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Getting back into the game

I am back yet again. I can't believe it's taken so long to get into KAP. Though I feel now that I am getting closer. I dragged out my 9ft Levitation Delta and it looks like I still have all the spars. Ive only flown it once in the past. As Ive mentioned before, the middle section of the three piece spreader has incurred some damage. There are some splits in the outer casing though I'm not sure if there's any internal damage. I have enquired at Kites And Fun Things about Sky Shark tubes but they are slow to respond. I think I might put the Levitation Delta into the air as it is with no payload and see how it flies. Though I vaguely recall the last time I flew it, the spreader flexed and soon after, the kite lost it's shape and the performance deteriorated.

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  • OMG. Kites And Fun Things got back to me and informed me that international shipping of a Sky Shark tube would be about $50. That is insane. I'd better check out local options.

  • edited October 2020

    And by the way, that's likely US dollars so converted to my local currency, it would be AU$70 for postage. Way too steep for me. Though luckily, Kite Magic in Australia came to the rescue. I am in the middle of placing an order for a carbon tube through them. The guy on the phone claims that the hollow tube should be just as strong as the solid rod that it's replacing. I guess we will see if that is the case. I'm actually ordering two of them (one will be a backup.) It shouldn't be to long before my Levitation Delta is in the air again.

  • How did your Levitation Delta come to have a solid rod? All the spars are tubes, not rods!

  • With my Levitation Delta, the three piece spreader is made up of two outer tubes and one solid rod in the middle. I had no idea that other Levis were different.

    Regardless, the two tubes I ordered were posted a several days ago. Hopefully, they'll arrive soon.

  • My 3 piece Levitation spreader is all solid rods. I replaced the broken 2 piece ones years ago.

  • Into The Wind updated the original two-piece spreader on this kite with a three-piece one. The three sections are all tubes, but the centre one is plugged at the ends where they fit into the ferrules, which may give the impression that it's a solid rod. The spars are all fibreglass, but the Levitation Light has carbon framing - obviously for lightness.

  • Yea I was aware that Into The Wind originally used a two piece spreader for the Levitation Delta. My two tubes have arrived and they seem to fit okay.

    The tricky thing right now is finding the right conditions to fly. We're mostly getting very still days currently with no breeze or wind. Ideal for flying an rc quadcopter but no good for a kite. There is the occasional day that does have wind but it tends to be pretty strong wind - possibly too much for the Delta to handle. There doesn't seem to be any days during this time of the year so far that have light winds. It's either 0 wind or likely too much wind.

  • I have flown with the three part spreader for Levitation delta over WW proving grounds.... the three part spreader failed on two Levitation delta.....
    I have replaced the spreaders with Dynamic Spreaders (DS). The only way I fly now with the Levi deltas....

    WW

  • All 3 of my spreader pieces are solid (the ferrules are on the outer pieces). I got my replacements from Brooxes and they've held up well. Last week my handheld anemometer was reading gusts of 30mph while my Levitation flexed and flapped. I was sure the spreader would break while hauling it down, but it was fine.

  • That poor kite certainly looks to be in pain!

  • It was happy to be back on the ground with no broken "bones".

  • I'm still really keen to get back into kite flying. I have everything I need including the replacement spar (though it is slightly short and moves a bit from side to side.) Though Ive been busy with various projects (like designing a board game) and as I said before, weather conditions are still unsuitable. We either get flat calm days or days where the wind is very strong - probably too much for my Levitation Delta. And nothing between those two extremes. There doesn't seem to be any medium strength winds. Actually, two days ago, we had incredibly strong winds - the most severe Ive seen around here for a long time. All sorts of things were knocked over. Though more often than not, it's very calm. I wonder if it's the time of year that is too blame.

    I'm based on an island - Kangaroo Island to be precise. I used to live on another part of the island a few years ago and conditions over there were more suitable for kite flying. It was overall a more windy location. I did some flying with a two line stunt kite over there as well as the maiden flight of the Levitation Delta.

    So yes, still waiting for conditions to improve over here. And it has been a very long wait.

  • Your Australian summer sounds an awful lot like the one we've been having in NZ. Very strong winds or nothing at all is more or less the rule, with a lot more cloudy days than usual, too. Maybe the coming autumn will provide better conditions. Here's hoping!
    Maybe you need a soft kite - flowform, or perhaps a sled - to use when you can't risk the delta.

