Hotter speed and turning than competition kites. Higher-quality exercise and livelier pull than power kites.
WindDances are "airgear," a new concept. They fly better and feel more exciting than typical stunt kites.
Our other advancements: Ergo T-handles that boost feel, control, exercise. Natural active FLY-a-kite skill.
We wish for everyone to enjoy their WindDance "airgear" to the very fullest -- to have WTMF (way too much fun) in the form of spectacular speed & turning, powerful turning, lively power, and great full-body exercise while flying solo or side-by-side with family & friends.
The TIPS below advise how to apply the primary fundamental -- "Pull = Speed = FLYING" -- by using simple "Just PULL It!" skill. They also give advice about your gear: WindDance, control lines, control handles, bumpy-wind adapters, and tails.
- TOP TIP #1: Learn and apply the "kite FLYING" basics. CLICK HERE.
- TOP TIP #2: avoid or uninstall "kite-culture" beliefs and skills by following through on the sub-TIPS in this paragraph. Learn how totally organized kiting has acted against the real FLYING of kites: CLICK HERE and HERE. Organized kiting, and its "kite culture", have prevented flyers from being able to FLY their WindDance well. Don't let them do it to you. Fully understand how the beliefs they promote, the gear they sell, and the skills they teach may have crippled your FLYING ability -- and perhaps even your desire to FLY well and exercise well. Understand the massive differences between "kite-culture flying" and "REAL kite flying." Understand what the different types of kites really are. Understand how the "kite culture" mindset prevents millions of flyers from enjoying loads of pure fun like THIS. Understand how they mess up the minds of many WindDance owners so badly it prevents them from achieving the full performance, full skill, and full exercise that are easily possible. Understand how powerfully the "kite culture" brainwashes flyers and the public. Understand how they operate much like repressive organized religion did centuries ago. Why be aware of all this? So you can see and experience the fun that you might otherwise be manipulated by the "kite culture" to miss out on. Fueled by incentive to not be cheated out of fun, easily avoid -- or easily escape -- the mental prison of "kite culture" thinking. How? Merely do two normal things: 1) Go with reality instead of "kite culture" belief. 2) Go with the majority flow of mainstream sport-and-recreation, not with the tiny aberrant flow of organized kiting. Don't let the "kite culture" hold you back. Don't let them delude and deprive you of the WTMF (way too much fun) that "REAL kite flying" delivers.
Some say we're being "negative." Actually, we are being very "positive" and organized kiting is being very "negative" -- because the pure fun of active FLYING is "positive," and because organized kiting's repression of that fun is "negative." Here are tips on how to mentally-and-morally sort out what's "negative" and "positive": CLICK HERE.
- TOP TIP #3a and TOP TIP #3b: How to overcome "kite-culture" handicapping to reach Pure Fun, Episode I and Episode II. This two-part tip is especially helpful for experienced flyers who were sold "kite-culture" kites and were taught "kite-culture" knowledge and skills. WindDances, being "airgear," have a natural feel and require natural skill -- which makes them very different from what organized kiting provides -- therefore flyers seriously exposed to the "kite culture" require fresh thinking about kites and handles, and need to learn natural pull-on-a-kite-line skill and natural fly-by-feel skill. Flyers with considerable "kite-culture flying" experience tend to think they already know it all, tend not to read or heed the manual, tend not to use natural skill, and thus tend to have heaps of needless difficulty and miss out on tons of fun. Rank beginners, whose minds and skills have not been damaged by the "kite culture," tend not to have those difficulties. Read two astounding examples of flyers handicapped by the "kite culture," and the simple and easy ways they could have overcome that handicapping, in TOP TIP #3a and TOP TIP #3b.
- TOP TIP #4: The most common skill mistakes -- easily cured!
- TOP TIP #5: Don't even THINK of a WindDance as a "parafoil" or a "kite!" It's considerably more: "airgear!"
- TOP TIP #6: Dual-line FLYING technique.
- TOP TIP #7: "Just PULL it!"
- TOP TIP #8: Our most-useful and most-important skill hints by far.
- TOP TIP #9: Want more speed & power? Tune it! How HUGE a difference does it make? CLICK HERE and HERE!
- TOP TIP #10: How tuning is highly rewarding and isn't a pain.
- TOP TIP #11: Keep the bridle untangled.
- TOP TIP #12: How to prevent it from collapsing.
- TOP TIP #13: Lube your control lines with silicone or teflon spray.
- TOP TIP #14: Digest our FAQs. Yum!
- Other TIPS listed below are plenty helpful, too!
- Use the most-current user's manual, v.2002a: View/download/print loose-leaf version (510k PDF) or booklet version (500k PDF).
- Install the Aug-2000 do-it-yourself bridle-assembly upgrade. For instructions and diagrams, view/download/print this PDF file (177k).
- The right state of mind!
- Dual-line FLYING technique
- The most common skill mistakes -- easily cured!
- It's like fly-fishing
- How to hold, move, & exert your arms -- how to actively pull to make it FLY
- Can you learn how to FLY from a video?
- To get the most out of your WindDance, fly ACTIVELY!
- Keep your bridle untangled
- Understanding frisky wind
- How to prevent it from collapsing
- Practice makes perfect! Part 1
- Practice makes perfect! Part 2
- How to remove wrinkles
- Silicone/teflon-spray and clean your Spectra control lines!
- Good & bad wind -- how to measure and judge the wind
- Cheap tails
- Emptying sand
- Bumpy-wind precaution
- Flying-line adapters for "bumpy wind"
- The "best" line length?
- How to make a 75' WindDancing lineset from 150' of Spectra line
- A better method than sleeving
- Snag-proof your lines
- More about lines I
- More about lines II
- Where should it break: at the handle or at the kite?
- How to measure line strength
- How to overcome "kite-culture" handicapping to reach Pure Fun -- Episode I
- How to overcome "kite-culture" handicapping to reach Pure Fun -- Episode II
Don't even THINK of a WindDance as a "kite." Or as a "parafoil" either.
"WindDancing" -- which is what you, the WindDancer, do with a WindDance -- is full-fledged dual-line flying: "REAL kite flying." You aren't held back by the limitations in performance & handling, skill, and exercise you find in the usual flying: "kite-culture flying."
A WindDance is airgear. It has gear qualities -- essential performance-&-handling qualities -- that other dual-line kites lack (quads lack 'em, too): 1) Superb response to basic skill, especially when you pull hard on one control line. 2) Superb response to the wind and hot edge-to-powerzone acceleration. 3) A positive, natural steering-&-turning feel: the pull rises when you turn, and the more sharply you turn it the more that power transfers into one of your arms.
Exactly what does this airgear performance-&-handling DO for you? For starters, spins on a wingtip and sharp square corners are a snap. Compared to ALL other stunt kites -- delta or diamond or parafoil, dual-line or quad -- you enjoy hotter speed & turning and livelier pull. By using full basic skill (which other kites don't like and they tell you by deforming out of shape, breaking in midair, losing power, or falling out of the sky when you try it), you can do basic things other kites can't do. Such as powerful downward turns & spins from a hover at the L or R edge of the flight envelope, and fast & powerful sharp hairpins where the tip speed can be 10-times faster than the wind. The turning power is simply awesome, and together with active FLYING skill it works and torques your body like normal gear does -- which provides higher-quality exercise than the usual kites do!
