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foil kite launch advice

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Created by dachopper 9 months ago, 5 Nov 2021
dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
5 Nov 2021 9:29PM
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Hello guys,

I purchased a second hand F-one Diablo 4 recently ( 9 meter ), to try to get used to the handling etc of the foil kites before possibly make the transition over, however I had an issue trying to get the kite to launch correctly.

I found that the wing tips just would not inflate, when the center section was inflated..... even if they appeared inflated as I was peeling it off the beach, once the center section filled - the wingtips tended to collapse and flap around, and fly it around the window / bar in /. bar out, i just could not get the tips to inflate.

Is this a common issue in certain wind conditions, or does it sound like it could be a line length problem as I am using a different brand bar, ( which I think is set up with equal length lines when the bar is fully powered up. )

Any advice appreciated ..... Nick

airsail
QLD, 920 posts
6 Nov 2021 4:49AM
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Hi Nick, you have struck the problem that many people will face buying older used foil kites, bridle shrinkage. The tip bridles are really lightly loaded and tend to shrink over time compared to the centre bridles. This means although the centre of the kite is flying right, the tips are at a lower angle of attack and tucking under.


If it was a Flysurfer, I would say do the long mixer test, this will help the problem, but I have no idea if the Diablo has adjustable bridles. A short mixer test and adding 2 cm pigtails to the out board A row normally helps the problem, though every kite is different and may need different adjustments. See if someone is foil kite knowledgeable in your area.

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
6 Nov 2021 1:59PM
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Ok, Thanks, I have the diagram about bridle lengths, so I think I will get my measuring tape out and see if I can find any disparities.

If the lines shrink, I am guessing they can be stretched back to the tight length also?

airsail
QLD, 920 posts
6 Nov 2021 6:22PM
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Yes you can stretch them, but they will shrink back over time. I add small pigtails, so hopefully it doesn't go out of trim again. Here is a vid that might help.

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
6 Nov 2021 9:40PM
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I checked with the Diablo manual for the depower system, and the throws all seem the correct length / in the correct orientation, and the A/B/C 3 connectors are all in line....

Is the wingtip line shrinkage in the A1, A/2 levels normally?

ActionSportsWA
WA, 860 posts
12 Nov 2021 10:57AM
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Hey dachopper,

Unlike inflato's, the ram airs need to be fully powered up when launching. Set trim to full power and sheet in on launch once it gets to zenith, you can then also do quick shakes left and right at full power on the bar this opens the tips usually. An old kite will be far more cantankerous than the later model ones like FS Souls and even Sonic 3's. You can also do a partial inflation on the beach to make the launch a lot quicker, safer and easier. I normally do this in extreme low wind, and extreme high wind to make the launch much more predictable.

It could also be a rigging tuning issue and also possibly porosity of the canopy fabric depending on the age and use it's had. There are products you can apply to reduce porosity but they aren't easily attainable and are expensive. Personally, I wouldn't go to the expense on an old kite but if you got it cheap enough and its in OK condition?!?

I have tried to tune older ram airs for some customers to some degree of success in many cases, but not in every case.
I'm happy to help if we can both find time that mutually suits. My time is usually limited but I'm sure we can find some time.

DM



snalberski
WA, 846 posts
12 Nov 2021 11:07PM
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As Darren points out 'shaking' the sheeted in bar left/right is what you need to do to inflate the wing tips. Do it continuously until the tips open up, which could be a few seconds or as much as a minute. Different kites will exhibit that effect to varying degrees but if the tips are going to inflate shaking the bar is the way

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
15 Nov 2021 9:47PM
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Thanks, well I shall give both a try next time I am out.

derek72
WA, 40 posts
22 Dec 2021 10:58AM
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How did you get on Nick? Another thing to check is that race kites often need a bit more stall on the bar, rather than being all lines equal at fully powered setting. One of the reasons you sometimes need this extra stall is to help inflate the kite by sheeting in quite a lot during launch, but even if the bar has no stall you can also pull the leaders to inflate the kites, maybe one side at a time to get the tips inflated. You didn't mention if the problem persists once the kites is finally inflated, or did you never get it inflated at all and landed the kite before it inflated?

As a side point a Diablo V4 9m is potentially a very tricky kite to learn about flying foil kites with. Race kites are tricky. Diablo v4's are tricker than most race kites and 9m is probably the trickiest size Diablo v4 :) I ride an 11m Diablo V5 and it behaves well but I was told the stability and inflation etc was a huge step up from the V4 and have also been told the 9m even in the V5 can be a bit "exciting".

