July 2004

July 2004
AVI (DivX 5.0)
352x288 16.8 MB
MP4 (QuickTime)
320x240 16 MB

July 2004

July's video features the Airbow, the quad line trick/freestyle kite I conceived and designed with Tim Benson for Benson Kites. The Airbow can be flown like a dual line kite, using large arm movements to carve the kite around the sky. It can also be flown like a traditional quad line kite, using small hand movements to adjust the handle orientation for hovering, flying backwards and spinning. But what makes the Airbow unique is the range of tricks that can be performed including Axels, Flat Spins, Flic-Flacs, Yo-Yos and Barrel Rolls.


Top Close Open

So here's the first Airbow video, introducing some basic flying techniques and some of the simpler tricks. Given that the Airbow is so new, the emphasis here is on general freestyle flying rather than highlighting any particularly technical tricks. There's more Airbow footage to come in a later video, but for now this should demonstrate some of the Airbow's capabilities and give you an idea about the kind of things it can do.

But first some terminology so that you can understand what I'm talking about.

The Airbow is totally symmetrical and can be flown equally well forwards or backwards. In this case, the kite I'm flying has light blue at the top of the kite and dark blue at the bottom. So when the kite is moving with the light blue at the leading edge, it is said to be flying forwards. With the dark blue leading, it is flying backwards. If one of the wingtips is leading then we say that the kite is sliding (e.g. a side slide), or if one of the outer edges (from spine tip to wing tip) is parallel to the ground then it is gliding. Flying one way, and then flying back the other without changing the position of the kite (i.e. going forwards to the left and then backwards to the right) is reversing direction or a reverse for short. Flying one way, turning the kite over and continuing in the same direction (e.g. forwards to the left, rotate 180, then continue going backwards to the left) is called a revert.

Carving turns and tight spins can be performed clockwise or anti-clockwise. Clockwise actions are usually right and anti-clockwise usually left. For example, a clockwise turn might also be called a right turn. However, when it comes to Axels, the right hand initiates an anti-clockwise Axel and vice-versa. Long-winded terms like anti-clockwise spin or anti-clockwise axel are often written more simply as anti-spin and anti-axel, respectively.

The Axel is performed much like it is on a dual line kite, although with more deliberate setup and execution. Give a push on the active hand (e.g. right) to first angle the kite, then pop hard on the upper line only, while apply a little tension to the lower line on the inactive hand (e.g. left).

The Airbow will flic-flac and yo-yo like a dual line kite and can be stalled (or hung) momentarily in these positions. A hang up is when the sail points up, a hang down when it points down, and a hang back when it points back away from you (like a backflip to turtle on a dual line kite). There's also the cliff hanger when the sail is hung up but with a wing tip pointing towards you and the lines hanging over the end panel, but that's for a later video.

And finally, the barrel roll is the real signature trick of this kite. This is where the kite spins around its major axis (the main spreader) with one wingtip pointing towards you. If you start with a tight spin you can easily convert it to a barrel by pulling only on the upper line of the wing closest to you (i.e. handle you're pulling on) and letting all the other lines go slack.

The music is an original composition of mine entitled "Machine Code". It's a rather bland piece which goes nowhere in particular in the style of Tangerine Dream. But hey, you should be watching the kite not listening to the music! :-)


Top Close Open
00.00 Opening credits
00.11 Fly down, loop clockwise, fly up.
00.13 Drop down on left, right hand Axel, loop anti-clockwise to tip stand. Take off and fly out to right.
00.23 Fly in from right and down to tip stand. Rotate clockwise to opposite tip. Take off and fly up to left.
00.30 Drop down from top left to tip. Right axel back to tip. Take off and fly out to right.
00.36 Fly backwards from right to left. Reverse to fly forwards to the right, then revert and fly forwards out to left.
00.42 Fly in from left to right. Reverse back out to the left.
00.47 Carve up to the left and over into an anticlockwise spin. Stop and hover for a moment, then carve up to the right into a clockwise spin, slowing right down for the last rotation or two before flying up to top left corner for a clockwise carving turn going out of frame...
00.55 ...then coming back into frame and tightening up into a clockwise spin and eventually a barrel roll. Stop, spin anti-clockwise twice then fly up and out.
01.03 Enter back in top left corner carving an anti-clockwise turn, spin and barrel roll, ending with an Axel and flying out to the right.
01.11 Carve up to right to begin big infinity loops going in and out of frame.
01.21 Kite and devilishly handsome pilot appear from right, ending infinity loop with an anti-spin and barrel roll. Then various bits of flying around, hovering, smiling at the camera, etc., before flying out to right.
01.44 Enter from right, fly backwards to left.
01.52 Enter from left, fly forward to right.
01.58 Drop down from top right and fly forwads to left.
02.02 Side slide from left to right.
02.07 Side slide from right to left.
02.11 Power dive from top, front flip into wrap, tap the spines down, then unwrap, fly up and out. I call this a "Spinal Tap" (these tricks go up to eleven!)
02.15 Enter from top, rock the kite to hang up (sail upwards) then pop the bottom right line for a pop barrel roll down to a tip. Ollie anti-clockwise off the right tip and back onto it. Take off and fly out to the right.
02.25 Fly down and barrel roll. Fly to left, pause briefly, right hand axel then fly up and out.
02.32 Enter from top into flic-flac, fly up and out.
02.38 Fly down, flic-flac, 180 flat spin to tip. Reverse take off and fly out to right.
02.45 Fly in from right, stop and hover in centre. Back flip and hang for a moment then fly up and out.
02.49 Enter from top right, fly down to left, forward roll across ground and up into a right hand axel. Then fly up to top left, turn down and axel with left hand. Glide out to left.
03.01 Floating kite appear as if by magic, followed by me walking down the top lines to retrieve it.
03.15 Closing credits