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Author: Subject: High Wind Kite Launching
kiteballoon


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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 10:50 AM
High Wind Kite Launching


After being launch lifted (aka, picked up and tossed 50 yards down the beach) the last couple of times during high winds (beaufort 6/7), I'm curious about launching and flying kites in these kind of winds. I'm specifically looking at arcs, but I imagine the discussion works well for any kind of depower foil. For your curiosity, the kites that launched me were 8m/10m arcs.

So those with more experience flying in high winds, can you share your thought process as well as setup? How do you launch safely? Once launched, what are you doing with the kite? Are you able to safely get into a buggy, climb onto a landboard, etc or do you start ready to move? Once underway, talk about how you adjust your riding to the higher winds.

While everyone has their own limits, I'd like to specifically hear about the biggest dangers to the kiter in these conditions, how to avoid them, and how to decide when to sit out the session. A good safety system is of course essential, and never more so than in high wind conditions.




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abkayak


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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 11:36 AM


no Arc here but to me a 6 you dont miss...a 7 is a whole new ball game...maybe i dont have a small enough kite for a 7 but i dont see getting on an atb at that point at all and the bug would be survival flying but once you have control of the kite you better be ready to move and or hit the release...i dont worry so much about the launching as i do the landing and getting the kite secured...i always expect the big pblm there

this is when you have to be real in tune w/ the situation and weather...if the skys are clear thats one thing but if its stormy and we are not even talking gusts...well pbly shouldnt be out




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Meat–river


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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 12:11 PM


Never flown any closed cells, so my input is in reference to open cell FB's and DP's. I most often just sand one wing tip letting the rest of the kite lay downwind. Run the lines out perpendicular to the wind. With the kite out on the edge of the window, a couple feet downwind, way off to your side, slowly tease the power lines/ main line getting a little bit inflation. Then it's just s matter of a small tug it comes right up. It's really the only launch method I feel "comfortable" with in high winds, which for me would be 20-30 with 30mph absolute max.....wouldn't bother with anything more than that. More than 25 tends to offer diminishing returns on my fun-o-meter.



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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 01:59 PM


Total side launch event anything else will break your back.

Pre inflAte , and pops right up right at the edge with one step back.

Take your time , secure everything , definitely perpendicular to wind and it's over in a flash!

With charger solid pre inflate ! Trim to depower ,bar in to finish inflate.

FS the same except soft pre inflate they handle easy as they fill.





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John Holgate




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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 02:39 PM


Here's my take on the side launch. Trick is to make sure it's going to peel off the ground nicely - if it doesn't look like it's going to come up nicely on it's side, put it down before you dislodge the weights and move around a bit or check your lines and try again.







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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 03:03 PM


Same as above with arcs as mentioned above. Lines need to be double checked and using the line keepers on the kite to make sure you don't wrap around a wingtip at launch. Stuff like that can tear up stuff and get you hurt. Then just find that balance point where the kite doesn't want to shoot anywhere fast after the upwind tip comes up and you are ready to roll.

Depower to the point where the kite won't stall with bar fully in. Your speed will add rear line tension due to air resistance on the lines.

After you are launched, your safest position is to be moving. Standing around and idling around after on your wheels is just asking for a quick loop like the small arcs like to do and a yank off your feet again. Your apparent wind has a stabilizing affect on the kite that goes away when you slow down. Keep the system moving.




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kiteballoon


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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 04:29 PM


Great tips! it's causing me to ask some more specific questions. Let me summarize and get to asking!

So many of you echoed the need to launch on the edge of the window, and have a clean launch. Check lines to be sure.
Next, bring the kite up slow. You want the downwind tip to come up smoothly, and for the kite to take it's proper shape, with a smooth clear from the upwind tip as well. Chad mentioned making sure the kite is inflated, thanks Chad! I didn't think about this aspect, but I can attest to not having a proper shape during launch makes the kite erractic, difficult to control and is more likely to yank you when it does fill (and be in the middle of the power when it does).

Now let's talk about some more specific questions. When I lay the kite out, should I point the leading edge towards the edge of the window, or towards the power zone? EDIT: This is a really silly question I realize after the fact.

The other question has to do with how I launch. Typically an arc launch would have you teasing the top lines while pulling the bar in a bit for some backstall and control. Same in high winds? Once the kite is off the ground, it's going to want to go up. I assume your goal is to get to the zenith at the edge of the window and avoid the power zone. Would you try and keep backstall on the kite during this process? That would mean you have the bar in a bit until it hits the zenith.

Once at the zenith, there is a danger of being lofted if you stand around as Bobby suggests. Would you fly the kite across the window of the zenith, or attempt to keep it along the edge while you move to get into a buggy?

I agree with Bobby that once you are moving you have a lot more control. Once moving keep the kite low unless you want to go up. Worse case scenario landings can be simply popping your safety and retrieving the kite. Or you can mimic your launch by dropping the kite all the extreme edge of the window with someone there to catch and help you depower as it lands.

Finally, moving actively downwind takes the edge off launching of course. To answer my final question about when you might have too much wind for the kite you want to fly, I assume you would find this out during the edge launch, and can pull the safety or just bring the kite back down.

