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Author Topic: SUL kites for really low winds?  (Read 11134 times)
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ae
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« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2012, 07:58 AM »

Well, to narrow it down. I think first it should be established what exactly is the desired behavior and meaning of flying.

Does the kite flies when someone can keep it in the air indoors? Well, Thors Hammer is a indoor kite then and its wind range starts at 0. Its even trickable. But we all can agree i think that it is not an indoor kite or that its wind range does not starts at 0.
On the other hand a Amazing can be flown with little efford indoors and outdoors in minimal wind. It is also pretty trickable. But it also needs a good deal of pilot movement to do so. Will it fly in 1km/h wind purely on its own? no it won't.
The key here is that with practice you can get pretty much all modern kites to be able to be flown in zero winds because you get to know how and when to use your body to generate the wind the kite needs to fly. But does that give each modern kite a wind range that should start at 0, just because someone can actually can get the kite up in such conditions? Or do we state the wind range at which the kite will fly without pilot movement on its own under wind power? The difference is pretty significant.

In case 1, if you can do a 360 with the kite, congratulation, by that definition your current kite already will go as low as possible. No need for a new kite.
But if you want less stress doing so, instead of trying to break the world record in backwards running all day long, maybe you just want to have to sway back and forth to help the kite along when it needs it. In such case you need a way different kite then in case 1.

Now, if you want to throw tricks into the mix, things get more complicated, since tricks need a certain wing configuration and mass to be able to be performed.

Here is the point where you have to decide what do you actually want from your ultra low wind kite, just fly and relax, or tasks your endurance trying to keep it in the air? Most likely anything something in between.

Just fly and relax with minimal trick potential, the Spectre XUL will be your thing.
Next up the ladder i would rate the Pro Dancer SUL, Amazing, Vapor and other big indoor wings like a Syncro.
More trickable, needing more wind, TNT Zero, NRG Zero, Veyron SUL, Ocius SUL with the zero air tubes and so on.
Next step, more work, but not more tricks, but cheaper then the others, most normal SULs.
Then the actual work starts to keep your kite even in the air

The choices are there, its a matter of what do you actually want and how much you are willing to spend.
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DD
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« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2012, 08:55 AM »

Something I found in my quest of the holy grail of sul kites. In zero or next to zero wind some kites need very little forward speed. Once I realized this my 360s became more managable. Ymmv
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damp_weather
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« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2012, 01:40 PM »

Thanks ae, DD, and to you all,

You have given me things to think about.
I compared the weight to (estimated) sail area of some of my kites and several you suggested, and was shocked to realise just how relatively heavy a QPro SUL is.   It is fascinating that it flies as well as it does.     
I will try to give the Ocius SUL more air time.
My regular flying stops when the clocks go back in October and the evenings are too dark for flying after work.  -  Then there will be plenty of time to do repairs from the summer's flying and cogitate on what to do in the new year, and just maybe order another kite and get new experiences.  We'll see what happens.

Many thanks,

Peter
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John Welden
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« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2012, 09:20 PM »

It sucks to struggle in light winds, but if you put in enough time you'll quit searching for SUL's that are easier to fly. The funny thing is that the ridiculously light SUL's are actually kind of hard to fly. You must have tons of finesse to fly a piece of tissue paper thats framed in carbon splinters.

In my opinion, once you get enough light wind experience, it's the most enjoyable type of flying.  I've always thought of kites as delicate objects that should be guided around with grace. The slam bam stuff is great, but it's never quite felt as magical and beautiful to me.  (I have an obsession with slow flight and it gets me a bit more excited than others. Roll Eyes)
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asburyparkjohn
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« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2012, 08:50 PM »

Lams Tatto (Fearless SSUL). As in life ... if you have a problem ... throw alot of money at it ... the problem soon goes away ... the problem being to trick this ALL BLACK kite in 1 mph winds ...  Cheesy. In those rare cases where it does not go past 1/2 the height of the central wind window with lines untwisted as this engances height gain I fly the Benson Inner Space and fade it for 15 minutes waiting for the wind to pick up  Cool Cool Cool.

