SOTM November looks at a method of parking your kite in potentially high winds, and using the the K2000 (or "superstart") to relaunch.

The first sequence shows an MXS flying in for a two-point landing in fairly light winds. The nose drops forward slightly before the kite is pushed back sharply so that it ends in a nose-to-flier belly-down position with the lines draped forward over the trailing edge. In this position, the wind will push the kite to the ground and it won't move unless the wind changes direction substantially. The lines are running from the trailing edge, up over the rear of the kite and out to the flier, so relaunch is simply a matter of tensioning the lines to flip the kite on its nose and into flying position. No ground stakes needed!

To setup the K2000, the lines are tensioned gently to stand the kite up on the right-hand leading edge. If you were to look from the side, the kite should be perpendicular to the ground, or tilted slightly towards the flier with the wind creating tension by pushing the kite away from the flier. In this position, the kite is in the same setup for a lazy susan, which is essentially what a K2000 is -- a lazy susan initiated from the ground. Pop the wing lower to the ground to initiate the K2000 spin; in this case I give several more pops for a multilazy K2000 ending in a two-point landing. When first learning the K2000, be wary of popping for the spin with the kite tilted away from you (past perpendicular to the ground) on it's leading edge -- it can tend to dig into the ground and you might snap a lower spreader.

The second and third sequences demonstrate a handy way of parking a kite into the belly-down relaunchable position in higher winds. Fly straight or diagonally down and pop the lower wing hard, as per a snap lazy, but harder. Instead of simultaneously slacking the other line, maintain some tension and the kite will flip around into a backflip that continues around to the belly-down position. The key to this trick is teaching the off-hand to maintain some tension, and timing the hard pop so that the kite ends belly down in time to meet the ground; not too early, and not too late. From here you can drop the lines and take a break, or as in this video, follow-up with K2000 and back into flight.

Some competition formats require that both wingtips are on the ground at the start of a routine; the methods of setup shown in this SOTM are a useful way to incorporate a K2000 into your routine without first starting in the setup position.

'Till next time,

A.

SOTM October is about two types of flatspin tricks - the fade-to-slot and "plain" slot machine - performed in alternating directions.

The kite enters frame with a taz machine already started in a diagonally downward angle. The taz is interrupted to bring the kite into a skewed fade which is the setup for the first of three fade-to-slot iterations. Each fade-to-slot is done by pushing the kite out of the angled fade and into a flare, and as the flare is still moving, lightly pop the top wing for the flatspin rotation. Each slot ends with the kite horizontal, the setup for a gentle fractured axel which puts the kite into a fade for the next fade-to-slot. To alternate the direction of each flatspin, skew the fade with micro-adjustments of line tension. Following the first half of the sequence, I fly a "standard" slot cascade to continue the flatspin theme.

The key to success with this sort of sequence is a light touch and a feeling of staying connected to the kite. The fractured axels are best done by guiding the kite via the lines, rather than popping the lines. In this sequence, aim for just enough slack to allow the flatspins to rotation freely; all other parts can be kept tight. Light-to-moderate winds will also help substantially.

'Till next time,

A.

MXS Aero coming soon

SOTM September is a medium length sequence that combines a comete, some flatspins, and a variation of the Jacob's Ladder.

The sequence opens with a snappy comete initiated from an upward curving flight path, and exiting in the same direction. The MXS powers up after exiting the comete, but pressure is quickly dumped with a snap lazy flowing into a fractured axel which puts the kite into a fade. The pause here is a punctuation mark in the sequence, similar to a comma in written text, creating some breathing space between what's happened, and what's about to follow.

The fade is angled to setup the flatspin exit and kept moving quickly back into a fade and lateral roll to start the Jacob's Ladder (JL) portion of the sequence. The first segment of the JL is followed by two backspins, flowing into the second half of the JL initiated with the opposite hand. From here, I move into a series of old school descending flic flacs, before a lateral roll to vertical flight.

This SOTM highlights the value of mixing left and right-handed tricks. The comete, snap lazy, and flatspin parts are right-hand dominant, while the fractured axel and backspins are lead by the left-hand. Try to mix up your left and right hand dominance in sequences, if just to add variety.

'Till next time,

A.

SOTM August looks at changing up the pacing and strength of tricks mid-sequence, a great way to add a dynamic element to your flying.

The sequence begins with an MXS flying quite fast, diagonally downwards into frame. Flight is interrupted by a snap multilazy performed with very firm inputs to ensure the lazy rotations are assertive. After two rotations, a half axel marks the point at which the sequence pacing changes from fast and snappy, to a slower, much lighter touch. The half axel sets the kite up for a multi-slot, and I'm careful to keep the inputs gentle and smooth throughout each of the three slot machines. The multi-slot looks best when you stay closely connected to the kite with finely-tuned slack management -- aim to guide the kite through the rotations rather than pop, release and hope.  Another half axel finishes the sequence and the kite resumes flight for the next set of tricks.

'Till next time,
A.