  • Sounds like that's another thing we have in common with NZ - the weather patterns! Oh yes, I have been considering getting another kite for lighter winds. I was considering a large Rokkaku. Though I do like the simplicity of soft kites in that there are no spars to deal with. You reckon I could use my 160 pound dacron line with many of the flowforms and sleds? I think my other preference would be a kite that is unlikely to dive or crash (as well as being a good KAP lifter.)

  • I was also considering the KAP Foil 8.0 until I saw the price - woah! I think that presents another issue - the cost. I guess kites for lighter winds are generally quite large and would therefore have fairly high retail prices.

  • I was suggesting a flowform or sled for higher winds when the Levitation could get in trouble. A smaller size would be quite enough - nothing bigger than the KAP Foil 3.0 I'd think (I have one of those and it's a very manageable kite). For a kite of that size in strong wind I'd use at least 300lb line, or 500lb for extra safety. I would think the Levitation sufficient for your light or medium wind flying, certainly until you actually have some experience and a better idea of what you need.

  • edited February 8

    Woops! Sorry yes, a high wind kite also sounds ideal. I was thinking along the same lines just recently. And once again thank you for the suggestions. I did check out some sleds in your videos and they looked quite stable. Though there were times when they appeared to move around a bit. I have looked at the KAP Foil 3.0 - looks like a really versatile kite. Great looking colour scheme and I like how it packs away for storage. I notice Evan Reinheimer uses a Nighthawk delta for high winds. Apparently, it can handle wind speeds of 20 - 35 mph which sounds impressive to me.

    This morning, the wind was pretty strong. Later on while looking through the window, it looked like it died down a little. I decided to grab the Levitation Delta and head out. Though when I stepped outside, the wind felt pretty ferocious. Though not super strong like it was a few days ago. When I closed the front gate, I was holding the top of the kite bag with one hand and the rest of the bag was swinging around wildly with the wind. I live close to the ocean and the sea was pretty choppy. I arrived at the local oval and waited there with the delta, hoping the conditions would change. After waiting patiently, I was rewarded. The wind dropped to manageable levels. I then set up the delta and launched it. It's been so long since Ive had this kite in the air. And it was a great sight seeing it up there above me with it's bold colours. And it was so stable - like it was glued to it's position in the air.

    Someone walked over and took an interest in the kite. He said he had a dragon kite and like me, felt that the local conditions had been very unsuitable for kite flying in recent times. Though today (from about midday onwards) it turned out to be perfect. He really liked the look of the Levi delta. And he was impressed at how stable it was.

    Later on, the Levi did move around a bit in the sky. Also the wind picked up again but the kite had no issues there. There were also times when the line slackened and i had to wind in a bit to create more tension. I think this could be a bit of a worry if this occurred while the line was tied off to a post etc.

    The flying session lasted a few hours. The wind was very consistent for the first part of that but later on, it changed a lot in terms of intensity. The Levi handled it fine (except for the occasional slackening of the line.) And the replacement spar for the middle section of the three piece spreader did a great job.

    My only gripe relates to the disassembly process when the kite is on the ground again at the end of the flight session. It's related to the kite line. I found it really hard to undo the larks head knot after it's been under tension. At this point in time, the knot is really compressed, tiny and super tight. Previously, I was determined not to use my nails to undo the knot but I had no choice. I had to use them. My worry is that if I keep using my nails on future flights to undo these knots, the line may become damaged and weakened in time. A family member suggested using tweezers so maybe I'll bring these along next time.

  • Looks like today could also be suitable for flying the Levi Delta. Though unfortunately due to the direction that the wind was blowing yesterday, I was forced to face the sun the whole time. I did wear sunglasses and a hat but ended up getting sunburn. I think maybe I'll wait for my skin to recover before I have another kite flying session.

  • If you cut a small piece of line and tie off one end to make a pigtail, you can then tie it into the loop on the end of your flying line (with a larkshead knot, of course) and have a "handle" to pull your line undone at the end of the flight.

  • This is what I meant in the comment above. The line you use can be thin, and the length can be less than shown - you just need enough to get a grip on.