When the pull generated by the wind is substantial, mere twitches of your control handles can make it dance around like lightning.
When the pull is low, you -- the pilot and often the engine -- generate the pull. During a fast & powerful tight spin, your pulling stroke -- which can be 12-ft long -- is similar to a long and graceful stride when running.
Yes, you certainly do get superior exercise. Every time you turn hard, perhaps more than once per second, most of the pull ends up in one arm -- which torques your upper & lower body and exercises large body muscles not normally used when flying a kite! Every energetic turn is a rep of "pumping air" exercise for your entire body! While you zip & turn your WindDance all over its flight envelope, you might find yourself dancing around as you pump and cut the FLYING power. You can accidentally burn off up to 1000 calories per hour: CLICK HERE! It's the "WindDancing Workout!" The fun makes you do it!
Think, "peak tuning = peak FUN!" Keep it maintained and tuned as you would a Ferrari. It's so easy! If you never maintain or tune your WindDance, it will never come close to the speed, turning, and power it is capable of. Same effect as never checking the tires or opening the hood of a Ferrari. Merely do quick visual checks every now and do what's necessary, tune it to the max-speed setting (it's perfect for all winds, there are two simple adjusters, and the manual explains how), as it ages reduce the bridle-setting by 1mm once or twice a year up to a total of 5mm (your WindDance "tells" you when), and when it's dirty empty out the debris and hose it down. That's about it!
Like a high-performance anything -- vehicle or athlete -- fly with grace and power. That is, fly sensitively & smoothly and don't be afraid to use fast, long, powerful control movements including pulling energetically on one control line. Why? So you can fly in winds way below the light-wind limit. So you can fly in lively-feeling gnarly winds without difficulty. And so you can extract all the totally amazing speed & turning performance we so carefully aeronautical-engineered into every WindDance.
Besides seeing the excitement, feel the excitement. Savor the lively feel of every acceleration, turn, and bump in the wind -- especially while WindDancing side-by-side with a partner. Being the pilot and often the engine will also make your body burn in a very nice way.
How much "pull" is there? CLICK HERE.
Can you get all this fun -- or even a good part of it -- from any of the usual "kites" being sold? Nope. Only from "airgear." Only from a WindDance.
Must you fly a WindDance intensely? Heavens no. Speed & pull can be tamed by adding a pair of tails, by setting the bridle to a lower-speed setting, by flying in lighter winds, and by flying it PASSIVELY like you normally fly a "kite" instead of ACTIVELY like "airgear" entices you to fly. As with a Ferrari or a hot racing bicycle, you can choose to accelerate and corner full-bore or take a leisurely Sunday-afternoon spin. Enjoy it any way you wish!
The most common skill mistakes -- easily cured!
Unfortunately, organized kiting breeds many "FLYING skill" mistakes. Their "kite culture" skills -- insensitive, inefficient, jerky, power-killing skills for a passive way of flying -- evolved in response to their "kite culture" kites and "kite culture" control handles & bars. Which are not engineered or built for active real "FLYING": CLICK HERE.
If you have been educated and trained by organized kiting, chances are your natural FLYING skills have been damaged. Why? Because "kite culture" education, gear, and skills are not designed for, nor are they appropriate for, our sport's primary fundamental -- "pull = speed = FLYING." Of course, organized kiting keeps very quiet about all this.
The TIPS below explain how to apply the primary fundamental -- "pull = speed = FLYING." You will develop sensitive, efficient, smooth, power-generating skills for an active way of flying!
Here are the most common mistakes and how to cure them:
Failure to hold or move your hands & arms correctly. The best way? Keep your arms down and rather straight as you fly passively, slightly bent at the elbows, and naturally swing them from front to back as you actively pull. It's the easiest, hottest-performance, and best-exercise way to fly a dual-line kite (more). That arm motion is like walking, the motion and effort is like diagonal poling when cross-country skiing. With a step back or two thrown in as you do a downward-turning hairpin or loop or powerful spin at the side edge near the ground, the pull-turning stroke can be 12 ft or longer if necessary! Instead using that natural technique, you lift your arms way up above your head, which moves your hands toward the kite -- the entirely wrong direction. Where they get stuck in the upright position and can't move any farther back -- go ahead, try to swing your upstretched arms way back to actively generate tighter turning or more pull (when you feel the pain of ligaments crunching, stop). Or you draw your hands to your armpits or chest -- which allows only short, ineffective control motion because it stops at front of your chest. Here's how to cure those two mistakes: CLICK HERE. Or you point your arms directly at the kite, which prevents you from being able to keep it flying in difficult wind, see tip below, and from being able to yield to a gust. Or you twist your arms so your knuckles point forward or back instead of to the side, so unnatural it limits the turning power you can produce and it can hurt.
Failure to pull hard enough, or to pull far enough or long enough, to keep it airborne or to turn it sharply & powerfully. When the pull happens to subside when flying near the edge of the flight envelope, or when the wind pauses or plays a trick, you just stand there like a post and don't actively generate the few ounces of pull needed to keep it FLYING -- causing the kite to fall to the ground. Like someone standing not bothering to brace after losing balance a little -- and falling to the ground. When turning, you don't actively pull on one line far enough to do a tight spin-on-a-wingtip turn, you don't pull on it hard enough to do a fast & powerful turn that can work out your entire body, and you don't pull on it long enough to sustain a fast & powerful spin. That is, you don't "step on the gas" or "turn the wheel" enough to easily keep it flying, or to experience all the pure fun that airgear can deliver -- including these two basic maneuvers that the usual kites cannot do: CLICK HERE.
Failure to fly by feel. That is, failure to SENSE & RESPOND in the normal sport & recreation way. Or even in the normal standing-up-on-two-feet way. The pull in your two control lines CONSTANTLY TELLS YOU what your kite is doing -- and what it's about to do -- but you don't listen. Since you don't SENSE the pull in your control lines or mentally process what it means -- "pull = speed = FLYING = good", "no pull = no speed = no FLYING = bad" -- you can't and don't RESPOND to loss of pull (which always precedes loss of FLYING) simply by "Just PULLING it!" a little to keep it flying.
Seasoned flyers -- taught to fly by sight and not by feel, and who mostly use flight-killing 'advanced' skill instead of power-generating basic skill -- often respond in the entirely wrong way by pushing on a control line when pulling it is needed. Even top sport-kite competitors do this when they try to FLY a kite for the first time.
What would happen if you were so lazy you didn't bother to use normal "sense & respond" skill to stay upright when standing in your athletic shoes or when riding a bicycle? Or if you would respond in the entirely wrong way when you begin to tip? You would fall to the ground. Would you blame the shoes or the bike? Or would you blame yourself?
If you hold and use your arms correctly -- like two upside-down fishing poles -- much of that "sense & respond" automatically happens in gnarly winds! Read the tip below. The slower your reflexes (like ours), the better it works! There is little excuse for NOT being able to fly well in difficult frisky winds!