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
18 Mar 2022 8:36PM
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I have not figured out how to self launch in moderate/ strong wind. If anyone can provide advice. My problem seems to be i have kite positioned with tip folded over, rest of the kite is downwind flat, not particularly inflated. Then I try and slowly tension the downwind tip to peel it off the beach, but it is too twitchy and shoots fwd/back. I dont know if I should be trying a rapid yank to get it airborne before it can fold, or i should try centre of the power zone downwind. Bridles are good, I managed to end up with the kite downwind leading edge down and it inflated correctly, I was just able to reverse it a little off the ground, but I wasn't game since I was on the beach to reverse it all the way and then release it. Please guys ... self launch moderate wind.. how are you doing it. ? Obviously I can just launch dead downwind... am I going to die?

weebitbreezy
564 posts
21 Mar 2022 6:55PM
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Moderate wind launching is always a pain with a foil kite. You have the 2 ideas that people like (and one that I've only ever read about).

1. Hotlaunch completely uninflated. The advantage here is that the pull is weak until the kite gets mostly inflated. Then it will pull you downwind a bit. The downside is you have relatively little steering control until the kite inflates.

2. Side launch. Needs to be mostly inflated before you start. Precise footwork needed to avoid the kite folding over and needing to abort the launch. However. Can allow you a very controlled launch with little downwind pull. Downside is it needs careful setup and execution (e.g. as the kite raises you need to step towards the kite and then upwind to avoid it dragging on the beach, then downwind again as the kite fills more and you get ready to launch)

3. Launch with a helper. Needs an experienced helper but they can inflate a section at a time until the kite is fully inflated and then you can do the normal thumbs up to launch.

I normally go for #2 but I'm talking kind of 25 knots on a 10m soul winds so not overpowered conditions. The launch is normally fine as you can just double check everything. The self landing is the bit that requires big balls if you don't want 20 minutes of bridle untangling.

Edit. There's a flysurfer video showing a lot of the prep steps for option 2 that helps a lot. I can dig it out if you want it

ActionSportsWA
WA, 860 posts
22 Mar 2022 10:30AM
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dachopper said..
Hello guys,

I purchased a second hand F-one Diablo 4 recently ( 9 meter ), to try to get used to the handling etc of the foil kites before possibly make the transition over, however I had an issue trying to get the kite to launch correctly.

I found that the wing tips just would not inflate, when the center section was inflated..... even if they appeared inflated as I was peeling it off the beach, once the center section filled - the wingtips tended to collapse and flap around, and fly it around the window / bar in /. bar out, i just could not get the tips to inflate.

Is this a common issue in certain wind conditions, or does it sound like it could be a line length problem as I am using a different brand bar, ( which I think is set up with equal length lines when the bar is fully powered up. )

Any advice appreciated ..... Nick


Hi Nick,

I like to set my bars up with about 2"of oversheet (back lines 2"shorter).

1. You can do a partial pre-inflate by holding the ram ducts into the wind to allow the kite to have some volume prior to launch.

2. Once the kite leaves the ground and starts climbing. Sheet in fully and aggressively steer the bar right and left quickly and repeatedly until fully inflated, essentially shaking the kite. This flicks the wingtips open, but stay sheeted in fully.

3. As soon as the kite is fully inflated, depower with the trim.

I find little difference launching on the edge of the window to straight downwind unless the winds are very light. The Diablo 4 is a technical kite and especially in a small size like a 9. These small high performance race kites tend to be very twitchy and don't really tolerate mistakes. Fly it on shortish lines ~15m

Hope this helps,

DM

ActionSportsWA
WA, 860 posts
22 Mar 2022 10:43AM
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dachopper said..
I have not figured out how to self launch in moderate/ strong wind. If anyone can provide advice. My problem seems to be i have kite positioned with tip folded over, rest of the kite is downwind flat, not particularly inflated. Then I try and slowly tension the downwind tip to peel it off the beach, but it is too twitchy and shoots fwd/back. I dont know if I should be trying a rapid yank to get it airborne before it can fold, or i should try centre of the power zone downwind. Bridles are good, I managed to end up with the kite downwind leading edge down and it inflated correctly, I was just able to reverse it a little off the ground, but I wasn't game since I was on the beach to reverse it all the way and then release it. Please guys ... self launch moderate wind.. how are you doing it. ? Obviously I can just launch dead downwind... am I going to die?


