November 23, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. My son Britt came to the park with me. We practiced balancing on 2 wheels.
Photo by Britt. I was not as skilled and tipped over right after this picture was taken.
Brian shows us proper form on balancing techniques.
Johnny waves during his balance techniques.
Nov 11, 2012 Patriot Park, Las Vegas, NV. Stepanie (5'2" tall) and boys assist by giving the Fazer XXL by HQ some size comparisons. This is a large, tricky sport kite.
The Fazer is listed at 3.6 meters (11' 10") wingspan. I didn't weigh the kite, but it's stout. Yes, I'm laying down on the grass to take this picture.
Winds were too low for flight today, so I just yanked the kite up using my Shane built flying handle and 15 foot lines. I had flown the kite previously. It is surprisingly tricky on spin tricks and will flic-flac and fade launch well. My cascades were possible but not pretty. I did get a snap stall landing and Jacob's ladder rungs.
The bridle is 4 point with a 3rd "limiter" leading edge leg to limit high wind deflection of the leading edge. The instruction manual tells you how to adjust the leg to be just loose under normal flight.
The catalog says that the "fun starts with winds of 1 Beaufort." Well, my fun didn't start until the winds were about 3 Beaufort and I had already adjusted the bridle to a friendlier Angle of Attack. The original bridle setting was very heavy.
In addition to the bridle change, I also replaced the wingtip tensioning to a tighter multiple wrap and sealed the nocks with vinyl end caps. After this change, the curvature in the leading edge was more pronounced and the sail tighter.
The battens were too long and I had to cut them down about 1/2". The batten connector to the leading edge is sized so that you can't put any end caps on the batten at that end. The sail end does come with an end cap. It turns out that I had the battens on the front. They should have gone on the back and would not have to have been cut. My bad.
As I have lost battens in the past on other kites, I put a small band of elastic thread between the leading edge and the batten as insurance. They weren't needed, but I felt better knowing the battens would never get lost. Construction of the kite is very good overall. NOTE: The leading edge connectors and batten connectors have to be "bent" into the assembled configuration. I am not a fan of this as it puts unwanted stress on the parts and the spreaders have a tendency to unseat under hard trick action.
Very beefy center-T. The lower spreaders are plugged at both ends for added strength. A nice construction detail.
Stitching on the back of the sail. Reinforcement mylar at nose.
Nov 2, 2012 Brian Holgate brought out several very new Peter Lynn LEI foils. (Leading Edge Inflatable) All photos from this evening taken with the pocket Canon S100 without flash.
The Peter Lynn LEI foils come in 2 aspect ratios: the Escape is the lower aspect (friendlier) ratio and the Fury is the higher aspect (extreme) ratio.
This foil is really black but looks a bit green in the shot. It looked very menacing.
Destiny holds the center of the LEI Peter Lynn foils. This is the higher aspect ratio Fury model in the 13 sqm size.
Lower aspect ratio 11 sqm Escape model in very cool black.
11 sqm Fury model.
9 sqm Escape model.
And there were other foils still to be set up.
Lucky 13 sqm size.
Very agressive color schemes.
Joe helps move the foils into position.
Melanie flew my Vanishing Point SUL in the low wind. This is a Peter Betancourt wonderful very low wind flier.
Maryann also flew the Vanishing Point SUL. They were both excellent even though they hadn't flown in several months.
October 7, 2012, my back yard. I hadn't flown a kite in 12 days. The wind has not been cooperating. Finally, in desperation, I went into the back yard and yanked up Prototype 2 of the AeroWasp by Miguel Rodriguez.
Yes, that's me as the photographer and pilot on 15 foot lines and Shane's flying handle.
No your eyes are not going weird. I put the kite into a fade several times. The odd shadowing for the standoffs was due to me experimenting with different configurations. Miguel has 4 standoff positions on the sail, but to make some of them work, I had to cross the spars. I actually like the look. Don't know if it helped as winds were under 2 mph.
Low fade in progress. You can see some sun spots upper left on the fence.
Almost a tip stand.
Final fade photo.
Some detail shots of the AeroWasp Prototype 2. I need some wind. This kite is begging to make some noise. Arrgggggg.
(flash on) September 25, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. Miguel Rodriguez was in town with 3 of his new AeroWasps. Prototype 2, Prototype 3 and this stunning production AeroWasp S/N 1. It is for sale at $300 + shipping. Half purple, half plum, with teal and mango accents. If you're interested, send him an email at email@example.com
Backlit without flash. Stunning. Miguel has made a modern version of the California Wasp. It will yoyo without added weights.
