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Nirvana UL

Why do we fly?
(What’s the purpose with our flying?)

This is maybe the most important question to answer.

Yes, I think it’s of vital importance to decide why we fly. Because the purpose of flying will set the whole framework for our flying.

Are we talking competitive flying or just for the fun of it when we meet, for being able to do demos… etc.

The purpose will also decide what skill level we must aim for. Like a chain our team will not be stronger than its weakest link, and this should be taken into consideration when planning the elements/routine.

Who do we fly for?
Do we fly for the judges when competing, the average spectator (who knows little about kiting), ourselves or a combination?

Competitive kiting makes for more advanced flying, more (advanced) tricks, more advanced and technical figures and (much) higher individual skills.

If we fly for the average Joe, I think simplicity is a key factor. Easily recognizable figures, distinct tricks like stalls, 2pt landings, and “risk taking” flying, figures like threads, pumping stars, bursts and similar.

Heck… flying figures of eight with tails attached attracts much more applause from the average tourist than pulling off a perfect comète. 😉

Nirvana land

Progression
Finally, do we want to improve? If so we need to take our flying a bit out of our comfort zone. If we do, we make progress and we develop, as a team as well as individually. And in my opinion it’s better to take short steps in the right direction and feel the progress rather than making the steps too big and fail.

Flying with intent
Regardless of our purpose for flying we need to fly with intent. How can we do that when flying by ourselves?

One way is to practice flying the official STACK compulsories. These are available from Reed Design’s website. (Require Flash installed)

When flying these compulsories you automatically practice general flying skills, flying pre-defined figures which means flying with an intent.

Not a must, but if you can get hold of the book “Kite Presicion” by Ron Reich you will find a ton of useful information about team flying. Well worth the money!

Close up

General flying skills/Know your kite
Quantity flying (in various conditions) improve your general flying skills. It’s also important to fly the Nirvana kite/s to fully learn how they fly and how they should be flown.

Stick practice
I think it’s important to go through all elements in detail several times before attempting to fly them. By talking through the elements and doing stick practice I think that we will avoid most of the misunderstanding on the actual flying field.

Making sure all the pilots are familiar with the elements will also help us in our communication. More on this below.

The AERIALIS Team Flyers - May 2018
The AERIALIS Team Flyers – May 2018

Communication
Based on my experience from flying together at the NKM18 misunderstandings occured also based on communication on the field. Some of these misunderstandings is related to language others to inconsistent commands.

One way of minimize the number of misunderstandings based on commands is to establish a command pattern, like one command for preparation and one for actually doing what’s commanded.

Example
When we fly the two small boxes with stall and, half axel, half axel and cascade could sound something like this…

  • …and GO!(Prepare for and fly the parallel up)
  • …and GO!(Prepare for and fly the first corner)
  • …and GO! (Prepare for and fly the 2nd corner)
  • …and GO! (Prepare for and fly the 3rd corner)
  • …and STALL! (Prepare for and fly the stall)
  • …and GO!(Prepare for and fly the parallel up)
  • …and GO!(Prepare for and fly the first corner)
  • …and GO!(Prepare for and fly the second corner)
  • …and GO!(Prepare for and fly the third corner)
  • …and GO! (Prepare for and fly the 1st ½ axel)
  • …and GO! (Prepare for and fly the 2nd ½ axel)
  • …and GO, and GO, and GO! (Prepare for and fly the three half Axel’s)
  • …and GO!(Prepare for and fly out and follow the captain)

Speed control
Always important to practice and can be practiced when flying alone.

Trick training

...and Team Apparel
Team Apparel

Depending on which tricks we choose to include in our elements/routine it’s important that we  all practice these tricks when flying solo. Fly them in all kinds of wind conditions and all around the wind window. Make a habit of always include some minutes practicing these tricks whenever we’re flying.

In Blokhus (NKM2018) we included the following tricks:

  • Two point landing
  • Stall
  • Half axel
  • Cascade
  • Pancake to fade

The pancake to fade is cool but (imo) very (too?) dependant on the wind conditions.

In my opinion there are a few more tricks that might add drama to a routine, is relatively easy to do and great fun to watch too!

  • 540 (from a diagonal dive)
  • Slot machine
  • Axel landing

Well, that sums up my thoughts after the NKM.

No, not quite. I’ve not mentioned that…

IT WAS SOOOO FUN TO FLY WITH YOU AND I CAN HARDLY WAIT DOING IT AGAIN!

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