A Few Questions and answers

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A Few questions and answers

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What is Freestyle fighter flying?

Classical fighter kite flying is surely an aerial martial art – where individual flyers demonstrate and test their flying skills in non-lethal combat between kites. In a kite fight the manual skills of kite control are combined with strategy into attack and defence in the sky – but malice has to be left outside the contest.

In the simplest terms freestyle fighter flying is what we do with a fighter kite in the sky when there is no “opponent” for combat.

Freestyle fighter flying is the intimate and personal process of communicating with the kite in the sky – learning to understand how the kite and the wind communicate with each other, and how the flyer can react and make his intentions known to the kite.

A fighter kite designed and built for combat has to combine speed and control for the flyer to impose his strategy, and to counter the strategy of his opponent. A fighter kite designed and built for freestyle flying does not need the same speed of flight, but it must incorporate agility, stability and instability whenever requested by the flyer. Freestyle flying is all about a constant dialogue between the kite and the flyer – the flyer has to know exactly what the kite is doing and how it is placed to the wind before initiating a control command.

Fighter kites are light and flexible (they have to be in order to work with single line control) – unlike the larger multi-line precision and trick kites they do not generate enough power to put the flyer in charge of the wind – a fighter kite will not power through the wind, the flyer has to fly with the wind.

Freestyle flying is the constant learning process of exploring the limits of agility and control of the kite – with only one line for communication and control.

Why do I continue to decorate my fighter kites?

The pleasure of flying with the wind is always giving movemement and painting to the sky. Where beautifully decorated static kites are hung on the gallery wall of the sky, the fighter kite adds movement and life to sky art, they are dynamic mobile pictures in the sky.

But decoration adds more to the fighter kite that just something pretty for the sky…

Decorating the kite is not more important than the shape and construction, but it does complete the experience for every fighter flight by helping the kite communicate with the pilot. Subtle changes in the visible pattern of the sail are messages to tell the pilot about the position and attitude of the kite, and messages of how the wind is affecting the shape of the kite sail.

We have to remember that the fighter kite only works because of the dynamic changes to the shape of the kite induced by the wind, the line tension, and the pilot. A well decorated kite sail, responsive to any changes in shape, becomes a dictionary for the kite to use in communicating with the pilot -– a unique and personal decoration also helps to focus and concentrate the pilot’s eye on his kite, and the flight at every moment in the sky. In technical terms sail decorations provide a feedback system.

What shape (and size) of kite?

At the same time as developing techniques for constructing uniquely decorated sails I have been gently developing different shaped kites – all based upon the basic frame format of the korean style kite. Each of the different shapes produces a kite with unique flight characteristics – each suited to a different style of flying, to different wind conditions, or even to the different moods of the flyer.

I shall soon be adding to this section of the site. I would like to be able use this section to offer other flyers information on building and flying fighter kites – I have always worked through experiments and some things have worked, whilst others have been disastrous. It should not be necessary for everyone to make the same mistakes as me.

I am currently preparing a few brief downloads on (a) the selection of flying lines for freestyle flying, (b) the positioning of bridle points, and (c) the effects of different shaped holes on the speed and control of fighter kites.