Hi Nick,

Sorry I didn't read through the entire thread and missed this.

Downwind launch should only be done in super light winds ie <8 knots. In moderate to strong winds it is difficult and dangerous, even for an experienced foil kite flyer. Always side launch as you have been but partial inflate, then tease the downwing wing tip up. Use the steering line to keep it stalled as you lift the main body of the kite up. You should be able to pull and ease the steering line to find the point where it balances between shooting forward and stalling back.

If it is kept stalled, you should be able to walk backwards and pull the rest of the kite up off the ground. You can even get someone to assist by staying behind the canopy but holding the leading edge.

If you launch downwind, the kite needs to be kept stalled. The danger is that as soon as you release the stall, the kite will immediately accelerate upwards and provide massive lift lofting you into a potential luff situation. I rarely ever launch downwind unless with my 21m or 18m and this would always be in sub 8 knot winds.

Be careful.

DM

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
23 Mar 2022 1:13AM
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weebitbreezy said..
Moderate wind launching is always a pain with a foil kite. You have the 2 ideas that people like (and one that I've only ever read about).

1. Hotlaunch completely uninflated. The advantage here is that the pull is weak until the kite gets mostly inflated. Then it will pull you downwind a bit. The downside is you have relatively little steering control until the kite inflates.

2. Side launch. Needs to be mostly inflated before you start. Precise footwork needed to avoid the kite folding over and needing to abort the launch. However. Can allow you a very controlled launch with little downwind pull. Downside is it needs careful setup and execution (e.g. as the kite raises you need to step towards the kite and then upwind to avoid it dragging on the beach, then downwind again as the kite fills more and you get ready to launch)

3. Launch with a helper. Needs an experienced helper but they can inflate a section at a time until the kite is fully inflated and then you can do the normal thumbs up to launch.

I normally go for #2 but I'm talking kind of 25 knots on a 10m soul winds so not overpowered conditions. The launch is normally fine as you can just double check everything. The self landing is the bit that requires big balls if you don't want 20 minutes of bridle untangling.

Edit. There's a flysurfer video showing a lot of the prep steps for option 2 that helps a lot. I can dig it out if you want it


Thanks,

2 - so you're peeling the far wingtip up, and it wants to rotate to the edge of the window... is this when you walk downwind a little to effectively put it at the edge?

3 - is the helper effectively picking up the top wingtip to inflate then the midsection , then finally releasing when the whole thing is more or less inflated?

If you could get the video that would be great. I've had a look but all the videos I found are in 5 to 10 kts.

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
23 Mar 2022 1:19AM
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ActionSportsWA said..

dachopper said..
I have not figured out how to self launch in moderate/ strong wind. If anyone can provide advice. My problem seems to be i have kite positioned with tip folded over, rest of the kite is downwind flat, not particularly inflated. Then I try and slowly tension the downwind tip to peel it off the beach, but it is too twitchy and shoots fwd/back. I dont know if I should be trying a rapid yank to get it airborne before it can fold, or i should try centre of the power zone downwind. Bridles are good, I managed to end up with the kite downwind leading edge down and it inflated correctly, I was just able to reverse it a little off the ground, but I wasn't game since I was on the beach to reverse it all the way and then release it. Please guys ... self launch moderate wind.. how are you doing it. ? Obviously I can just launch dead downwind... am I going to die?



Hi Nick,

Sorry I didn't read through the entire thread and missed this.

Downwind launch should only be done in super light winds ie
If it is kept stalled, you should be able to walk backwards and pull the rest of the kite up off the ground. You can even get someone to assist by staying behind the canopy but holding the leading edge.

If you launch downwind, the kite needs to be kept stalled. The danger is that as soon as you release the stall, the kite will immediately accelerate upwards and provide massive lift lofting you into a potential luff situation. I rarely ever launch downwind unless with my 21m or 18m and this would always be in sub 8 knot winds.

Be careful.

DM


Yeah, thanks Darren.

After failed launch number 3 or 4, I ended up with the kite downwind leading edge down and fully inflated, and I felt the force once I stopped reversing it so figured it was going to pull like a truck if I reversed it up and then released one side.
Using about 15m lines.