Failure to fly smoothly. What happens when you fly it roughly? Whenever your jerkiness "kills" pull in a control line, the kite's speed and FLYING stop ("no pull = no speed = no FLYING). It's like what happens on the freeway if you stomp-&-back-off on the gas while you jerk the wheel far side-to-side: you lose it. You don't drive that way, so don't fly that way. "Killing it" to lose it, although required for "advanced" and "trick" and competitive delta-kite flying because those kites can't take normal power-generating skill, is inappropriate for "REAL kite flying." What IS appropriate? Power with smoothness and grace. It characterizes good skill in all forms of normal sport & recreation, including "REAL kite flying."
Be keenly aware of how the above mistakes are being bred by organized kiting. Millions of flyers have had their innate "kite-FLYING" skill damaged or purged by "kite culture" kites and handles which have four major design flaws that prevent full performance, full skill, and full exercise from happening. And by the limited-motion, insensitive, power-killing skills that "kite culture" instructors and experts taught them, peculiar 'advanced' skills that "kite culture" kites and handles need, peculiar skills that kill "FLYING."
Here's more about how to cure those common mistakes: CLICK HERE.
Not to worry. With a WindDance and good handles -- and if you have the will to learn and use full basic skill -- that damage is only temporary. The users manual and our TIPS will cure you of bad habits, and transform you into a superb "FLYER" -- using natural skills very similar to those in normal sport & recreation!
It's like fly-fishing
A good FLYER is like a good fly-fisherman.
To prevent collapsing, fly by feel -- just like when you play a wily trout on a barbless hook when fly fishing: always keep some pull in the line otherwise you'll lose it.
Here's how that works. As you approach the edge of the flight envelope, the pull drops tremendously (20-fold from powerzone to edge) and the wing becomes vulnerable to collapsing (no pull = no FLYING). When at the edge in shifty-turbulent wind, the wind may strike the top of the wing and collapse it (no pull = no FLYING). To prevent that: as you near the edge, slowly swing both arms toward the kite (while keeping some pull in the lines) to be ready to make a little pull = speed = FLYING if the pull suddenly starts to drop to zero. When necessary, make those few ounces of pull by swinging your arms down & back -- just like a fisherman swings the flyrod up and back.
In short, use your arms like two upside-down fishing poles!
Besides preventing collapsing at the edge, what else it do for you? It automatically prevents collapsing in gnarly wind -- the slower your reflexes, the better it works (we explain in the TIP right below)!!! -- and it causes great exercise, too.
Fishermen live for the exciting feel of the strike and play. Nearly all Spectra line manufactured worldwide is for the sports-fishing industry; kiting consumes only a tiny percentage of the total production. Why do fisherman prefer stiff Spectra line over stretchy nylon line? They like the sharper response and feel.
WindDancing and sports-fishing are sensory experiences: both have exciting feel. WindDancing also has exciting sight and exciting sound!
How to hold, move, & exert your arms -- how to actively pull to make it FLY
While WindDancing, think of your arms as two upside-down fishing poles: each shoulder is a pole handle, each hand is a pole tip. See the tip above.
As you fly, your arms swing back and forth naturally as while walking. Your knuckles point to the side -- always.
The pulling motion of your arms, and the exertion, are similar to what you see and feel while cross-country skiing.
When flying straight, hold your arms so they work like upside-down fishing poles: upper arms perpendicular to your control lines at all times, slightly bent forward at your elbows like the flex in a flyrod, arms at your side. As your control lines point more and more upward, keep your upper arms perpendicular to the lines. Here's how that works. When flying a low pass near the ground, hold your arms almost straight down, upper arms perpendicular to the lines. When the kite is halfway to the upper edge, your arms have swung forward about 40°, upper arms still perpendicular to the lines. When at the upper edge, your arms are almost horizontal, upper arms still perpendicular to the lines. Of course, there are two exceptions: When approaching the edge in difficult wind, slowly swing your arms forward to be ready to generate a little pull to prevent it from collapsing if it becomes necessary (see above tip); also do it to "wind up" for a powerful acceleration or turn. As the pull overwhelms you in strong wind, it will pull your arms straighter and straighter toward your kite -- and then vice versa.
By holding your arms in the above natural way, A) you are ready to actively generate "pull = speed = FLYING," B) you are ready to yield to a sudden gust to prevent the pull from rising too high, C) you're set to automatically keep it airborne in turbulent wind (explained right below).
When flying straight, your arms act like bent fishing poles. In bumpy wind, watch them: both arms are rapidly flexing back and forth! As your WindDance hits a gust, watch both arms flex forward! As it flies into a dead spot which might cause it to collapse, watch both arms fly back -- and automatically generate the pull needed to keep it FLYING! See how each arm functions like an unbending flyrod generating the tension needed to keep a charging trout on a barbless hook?
Fishermen never point their poles at the fish. And kite flyers shouldn't either. Except for the two exceptions above, never point your arms directly at your kite -- because the loss of "flexing action" in your arms can cause your WindDance to collapse.
What happens when you HOLD and MOVE your arms in the usual kite-culture way instead -- like THIS? Speed, turning, turning power, and exercise become far less -- and it collapses a lot too.
Your control handles must allow you to hold and move your arms in the most-effective way. They must allow sensitive feel of the kite through the control lines, they must allow high levels of pull with comfort, and they must allow natural swing-your-arm motion. The most popular handles -- wrist straps, including the 'most comfortable' award-winning designs -- are by far the very worst: you can't feel sensitively with the backs of your hands, and when you and the wind generate lots of pull your hands tend to go numb and blue due to the strangling action. What about the "V-yoke" grip handles, and the cheap-plastic "D" handles? They force you to twist your arms 90° when you try to pull naturally; they force you to point your forearms directly at your kite, which severely limits your ability to FLY well. The best handle? An improved version of the original kite handle which was kite string tied to a stick: the ergonomic T-handles made by Eclipse Products in Bemidji MN USA. Yes, we sell them!
Can you can learn how to drive a car by watching a video of what the driver does with his hands and feet? Can you can learn how to fly an airplane by studying how the pilot moves the controls? Heavens no. Likewise for dual-line flying.
As in driving or piloting, moving the controls in a certain way does NOT produce the same speed & turning effect, or the same feel, every time:
When the passive pull is strong -- when you're flying in the power zone or in heavy wind -- small turning control movements will produce tight, fast, and powerful turns. In this case, the wind produces nearly all all of the pull = speed = FLYING.
But when the passive pull is weak -- when you're flying near the edge or in light wind -- large turning control movements are necessary to produce the same tight, fast, and powerful turns as in heavy wind. In this case, you the flyer produce nearly all all of the pull = speed = FLYING.
For example, have a look at a tight, fast, and powerful spin to the right with a WindDance 2 (as soon as the spin develops, all of the pull is in the right control line and the left one is slack). When flying in heavy wind near the power zone, zero net control motion is required: right handle back 12 inches, left handle forward 12 inches. But in light wind at the side edge of the flight envelope, a rapid net control movement of ten feet may be needed to produce the same kind of spin: right handle back 11 feet, left handle back 9 feet.