Deep double standoffs on the AeroWasp.
Prototype 3. The winds were very light (1-3 mph). By backing up I was able to test the kite a bit. I could do cascades, barrel rolls, Jacob's Ladders, 540s, etc.
I like how Miguel has kept the graphic style of the Wasp but updated it.
Here is Prototype 3 using the built-in small strobe of my camera.
Prototype 2 of the AeroWasp. Miguel was super kind and loaned this one and Prototype 1 to me for a long term tryout here in Las Vegas.
He is still toying with these graphics. A version of this style may be available on the AeroWasp production kite.
Prototype 2. Miguel is working on using this translucent material for the center-T. Here he has lightly sanded off the corners. Looks good.
September 14, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. This young man is training for the NFL. That fancy harness adds 60lbs of resistance to his motion. He is in incredible shape.
Vanishing Point by Peter Betancourt (PBSK). My lightest full size sport kite.
September 6, 2012. Patriot Park Las Vegas, NV. Ross and Andrea Velardi were in town for a day on their way to California. We went out to fly at the park near my house. Andrea is holding the Trion and Ross, the Jam Session Classic. Andrea took the Trion with her to college. Hopefully some fliers in the area will aid her as she learns sport kites. She is very good for only 2 lessons.
Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. With lightning in the distance, Dano showed up from Reno for an impromptu Tuesday night fly. He had his new to him Mojo UL.
The previous picture was with park lighting, this one uses the flash in the camera also.
Wayne was there with his Sky Burner Trick'n'Track.
And this too was shot both with and without the flash of our little pocket S100.
Friday Aug 17, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. Sunset comes sooner so we hurried and took a few pictures of the pretty SLKs. Here is Ian's Sky Bird.
One of the prettier RWB SLKs with custom matching tail.
Mike, the owner, made the tail by sewing 3 taper tails together.
It's a pretty flier.
Checking out the bridle.
Yep, that's a keeper.
Ken had his new old stock Benson Outer Space standard. In the background, Darren is flying a Benson Deep Space.
Aug 10, 2012 New Silverbowl Park at the Friday Night fly. Yes that is an asymmetric Maverick (the kite that never existed). I am also the pilot in these first four photos.
A few days ago, I received an extremely unexpected surprise. My friend Doug Charleville sent this stunning Maverick as a gift. Shock would be an understatement.
There were only about 10 of these made by Ken McNeill, but the kite never went into production. Please excuse the color shifts lower right.
I had photographed a few of these before, but they were always symmetrical in color scheme, if memory serves me correctly.
Photo by Darren. Here I am holding the Maverick. You can't see it, but there is a big grin on my face.
The Maverick is a bit unusual. It will do both backspins and barrel rolls and will do Jacob Ladder rungs and even roll up if done correctly, all without weights.
It does seem to fly better in low winds as it picks up speed quickly and never quite flows smoothly in high winds like it does in lower ones. I have angled all 4 standoffs inward significantly to relieve stress on the lower spreaders and the lower spreader connectors. The connectors had been bowing outward too far.
I took about 200 photos and whittled them down to about a dozen.
Doug said the kite had only been flown about 6 times. I am the 3rd owner.
Then, with the sun almost behind the far hills, I asked Darren to fly the Maverick while I took some backlit shots. Most had sunspots, although I got lucky on a few.
Probably the best looking of the Maverick photos.
Brian's brother Steve was at the fly, so I asked him to model the kite under slightly more normal lighting. Thanks again Doug. I will treat her well.
Friday, July 27, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. Mark brought his trio of Moonie Blue Moon kites. As the winds were light, I just asked Mark to hold them for me. This is the Mongoose Moonie.
Mark holds up his Mamba Moonie with me not realizing there was too much exposed sunlight. Oops. Oh well. Then I decided it would be a good idea to get some other shots.
So we rotated about 90° and went for a side lit shot. You can see the really cool padded sleeve that came with the kite.
And here is the more traditional front lit photograph. All three Moonies were made by Ken McNeill.
And finally, the Mantis Moonie. Since it is in black, I feel it should be called the Dark Side of the Moon. As before, this is the backlit shot.
Here Mark holds onto the Mantis for a side lit shot.
And finally the front lit shot.
This one is out of sequence, but it looks the most dynamic. Joe showed up from Kingman after having been away about 2 months. And he had a new killer kite called the Black Arrow by Air-One Kites of France. The yo-yo stoppers point backward about 60° to catch the lines earlier in a yo-yo. That's why you don't see the other stopper on the reader's left.
