ultralight (UL) and I am even considering another SUL and probably a single line glider to round out the ensemble. On the upper end of the spectrum, above 15 MPH there is actually too much wind and, unless you have a special purpose kite (vented), you will find those conditions unfavorable.

Another thing I learned is that I was not good at judging wind speed (except zero) which caused me considerable frustration when I would get to my flying field. I finally purchased an anemometer and am only beginning to understand what different wind speeds feel like. Now I take out my windmeter before leaving the house and, if I get a reading above 2 MPH, but then it drops back to 0-1 MPH and stays there for another minute or so, I pick a different hobby. In those light variable conditions, even my SUL will fly for a bit, then, when the winds quit, it just drops out of the air.

I suggest that, whichever kite you select among the fine recommendations, consider strongly the UL version unless you're pretty sure that you will have at least 5 MPH winds on a fairly regular basis. Those conditions do not occur very often where I live and light winds can be frustrating if you have the wrong kite on the line. I am quickly learning that sport kiting is a bit like golf in that, if you're in the fairway, pull out a suitable iron; if you're on the green, a putter is the best club for the job; and, if you manage to land in a bunker, only a wedge will get you out. Imagine that you've been invited to play a round of golf with friends next Saturday, but you can only bring one club. Which one will you select?

Ken

P.S. Others will point out that a UL kite is made our of lighter materials than a standard and will be more fragile. That is certainly true, but I have nose-planted my SUL many times and it has survived them all (so far! Smiley). Candidly, I would rather be flying with a little risk than sitting on the grass swatting gnats.
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Kites: SkyBurner WidowMaker-STD, SkyBurner ProDancer-SUL, Skynasaur Trooper
Jake
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2012, 08:33 AM »

Thanks for the tip! I live un Northern VA too! Haha Thats what I was thinking about yesterday. I wasn't quite sure if some of the kites would be able to fly here!
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Tmadz
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2012, 08:54 AM »

Get a few of these and some extension cords.

http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances-Heating-Cooling-Air-Quality-Portable-Fans/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbv6f/R-202924264/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&storeId=10051  Wink
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Ken Bour
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« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2012, 10:05 AM »

Thanks for the tip! I live un Northern VA too! Haha Thats what I was thinking about yesterday. I wasn't quite sure if some of the kites would be able to fly here!

Let's just take today as an example (noon EDT). I took my windmeter out back and held it for a few minutes. The wind started at < 1.0 MPH for 15 secs, rose to a max of 3.8, then fell back to 0.0 (avg=1.2). Only my PD-SUL (5 oz.) would fly in this wind and it would still be a challenge. I wish I could say that these conditions are atypical, but breezy winds ideal for standard weight kites (Beaufort 2+) are not as common as I would like in these parts - at least in the summer. I haven't been flying through all four seasons yet, so maybe things will become more favorable in the spring/fall/winter. I have also learned that sites like WindAlert and WindMapper are not very reliable, which is why I bought my own anemometer. 

Based on my limited experience, I recommend that you get a UL for starters, but that may put some pressure on your budget. I see that the Skyburner Freestylist UL (8 oz., 88" wingspan) is $160 + you'll need a lineset for another $30 + $12 shipping (check out: http://www.skyburner.com/freestylist.html). You'll be up around $200 minimum.

Perhaps a better option would be to describe what you're looking for in the WANTED section. Maybe someone will have a UL + lineset (with straps) in nice condition that can get you started within your budget.

Also, since you live in the D.C. area, check out the "Wings Over Washington" kite club (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wings-Over-Washington-Kite-Club/131339076934887?ref=ts). They meet the 1st Sunday of each month on the Washington Monument grounds (pretty much all day starting early in the a.m.). There is not much activity on their FB page and the website is pretty stale as well. I did visit them on 2 June and a bunch of knowledgeable and friendly guys were flying dual and quad kites. I missed the session on 1 July (we were recovering from a huge storm as you will recall). I am planning on going 5 August unless it's raining, so drop by if you can (parking is a challenge!). 

Enjoy!