The most important thing a video can show is the result of active control-handle force & motion. The user's manual, and this tips page, explain how to hold and move your arms and hands, and our instructional video clip clearly shows how.
How not to hold and move your arms? We explain in a tip, CLICK HERE, and a novice flyer backing into our flight envelope shows the wrong way in one of the "WindDancing side-by-side" video clips, CLICK HERE.
If you stand there like a post exerting little arm-&-body motion or effort to turn -- perhaps leaning way back with your arms pulled straight as you resist strong pull -- your WindDance is NOT flying at its fullest performance and you are NOT receiving the full exercise benefit. That's because you are flying PASSIVELY.
Instead, fly ACTIVELY! A WindDance isn't just a kite. It's recreational gear and sports gear: airgear. Like a racing bicycle, it's engineered to respond with hot performance to power supplied by the user. Apply acceleration & turning power to your WindDance. Instead of just standing there, move your entire body as you repetitively generate acceleration & turning power. Make you WindDance fly 8-times faster than the speed of the wind. Enjoy the hot speed & turning as you burn 400-1000 calories per hour.
Keep the bridle untangled
A tangled bridle will mess up your WindDance's performance. If the connector-loop "connector knots" lose shape from using your WindDance in a rough or non-flying manner (see new manual CHECKLIST pp.7,16), that will cause performance to suffer, too.
By expending just a few seconds of glancing effort whenever you set up your WindDance, you can easily prevent that tangling and loss of fun from ever happening. See the "how-to-prevent-bridle-tangles" section of the new manual; also read about it in the "bridle pre-flight," "setup," and "takedown" sections.
While studying the bridle system of your new WindDance -- as when you conduct the "bridle pre-flight" -- you can't help but learn how to instantly spot a bridle line that's out of place. Subsequently, whenever you handle your WindDance on the flying field -- during setup, while adjusting the bridle, after a crash, and during takedown -- take a second to make sure the bridle isn't tangled.
If it does become tangled, consult the "how-to-untangle-the-bridle" section of the new manual (p.30).
Don't drag your WindDance on the ground, especially while launching or relaunching after a crash. Besides soiling the fabric and bridle -- and besides abrading the bridle lines where they tie onto the webbing -- dragging it can TANGLE THE BRIDLE where the A-lines and B-lines tie onto the webbing. The bridle lines can loop around or knot around the 1" loop, which can shorten a bridle line. An 'invisible' tangle like that can shorten a bridle line by 5-10 mm and seriously degrade performance and cause the wing to collapse. Whenever you set up to fly, and after a crash, look very closely there just to make sure, and undo any tangling that you spot. Remember, an entire bridle inspection takes only a few seconds once you've learned what to look for.
In a decade of testing and flying WindDances, that kind of tangle has never happened to us. But it has happened to customers who dragged their WindDances over the ground a lot. When we quickly untangled their 'invisible' bridle tangles, the collapsing stopped and their kites flew wonderfully.
Also inspect at the connector-loop end; a "double-knot" can "catch" on another loop.
In general, if your WindDance suddenly feels ill, take a few seconds to inspect for bridle tangling.
Understanding frisky wind
Wind can be "alive" -- and full of surprises that you can't see coming. Are such winds "difficult" winds? That's the wrong attitude. They're "frisky" winds! More about this someday . . . for a hint of what's coming, see the "ornery wind" paragraph in the section below . . .
Here's the simple theory: Pull = tight lines = speed = rigid parafoil wing = FLYING. The wind and the flyer make the pull = speed = FLYING. No pull = slack lines = no speed = a collapsed wing = no FLYING. See What is "FLYING?"
In other words, immediately before a collapse, you the flyer feel no pull. Either the wind -- or you the flyer -- create zero pull and CAUSE the collapse.
So in order to prevent collapsing, you must always feel for pull, and always maintain enough pull to keep it FLYING. That basic SENSE and RESPOND skill -- you feel the pull dropping so you generate some pull -- becomes as natural and automatic as standing upright, easily preventing yourself from falling over.
What else can cause it to collapse? Failure to maintain and tune it. And vortexes in the wind.
Leading-edge reinforcement tape on the upper skin is folded down in one spot. If so, "train" the leading-edge to lie flat, especially when you roll up your WindDance prior to a long period of storage (we do this with every WindDance before we ship it). Customers have sent us collapsing WindDances they thought were 'defective'; with our fingers we folded a short section of upper-skin leading-edge upward so it would lie flat (5 seconds of work), test-flew them (they flew perfectly), and mailed 'em right back. They could have quickly done the same thing, too, had they read and heeded the manual. Look for the two visual signs of break-in (new manual p.16): All the ram openings, especially near the wingtips, must inflate outward into round curves. And the trailing-edge must have a "notch" between every pair of ribs.
The bridle is tangled. If so, untangle it. If you don't follow the simple setup and takedown instructions in the manual, it can tangle. It can also tangle during a crash, collision with another WindDance, or when trashed by a gnarly vortex traveling with the wind. If you drag your WindDance on the ground a lot -- a bad habit -- that may have tangled a bridle line or two where they tie onto the webbing loops on the underside of the wing like THIS. If you follow the manual and the TIPS on this webpage, tangles are rare -- and spotting and undoing them is fast and easy.
The bridle setting is too low. Start from the "First-flight" bridle-setting (new manual p.3). In the CHECKLIST on page 7, follow the "If it's unstable and collapses . . . " advice and increase the bridle setting by 1 mm. If it still collapses, increase it another 1 mm. And so on. Be sure to measure it correctly: one WindDance owner, who did not bother to look at the manual, set it 100 mm too low, so low his WindDance couldn't possibly fly. If your skill is rough and jerky, which can cause it to collapse, an even higher bridle setting will be needed.
Ornery, gnarly, turbulent, suddenly-shifting wind. It can sporadically glance against the top of the wing, causing the pull to suddenly drop to zero and the parafoil wing to collapse, especially when flying near the edge of the flight envelope. If so, boost the bridle setting by 1 mm at a time until the collapsing stops, and/or use stretchy "bumpy-wind" adapters (see below on this TIPS page) to prevent collapsing. Sometimes, though, the wind is way too gnarly to fly in. Such as this: While flying at the side edge, the wind abruptly shifts 90 degrees and blasts your collapsed WindDance past your face. Or this: Your WindDance slams into a vortex (mini-tornado), collapses, and spins at the core of the vortex with your two flying lines wrapping up around the spinning collapsed kite. Or this: Your WindDance hits the upwind-spinning side of a vortex and instantly collapses, perhaps "tying it into a knot" or "balling it up" because one wingtip hit the wall of the vortex. Or this: Your WindDance flies into the downwind-spinning side a vortex causing the pull to skyrocket, then flies through the core of the vortex into the upwind-spinning wall and collapses. And so on. Wind often contains interesting vortexes!