Not the best picture to show off the kite, but any tip stand photo gets in.
The Black Arrow is listed at 2.45 meters (8 feet 1/2 inch). It is a big kite and tricks very very slowly, but very very well. It gives the pilot lots of time to watch the trick unfold. Too cool. (Wayne, I told you 2.46 meters was 8 feet. I was wrong, it's 2.44 meters).
Darren, Kent and I took turns flying the new kite. According to Joe, this is the first Black Arrow in the states.
Of course with Joe, the kite was going to have orange as that is his favorite color. Here you can just see both yo-yo stoppers even though they point backwards.
Joe with a big grin holding onto his new kite.
And here it is side lit. The kite is designed by Laurent Marcy and Pascal Vection.
And, of course, front lit.
The kite comes with a well marked bag and incredibly marked leading edge. I've included a few detail shots.
Photo by Joe. Joe was happy the kite arrived unbroken, considering the shipping box looked trashed. These pictures were taken days earlier in Kingman.
Kent pulled out his Krystal FX collector's edition. You can see Darren's Talon UL on the left side. This photo was with the flash on.
Here Kent holds onto the Krystal FX and this time the Canon S100 flash is off. Just the lighting from the park and a little Photoshop touchup.
July 20, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. Mark had just received his new/used Vapor with Rubin panels.
So I popped the kite on my 15 foot lines with flying handle and snapped a few shots in the very high humidity evening. Wow, the panels do look purple here.
You can see the rays of different hued light from the fringing as the sun had just come out from the clouds. Wow, this one looks really good, even though there is a little discoloration on the lower left. I was shooting "blind" for most of these photos as the screen was useless on the pocket camera and it does not have an optical viewfinder.
Rework of previous photo. I have lightened the white panels, adjusted the background a bit and removed the color fringing on the lower left cloud. You can flip between the 2 using your arrow keys and see which one you like better.
As the wind dropped, we switched to gliders. Here is Darren's all-white Chiroptera. The very late sun caused the yellow/gold shift and the odd sky light hues.
Probably the best of the Chiroptera photos.
Although this one looks pretty nice.
Some of the photos are a bit blurry as I was shooting with the Canon S100 pocket camera.
This is a really nice glider. It's made by the quite young and remarkable Will Sturdy.
And a group shot of the 3 Chiropteras on hand. Had Joe come up from Kingman, we could have had 4.
Here is Mark's Emong.
Friday the 13th, July 2012 New Silverbowl Park. Wayne had just received his Amazing SUL. Photo taken with our pocket camera with flash.
A few minutes earlier, Ken held the kite as Wayne was flying. Here is the kite without flash. A little too late in the day for good sun lighting. Still a sharp looking and flying kite. I did an incredibly slow Taz Machine with this one. Just once though.
July 6, 2012, New Silverbowl Park, Friday Night Fly. I taught Nathan and Melissa how to fly sport kites. Nathan flew the Widow Maker UL, Melissa flew the Mojo UL in the background and both flew the Inner Space.
Both had flown foils before so the main hurdle to overcome was that they were making too large of inputs. They ended up flying well and Nathan even got two really nice axels.
Friday, June 29, 2012, New Silverbowl Park. Mark holds on to his used (looks new to me) R-Sky Diablis.
Darren and I took turns flying and drooling over this trickster. Fairly straight lines too.
I still can't do the forward yoyo thing.
Mark's Berkeley 2011 Micron.
And Mark's new/used Prism Elixir in Spectrum color scheme. I enjoyed doing true backspins on this kite. Not barrel rolls.
This trickster was way ahead of its time.
Kerry was again at the park with a few of his new RC airplanes. This is the bottom of his B2 with red lighting.
And green lighting on the top. He had to add the vertical stabilizers.
Kerry was also racing some offroad RC cars.
Kerry holds on to his prototype SR71. I missed the flight, but he told me the plane was rock solid. The planes he will sell will have painted details like canopy windows.
A good friend passed on Saturday. Jim always gave way more than he got. I will miss him.
Jim Strealy also owned a monochrome Gemini, although his was black. In his memory, I flew this Gem UL with black tails.
I was told he passed while flying kites at a lake. It was a good way to move on.
Jim "OzoneJim" Strealy. May your winds be smooth.
