From 0 to KAP in 30 Days

edited November 2009 in Lessons Learned
It has been a month since I first started reading about KAP. What an experience. Today was my first KAP session, and my first time flying a real kite.

When I got out of the car, there was a nice little wind felt on my face, so I thought the Fled would do it - perfect for "low" wind. (Bad judgment!) The Fled wanted to fly before I fully assembled it. Once I was done, it flew right off my hand, and the line managed to cut through my expensive a$$ "pro" skin 3/4 gloves. I was too excited, so I let about 100ft of line out.

The pull was so strong, I would've trusted my SLR on it. In an attempt to anchor my line to a figure 8 belay device using the knot I practiced at home, my knot failed miserably, and the kite was climbing further. I figured it was a bad idea, and it's time to stop. Here I wished I brought a friend. There was no easy way to pull the kite down, or walk-it-down, especially that I couldn't anchor it. So using the hoop winder, I started winding the line back slowly (which I read was a big no no), and noises started coming out of the line and winder. Kite came down successfully. I read scary tales of the FF16 but none of the Fled.

Anyway, I was too excited, I couldn't give up. So I practiced a double lark's head knot on the fig. 8 belay device before my next launch. This time, I used the Sutton Flow Form 16 with 200lb test line. The kite flew fine, with not much of a pull. It would slack occasionally, but seemed ok. So I tied my AutoKAP BEAK rig and it climbed slowly. It was too close to the ground in many cases, but I managed to retrieve it with no crashes.
AutoKAP rig on FF16First KAP picture using A590 on BEAK & FF16
A590, Brooxes BEAK & FF16My First KAP Photo
What would you have done differently? Would you advise a 200lb test with the Fled or a 100lb test with the FF16? There seemed to be a sweet spot between my Fled and FF16 today, but it was enjoyable none the less.

My lesson for today was: next time, bring a friend. I really admire everybody who kaps solo.

And a thank you for everyone who contributed to my journey. Cris Benton for the inspiration. Brooks Leffler for making it possible, not mention the great support every step of the way. Peter Engels for the encouragement.

Hussam

Comments

  • edited November 2009
    Congrats on your first KAP session! :)

    What would I have done differently? Definitely, I'd bring someone to help. I can't comment on the Fled since I don't have one...

    And BTW, it seems you were using the wrong kind of gloves. I think I've never seen the type you used, but I can't imagine that happening to my cheap, leather gloves (US$ 3). I don't know how they are called in English (in Portuguese it's "luva de raspa"), but maybe a picture might help...
  • edited November 2009
    Welcome to the club!!! and congrats for you first session.
    Maybe there is some space between the FF16 and the Fled for the FF30... most probably one of the senior Kapers could help you with that.
    Definitely bring a friend with you next time. :-) :-) You shouldn't try to kap alone until you get used to the equipment.
    And remember that kaping with friends is always better than kaping alone ;-) ;-) Fly safe & enjoy!!
  • edited November 2009
    You get better at recognizing wind strength, but it's normal to switch kites during a session.

    I have a ~10 foot delta that does well between a fled and FF16. Actually, I'm pretty sure you could have fun KAPing with nothing other than deltas.

    I have some three dollar kevlar knit gloves that appear to be able to handle just about anything. Or maybe I'm still more careful than I think I am.
  • From what I've read, deltas seem like an acquired taste. I certainly have not tried them before. However, the kiddie deltas I've seen seem to take an occasional nose dive, so I stayed away (I probably shouldn't even compare). I'll certainly add it to kites my wish list which keeps growing (Rokkaku, Dopero, now Delta, ...).

    Hussam
  • edited November 2009
    Check out Dan Leigh's deltas and fishing kites like the kiwi knighthawk (you can search comments on this forum). Cheap deltas can have narrow wind ranges (fold up and dive at higher wind speeds) and be prone to overflight (act like a paper air plane when the wind dies).

    As with any kite you have to be aware of their limitations and behavior in different winds.
  • Bravo, Hussam! You did it! And as we all do, learned lessons along the way.

    In between the FF16 and the Fled, perhaps the Levitation Delta would be a good choice. I've just stocked up, and will be adding them to my Kite page this week. I agree that the Dan Leigh and fishing kites are also good choices.

    Now, take several days learning your kites before you hang that rig again.

    http://www.brooxes.com/
  • Congrats! Even though it was a little rough around the edges, sounds like you had a really good first day!

    I'd be leery of flying a FF16 on #100 line. Not so much because of the breaking strength, but because #100 line tends to be on the thin side. If the wind gusts, line that thin can be uncomfortable to handle, even with gloves (and I do recommend gloves!) I've got some #150 on a hoop winder that I keep in my bag for lighter wind days. It's a much smaller cross-section than the #200, but not so thin that the line is tough to handle. An added benefit is that the clips on my rig tend to slide a little with #100, but don't with #150. It's enough of a difference in line thickness to make it grab a little better.

    Don't be surprised if you wind up with any number of kites from your wish list. A Maxi Dopero is still on my list, but I did wind up getting a Rokkaku and a Fled. I get the feeling it's kinda hard to go too far wrong with a good kite. I don't use my Flow Form 8 all that much for KAP, but the small size means I've almost always got a kite with me. Can't beat that.

    One thing I'd suggest would be to spend some time learning the kites, like Brooks said, and to also try flying them with a dummy weight. I like to use a water bottle filled with enough water to match the weight of my rig. The bottle and either a KAP clip or a carabiner, and you can fly a simulated rig any time you want. Hanging a weight from the line does change how the kite flies. If you throw the water bottle or any other convenient dummy weight into your kite bag, you're good to go.

    Have fun!

    Tom
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