Flying downwind of obstacles. Buildings, billboards, sportsfield bleachers, fences, bushes, and trees can create the ornery, gnarly, turbulent wind described above. Fly farther downwind, or move to the side of such disturbances. You can detect bad wind. Hold up your windwand and face into the wind -- you can feel, hear, and see the bad wind. (What's a "windwand?" See new manual p.36.) Move downwind or to the side until the wind feels, sounds, and looks smooth and fly there. Be sure to check out the wind quality across the entire width of the flight envelope. Sometimes the wind can be bad near the ground -- or at one side of the flight envelope -- and be perfect everywhere else.
Insufficient wind. If a WindDance does not have enough airspeed -- due to lack of wind, being too close to the edge of the flight envelope for the wind you're flying in, or because you used airspeed-killing skill -- it won't fly, that is, it will collapse and fall to the ground.
Flyer's technique causes control-line tension to drop to zero.
No pull is a no-no for a parafoil. Slack lines = no pull = no speed = collapse = no FLYING.
To prevent collapsing, always think "FLYING." The big problem: most flyers today don't know what "FLYING" is.
Always think "pull to make it FLY" because "pull = speed = FLYING." That theory & skill works for flying straight (generate and maintain pull in both lines) and while turning & spinning (generate and maintain pull in one line). Always think, "Feel for pull, maintain at least a little bit of pull to keep it airborne, and GO for pull." Always think, "SENSE for pull loss, and instantly RESPOND by actively generating pull." Always think, "Be smooth." This is basic skill.
Does it collapse in the power zone? Does it collapse when you're actively accelerating or pull-turning? It will make it collapse if you abruptly de-power the kite: if you punch-turn so abruptly you slacken all the bridle lines on one side of the wing; if you end a straight-line acceleration or pull-turn so abruptly the pull drops to zero. Many hot flyers, raised on delta kites, don't even realize they fly that roughly. Solution? Fly smoothly. Use power with grace, like the top people do in all other sports. Be smooth -- so that you always maintain at least some pull in your lines to keep it FLYING.
Does it collapse at the side? If you fly it to the side and the pull drops so low the kite can't possibly stay airborne, it will collapse and fall out of the sky. And that's what many do these days: the flyer just stands there like a post and lets the control lines go totally slack as they fly to the edge. That's a LANDING technique that was described in the user's manual of our very-first kite -- a 1989 delta sport kite -- yet many today try to fly their kites that way. Solution? Rather than using LANDING skill to fly your kite, use FLYING skill. When flying toward the edge, instead of allowing the pull to drop to zero as when LANDING, generate the little bit of pull needed to keep it FLYING.
Like a fly-fisherman: Use your arms like two upside-down fishing poles. Always feel for pull. Always keep some pull in your lines -- otherwise you'll lose it. See "It's like fly-fishing".
Develop and refine your SENSE and RESPOND skill: learn to instantly SENSE pull loss with your fingers and hands, and to quickly RESPOND by swinging your arms back and stepping back to generate the pull needed to keep it FLYING. See new manual p.24. To be able to do this well, you need control handles that make full use of the sensitive palm side of your hands and fingers, control handles that feel natural and comfortable when you swing your arms back to create pull. That is, you need the sensible ergo T-handles that enhance your SENSING and RESPONDING ability. SENSE & RESPOND skill is merely the kite-flying version the basic skill you use to keep yourself from falling over when standing on your feet.
To easily cure the most common skill mistakes, CLICK HERE.
Install "bumpy-wind" adapters. In frisky wind, two 10' lengths of free nylon cord can eliminate collapsing and boost speed & pull! CLICK HERE!
Collapsing is always avoidable except when flying in extremely gnarly wind where all kites have difficulty.
Collapse-free flying is the hallmark of someone who knows how to FLY a kite with basic skill. It's as easy as a grandmother explained: "Just PULL it!"
Practice makes perfect! Part 1
The user's manual is a gold mine of information about how to develop your FLYING expertise.
Internalized the Flying technique section.
Practice all the stuff in the WindDancing section. To this section, add: In light winds from a hover at the side edge with the lower wingtip positioned one wingspan above the ground, snap a downward 540-degree turn into a low pass. This is nearly impossible with other kites, but it's a snap for a WindDance flown with basic skill. (Hint: see the "180 down-turn" tip.)
Practice makes perfect! Part 2
Want to become an accomplished FLYER? Here's a hint from an avid WindDancer in California. In addition to practicing all the neat skill-building stuff described in the user's manual, practice the compulsory figures flown in stunt-kite competition.
Some of the compulsory figures call for you stop, or un-fly & do a non-flying stunt, or land your kite. Forget about those. WindDances want to keep FLYING! Although in very light wind you can stall it in midair or land it tail-down on the ground.
Competition deltas are designed to have steady, even speed in the area of the flight envelope where patterns are flown. Not WindDances. WindDance have much hotter edge to power-zone acceleration and they accelerate like crazy when the wind kicks in, therefore the speed is not steady as you do the patterns. For example, speed at the power-zone section of a pattern will be higher than when flying a section of the pattern that's near the edge. Also, when two flyers WindDance side-by-side carving adjacent loops, the upper loop or the loop nearer to the side edge will be slower. When the wind picks up, don't add airbrakes like competitors normally do. Let your WindDance do its thing; let it rip through the air! In 15 mph wind a WindDance 1 can do a sharp-cornered ten-foot square in less than one second. Work on that. With a WindDance, the higher speed and dynamic speed-&-pull changes make pattern flying much more challenging and exciting than with a delta kite! Depending on the wind, things happen 2-4 times faster than with a delta! That challenge builds skill! Which generates even more WindDancing fun! A nice "vicious circle!" Go for it! Become a really-hot FLYER! A wonderful way to win!
Clothespin the trailing-edge of your WindDance to a clothesline, hose it down, and let dry.
How did we figure this out? While our WindDance2A-2000 was staked out in ready-to-launch position in a Seattle park, a doggy on a leash ran over to it dragging its owner behind, lifted a leg, and peed all over it. The dog's owner didn't care in the least. Here in Seattle, where politeness rules, people are skilled at being politely inconsiderate.
After our hosing, the stench -- and all the wrinkles -- were gone!
A silicone or teflon "lube job" cures the binding and "honking" where your two control lines cross and twist as you turn and spin. It makes 'em more slippery than the most-expensive Spectra lines. And it greatly extends their life, especially if you WindDance side-by-side with a friend.
It makes a huge difference! WindDancing becomes much more fun! Once you try this treatment, you can't live without it!
Spectra control lines, when they become worn or dirty or salty, bind and chatter where they cross and twist. Even the expensive lines do that. The chattering occurs when the lines rapidly slip-and-catch past each other when you move your control handles to turn. That vibration transmits through your flying lines into your kite, which broadcasts the sound like a huge stereo speaker. Each turn sounds like a honking goose in need of a vet. If you turn very frequently, it sounds like a flock of geese. The pitch of each honk depends on the WindDance model (it happens with deltas too), on the pull, and on how fast you move your control handles. You, and everyone else in the vicinity, hear 'geese' of different ages and species. Not the Sounds of Nature.