Courtesy of Google Maps. Patriot Park. This is my local park where I mostly fly kites. It's about a mile from our house. That might even be me in the lower right with a kite bag and a tube tail bag maybe. If it is me, then our white Honda truck must be on the street far right under the tree, but I just can't quite make it out for sure. Wait a minute....from the shadows, this photo was taken in the morning so that is not me, bummer.
Friday, June 15, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. Wayne holds up his 2 Widow Makers as he hides behind 3 others. The Spider is a standard, the other 4 are ULs. All photos from this evening taken with our pocket camera.
Then I put Wayne's Spider Widow Maker on my 15 foot lines and flying handle for some air shots.
This was probably the best of the self-flown shots. Sweet looking and flying kite.
Nate again showed up to help model kites. He also took his next flying lesson. He's getting fairly good and flew by himself for about 20 seconds.
Here is my left hand and a Matheson Sandpiper UL. Winds were pretty bumpy.
I had just finished fixing the kite this afternoon. Just some fittings which had died of old age.
The Sandpiper UL did not appreciate our bumpy winds, but it sure is a nice flier when the winds are smoother.
Hadn't flown this one in a long time. Made by Dennis "Dorsal" Fishback for Bambi.
I thought this was a noisy kite until we compared it to Kent's NSR. No contest. The NSR is much nosier.
I wish they would bring back the diamond material.
After the sun had set, Wayne brought out his Chinese dragon kite with rolling eyes. I had to use the flash. Wayne, bring this beauty out earlier next time.
I estimated the body to be about 75 feet.
Jim stands in front of a Peter Lynn 18 sqm Phantom 2. Flown by Brian.
That's a big kite.
Kent showed up later with his official Spider Widow Maker. Otherwise we could have had 7 WMs in the first photo. Sweet kites.
Available light, no flash.
Sunday, June 10, 2012, Patriot Park, Las Vegas, NV. Bob Matteo is in town for a conference and had a few hours so we got together to attempt flying his kites. This is an Urban Ninja he made at a kite workshop. Wow, I just noticed the traffic sign below the kite is the same shape and almost the same color combination.
The winds were very low and bumpy. Temperature near 100°F.
Bob attempts to keep the SLK in frame.
Bob also had a Prism Zero-G so I took a few close-ups and then we went for some actual flying pictures.
So, now without resorting to trickery, here is the Zero-G in flight.
Although this was a hand-held shot.
Bob had another self-made (from a workshop) SLK called the 3do.
The assembly was sort of like a Rok, but the back spars formed some odd shapes.
Tensioned like a Rok, although in 3 spots.
Nice looking, but the wind had dropped to nada.
So Bob walked backwards quickly.
The sun was getting pretty low by this time. The 3do has 2 tail loops to attach his matching transition tails.
Bob signed my friendship Mojo (for the 3rd time).
Then we went for final shots of each kite as the sun set slowly in the west.
Urban Ninja. I like the colors.
Bob's SLK. It's sideways in this photo. Not his design, but his build. He attends many kite workshops. Then we had dinner at the Fiesta Casino. Very nice man.
Friday Jan 8, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. I met Kerry who was flying one of his own creations in very buffeting winds. The RC plane easily handled the winds and flew casually around the very capable pilot. All photos this evening taken with our pocket camera.
Kerry makes these beautiful RC planes out of a special foamboard from Europe. Give him a call if you'd like one of his creations.
Wayne had his TOTL Spinoff with matching tube tail.
Nice Spectrum layout.
The tail is on a swivel.
Winds were strong around 10-15 mph around 6 PM, remaining strong and very bumpy until we left at 11 PM when they turn the lights off.
And a surprise. Amanda was at the park with her new 6 day old son Gage. Hope I spelled that correctly.
Grandpa Dave holds Gage.
Here's mom Amanda with Gage.
The Blue Moon Kites Killer Bee was pulling pretty hard, even with that 2.2 lb tube tail hooked on.
There were no soccer players, so a few of the boys took out their buggies. Bobbie had his new rear wheels on, but hadn't received the kit to convert the front yet.
Several of the fliers talk things over. The two young men on the left are college students majoring in Engineering and eager to learn sport kites.
A big Peter Lynn Phantom is held in place.
And as the sun set quickly in the west, I got this last shot. Although I had to play with it in Photoshop a bit.
Unrelated to the previous pictures. Here is a quick attempt at a new panel layout for a project "secretly" being considered. Guess the kite.
Friday, May 24, 2012, New Silverbowl Park, NV. Marty steadies the GroundBouncer designed and sewn by Dave. Dimensions for panels scaled up from a chewed up soccer ball.
Wind gusts were around 30 mph. Really.
