Thoughts on Team Flying

Sven

Sven

Kite addict since 1998. Still addicted!
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AERIALIS Team Flyers

So…. First a quick description of the ATF. We’re currently seven pilots associated with the team, and we live in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Do you see logistical challenges? Yeah, you’re right! We don’t have the possibility to meet and fly as often as we would like, but we try to make the most out of it. And we have fun along the way. Whoever is available will fly and we take it as it happens.

Here’s a quick presentation of the team associates:

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Assumptions

Before we start planning how to move in the right direction into the future we have to know where we are right now. So first we need a quick reality check. What’s our situation like? What are our assumptions? What are our pros and how to utilise them? What are our cons and how to remedy them?

Ok, let’s go!

Our ambitions

What are our ambitions? I can off course only speak for myself, but as far as I’m concerned we’re not into competitive flying (anymore).

Competitive flying means we need a higher level of dedication and the flexibility to spend a lot of time together – time that at least I do not have – making it difficult being competitive.

I’m more into team flying on a combination of recreational flying with my buddies, but I also find it interesting to (practice to be good enough to) fly occasional demos at festivals and alike. I think that’s achievable within our assumptions.

Time and effort

As already mentioned, we’re all on a limited time and effort budget. We live too far away from each other to meet frequently. This means that the few times we meet we should come prepared to allow for as much airtime as possible. So preparation, streamlining and continuity are significant success factors. 

When can we meet?

Experience tells us that we all might be able to meet no more than twice a year. This definitely puts limitations on our flying, but those limitations that can be reduced by proper planning, preparations and streamlining. ‘Cause we want to fly when we meet, don’t we?

Sharp dressed!
Sharp dressed!

How many can meet?

Experience also tells us that we rarely meet up and are able to fly together all seven pilots. Like at the NKM19 we only had two days of seven when we all were available for flying together.

So is it worthwhile making a six (or even seven) pilot routine when we know (more or less for sure) that we’re never going to fly together all if us?

No, I don’t think so. IMO it’s a waste of time, it complicates the process and it’s a source for unnecessary discussions, misunderstandings and loss of flying time.

So where does that leave us?

Well, before I get into the details, I think it’s a good idea, to sum up this reality check and then take a closer look at all of them. 

Pros and cons

What are our pros and how do we utilise them?

  • We all can fly both dual and quad lined kites
    • We can make a routine that can be flown with both types of kite
    • We can make a routine that can be flown with both types of kites simultaneously
  • We all have team flying experience
    • We all know the basics of team flying
    • We’re familiar with terms like ‘spacing’, ‘speed control’, etc.
    • We can compensate for (minor) faults in the air
  • A-Quads by A.M.
    • We’ve got great looking and distinct A-Quad kites that fly really well!
    • Branding our team!
    • We can make them ourselves … with a little help from AM 😉

What are our cons and how do we remedy them?

  • We can seldom meet
    • We must make the most out of it
    • We must come prepared
    • We must plan way ahead
  • When we meet we are rarely all (7) pilots
    • We should make a routine for four pilots only…
    • …which can be modified to three/five if required
    • Build the routine on a library of set elements
    • …that can be flown by both duallies and quads alike
  • We speak four different languages
    • Uniformed commanding
    • Naming convention
    • Guiding comments
  • We discuss too much
    • Develop a library of elements
    • Never change the set elements
    • Keeping things simple
More than just the AERIALIS Team Flyers!
More than just the AERIALIS Team Flyers!

In my opinion, this all boils down to two main focal points that should be addressed.

The focal points I have in mind are:

  1. Continuity
  2. Elements

Addressing this I believe will leapfrog both our flying skills, improve our routine and personally I’m sure I would enjoy our team flying even more! I  think any spectator would notice this too by watching and be entertained by our team flying and a crisp routine!

Ok, let’s dive into the details.

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