|Technical Tips - by Chuck Conner
Senior TC Ultra Factory Flyer and
Master Class Competitor
What is it, and just how does it effect our daily lives, "quad" wise?
Well, let me tell you something I heard from an old master, several years ago. The study of the "Art of Ambidexterity" is "Quad Flying." Ever notice how it is easier to rotate the kite one direction than the other, (given all four lines are equal in length)? Spend lots of time making the uneasy rotation, again and again, when the right muscles are developed, the problem will be solved.
It all started when I asked the magic question; "Why cant I fly the ___________(fill in the blank) as well as I can fly the __________(again)? If the first blank is "Ultra or Rev." and the second blank is "Rev. or Ultra" hear might be one explanation.
The transition from one quad machine to another is not always an easy one. If one is an avid Rev. flyer, he/she knows that the wrists are punished in the power range of higher winds. If practice in higher winds stress the muscles in the wrists, they are being exercised, the result is a group of muscles which will perform better the next time you go out, if the next time comes sooner, rather than later.
When, with the same flying conditions, high wind and power, practicing with the Ultra, one will find there are a new group of muscles, located in the forearms, which seem to get the abuse.
If you wish to become a better Rev. flyer, spend some time with the Ultra, and vise verse. Using certain muscles, which do not seem to get used often, will produce good flying results. Ultra flyers will benefit each time they do a session with the Rev. skills improve because a larger muscle group is being exercised. Try it, you will like the results.
Master Class quad flying is the development of practiced ambidexterity, all those maneuvers, which seem harder to do in one direction are a physical challenge. Just keep on doing it.
No tunnel vision on this flying field.
A trampoline skin is stretched about its frame. Shock cords are used to keep the skin from ripping, the forces of the one who jumps upon it, are returned proportionally to him thorough this unique means of tension and stress.
The frame components, hemlines and wing lines, engineered into the TC Ultra accomplish a similar function. When properly tuned, the sail of our machine applies tension to the frame and its components (including the hem and wing lines.) The sail is then under stress, the tension of the frame, encompasses 360 degrees of the sail. Frame rods are under a load, much the same as a spring when compressed. Although as light as this load is, it remains ready to buffer a bump in the wind or from the ground. A static piece of carbon graphite will fracture with less force than the same piece when under a load. So much for Engineering 101.
TC Ultra kites are all assembled in such a manner that it is possible to vary the load on both wings, and the keel. This means of tuning is far superior to any other system available. All kites will "cure," or stretch to some degree, the Ultra is no exception. This is a good thing, this stretching of fabric. It enables the kite sail to become more symmetric through use, any inaccuracies in its assembly, such as seam width variance will, to some degree, correct itself through the curing process, if the sail can be re-tuned to its frame. As a new kite sail cures, it will need to be re-tuned. This is how we do it:
The Ultra sail is now competition tuned, and ready to fly quad or dual.
Through the years, valued input from our competitors has led to the fact that dual flying is best when the nose of the Ultra has a "V" or "U" shape to it. A shorter top spreader, or by breaking loose the stops at the top spreader fittings and moving these fittings down in its cut out, then re-glueing, will accomplish this enhancement. Quad flying is always better with a flat nose. A longer top spreader, or by using the top of the cut out, for spreader fitting location, will accomplish this enhancement. Always check the stops at all spreader fittings, if a stop is loose the spreader will move, any asymmetry in the Ultra frame will distort the sail load. Symmetry is the single most important factor in kite engineering and performance.
If you are unsure about where to start, then start with the Factory Set Point. The small overhand knot located inside the mess of larks-heads, at the Dual Line hook-up quick-connect. Pull apart all the lines in this assembly, and you will find it. At the factory we place a drop of paint on this knot, actually we mark the longer, and the shorter bridle lines with the paint for quad and dual hook-up points, then we tie the overhand knots so the paint shows up in the middle of the knot. The paint will disappear eventually, the knots will knot. Relocate the position of this knot, and a variety of mystical things begin to happen.
As with all delta shaped sport kites, the relocation of the dual line factory set point, with respect to the total bridle, changes its angle of attack. Nose into the wind causes speed to happen, also a loss of power or "pull." Nose back, flattens the sail to the wind, and you get the opposite, slow-down and power up. So much for the basics.
Ultra allows you to adjust the location of this factory preset as much as six inches (15cm), three up and three down. What to do with so much room to play?
Experiment with it. Now that you know the maximum limits.
TIP: "Unless you are very experienced with bridle changes and adjustments remember the "Never move the preset more than ¼" (6mm) at a time" theory. And if all else fails put it back the way it came from the factory."
TIP OF THE DAY: Find a good day, wind where you like it, tweak the bridle evenly until you are able to do all that you wish to do with the kite, tricks, precision or ballet. Speed and power be damned, find your ideal "over / under steer" preference, and lock it in. This "sweet spot" is the premium set up for quad as well. Once tuned for your flying style in the dual mode, youre automatically setup/adjusted for quad mode. Dont worry about changing this setting, leave perfection alone, enhance your styles, your abilities. Performance always increases with the proper tools. Wind ranges are dealt with by changing; equipment, flying lines, add-ons and/or kite, not bridle set points. Who would have thought!
UNDERGROUND / INSIDER TIP: If the wind drops off substantially during your fun / practice time, or prior to your competition routine, a change from 80lbs spectra to 50lbs spectra is worth more than a change in kite. In quad mode you have 4 lines of whatever weight line you are using managing the pull of the kite. When the wind drops off a change to a lower weight line means 4 lines of the lighter weight, Still a substantial margin before line breakage is a danger.
The more time you spend on your flying lines getting them stretched and equal within each set, the better your performance. One less variable! More on that in my next posting.
THE THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Everything you do, is more fun upside-down."
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423 East River Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
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