Pulled out my Sandpiper UL which hadn't seen light in several years. The Center-T and one of the LE connectors broke in my hands. Time for a repair. The spars are older Skyshark 3P.
Joe or Darren flips the Black Pearl UL into a fade.
Wayne untangles one of his foils. Temperatures were unusually cool starting out around 80°F and ending at 11pm near 60°F. That's way cold for Las Vegas in late May.
I was holding the tow point with one hand and snapping shots with my little Canon S100 pocket camera.
And we have liftoff.
The foil in the distance is actually the lifter for this beautiful spinner.
There it is. You can see the hook-up of the spinner to the main line.
Nate was my assistant for the evening. I brought out some older vented kites. Here is the heavily vented Voodoo.
Nate holds up a Prism Alien. Although not vented, it was designed for higher winds.
And the oddly vented Yin-Yang shows up. It has been resting for a long time.
And a Speed Limit with Dynamic Variable Venting and 2 hastily repaired inner standoffs.
Here is the Speed Limit "Stinger spring" which allows the outer flaps to open in high winds.
Here, Nate holds open the dynamic variable vents on one side of the kite.
Even with the highly vented Voodoo and a 100 ft long, 7" diameter tube tail, Ian was able to get some good speed and leading edge bend in these high speed spins.
Haven't done any tail photos in a while. Note that the tail is attached to the center-T, not the keel tip.
And from behind the kite.
Didn't even have to move the jet in Photoshop. That's where it was. All those lines are several hundred feet away. Note the palm tree, lower right, it will come into play later.
See. Told you it was cold for Las Vegas. Dave, on the left, is the designer, seamster for the GroundBouncer. Ian (right) was flying the Vented Voodoo with tail. No strobe, available light around 10 PM.
Later, Kent decided to teach a newbie how to fly a full vented B-series Rev in high winds. This happened about 2 seconds after takeoff. Happily, Kent was able to unwrap the lines and save the kite. As you are seeing the vertical rods, that means the kite came around from the backside of the tree before wrapping itself to the trunk.
Friday May 18, 2012 New Silverbowl Park, NV. Wayne helps Darren (pilot) and me to get a "stall" out of the Prism Switch in dual-line mode.
Prism Switch in single line mode.
It's a skittish kite in either mode.
And you get this really long tail too.
Mark and Darren set up a backlit shot. The text on the tail is the URL for Prism.
This photo was taken a few days earlier in my backyard. I am shocked this came out as the wind was extremely turbulent, changing direction rapidly. The other photos aren't even close to being in frame or in focus, and yet, this one looks great.
And a view of the backside.
Wayne with his speed kite "Fazer".
The lower spreader connectors are very weird and make a 90° bend.
Fazer showing the unusual lower spreader connectors. (According to Mike's comment below) Just found out that the connectors on early Fazer models are the wrong size. Here is the website (German only): http://kite-and-friends.de/lenkdrachen/heisses-temperament-rote-lava-und-gelbe-wuste-von-invento/
Wayne says that somewhere around 20 mph winds, the kite turns into a missile.
Final photo of the Fazer.
Mark (left) and Wayne hold up there TOTL NSR kites.
Brian teaches proper foil recovery.
Of course it helps when your pupil looks like this.
And as the sun was setting, this final photo of Wayne's foil was taken. I did use the strobe in the low light, and the bridle lines were just a touch too close.
May 11, 2012 New Silverbowl Park. Joe showed up with his new custom Seven UL. Wind was a little too light for flight photos.
And with the built in strobe of my little pocket camera.
Here is what the Seven UL looks like front lit.
Mark had his new Urban Ninja.
Darren flying, Joe launching and the kite not cooperating by flying over Mark's head.
MaryAnn (right) with her first kite. Mom (Amanda) helps.
Kent showed up with the super small fold-up Blo-Kart buggy.
Meanwhile, Brian had setup this system to do a time lapse movie. The new lens is super sweet.
May 6, 2012. My back yard. The Prism Zero-G SLK glider.
I finally figured out how to take good pictures of this agile glider.
And there is the backyard.
Slow roll in progress.
Final "flight" photo.
Yes, I cheated. Threads in the other photos cloned out using software.
Friday May 4, 2012 at New Silverbowl Park.
Mark brought out his 20 year old Premier SLK called a Rainbow Facet. This was its maiden voyage.
The Rainbow Facet was quite active. This was the best photo (quite blurry) I could get with my pocket camera.
I figured out how to get a good shot of the Premier SLK. Looks like we have a fire off to the west.