Thanks for the feedback guys!




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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 04:48 PM


Flag the kite so one wing tip is upwind and he other downwind. Pre inflate .

Fold the upwind tip over a bit and put weight on it. This helps pop the weight off at the end of launch.

Depower / shorten strap. Stand at about 45' angle upwind from the kite. A bit less on windy days. Tease the down wind tip by tugging frontlines. When the down wind tip catches wind it will lift and the kite will pop into shape. Keep it LOW and at the edge. If you don't feel overpowered with the kite inflated and low SLOWLY take it up the edge to zenith. NOT through the power zone. Trim strap out to taste. You want the kite to stall a bit with bar in and back lines to be pretty much loose with the bar pushed out.

Unassisted landing is like you say. Take it down the edge and then pop your safety.




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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 05:43 PM


ok in Bft 7! there will not be any teasing, it will snap up cat quick ! one step back and BOOM! some launches firing deeper in the window will be a serious punch definitely brace for impact if launch is not ideal when in a tight sketch launch spot.

DOWNWIND movement will spoil it. Upwind will give positive control and input IMMEDIATELY and give solid balancing action if super powered !

LEADING EDGE upwind, lines out cross wind , tip flows downwind as kite lays out to fill, secure lines .

when hooked in , looking at downwind tip , back up to curl tip over , stay focused on that part of the kite that is active , the tip , it will tell you what is going to happen. if the kite is trimmed to be unhooked this can be done unhooked just like a c-kite. which can be done either way as well.

and yes get moving !




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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 05:51 PM


Phree, that post was as enthusiastic as it was tutorial, makes me want to launch and ride right now! Too bad there's no wind, it's night time and I have to work tomorrow.
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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 06:40 PM


right on man. ....hmmm may take session RIGHT NOW!



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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 06:57 PM


I'm out of my depth here, so the only real advice I can add to this is to familiarize yourself with your safety system, but don't do it while you're standing up, do it after you climb in the buggy. You need to know instinctively where to find it. Believe me, it seems like an eternity to find when you need it most, no matter how familiar you think you are with it.
It's probably best to go over and over the procedure and the motions you'll use to activated it while you're heading upwind. That's when you've got the most time on your hands. When the wind is nuking, I'll go through it a few times in my head on every single run I make just before I turn downwind.
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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 07:29 PM


Not much to add to the great advice you're getting but when the kite pops up like a cat, you want to have positioned yourself so the kite just rises off the ground and is flying at ground level ALREADY at the edge of the window. No power zone. No zenith. It just rolls up off the ground and then is flying in place.

I use the same technique when launching any kite in high winds. Sometimes an assistant can smooth out the rough edges but you usually don't want your assistant to do much more on a high wind arc launch than make sure your downwind lines come up clean. After that, you need to be flying the kite to take control of it.




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John Holgate




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[*] posted on 8-26-2014 at 10:01 PM


What RedSky says about knowing your safety system is spot on. Be absolutely prepared and ready to use it 'cos stuff can go wrong in the blink of an eye.

Something else that myself and a few others do if the wind is up is launch from the bug. Make sure the bug is pointed towards (or nearly so) the kite and be prepared for some zoom at takeoff (I think I normally hot launch from the bug). Don't launch with the kite at 90 degrees to the direction of the buggy - in soft sand, the wheels can just dig in and tip you over, and trust me, wearing the Vmax on your bum while you're upside down with head is stuck in the sand and not being able to see the kite (or reach the bar) is not good. I've launched my foils and Nasa's this way, I have no idea whether it's suitable for Arcs or LEI's.




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[*] posted on 8-28-2014 at 10:25 AM


Thanks for all the great advice! I definitely learned a few things that should give my next high wind launch much better odds of success. If nothing else I have a clearer picture of what I want to achieve during the launch, as well as some ways to "test the waters" safely on being able to fly the kite or not. This was the info I was missing.

Here's to the next high wind session!




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[*] posted on 8-28-2014 at 12:59 PM


I've flown a 10m arc in beaufort 7-8 on water or B6-7 on land, no problem. However, in those strong winds I get someone to do an assisted clam launch. Prefill the kite, have your helper stand close to the edge of the window holding both tips together, once ready they should let one tip go and then the other.

Self launching an arc in those winds is hard. In clam position, the kite likes to push off the sandbag and take off or get tangled in the sand bag. With a flat launch, the kite flaps like it's overdosed on something, line and bridle snags around spars, kite takes off on it's own, etc. Get a buddy to launch you when it's nuking and avoid the headaches.

I have self-launched a 5m LEI in Beaufort 8-9 with no issues. Arcs are harder to self launch when it's nuclear conditions. Being in a few feet of water for safety helps.




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[*] posted on 8-28-2014 at 03:42 PM


Quote: Originally posted by elnica  
the kite flaps like it's overdosed on something, line and bridle snags around spars, kite takes off on it's own, etc.
.


That is the best description of what happens to me that I have heard!
:thumbup:

One reason I tend to go to my 7m Pulse in those winds.




Kites: 2.5m Profoil , 4.9m QuadrifoilXL kitesurfer, 9m Flexi Blade II, NPW 5 Danger.
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