Re: BOT good for other kites

Subject Re: BOT good for other kites
From (Andy Wardley)
Date 6 Jun 1997 07:10:12 +0100
Newsgroups rec.kites
> Ask Andy Wardley about Box Of Tricks and 540's.I'm sure that he has a
> few extra 540's that he could lend you.  I was lucky enough to catch
> him in Wildwood last year doing a demo with his Box and some real
> short lines.  What a sight!!

Thanks for the kind words.

I think it must be about time for an in-depth look at the 540 Flat Spin and how to do it.

In case anyone's not sure, the 540 Flat Spin goes like this

As simple as that? Well actually, no. There are a few subtle things that you have to get right to perform the 540 Flat Spin and unless you know what you're looking for, they can be difficult to get right.

The Fast Kill

The first thing is that you have to kill the kite effectively. The "kill" is that step when you throw your hands forwards to flatten the kite out. As the kite is diving down, pull your hands right back behind your back and then thrown them forwards fast. If you need to, take a step forward (considering the speed you have to do this, it's more of a "lunge") to get a fast a positive kill.

Practice killing the kite out like this, holding it for a second and then recovering from this position. To do this, either walk forwards and let the kite drop the the ground, or to recover in flight, take up the slack on the lines, pulling more on one line than the other, to get a half-twist-come-turn back out of the killed position.

Not all kites like to be killed fast (some prefer a more gentle approach) so you may need to experiment until you find what works. These kites *will* do a Flat Spin, but generally they need a little more accuracy from the part of the flier. Dedicated trick kites tend to kill and spin faster with more tolerance for user error.

The Uneven Kill

The second, and by far the most important point, is that the kill should be uneven. By this, I mean that one hand should be thrown forwards before, and going further, than the other one. If your strongest hand is your right hand, you'll use this to execute the "pop". In this case, it should be the left hand that you throw forwards first.

The reason is this: when you pop with the right hand, that wing should be slightly nearer to you than the other. When this is the case, the kite is already a little way into the rotation and will continue into the Flat Spin much easier. To get the right wing nearer, you push the left wing out further and faster. Just to confuse matters, the kite is upside down and the right wing is actually on the left as you look at it...

Waay-haaaay! It's Crap ASCII-Art time!

Looking down from above in a bird's eye view, the kite flier on the left has killed the kite evenly. The flier on the right has thrown his left arm further forward which has made the kite rotate a little in an anti-clockwise direction. The kite is now set up for the pop.

Nose  --->      *           *
                |             \  _/
T/Edge -->   ___|___           _/ /
              \   /          _/  /        [ weird looking kite, eh? ]
Lines --->     \ /            \ /          
(crossed)       X              X                      
               / \            / \                    
              /   \           m  \                
Hands --->    m   m           |   \               
Arms  --->    |   |           \   m
Body  --->     \O/             O_/

The "Pop"

You've killed the kite and there's only one place to go: The "Pop". Consult the Crap ASCII Art diagram above (the stick flier on the right) and check your position. Don't worry if your hands don't look like the little "m" characters, though. The important thing is that you've thrown you hands forward such that your left arm is fully extended and your right hand is down by your waist, or perhaps a little further forwards.

Now give a small but firm tug with your right hand and immediately let lots of slack into both lines. Another step forwards at this point is often a good idea to acheive this.

Watch the kite. If the pop makes the kite "jump up" into the air instead of rotating then you either pulled too hard or the kite wasn't set up properly - perhaps you killed the kite too evenly? If the kite starts to turn but then tensions the lines and stops, then you need more slack in the lines. Try taking that step forwards.

If everything goes according to plan, the kite will rotate one and a half times and then recover. Most trick kites will usually recover themselves as they complete the final part of the rotation - the wind catches them and off they go. Try and gauge the slack in the line so that you can re-tension at exactly this point to get a clean and controlled exit from the trick. Some kites might need a little tension as the final rotation completes to help them recover.

Where in the Window?

The centre of the window is most impressive, especially in a ballistic wind. Imagine the kite screaming down towards the ground in a mad suicidal dash, only to stop at the very last minute, perform a clean 540 inches of the ground and then scream back off into the wind.

The centre of the window is most dangerous, especially in a ballistic wind. Imagine the kite screaming down towards the ground in a mad suicidal dash, only to stop at the very last minute with a loud crunch as the frame splinters, tearing through the sail and embedding the spine firmly in the ground.

The moral: practice in lighter winds, off to one side of the centre of the window. If you go too far out, you can find the kite sliding sideways as it spins. This is the basis of an advanced Flat Spin trick - the Flash, but for beginners it can be a little off-putting. The left(ish) side of the window is slightly easier for right-handed poppers and vice-versa.

The "Eezy Peezy" 540 Flat Spin Technique

Still haven't got it?

OK, let's try something different.

Instead of flying directly down to the ground, try flying out from the top centre of the window, down towards the bottom left hand corner of the window. You should aim to reach the point where the kite slows down and almost stops by itself (ideally without hitting the ground). The nose of the kite should be pointing towards 7 or 8 o'clock on an imaginary clock.

Now execute the same 540 Flat Spin maneuver as described above but doing everything a bit slower because the wind should be holding the kite almost stationary - "parked" at the edge of the window. A nice gentle kill (push that left hand forward!) followed by a smooth right hand pop should be enough to start the kite spinning smoothly around. Remember that it needs slack in the lines once it's started to get all the way around.

If you prefer to "pop" your left hand, then fly out to the right side of the window, push your right hand forward and then "pop" with your left.

You'll probably notice that the kite slides back in towards the centre of the window while it's spinning and it probably won't spin totally flat to the ground. In fact, the trick you've just done is a 540 Flat Spin variation that has a name of its own: The Flashback. Because it happens more slowly out at the edge of the window, it's a little easier to learn than the straight 540 Flat Spin.

When you've mastered the Flashback you can try coming in a little from the edge of the window, speeding up the dive, and heading more downwards than out. Eventually you should be doing straight 540 Flat Spins without thinking about it.