APJ
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In my kite inventory of Dual Line Kites: Benson - Inner Space, Signature Kite of Top Pilots on an Old Style Gemini ; L'Atelier xt.z. ; Fearless-Tatto (SSUL), Fearless - SUL, Light & Light-Vent , Transformer TL's: (SUL & Light), Transformer 2 SUL & UL.
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« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2012, 05:11 AM »

Lams Tatto (Fearless SSUL). As in life ... if you have a problem ... throw alot of money at it ... the problem soon goes away ... the problem being to trick this ALL BLACK kite in 1 mph winds ...  Cheesy. In those rare cases where it does not go past 1/2 the height of the central wind window with lines untwisted as this engances height gain I fly the Benson Inner Space and fade it for 15 minutes waiting for the wind to pick up  Cool Cool Cool.

APJ

Sadly buying any of Lam's kites this side of the pond requires a LOT of money - After UK import taxes we pay in £ what you pay in $! Thats why Fearless kites are such rare beasts over here. Sad
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asburyparkjohn
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« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2012, 04:27 PM »

Same here ... what's a Talon, TNT, R-Sky ... sure second hand, but if they tear, break, need modifications, etc. ... in plain English ... it SUCKS! Geography ... that is ...  Cry Cry Cry
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In my kite inventory of Dual Line Kites: Benson - Inner Space, Signature Kite of Top Pilots on an Old Style Gemini ; L'Atelier xt.z. ; Fearless-Tatto (SSUL), Fearless - SUL, Light & Light-Vent , Transformer TL's: (SUL & Light), Transformer 2 SUL & UL.
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« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2012, 06:14 AM »

I have many SUL kites.  I often fly when no others are flying.

Remarkably, they complain that they have nothing to fly and the winds are not enough.

Me, I have plenty of practice flying in light winds and I am always flying.

I strongly feel there is something to be said about flying in 0 to a whisper's breath.

Anyone can stand still and fly a kite when there is wind.  Very few can fly when there is none.
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MartinG
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« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2012, 11:08 AM »



What sort of dictionary gives "denseness" as the noun, rather than "density"?  eurgghhh! (this last word is so ugly it may well have an entry too, I haven't checked)
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damp_weather
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« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2012, 04:29 AM »

Quote
I have many SUL kites.  I often fly when no others are flying.
Remarkably, they complain that they have nothing to fly and the winds are not enough.
Me, I have plenty of practice flying in light winds and I am always flying.
I strongly feel there is something to be said about flying in 0 to a whisper's breath.
Anyone can stand still and fly a kite when there is wind.  Very few can fly when there is none.
There are different issues where I fly.  While I got competant at low wind flying elsewhere from having to do it, nowadays I do it because it is very pleasant to be out on a lovely still evening after work.  The sunsets are often spectacular, and that is when the winds usually drop.  However I have often wondered if my flying puts others (who are not kite flyers) off from coming out as they might think that the weather is less pleasant than it is.

About a month ago, in one of the rare windows of a few fine calm days between the very wet weather we have been having in England this summer* a couple brought onto the field a ~4 ½ foot high home-made flying Chinese lantern.  You could see from their looks of uncertainty that they were wondering if it was appropriate conditions to launch it.  Presumably the near-still air looked ideal when they left home, but there is this kite floating around the sky.  Anyway I landed the QPro SUL and watched how they got on.  The lantern went more or less straight up and then started heading south.  Its altitude was a little less than the spire of the local church, which would make it about 100 feet.  2 minutes 40 seconds after launch it disappeared behind some trees that were in the field beyond the church graveyard.

There are a couple of soccer (football) pitches around us.  I was standing about 1 ½ soccer pitch lengths away from the graveyard, which I guess is about ½ a soccer pitch length across, and the trees in the far field were say another soccer pitch or 2 further on.  A soccer pitch is roughly 100m long.  So some maths suggests that the lantern was doing an average of between 4 and 6mph.  By comparison the wind measurement at ground level, measured by dropping freshly mowed grass cuttings from an outstretched hand and watching how far they dropped away from beneath the hand, was around 2 feet, which is when know I can fly a QPro SUL on 50lb x 75 feet lines.  So the lantern’s flight gave an idea of how much difference there is in windspeed at ground and a bit above kite flying height.