The solution comes from a fan in S.Cal. Simply lubricate your lines with inexpensive silicone or teflon spray to make 'em really slippery.
Silicone. Use a "lubricant" grade. "Waterproofing" grades work fine also. Also look for "high viscosity" and "suitable for plastic" (Spectra is a plastic). It's crucial to make sure that after the solvents evaporate (the smelly petroleum distillates/spirits), only silicone oil (such as polydimethylsiloxane) remains on your lines. The lubricant in a silicone spray is supposed to be 100% silicone-based oil. But some manufactures mix in petroleum-based oil, such as cheap mineral oil, with silicone-based oil to cut costs. So have a careful look at the ingredients. If "mineral oil" or any other kind of petroleum-based oil is listed, don't buy or use that product.
Some silicone-spray products contain "food grade silicone" approved by the FDA. These are available for waterproofing horse blankets, scuba gear, and pets. Anything that's safe to ingest, and safe for Rover and Fluffy, is safe for your Spectra lines.
Some brands of good silicone spray: "Prestone." "Pyroil/Valvoline." "NAPA." "ThunderShield." "AMSOIL." A bad brand of silicone spray to avoid: "GUNK" (it contains mineral oil).
Teflon. We've also tested teflon spray. Although drier than silicone (the "silicone" is silicone oil, usually polydimethylsiloxane), teflon spray doesn't seem to be as slippery or last as long, especially in salty/sandy/moist conditions at the beach. As with silicone spray, make sure there's no petroleum-based oil in the list of ingredients.
We used "Super Lube" teflon spray, the dry-film grade; the multi-purpose grade contains mineral oil, so don't use it.
Here's what else you need: A rectangle of stiff cardboard, say 9 in by 6 in, to use as a winder when spraying. A rag or paper towel. Store the can, cardboard, and rag in a plastic bag.
The procedure: At your flying site, secure your handles to the base of your groundstake/windwand and unwind and lay out your two Spectra control lines in the normal way. Then, starting from the kite end, wind the lines two-at-a-time around the cardboard winder. Do not wind the KITE-endloops or HANDLE-endloops onto the cardboard to keep them free of the spray lubricant (although our knots haven't slipped yet after being soaked with silicone or teflon, why not be cautious). Liberally spray the wound up Spectra line so it soaks all the way through. Yes, the cardboard winder gets messy, too, and that's why you have plastic bag. Unwind the soaked control lines off the cardboard as you would from your plastic winder, wipe your hands clean before you touch your WindDance, hook up the lines, and fly 'em dry.
Here's a faster way suggested by an avid WindDancer: Don't bother with the cardboard winder. Spray the plastic winder, lay out the lines wet lines, with a rag wipe your winder and hands clean, hook up to your WD, and fly 'em dry! Sure works for us! Although the endloops got soaked, all the knots held just fine!
You'll notice hardly any friction when the lines cross & twist -- especially when TWO pairs cross & twist while WindDancing side-by-side with a friend! You'll also notice how they last much longer!
If they begin to bind later on, re-lube them.
Treat old and new lines like this.
The bad news? When your lines get really twisted up, it's difficult to tell by feel which way to unwind. We can certainly live with that problem!
Nearly all Spectra line is manufactured for fishing (compared to the fishing market, the kiting market is miniscule). That low-cost line, after you impregnate it with inexpensive silicone-spray or teflon-spray lubricant as we describe above, is the best line available for dual-line kiting! When twisted up after many spins, it's more slippery with less binding than the expensive special-treated line made just for kiting, and it lasts longer, too. And when you make linesets the way we recommend, they break at the handle and are only 8-inches shorter after you repair them. If you make linesets the kite-culture way, "sleeving" both ends, they break near the middle where repairs are impossible so you have to throw them away. More for less is always a sweet deal!
Since the silicone/teflon treatment make them last longer, they have more time to get dirty! So clean them! Keep the lines on the winder during this entire process, but remove the handles first. Soak them overnight in a strong detergent solution. Rinse thoroughly with running water, then soak overnight in clean water. Rinse again, stand the winder on end, and let dry. If they're still damp when you go flying, fly 'em dry before re-lubing.
Good & bad wind -- how to measure and judge the wind
On some 10-mph-wind days, your WindDance is slow and powerless. On other 10-mph-wind days, your WindDance is fast and powerful.
The culprits? Quality of the wind. And how you measured the wind.
By using the right wind meter, and by judging the readings correctly, on those bad days what you thought was a "10-mph wind" may have been a "4-mph wind" as experienced by the kite. See wind quality and how to measure and judge the wind.
Use VHS videotape as a tail material. The stuff is highly visible against the daytime sky, looks spectacular, and crackles like electricity!! 1/4 cent per foot based on a $2 blank VHS-120 cassette, which contains almost 800 ft of tail material: enough for 20 pairs of 20-ft tails.
To store genuine kite tails, make a cardboard winder as described in the user's manual. To install a tail, first tie a knot at one end, then larkshead-knot a trailing-edge mooring loop to it.
To reduce speed and pull the least -- for light winds -- use a pair tails 3 ft to 20 ft long.
To slow it down and reduce pull the most -- for strong winds -- use LONGER tails up to 40 ft long. Or use BUSHY tails: two to several tails per mooring loop.
Try "bird tape" from hardware or garden stores, an inexpensive narrow mylar tape -- shiny aluminum on one side and usually red on the other -- intended to scare birds away from garden and fruit-tree yummies. Holographic versions are available. These tails sure sparkle in the air! But they tend to wrinkle up like aluminum foil and don't last very long.
Does it scare seagulls? Not in the least.
Try ripstop-fabric tails. You can buy 1"-inch-wide material in many colors from Hang-em High Fabrics Online.
The best length? Any length you wish. But no longer than one-half your line length (about 40 ft). Here's why. Your WindDance flies along an arc (see the flight envelope). The tails try to fly along that arc but they can't: aerodynamic drag on the tails pulls them somewhat straight, which pulls the trailing-edge of the wing toward you, which increases the wing's angle-of-attack (which reduces speed and perhaps the pull), which requires the bridle setting to be reduced slightly.
We tried cheap plastic-film real kite tails. They quickly disintegrated and shortened at their flapping & snapping ends, and littered the field with plastic bits.
We also tried "flagging tape," an inexpensive one-inch-wide polyethylene-film tape available in several colors from hardware stores. It proved to be too heavy. And too flimsy, too -- the flapping ends disintegrated fast. We tried reinforcing the last several inches of the tail ends with stretchy clear plastic tape, but the tape came off in no time. We also tried knotting the ends, and that didn't work either.
If you're caught without tails when you desperately need 'em as airbrakes to slow it down and tame the pull, then improvise! Hang on a pair of handkerchiefs (they may disintegrate), or sheaves of long dried grass (extremely effective), or whatever else works!
During the 1999 Long Beach WA festival, a WD owner from Oregon demonstrated his way to dump sand out of the cells: while hovering the upper edge, suddenly & briefly yank down on both lines. The sand shoots forward out of the cells! It's in the new manual, too!