Sharp looking cell kite.
And from the front.
Dave had his beautiful cell kite. So I went for a similar setup.
How many cells?
Later, Brian was able to catch the bridle of his 4 sqm foil on one of the light fixtures.
So Brian got under the foil and told Jim how much and when to pull on the control handles.
And shockingly, they saved the foil.
My friend Steve in Yorba Linda got a kite bag full of nice kites. This Fizz Phantom looks new. The Upper Spreader appears about 1 inch too low. Steve's going to correct that. He is a perfectionist.
He also got this Skynasaur along with about 10 other kites.
Friday, April 27, 2012 New Silverbowl Park, Nevada. Mike just finished assembly of my New Tech paper airplane.
The only Reprise in the world. Built by Ken McNeill of Blue Moon kites.
As I have photographed this kite before, these shots were to show different points of view.
The New Tech "Paper Airplane".
Ian holds his Reprise up to the light. Note that the sky was quite hazy causing unusual lighting in all these shots.
Darren's "the long way home".
The light was getting pretty scarce for these shots.
The speed kite "Fazer" by HQ. Although Wayne has lost one of the battens.
Sliding through the grass.
Bobby would go from underpowered to overpowered depending on the mood of the wind.
He's making this Vapor look easy to fly.
HQ licensed version of the Houtermann's Box.
A very nice looking SLK.
Mark's Mojo 9912 by Ken McNeill of Blue Moon kites.
You can see how odd the lighting was due to the cloud cover.
Yes, that text says "Amazing Paul de Bakker & Level One offspring". (text following by Paul de Bakker) There were two versions of amazing, 3 really. The very first one, with an all-Ventex sail and skinnies frame, the second one with half Icarex/half mylar and skinnies and the third one with the new sail and Skyshark 2pt's. I am thinking that that is a "2nd gen"?
Our new group of fliers. They all took a shot at flying the dual lines, but also had a good time with the SLKs.
This is a composite of a cloud photo I had and one of the Superman kite photos appearing later. The background has not been blurred.
This composite has had the cloud background blurred to simulate the depth of field effect if it had been a single photo.
April 23, 2012. Custom Gary Dromgold from his private collection. My goal was to get some photos with a red streamer tail attached as a cape.
Photos taken in my backyard.
The main problem was the shadow of the tail covering the kite.
Probably the best lucky attempt for the tail looking like a cape.
Friday, April 20, 2012 at New Silverbowl Park. Kent holds up the HQ version of a Houtermann's Box. (I've been told it's pronounced Ooooooutermen, strong on the Ooooo)
It's a heavy and very sturdy kite. Note that each color ring is made up of 2 near match colors (red/orange for example).
Friday Night Fly, March 30, 2012 at New Silverbowl Park. Mike brought out one of his many SLKs and added a tube tail. Photos from this evening taken with our pocket camera S100.
The evening started off with really nice wind.
Very colorful delta.
The light was getting low so I asked Wayne to just hold his Blue Moon Kites "Mongoose" for me.
Ian holds up a Gary Dromgold dualie which may have a logo hidden on it somewhere.
The "Vapid" SLK by Robert van Weers.
This is the zebra version.
Feb 27, 2012 Patriot Park Las Vegas. My friend George Hurlbert came over to our local park for another kite lesson. Under overcast skies and decreasing wind we flew a Rev 1.5, his E2 and finally the Cosmic TC Ghost. He may be hooked.
Friday, Feb 24, 2012, New Silverbowl Park, Las Vegas. My friend George from when I worked at Lockheed-Martin is in town. He joined our Friday night fly, learned how to fly his Prism E2 in light wind and signed my friendship Mojo. He also got to fly Darren's beautiful new glider, the extremely expensive "the long way home". This kite is in some ways nicer than the Manta by Focus kites for my top spot of best glider. Photo taken with our pocket camera and available light.
Mark holds onto his recently acquired Aerostar "Sano SSL". Aerostar is no longer taking orders, which is a shame as Paul Shirey made incredible kites. This model has the "Shape-Shifter" standoffs which change the shape of the sail by sliding the lower spreader connector toward or away from the center-T.
Saturday, Feb 18, 2012, Lake Havasu, AZ. On the left is Bob Horton. He made this beautiful 8 foot tall Rok. Although it doesn't have a name, he was considering Beginnings.
Here is the Rok backlit. The fairy is both elegant and leaves some imagination to the beholder. I have had to cover some of the sunspots that showed up. The heavy black line in the middle is most of the bridle shortened by an interlocking chain knot.