  • edited February 10

    NZflier, thank you for the tips for creating a "handle" for the knot. In the photo above, I see what looks like a pigtail with a loop with the white line on the left. Though regarding the orange line on the right, I'm not sure how that loop connects to the larks head knot. When I made the larks head knot on the end of my kite line a few days ago, I don't recall a loop being formed on that end after everything's tied. Unless you mean the loop that is temporarily formed during the first part of tying a larks head knot?

  • Actually, there's another thing I remember from my last flying session a few days ago. The pig tail and loop on the toepoint of the keel was also incredibly tight. I was forced to use my nails to undo that one too.

  • The orange part is the loop on the end of the flying line before it is tied onto the kite. (The line is 400lb paracord, in fact, and I used it in the photo as it's more visible). When you tie the flying line to the kite with a larkshead knot, it will look like this:

    However tight the larkshead is on your flying line, a pull on the "handle" will release it easily.
    I hope that makes it clear. It's certainly the simplest way that I have found to solve your problem with the tight knot. It's certainly better than breaking your nails, and I think the suggestion of using tweezers would not be a good idea - not only would it be unlikely to work well, it might damage your line.

  • edited February 11

    Thank you for the tips and instructions. I'll try some practise runs. It is indeed a great idea.

    By the way, I wasn't worried about breaking my nails. I was concerned about my nails damaging the kite line.

    And with regards to the pigtail also being super tight and difficult to loosen, I guess I could have this permanently attached to the keel of the kite and not worry about untying it at the end of each session.

  • Certainly there is no reason at all to remove the pigtail from the kite after flying - it should be a permanent fixture. And as for your nails, you are more likely to break them than you are to damage the line, which is pretty tough stuff.

  • I confirm... I use exactly the same method as shown by NZflier
    on standard size of lines is a good help, on very slim lines is almost mandatory
    SMAC from Italy

  • edited February 15

    Ive been trying that 'handle' on some practise string but I don't seem to be having much success. I'm getting different results each time I'm pulling it. Maybe I'm not attaching it right. Problem is there's no loop on the end of my flying line when it comes off the reel. The only time a loop is formed is when I'm tying a larks head knot so that's when I try and attach the 'handle.'

    There was at least one occasion when pulling the 'handle' removed the larks head knot from the tow-point. Though it was still a knot regardless and still had to be untied. If that happened to be dacron flying line that had been under tension, I still would have had to use my nails.

  • Edit: I should clarify that my practise with the 'handle' was done with poor quality twisty string and that may have contributed to the issues I was experiencing. Plus I may have been gripping the wrong part.

    I have since been practising with better quality string (and with different colours for each separate line) and I am now having success. It is indeed a goood system. Very handy. Thanks again.

  • I had a very short kite flying session this afternoon. And the line handle worked great. Thanks again! Unfortunately, the kite got stuck in a tree. But by sheer luck, we managed to get it free.

  • Conditions have been very favourable for kite flying recently. I managed to fly my Levi Delta for two days in a row earlier in the week. And I headed out for another session today. I brought my gloves along as usual but foolishly, I forgot to put them on when I launched my Delta. They were still in my bag. As I launched, the line wrapped around my finger pretty tightly. It took a while to free my finger. Then immediately afterwards, the line ran along another finger of mine with pretty devastating effect. It was extremely painful. I was expecting to see blood but there was none. Not even a cut. With one hand holding the reel, I opened my bag with my other hand and took out the gloves and put them on.

    Later on, some kids appeared with a kite of their own. It was pink and bird-shaped and looked nice in the sky. It looked a lot like a flamingo minus the long legs. It sounds like they were impressed at how high I could fly my kite.

    There was also a lady there who was impressed with my Levitation Delta. She asked me the name of the kite and also the company that produced it. She was very keen to order one for myself. I gave her the relevant details and also mentioned that Into The Wind also make a smaller delta as well.

    I would like to add a payload to the kite line soon. I'll probably attach my water bottle in the next session and see how that goes. Then not long after that, I'll add a camera rig.

    With regards to tying off the line, I'll probably use one of those heavy duty straps used for vehicles (I'm not sure what they're called) and wrap it around a post. I recall seeing one of those straps around here in the past but can't seem to find it at the moment.

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