Back on the search for different SUL for under QPro SUL flying speeds, I have been looking at the ratio of a kite’s weight verses its “effective” sail area, where “effective” approximates to the area that is calculated from the width and height of the assembled kite, rather than the area of the sail fabric when the sail is laid flat on a table.  The idea is that this figure will give a rough idea of the relative effort (= flyers speed running around) to fly the kite.  Early figures don’t contain any surprises other than suggesting that the Ocius SUL should be much more floaty than I have experienced.  When scales have been accurately calibrated I’ll post some details of the results.


* A standing joke is that it has been the wettest drought in history.  – This is based in fact as for the first couple of months of record breaking deluges in Southern England there were hose pipe bans.
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zippy8
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« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2012, 06:48 AM »

Back on the search for different SUL for under QPro SUL flying speeds, I have been looking at the ratio of a kite’s weight verses its “effective” sail area, where “effective” approximates to the area that is calculated from the width and height of the assembled kite, rather than the area of the sail fabric when the sail is laid flat on a table.
If you are feeling especially brave and experimental you should be able to improve minimum wind speed of your favoured light wind kite by flattening it out (flattening it out even more in the case of the QPro SUL which already had this done IIRC). Either longer spreaders and shorter standoffs or go the whole way and cut out a slice from the sail itself.

There is a very definite point of hugely diminishing returns when it comes to simply reducing the mass of the kite. Spaghetti spars might mean the kite is in the air in little more than an imperfect vacuum but it may turn out to be an unrewarding flying experience.

Mike.
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damp_weather
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« Reply #41 on: October 02, 2012, 02:59 PM »

Back on the search for different SUL for under QPro SUL flying speeds, I have been looking at the ratio of a kite’s weight verses its “effective” sail area, where “effective” approximates to the area that is calculated from the width and height of the assembled kite, rather than the area of the sail fabric when the sail is laid flat on a table.
If you are feeling especially brave and experimental you should be able to improve minimum wind speed of your favoured light wind kite by flattening it out (flattening it out even more in the case of the QPro SUL which already had this done IIRC). Either longer spreaders and shorter standoffs or go the whole way and cut out a slice from the sail itself.
QPro standard versus SUL - This is an interesting one.  The sails are the same size.  The lower spreaders, spine and leading edges are pretty well the same length.  And the spreaders are attached to the leading edges at the same points. 
As you write, the standoffs are slightly shorter on the SUL.  But because of the same length of lower spreaders and leading edges the "effective" sail area appears to be almost the same, but because of the shorter standoffs I guess the sail is under a little less tension.
I write almost as there is an exception.  - The upper spreader on the SUL is a little shorter, which pulls the upper leading edges together loosening the sail near the nose.  I think this has been discussed elsewhere as a way of improving the aerodynamic performance (lift) of a kite.

Mike, you might remember us corresponding some years ago in a thread on the other place regarding whether used Icarex kites fly better because Icarex sails stretch with use.  I still haven't managed to get a brand new QPro standard to compare with the by now very thoroughly broken in old ones, but intend to do this in the next few months.  It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in sail size, or it is just down to the Icarex becoming softer with use.   
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 03:06 PM by damp_weather » Logged
mikenchico
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« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2012, 02:46 PM »

I don't know how much shorter those standoffs are, is it possible the length could be attributed to the lighter sparing? The full length standoffs could flex the spreader and possibly pull in the wingtips too much changing the flight characteristics.

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Allen Carter
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« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2012, 02:54 PM »

I don't know how much shorter those standoffs are, is it possible the length could be attributed to the lighter sparing? The full length standoffs could flex the spreader and possibly pull in the wingtips too much changing the flight characteristics.



Yeah, it's pretty common when framing an SUL for the standoffs to be 1/4" or more shorter than the STD weight parts. The lower spreader would otherwise bow too much, effectively shortening it. A standard sail might be a bit looser due to the shorter standoff but the overall geometry isn't effected as much.  Many SULs have purpose built sails made to match these and other frame geometry changes. I don't know about the QPro SUL.
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Allen, AKA kitehead
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« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2012, 03:05 PM »

.
QPro standard versus SUL - This is an interesting one.  The sails are the same size.

   
[/quote]

They are the same size finished. (framed and assembled) However the SUL sail is cut differently than the three others.  (Std, UL and Vent)
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