My friend, Steve Gurganian is on the viewer's right.
Bob also had this Mystic by "Pair-a-Dice" Kites. It was made by Tom Dice. Note that the bridle spine connection is several inches below the center-T. The 2 velcro strips are sewn in to attach a battery pack for lit night flying.
Here is the Mystic backlit.
Bob then pulled out this Randy Shannon Cicada (circa 1998).
Here is Steve waiting for me to let go of his kite.
Bob then pulled out his Jam Session, which he calls the Jeep of kites. He also handmade the winder you see under his knee.
Photo by Steve Gurganian. Bob set up his banner next to his Prism roll-up bag.
There were a few other kiters this year. Justin, Kathy and Jerry had a few different kites with them. I also had them fly my Widow Maker UL. They were great.
As the sun settled behind some clouds, I got this final picture of another of Bob's Roks. Then, we went to the Fireworks show below which started a few hours later.
Feb 8, 2012. Bambi and I went to a new park (to us). It consists of 12 softball fields. We flew the Mamba for a while and loved the park. But then we were kicked out by the T-ball crowd at 4:30 PM. Photos taken with our pocket camera.
That's right. It's a Mamba with mylar panels. A gift from several friends on the GWTW Forum years ago. Really.
Friday, Feb 3, 2012. Joe shows up with his new R-Sky NFX Extend. The kite store sewed their nametag on the bag.
Sharp looking kite.
And Mark bought another Cypod.
So Mark has 2 and Darren has 1. Is 3 Cypods a school?
Feb 4, 2012: My backyard and Patriot Park about 1 mile from the house. Kent Kingston (A Wind Of Change Kites) loaned 3 HQ kites to me to fly and photograph. This is the most expensive of the 3, the Jive II. The booklet is in several languages and has nice illustrations and suggestions.
All 3 kites share some common traits. Fairly good construction, nice nose work and chamfered spars in all the right places. The Jive II has the normal lower spreader setup we are use to seeing. Also, adjustable bridle upper leg.
Retailing near $100, this is a good looking kite. It also has a leech line and turbo bridle.
Both wingtips are red although the one on the right does look orange.
Later at the park, I was able to do cascades, 540s, lazy susans, axel takeoffs and a few other tricks. Advanced tricks including barrel rolls, backspins and yoyos are not going to happen, at least in my hands. The kite felt a bit nose heavy and came out of a fade way too easily.
The kites are made in China and made quite well overall.
At the park, I wanted a shot frontlit and with the clouds, but the wind was going in the wrong direction. I asked Mark to literally throw the kite up over his head. This was the best photo of about 20 tries. Note that there is no lineset attached.
Here is what the photo really looked like.
This is the Bolero 2. It has a one piece lower spreader which is held in place by an O-ring. It is priced just under $50. All 3 kites come with a lineset.
Details of the Bolero 2.
I was able to do some axels. This is a skittish, smaller kite and requires delicate handling. Note the sewing. Very nice.
It's a stout looking kite.
I wish there had been a few more clouds.
The Bolero 2 has an interesting 4 point bridle, with the 2 lower LE legs meeting at a loop which allows sliding.
It would look very good as an 8 footer. Sort of tank like.
Just after I shot all the photos in my yard in zero wind, a nice wind started. So I hurried on down to the park to fly the kites and ran in to Mark. You can see the slip bridle loop for the lower 2 outer legs.
And the Bebop. You get a CD or DVD (not sure which) with this one. It also has a one piece lower spreader held in place by an O-Ring. This one retails for under $40.
Nice construction on this one too. All 3 kites had the HQ label.
The Bebop has these very long standoffs which must be bent considerably for assembly. They are loose and care must be taken to not lose them when the kite is pulled out of the bag.
That's a lot of bend. I worry about splinters developing.
I use to tie-dye shirts in the 60s. Think I'm having a flashback. Note the 3 attachments along each leading edge. That should help the kite hold its shape when the wind picks up.
I was able to get an axel out of this one. Very small hand movement to properly fly this smallish kite.
This would be your entry level sport kite.
Feb 3, 2012. This is a Spoilerz™ which is a wind deflector and attaches to the sail and lower spreader of the Prism Illusion 2000 or I2K. Sand not included.
On each large mylar panel, there are 3 velcro patches.
The Spoilerz™ can be adjusted by moving the attachment knot through the metal hook.
And from a different angle.
I had been in kiting less than a month when I entered the Berkeley Kite Festival competition, met Mark Reed and bought a very expensive I2K.
