Asymmetries in kites

In article <1992Jun7.112652.5016@cco.caltech.edu>, walkera@cco.caltech.edu (Walker Aumann) writes:
|>My roommate and I both purchased Shadow Phantoms about 6 months ago.  
|>We just compared the kites, taking them completely apart, and comparing
|>the spars, bridles, and sails.

List of differences deleted...

|>So, Highflyers is kinda spastic in quality, but we knew that.  So, what
|>does all this mean?  Well, since we are actually in a position to compare
|>them, we have been.  Over the past six months, we've been gradually tuning 
|>the kites.  I've had mine at the same settings for about the past 3 months.
|>No amount of adjusting his bridle has been able to get his kite to fly as
|>fast under any wind conditions.  His seems to turn somewhat tighter than 
|>mine, but under really low wind conditions (~2 mph? - who can tell without
|>a wind gauge), mine will fly okay, and his won't without serious amounts of
|>pumping, etc.  

Small differences (and you are talking small here) shouldn't be a an
indication of quality unless it really affects the flying of a kite.
Actually, after six months flying, it is surprising that the kites are
as similar as they are. Differences in fabric and the person actually
sewing the sail, push differences in flying style and time in the air
would contribute to differences.

|>Has anyone out there (like, oh, say, Marty :) ) played enough with different
|>instances of the same kite to know whether it's mainly the bridle or the
|>sail, or a combination of both?  Should my roommate start with copying my
|>bridle?  Are other kites this different between two instances of them?

Having made a pile of MDM-4's I've seen lots of subtle and not so
subtle differences in kites or in parts of the same kites. One set of
the kites that Storm Front flys has one wing about an inch longer than
the other wing, and it's consistant, all 4 kites have the same
difference. I try to keep the variation from one kite to another
small, but it is hard to make all the kites the same, even with high
tech sewing machines and such. I'm still the one guiding the fabric
through the machine or weilding the hot knife to cut the panels.

These differences are usually easy to compensate for with an
individual kite by small changes in bridles. Trains of kites are
another matter, I try to have nearly identical kites when making up a

Okay, kites differ, but this doesn't explain why your friends kite and
yours fly so much different. I assume that you've swapped kites to
make sure that it isn't the flyer, so here are a few things that can
contribute to the way a kite flys:

        - The bridle settings. An interesting thing would be to
          actually measure where the flip is attached from the upper
          spreader. The marks are often a poor indicator of bridle

        - Center bridle length.

        - The outhaul bridle length. Shorter outhauls have the effect
          of increasing the turning speed on many kites. Shortening
          also is like moving the bridles down slightly.

        - The length of the top spreader. Making this slightly longer
          will increase the speed.

        - Length of the whiskers. Up to a limit, longer whiskers will
          result in a faster kite.

        - Sail stretch. A stretched sail will fly slower than an
          unstretched one.

So, I would start out by checking the assembled kites to see what the
differences are. Assuming everything else is the same, I would try to
make the bridles (length and adjustment) as nearly identical as
possible and try tuning from there.

Good luck.
Marty Sasaki                            sasaki@tle.enet.dec.com

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