I learned something new. NEVER scratch your nose while WindDancing in bumpy wind. Especially in winds with holes. We call those "Swiss-Cheese" winds. When you hit a hole, the pull abruptly drops and your hands jerk back for an instant. In mid nose scratch, my WindDance 2 hit a hole and I hit myself in the face! It was far more humorous than painful!
Flying-line adapters for "bumpy wind"
In turbulent wind, Spectra lines can be too stiff -- not stretchy enough. Lines that are too stiff can cause your WindDance to collapse.
The solution? Make each Spectra line stretchier by adding a short length of nylon line between the handle and the line. If you are flying with 75-ft Spectra lines, adding 10 ft of nylon line with the same breaking strength as the Spectra doubles the total line stretch! That's what the engineering says, and it sure feels like it!
How does it help you? While flying, suppose turbulence or a wind shift causes the wind to strike the top of your WindDance, which might normally cause the wing to collapse. The instant the pull begins to drop, your stretched-out flying lines automatically tug your WindDance directly toward you like rubber bands would -- and maintain pull & airspeed & FLYING.
Making your lines stretchier helps to keep your WindDance FLYING in frisky wind -- the same way a more-flexible flyrod helps to keep a frisky trout on a barbless hook.
It gets even better. According to aerodynamic theory, besides boosting the kite's stability in turbulent wind, bumpy-wind adapters should boost the kite's speed because they smooth out the angle-of-attack changes, and because of the boost in speed the pull should go up, too.
Does it actually work? A resounding YES! By adding "bumpy-wind adapters" for frisky winds, we experienced a virtual elimination of collapsing, more speed, more pull, a "smoother ride" that made it easier on our bodies, with very little loss of control response and accuracy due to the extra stretching of the lines.
The only drawbacks? Adding 10 ft to our lines made our WindDances appear smaller in the sky, and we had to be careful to prevent our lines from "catching" at the adapter-connection knots 10 ft from the handles.
If you can figure out a way to cover the knots in a way that prevents the lines from catching there when they cross and twist, please let us know!
Ideally we'd like to have control lines as thin and strong as Spectra, but far stretchier. Unfortunately, such a material -- low-modulus Spectra, or high-tensile polyester with the same diameter as Spectra of the same strength -- doesn't exist.
The material we have for making "bumpy-wind adapters" is braided nylon seine twine available in one-pound spools ($4-$8, less than a penny per foot) from marine & fishing suppliers.
We have 100-lb, 150-lb, and 200-lb braided nylon -- matched for 100-lb, 150-lb, and 200-lb Spectra line. Care to have some free (only if you own a WindDance, please)? Email/fax/call and we'll mail you 20-ft lengths.
To make a pair of adapters: At each end of the 20-ft nylon line, tie a 4-inch loop with two overhand knots (see lineset-making Hints below for HANDLE-endloops). Later, you larkshead-knot these loops to your handles. Beforehand, heat-melt the ends to prevent fraying. Place both of those endloops on a strong pin (such as a door-hinge pin), loop the center of the line around a screwdriver shaft, pull hard, cut the line at the exact center, and heat-melt both ends. On each of those ends, tie the same kind of loop as before . . . and then add an extra knot near the end of the loop. You larkshead-knot your Spectra line to catch on that extra knot. (If you don't make a loop at the kite end of the nylon adapter, and just tie a overhand knot at the end of the nylon line, your Spectra line will cut through it.) To prevent confusion later, mark both ends of one adapter line RED. Wind them onto a winder made of cardboard. You now have a pair of 10-foot-long "bumpy-wind adapters!"
The adapters go between your control handles and your flying lines. To install, disconnect your Spectra lines from your handles, larkshead the Spectra lines to the kite end of the adapters, then larkshead the other ends of adapters to your control handles. As you do, make sure RED is RIGHT to prevent unwanted "landing practice" right after you launch.
For smooth wind, don't use the adapters.
Use "bumpy-wind adapters" only when necessary for gnarly turbulent wind. Keep your hands far enough apart to prevent the adapter-connection knots from catching 10 ft downwind from your handles.
Enjoy the frisky winds!!!
In our experience, 75-ft lines seem just right. Longer, and the WindDance seems slow and looks tiny in the sky -- plus you hog too much space on playfields and beaches. Shorter, and things happen too fast in brisk wind.
Suppose you fly with 75-ft lines on the downwind end of a football field as the wind blows from end zone to end zone. You stand centered on the field 25 yards from the downwind end zone. As you WindDance, the power zone of your flight envelope hits the 0-yard line, and the side edges hit the white side lines. You use up the full width of the field, and a quarter of the length of the field. Longer lines would be inconsiderate, excessive use of playfield and flying space. 75 ft is plenty long, a good standard length.
Suppose the wind blows from the side of the field, and you fly with 150-ft lines as you stand on the upwind end of the 50-yard line. Your power zone of hits the white side line at the other end of the 50-yard line, and your side edges hit both end zones. You hog the whole football field, leaving only two corner scraps for others to play on!
Do you fly mainly in brisk wind and therefore need less apparent speed, more flight-envelope area, and more time to react? Then use 100-ft lines.
When WindDancing side-by-side with a significant other, family member, or friend -- such as with a WD1 and a WD3 -- both line sets must be exactly the same length. How about 75 ft?
You will have a "deluxe" lineset: The KITE end-loops are easier to make and are stronger than sleeved loops, they have a cleaner appearance and less aerodynamic drag than sleeved loops, and they can be quickly retied on the field (which you cannot do with sleeved loops) if the line is accidentally severed at the knot by another flying line. The HANDLE end-loop creates a weak link at the handle end of the line. This prevents the line from breaking at the kite, or worse yet, near the middle where repairs are not possible (which is what happens with sleeved linesets). When a line breaks at the handle, your lines are only 8" shorter after repairing them. The black vinyl endcaps prevent bridle lines from snagging on the KITE end-loop knots and connector-loop knots. The silicone-spray or teflon-spray treatment (Step 13) makes your lines more slippery and less binding than the most expensive Spectra kite lines available, and more durable, too!
When your lines show signs of wear in the area where the two lines cross and twist, snip off all four end-loops, reverse the lines end-for-end, and install four new end-loops. If you need new end-loop parts, contact us because they're free. Now your lines are almost like new, and you can start wearing them out again in a new place.
When finished, each KITE end-loop looks like this:
When finished, each HANDLE end-loop looks like the illustration on the left (the "loosener," which is larkshead-knotted to the end of the HANDLE end-loop in Step 10, is not shown):
Ingredients of WindDancing lineset kit:
- Spool of Spectra flying line.
- 12" heavy orange cord for right KITE end-loop. 12" heavy yellow cord for left KITE end-loop.
- 2 large black vinyl endcaps (when flying, they cover the end-loop to connector-loop knots; when not flying, they "park" on the end-loops as shown above). 2 small endcaps (they cover the flying-line to end-loop knots).
- 24" thin white cord. Use to thread KITE end-loop through large endcap, and to thread kite end of Spectra flying line through small endcap. When done, use it to make "looseners" for the HANDLE end-loops (Step 10).