I found the teasing it off the ground, it was too twitchy to hold in 1 position, but maybe I didn't have enough of it off the ground.... The first time I tried a quicker launch and the mid section and upper tip was ok but the lower tip folded more or less straight away.
So your tip is fully sheet in ( which is slightly reversing the kite for me ) and left / right to shake out collapsed tips?

ActionSportsWA
WA, 860 posts
23 Mar 2022 5:05PM
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Hi Nick,

Yes mate, slightly over sheet the kite to "Open" the canopy, but not so much that it starts to stall and fly backwards, it's a delicate balance. Vigorously "shaking" the bar will generally open a stubborn wing tip.

If the tip ends up through the bridle and wont open, Put the collapsed tip on the side of the window closest to the ground, then whilst keeping pressure on the inflated upper wingtip to keep the kite at 45 degrees, grab the leader well up the line on the collapsed side and give it a mighty quick jerk. Repeat as often as needed. It will usually eventually come out. Once you get the hang of it, you can actually do this whilst riding.

DM

weebitbreezy
564 posts
23 Mar 2022 8:26PM
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Select to expand quote
dachopper said..

weebitbreezy said..
Moderate wind launching is always a pain with a foil kite. You have the 2 ideas that people like (and one that I've only ever read about).

1. Hotlaunch completely uninflated. The advantage here is that the pull is weak until the kite gets mostly inflated. Then it will pull you downwind a bit. The downside is you have relatively little steering control until the kite inflates.

2. Side launch. Needs to be mostly inflated before you start. Precise footwork needed to avoid the kite folding over and needing to abort the launch. However. Can allow you a very controlled launch with little downwind pull. Downside is it needs careful setup and execution (e.g. as the kite raises you need to step towards the kite and then upwind to avoid it dragging on the beach, then downwind again as the kite fills more and you get ready to launch)

3. Launch with a helper. Needs an experienced helper but they can inflate a section at a time until the kite is fully inflated and then you can do the normal thumbs up to launch.

I normally go for #2 but I'm talking kind of 25 knots on a 10m soul winds so not overpowered conditions. The launch is normally fine as you can just double check everything. The self landing is the bit that requires big balls if you don't want 20 minutes of bridle untangling.

Edit. There's a flysurfer video showing a lot of the prep steps for option 2 that helps a lot. I can dig it out if you want it



Thanks,

2 - so you're peeling the far wingtip up, and it wants to rotate to the edge of the window... is this when you walk downwind a little to effectively put it at the edge?

3 - is the helper effectively picking up the top wingtip to inflate then the midsection , then finally releasing when the whole thing is more or less inflated?

If you could get the video that would be great. I've had a look but all the videos I found are in 5 to 10 kts.


This is the video I was talking about for method 2:



The bit about moving about is at about 1:00 in. If you watch you can see that Armin walks towards the kite a pace or two and the kite twists around. If you watch he also moves around to get more fill in the kite. The same principals apply with moderate wind even though this is filmed in relatively light wind.

For method 3 - I've only ever seen it once with people who were trying it out to see if it worked but I heard about it first in the flysurfer manuals (page 9 flysurfer.com/files/dlm_uploads/2018/04/FS19-Soul-UserManual-EN.pdf). Essentially its only going to work if you have someone who knows how to fly a foil kite as it looked like you fill a section at a time until the kite is inflated and then do a launch. Like with crashing the kite on the water, you won't have full pressure in the wingtips. If I were going for this style I'd probably get the helper to inflate with a leafblower and then get a launch from the edge of the wind window.

Note, the canadian youtubers - OurKiteLife - only ever hotlaunch at their spot and they ride in decent wind. They choose to fully pre-inflate with leafblowers as they don't have much downwind room. I think they did a video about hotlaunching with foil kites too. It's still my least favourite option though and I don't think they could manage it without helpers to launch. They also have to hotlaunch tube kites too though

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
23 Mar 2022 9:28PM
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Select to expand quote
weebitbreezy said..

dachopper said..


weebitbreezy said..
Moderate wind launching is always a pain with a foil kite. You have the 2 ideas that people like (and one that I've only ever read about).

1. Hotlaunch completely uninflated. The advantage here is that the pull is weak until the kite gets mostly inflated. Then it will pull you downwind a bit. The downside is you have relatively little steering control until the kite inflates.

