Kites

Gather notes and questions about our lifters here -- types, tuning, pros and cons

Levitation delta carbon fiber frame

I know a lot of people have had issues with the standard fiberglass spreader breaking so they replaced it with a carbon fiber spreader. I recently replaced mine with SkyShark P400 tubes (I assume this is what others have used, but correct me if I’m wrong).

Noticing how much lighter the SkyShark tubes are, has anyone replaced the entire frame with carbon fiber tubes? Meaning, the center spine and the two outer wing spines in addition to the cross spreader. It would make the kite significantly lighter. Anyone have any thoughts or experience with doing this? I generally use this kite for mid range winds 10-18mph and have other kites that I use for lighter/stronger winds, so not really needing to fly this one in less wind but wonder if it would fly better/worse with a complete carbon fiber frame.

Comments

  • Evan,

    I routinely swap out the stock spars for my Levitation deltas for SkyShark wrapped carbon tubes plus Mike L. Dynamic Spreaders (also made out of P400 SkyShark tubes). Some times I use P300 (depending on what I have on hand). The modification adds strength, expanded wind range and increased lifting capabilities.

    All of the above provides an extra safety factor for KAP.

    I have done these modifications on over 7 Levitation deltas.

    WW

  • Into The Wind sell (or sold) a version called the Levitation Light with all-carbon spars. It's currently out of stock (like most of their kites), but may return sometime. The Light version is certainly capable of flying in lighter wind, and as WW points out, the carbon frame is also stronger. The price is higher too, when it's available.

  • WW,

    This is the info I was looking for, thank you. Yesterday someone was telling me that the carbon fiber tube is more likely to break than the stock spreader because carbon fiber is more stiff and brittle. I don’t think that’s the case (right?). Do you feel it’s worthwhile to replace the entire frame with carbon fiber, or just the spreader?

    For the record, I’ve never had a Levitation Delta spreader break and I’ve been flying them for 10+ years but I’ve read about others who’ve had that problem pretty often.

    Where can I get a dynamic spreader? Google search just pulls up other threads on this forum that discuss it.

  • edited May 1

    I purchased a new Levitation delta from ITW last September and replaced the fiberglass wings and center spine with P400's and solid carbon ferrules. This resulted in a weight reduction of about 204 g, which is pretty significant. I also replaced the fiberglass spreader with a modified Adaptive Cross Spar (aka DS, Dynamic Spreader) which provided even more weight reduction. Here are some weight measurements I made on my new Levitation:
    .
    "Stock" fiberglass configuration from ITW:
    ------ Fiberglass wings and center spine: 330 g.
    ------ Fiberglass spreader with aluminum ferrules: 125 g.
    ------ Kite sail: 162 g.
    ------ Total "stock" Levitation with fiberglass spars: 617 g.
    .
    Carbon fiber configuration:
    ------ P400 wings and center spine: 126 g.
    ------ Adaptive Cross Spar: 70g to 125g (configuration dependent)
    ------ Kite sail: 162 g.
    ------ Total Carbon with Adaptive Cross Spar (DS): 358 g - 413 g (configuration dependent)
    .
    Regarding the Dynamic Spreader, I do make and sell these if you are interested in purchasing one. I'm in the process of making some fairly significant design updates to further improve the low and high wind performance so am holding off on producing any more of these for another month or two until the design matures and I get some more flight time with it. I'm also changing the name of it to something a little more technically descriptive and am now calling it an Adaptive Cross Spar. I'll post on this site when I have more available.

  • Mike,

    Thanks for the info. I am definitely interested in buying a DS or two from you. I suppose it’s probably best to wait until the new design is ready. Until then, would you recommend using the stock spreader or P400 carbon fiber tubes as the spreader?

    As I said before, I’ve not had any issues with the stock frame and spreader and have been flying Levitation Deltas for KAP for over 10 years. Just always interested in improving and also preventing a problem before it happens. I’m flying a fairly heavy and quite expensive Sony a7riv with Zeiss lens most of the time, so the better the kite lifts and less chance of spreader breaking, the better.

  • Mike, Any updates to your refinements? I have a 9ft Levitation Delta.

    Thanks.

  • edited July 31

    Aimsport, sorry for the delay in posting this. It's been a busy summer and I have not had as much time as I had wanted to finish up the DS design updates. Hoping for September/October pending on how the winds are in the next couple months.

  • Some few inputs from my side, although I never flew a levitation, but compared so many deltas trying to understand what make them reliable and effective.
    Imho , carbon is not always better for wing spars. Spreader (and spine in certain way) needs to be stiff to make the kite efficient and lifting. wings need to have to correct flexibility to ensure stability.
    For sure fb is heavier. but you do not necessarily need ligther if the kite is in proper wind.
    to make it short: use carbon for spreader and spine, and keep fg in wings, except if you are looking for lightwind kite.
    if you want a longer story: spend some time reading Dan's pages [https://deltakites.com/types.html](https://deltakites.com/types.html "https://deltakites.com/types.html") Always interesting, even for a poor english reader like me.
    about P400. this is one of my favorite as it is a bit flexible and i thought it was almost unbrekable...until i broke one last week in testing phase. As you mentionned when we have our rig tied to the line, reliabily tends to take over efficiency.

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