Ken

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Kites: SkyBurner WidowMaker-STD, SkyBurner ProDancer-SUL, Skynasaur Trooper
Jake
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« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2012, 10:45 AM »

Thanks again! I've been looking into some UL's and I think I might have found that would work with my area. The Prism 4D I've looked up the review on the forums and read around a bit and I'm starting to like it. Its also in my budget. I'm not quite sure if its the one though.
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Ken Bour
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« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2012, 11:40 AM »

Thanks again! I've been looking into some UL's and I think I might have found that would work with my area. The Prism 4D I've looked up the review on the forums and read around a bit and I'm starting to like it. Its also in my budget. I'm not quite sure if its the one though.

Hopefully, experienced pilots with the Prism 4D will chime in here, but I'm not sure this is a good starter kite for you even though the price is right:
  • It is a very small with a 58" wing span (< 5') compared to 7-8' typically; and
  • It is really an SUL at 2.5 oz. and, though it will surely fly in lightest winds, it might be a bit flimsy for a new pilot.

I suggest that you ask for Steve's advice at GWTW Kites, as well as others in this forum, before you pull the trigger. Do a search on "4D" also and see what people have to say about the kite's characteristics. As I recall, the general consensus isn't that favorable compared to other UL/SUL alternatives. I know I looked at it myself and decided it wasn't for me although I am planning on acquiring a Skyburner I-Nak (65" wingspan; 2.4 oz.; $115) for near zero wind conditions.

Ken
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Kites: SkyBurner WidowMaker-STD, SkyBurner ProDancer-SUL, Skynasaur Trooper
DWayne
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« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2012, 11:57 AM »

I would avoid the 4D for now. Get a full size kite.  Wink
 FWIW, Low wind and High wind flying are skills you develop over time.

Denny
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I always wanted to be a procrastinator..........
I just never got around to it.
red sweater
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« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2012, 02:50 PM »

I don't have a 4D, but I have a 3D. I definitely don't recommend it for starters.
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HQ Breeze, Silver Fox 2.3 Pro UL, Nirvana Std, Prism Quantum
ITW Mesa DC, Premier Popper Line Climber
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Wayner
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« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2012, 05:17 PM »

Agree 4D is not a good starter kite.

UL requires high end frames so are on the upper price range.

I would recommend buying a full size kite even if you do not fly as offen that a kite than the 4D.

Your other option is to save for an UL?? If you end up flying a lot it is a great value.  Wink
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Stogiez
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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2012, 04:04 AM »

If you're looking for a good trickable UL at a relatively inexpensive price--the Skydog Blackdog UL fits that criteria nicely.  It has a strong enough frame, can trick nicely, nearly full-size, and is about $120-$140.  It taught me how to do tricks in low wind.

I had it out last night in fact and I love that kite.
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A few SLKs, a few Dualies, and a couple of Quads.  Still trying to learn more.
Ken Bour
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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2012, 07:15 AM »

If you're looking for a good trickable UL at a relatively inexpensive price--the Skydog Blackdog UL fits that criteria nicely.  It has a strong enough frame, can trick nicely, nearly full-size, and is about $120-$140.  It taught me how to do tricks in low wind.

I had it out last night in fact and I love that kite.

I had not heard of this kite, so I looked it up: http://www.skydogkites.com/stuntkites/blackdogul.shtml

SkyDog doesn't give the weight of the BlackDog-UL, but it does have a 6.5' wingspan.

Ken

[KB: Edited to remove website link where kite can be purchased. Sorry! I did check the sponsors first and didn't see Skydog listed anywhere.]
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 07:31 AM by Ken Bour » Logged

Kites: SkyBurner WidowMaker-STD, SkyBurner ProDancer-SUL, Skynasaur Trooper
Ken Bour
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« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2012, 07:35 AM »

How about this kite that I saw on ITW (sponsor site)? It is called the Spectre and weighs in at 7 oz. with a 7' wingspan. Price is $129 and includes lineset + straps. See: http://www.intothewind.com/shop/Stunt_Kites/Light_Wind_Stunt_Kites/ITW_Spectre_Light_Wind_Stunt_Kite

Ken
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Kites: SkyBurner WidowMaker-STD, SkyBurner ProDancer-SUL, Skynasaur Trooper
DWayne
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« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2012, 07:41 AM »

The Prism Hypnotist was designed to take the abuse a beginner gives a kite.
Learning is hard........... on a kite.
I started on a Hypnotist and it served me well. Its capable of taking you far beyond the beginner stage too.

Denny
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I always wanted to be a procrastinator..........
I just never got around to it.
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