2. Side launch. Needs to be mostly inflated before you start. Precise footwork needed to avoid the kite folding over and needing to abort the launch. However. Can allow you a very controlled launch with little downwind pull. Downside is it needs careful setup and execution (e.g. as the kite raises you need to step towards the kite and then upwind to avoid it dragging on the beach, then downwind again as the kite fills more and you get ready to launch)

3. Launch with a helper. Needs an experienced helper but they can inflate a section at a time until the kite is fully inflated and then you can do the normal thumbs up to launch.

I normally go for #2 but I'm talking kind of 25 knots on a 10m soul winds so not overpowered conditions. The launch is normally fine as you can just double check everything. The self landing is the bit that requires big balls if you don't want 20 minutes of bridle untangling.

Edit. There's a flysurfer video showing a lot of the prep steps for option 2 that helps a lot. I can dig it out if you want it




Thanks,

2 - so you're peeling the far wingtip up, and it wants to rotate to the edge of the window... is this when you walk downwind a little to effectively put it at the edge?

3 - is the helper effectively picking up the top wingtip to inflate then the midsection , then finally releasing when the whole thing is more or less inflated?

If you could get the video that would be great. I've had a look but all the videos I found are in 5 to 10 kts.



This is the video I was talking about for method 2:



The bit about moving about is at about 1:00 in. If you watch you can see that Armin walks towards the kite a pace or two and the kite twists around. If you watch he also moves around to get more fill in the kite. The same principals apply with moderate wind even though this is filmed in relatively light wind.

For method 3 - I've only ever seen it once with people who were trying it out to see if it worked but I heard about it first in the flysurfer manuals (page 9 flysurfer.com/files/dlm_uploads/2018/04/FS19-Soul-UserManual-EN.pdf). Essentially its only going to work if you have someone who knows how to fly a foil kite as it looked like you fill a section at a time until the kite is inflated and then do a launch. Like with crashing the kite on the water, you won't have full pressure in the wingtips. If I were going for this style I'd probably get the helper to inflate with a leafblower and then get a launch from the edge of the wind window.

Note, the canadian youtubers - OurKiteLife - only ever hotlaunch at their spot and they ride in decent wind. They choose to fully pre-inflate with leafblowers as they don't have much downwind room. I think they did a video about hotlaunching with foil kites too. It's still my least favourite option though and I don't think they could manage it without helpers to launch. They also have to hotlaunch tube kites too though


Fantastic, thanks yeah in 20 kts it's a lot harder to hold the kite half on the ground, but I can see in that video he more or less avoids this by pulling the whole thing off at once, where as I was trying to hold it to inflate more which was causing the issue.

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
23 Mar 2022 9:30PM
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ActionSportsWA said..
Hi Nick,

Yes mate, slightly over sheet the kite to "Open" the canopy, but not so much that it starts to stall and fly backwards, it's a delicate balance. Vigorously "shaking" the bar will generally open a stubborn wing tip.

If the tip ends up through the bridle and wont open, Put the collapsed tip on the side of the window closest to the ground, then whilst keeping pressure on the inflated upper wingtip to keep the kite at 45 degrees, grab the leader well up the line on the collapsed side and give it a mighty quick jerk. Repeat as often as needed. It will usually eventually come out. Once you get the hang of it, you can actually do this whilst riding.

DM


Thanks.... will try ( hopefully I won't need to ) .

Just got my new watch sent out today, so next on the list is to see if I can accurately measure big air with it using multi multi GNSS :)

dachopper
WA, 1651 posts
26 Mar 2022 12:50AM
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Ok....

Got both kites out self launch, the 9 meter diablo4, then the 15 VMG. wind was about 10 kts, then increased to 16 when I put the 15 meter up and realized I needed more depower throw.... then went back to an 11 but wind was pretty ordinary, about 8 - 18 kts.

I ended up peeling it off the ground within about 3 seconds, the VMG went straight into the right shape, but the diablo had two wings collapsing.... hold it in the window like the video then yank the side lines and walla ! Now I understand why tacking is so easy on these things compared to LEI.

ActionSportsWA
WA, 860 posts
9 Apr 2022 9:42AM
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Hey guys,

pre inflating foil kites in super light and also strong conditions can make launching much easier and less prone to issues.
I bought a small battery leaf blower to aid on drying wet kites and also simplifying launch. I have Makita tools so the Makita leaf blower was only about $100 at that time and is a total joy.
the Flysurfer kites especially stay inflated on the ground for ages (20 mins) giving you ample time to put the tool away, lock the car, put on sunscreen and go launch.

DM



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"foil kite launch advice" started by dachopper