The I2K came with an Update Kit. The small silver bag houses the Spoilerz™.
And the nose of the I2K.
I had trouble with the original bridle and changed it over to a very complicated version I had seen on an Airdynamics T2.
Here, in my backyard is the stunning I2K with Spoilerz attached.
Winds were spotty at best.
I might have to take this one out again and give it a go.
Best shot of the kite.
The I2K in abrupt turn mode.
That's all folks.
This is the Kelley family. Vince (far left) owns an older Cheetah, but brought the family to try out their new Prism Snapshot. He already could fly dual-lines. I taught the rest of the family how to fly sport kites on my Lithium standard seen here. I am laying on the grass to get this shot, taken with my pocket Canon S100 and available light.
Cypod by Scott Hampton. Scott uses Design Master from a spray can. I originally thought that Scott used a hand brush to do his fades. It appears I was mistaken.
Scott Hampton kites are amazing. Go to Windswept Kites and buy one. Scott's kites don't come up for sale much, so make your move.
This is Mark's Cypod. The previous one is owned by Darren.
I want all of them.
Mark also had some ducks by Mike Dallmer. Very cute.
January 15, 2012. Lithium UL. I competed for 3 years. The Lithiums (UL, std, vented) were my precision kites. Just thought I'd bring one out and give it some air time.
The keeper lines were added by me so that the bridle wouldn't wrap on the keel.
Note the 3rd leading edge bridle leg to keep the LE from bending during stronger winds.
I'm going to keep my 2 Lithiums in the A Bag for a while. The vented is on loan to my son in California.
An older design that still works. Excellent feedback and straight lines to die for.
Sweet looking kite as well.
And an accidental tip stand.
Since there were some clouds, I took out Mark's Focus Jinx for some more photos.
This is definitely a team style kite. It is much more deliberate of a flier than the smaller, trickier Focus Hydra.
I will miss this one when it goes back to the owner.
Last photo from Sunday's session.
As the pictures following this will show the actual, cloudless skies, I have used one of the photos shot in my backyard and added a new background snapped from about 900 feet up at the Stratosphere Casino Needle. Focus Kites Jinx. The background photo was taken August 8, 2010. The kite photo was taken January 7, 2012. The sun angle is off about 30° between the 2 photos.
This photo is the same as the previous one except that the background has had a blur mask applied to it. Don't know which photo I like better.
With the wind coming over the house and through the large pine trees, we had some really odd behavior from the kite as it reacted quickly to pockets of intense change.
You can see both Hunter's and Paul's signature on the keel panel.
I believe the Define has a similar unusual bridle which came after the bridle was explained by Paul De Bakker to Stephen.
If you download the full-size collage, each sub-picture is sized at 1200 pixels across.
Yes, these were unusual winds. Never seen this happen before.
This is another of my friend Mark's custom kites done in his traditional black/royal blue/neon yellow.
Hopefully, I'll get a chance to fly it on a more normal day. Maybe even take some more photos with some clouds.
Photo by Dan Czechowski. Poor background addition by me.
Photo and cropping by John King.
Photo John Chilese. Note that the Masthead text has been altered many times throughout these covers. It use to read "The Journal of the American Kitefliers Association"
Photo by Dave Sabilino.
Photo by Francisco Navarro.
Photo by Kurt Oberbeck. Yes, there are some edge effects around the kites as a result of a Gaussian blur I added to the sky. Cut me some slack here people. I just forgot to feather the adjustment layer before adding the blur. Duh. Actually, I went back to the original. The edge effects are a result of enlarging the photo from 550 pixels across to 1700 pixels, even though the enlargement was done in 10% increments.
Photo by Dave Sabilino
Photo and cropping by Dave Downey. Slight level adjust by me.
Photo and cropping by Dave Downey. Slight Level Adjust by me. And a trivia question.
Photo and cropping by Doug Isherwood
Photo and cropping by Anthony Eichele
Photo by Steve K Brown
Photo by Dan Czechowski.
Photo: John Chilese (Extended Rok flown and built by Kevin Bayless, design inputs from Ron Gibian)
Photo by Adam Dawe.
Excellent Photo and cropping by: Doug Isherwood (text by Doug: This is a picture of Cliff Quinn helping to launch a kite built by Suzanne Cormier's school class in Dieppe, NB in the Alexander Graham Bell dihedral design at the 2011 Dieppe International Kite Festival.)
Photo by Jim Fielder.
Enter the 2012 AKA Cover Photo Contest