Stunt: Axel

   Dean C. Hines asks about the Axle:

   > I am curious about a new stunt I've seen and as wondering if people could
   > give me tips on how to perform it. 
   > While in Rockport, Abel Ortega called over to me and said, "Hey Dean, does
   > this look like I'm doing this on purpose?" His Stinger proceeded to flop on
   > its belly (it was in the air and almost stalled), spin completely around
   > (180 degrees on its belly), then pop upright. The kite stayed essentially
   > in its original stall position in the sky. Abel proceded to do this at
   > least five times IN THE SAME PLACE. He called it an axel. 

I won't attempt to describe how to do the axle.  As with most of the
stunts I do, I only get confused when I try to talk about how to do an
axle. I am amazed that others are able to transcribe their
experiential knowledge in such detail.  Instead, I offer a short
Berkeley-centric commentary on the axle and its derivatives.

First, Steve Thomas takes my credit as the inventor (discoverer?) of
the basic axle.  I let him test fly my brand-new ultralight
competition kite in Long Beach WA in May, 1992.  He rewarded my
generosity by axle-ing it all over the sky, making me feel like a rank
amateur. He and John Baressi had considered including this new move in
their pairs routine.  During that summer, Steve, John, Miguel
Rodriguez, and Greg Aaronson all worked on variants of the same theme,
often playing together at the Berkeley Marina.

Greg's specialty might be called a wing-tip axle: the kite starts off
in a wing-tip, launches into an axle with the nose rotating towards the
ground first, and then rotating anywhere from 180 to 360 degrees in
its axis (still "stalled", of course.)  Greg exits from his axle with
a sudden, dramatic dart, usually in the original direction the kite
was pointing.  Greg choreographed this move very effectively into his
routine for the 1992/1993 competition year.

Miguel calls his variation "The Flip Of A Coin", or simply "The Coin".
The kites start with both wing-tips on the ground, from which it
launches into an axle, usually about 3 feet in the air.  The really
cool thing to do next is simply to land on the same spot, having
completed a nonchalant excursion, sometimes two!  Another impressive
alternative is to dart into a fast ground pass after a 270 degree

Steve is one of the handful of people I know to axle his kite (a Buena
Vista XTC, usually) while floating down, nose first.  I think this
variant was actually the first one (Steve?).  He also combines a
"normal" axle with a helicopter (slide, if you prefer) very
effectively in his ballet routine.

I missed out on all of this, because I was living in LA at the time.
However, it is impossible to fly in Berkeley for any length of time
without becoming infected with axle fever.  Now that I'm back, My
favorite (light wind) combination starts with a Coin fairly close to
the edge of the window, followed by a full window wing-drag.

The Bass Axle is another interesting variant.  I have seen this
performed with the XTC and the Wasp, but not as consistently as Mark
manages with the Eclipse.  The fundamental problem seems to be that
few kites are as forgiving as the Eclipse once they are belly-up.

|Kobi Eshun    ADAC Laboratories    kobi@adaclabs.com|
|408.321.9100.x2457                                  |  
|408.321.9536 (FAX)                                  |
+--ADAC is not responsible for making me say things--+

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