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Self Launch Problem

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BritishKiteMark
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Self Launch Problem

Postby BritishKiteMark » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:27 pm

Hi all

I am having a problem with my self launch when in high winds: At the point at which the kite rotates onto its wingtip, it will often loop around quickly into the power zone and therefore drive a sudden surge in pull and ends up on its leading edge in the downwind position.

I feel like I am following the tutorials completely correctly and I ensure that no lines are snagged when it happens. It doesn't tend to happen in light winds but can be an annoying thing to happen if I am first to the beach. I am an experienced kiter but this one issue is bugging me. I fly cab switchblades and although I suspect it is something minor I am struggling to get the bottom of the cause. The only thing I can think of is that I may be initiating the move too far up or down wind of the edge of the window?!

I would be very grateful for any advice. I would like to point out that I do of course use this technique only when absolutely necessary and take great care to ensure that I am always a safe and responsible rider.

Thank you in advance!

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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby andylc » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:35 pm

I assume every kite is slightly different but I start with the kite rigged as per normal ie facing downwind and lines attached, then walk around either way and get it to flip over and into the air as soon as possible once I am upwind, ie as close to the edge of the wind window as possible. Obviously bar fully depowered and pulling on the bar as little as possible, sometimes helps to pull on the top back line above the bar to initiate a quicker flip over with minimum power.
The more it slips into the centre of the window the more power it's going to have but I'm not sure how it ends up back on the ground again in your description?

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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby iriejohn » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:37 pm

There is something not taught when self launching, which is this.

When the kite rotates onto its wingtip do not launch at this point.

Walk back down wind and the kite will gently launch itself.

Use plenty of trim (depower) btw.

BritishKiteMark
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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby BritishKiteMark » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:52 pm

Thank you for your responses.
When I experience this problem, the kite is completely depowerd but flips and takes off at the same time almost simultaneously with no input from me other than mild tension in the front lines and before I can move or react to it. Then it continues to rotate in the same direction looping around until it lands hard again LE down at the centre of the window.

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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby BritishKiteMark » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:53 pm

I feel that I follow the standard technique as you have suggested and have watched instructional videos many time.

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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby Hugh2 » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:28 pm

I've never had this happen, even when launching in around 25-30 knot winds with a 6 or 7m kite, so not sure how to help. One possibility is that you do not want to be completely depowered, perhaps have trim pulled halfway. That way you have some tension in the back or steering lines, and the far steering line is the one you pull gently to get the kite to turn slowly and then catch enough wind to roll up onto the wing tip. As suggested above, at this point you might want to move back downwind a couple of steps to get the kite to sit there at the edge of the wind window, assuming you started pulling that steering line when about 10-15 degrees "hot", make sure everything is under control, then launch.

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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby edt » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:48 pm

You are getting a wing tip wrap. This is entirely kite dependent and you'll have to switch to a different kite or only do tethered launches

I've owned one kite which did this constantly so the only option was a tethered launch

The problem with the kite was excessively long bridle

Now all my kites have short bridles

Anyway that's my guess

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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby knotwindy » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:02 am

If you are concerned about to far upwind/downwind there is a simple way to get very close to where you need to be. Start with the lines downwind & clear. Twist the kite so the far wingtip is just catching wind. Walk the lines out to a point along an imaginary line drawn through the two wingtips and slowly back up with the kite 1/2 depowered and not touching the bar, hand on the qr. When the lines get some light tension take the last step back and slightly upwind. The kite will rotate up and sit there if your lines are set evenly/correct to start with. Gently grab the bar and take one step back downwind. It will launch easily. If this doesn’t work there is likely something off with lines or kite bridle. Hope this makes sense & helps.
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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby Herman » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:48 am

I think edits guess is a good one. I have an old SB with long bridles and I am wary of tip wraps. Normally I tether launch but in the past I have found that dragging this sort of kite with the bar rather than the chicken loop made them more susceptible to tip wraps. Also underinflation makes them more prone to tip wraps.

The tip wrap means the kite rolls up with the top half wanting to fly backwards, the bottom half then flys forward hence the loop. Don’t underestimate the danger of tip wraps, get an observer to look at what’s happening with the bridle or maybe some bins.

PS For properly working kites, If you are too far downwind the kite will not roll up, if you are too far upwind the kite will be pinned on the sand and will require a lot of top line pull to get it off unless you do the sensible shuffle down wind. Tip wraps change all that. Also, strong gusty/shifty wind can also overcome the usual pinned effect of being too far upwind and this can cause hot/powered launches.
Last edited by Herman on Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Self Launch Problem

Postby edt » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:01 am

It's pretty hard to see what's going on, you want to video it as the wrap sorts itself out after the loop


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