Tools needed: 12" ruler. Red marker pen. Scissors. Needle with an eye large enough for Spectra line to fit through (to install endcaps). Pliers (to tighten knots; first, remove sharp edges and burrs from jaws with sandpaper). Lighter or matches (to melt line ends). Two screwdrivers or something similar (to stretch lines). Assistant (to help you stretch lines).
- Make the two KITE end-loops: Bend the 12" orange or yellow cord into a 6" loop, and tie an overhand knot at the two matching ends (an "overhand" knot is a plain, ordinary knot). To tighten the overhand knot, grasp the cord ends with pliers, hold the other end of the loop on a screwdriver shaft, and pull hard. Melt the cord ends so they're flush with the knot.
- Install both large endcaps on KITE end-loops: Thread one end of the 24" thin white cord through the eye of a needle, and pass the other end through the KITE end-loop and then through the eye of the same needle. (When you pick up the needle, holding it by the eye, you'll pick up the KITE end-loop with the big knot hanging down.) Looking at the illustration, hold the needle to the left of the endcap and point it to the right, poke the needle through the center of the closed end of the endcap, and pull half of the KITE end-loop through the endcap. Hint: grasp the needle with pliers to pull it through the endcap. "Park" the endcap near the middle of the loop. Open end of endcap faces the kite end of the loop.
- Install a small endcap on one end of Spectra line: Open package of Spectra line, and unspool 4' of it. Thread end through eye of needle, and pull the line through the small endcap. "Park" endcap 3' from end of line. Open end of endcap faces end of line.
- Tie knots at end of Spectra line: Tie two overhand knots very close together about 1" from the end of the line. The two knots should touch each other. Tighten slowly: grip the short end with pliers, the long end with your other hand, and pull. (Fast tightening, and too much tightening by pulling more than 25% of its rated strength, could weaken the Spectra line within the knots). Trim the end of the line, with scissors and then by melting, so that the end is no closer than 5 mm from the nearest overhand knot.
- Tie Spectra line to KITE end-loop using the knot system illustrated above (it's the same one used to tie the WindDance Bridle to the WindDance Wing; if you have difficulty visualizing the illustration, loosen a bridle-attachment knot and "copy" it): First, form a 6" loop by tying the double-knotted end to the line exactly as shown (that knot is a "half-hitch"). Pull slowly to draw the two end knots all the way to the half-hitch. You now have a noose. Place it around the knotted end of the KITE end-loop, and slowly and gently tighten as you would a necktie. When the noose has fully closed, then fully tighten: hold the line in one hand, the kite end of the end-loop in the other, and pull slowly and firmly. (Fast tightening, and too much tightening by pulling more than 50% of its rated strength, could weaken the Spectra line within the knots). Forcefully slide the small endcap over the knot.
If the two end knots are not pulled all the way to the half-hitch, and/or if the knot system isn't fully tightened, then during strong WindDancing pull the Spectra line will slip and melt within the knot -- and the line will break at the KITE end-loop, which is not supposed to happen. If such a break occurs, see how the end of the broken line is "pointy" like the end of a plastic needle, and not frayed like a normal break? See how the Spectra melted from slipping fast within the knot?
- Wind 150' of line onto card winder: Loop completed KITE end-loop over the "post" on the plastic card winder. (See the two slots a half-inch apart? That's the "post.") Wind the entire 150' of line onto the winder. Don't spin the winder; hold it near the oval hole with the same end always up as you wind the line on the winder. The line must come off the spool of Spectra like it went on the spool, that is, the spool must spin -- if it spirals off the end of the spool, your line will develop zillions of twists. Leave 5' free.
- Install second KITE end-loop on flying line: Repeat Steps 2-5.
- Stretch lines, cut at center, and wind pair of 75' lines onto winder: Gather winder-and-line, two screwdrivers, scissors, red marker pen, assistant, and go outside. Have assistant hold the free KITE end-loop in one hand, the card winder by its hole with thumb and forefinger of other hand, and have a screwdriver handy. You loop the line around a screwdriver shaft and walk away from assistant as the line spools "flip, flip, flip..." off the winder. When you reach the end of the line (you are now 75' from your assistant), have assistant hold both KITE end-loops together on a screwdriver shaft. Make sure the two halves of the line are not crossed or twisted. Pull hard at one-half the rated strength of the line for a few seconds, and then slacken the line. Repeat at least a dozen times. Notice how the line gets "stiffer" (less stretchy) each time. You have to do this with Spectra. About 1' from your screwdriver shaft, mark the "right" line (the line with the orange KITE end-loop) with a red marker pen. With your scissors, cut the 150' line at its exact center (where it loops around the back of the screwdriver shaft). Drop pair of lines to ground, and walk to assistant. Loop both KITE end-loops over the "post" on winder, and wind both 75' lines (two-at-a-time) onto winder (the two lines don't twist). Leave 5' free. Go back indoors to finish up.
- Make the HANDLE end-loops: Hold the right and left Spectra-line ends together, and melt slightly. Mark the line 8" from the end, place the end of the line on that mark to form a 4" loop, and tie two overhand knots. To tighten, grasp the two lines on the non-loop side of the knots with pliers, grasp the loop with your other hand, and pull. Be careful not to damage the line or overtighten the knots.
- Install a "loosener" on each HANDLE end-loop: If you don't, undoing your lines from your handles is next to impossible. Remember the 24" thin white cord? From it, cut two 6" lengths. Form a 3" loop, and tie an overhand knot where the ends match, and tighten with pliers. Melt the ends so they won't fray. Larkshead-knot those three-inch-long "looseners" to the handle ends of the HANDLE end-loops (the "larkshead" knot is shown in new manual on p.2). Whenever you want do undo a control line from a handle, pull on the knotted end of its "loosener."
- Attach HANDLE end-loops (not the "looseners") to handles with a larkshead knot: See new manual p.12. Red = right.
- Wind remaining line -- and handles -- onto winder. Secure both handles to winder with the elastic cord. Hint: first pass the elastic cord through the oval hole, then wind around winder and handles, and latch the knotted end into a "post" groove.
- Silicone-spray or teflon-spray your lines: See the how-to TIP above.
More about lines I
Lines break. Have at least one spare line set, wound on a card winder and ready to fly. Repair the broken line later. (A broken line is usually repairable if you make lines sets the way we recommend; it breaks at the handle and you lose only a few inches of line.) Transferring handles to the fresh set of lines is fast, although it seems slow when the wind is really delicious!
Use the thinnest lines you can get away with. For WindDances, thinner lines boost performance more so than with other kites.
For top performance, the WindDance 1, 2, and 3 all require basically the same lines. Thin lines for light pull in light winds. Stronger lines for stronger pull in stronger winds.
The wind has a much larger effect on pull, and required line strength, than WindDance size. With a smaller WindDance you get the same pull as the next larger WindDance but it happens at about 25% higher wind speed. For example, the WindDance 1 in 15 mph wind pulls about as hard as the WindDance 2 pulls in 12 mph wind, and about as hard as the WindDance 3 pulls in 10 mph wind. In the same wind, the WindDance 3 pulls about twice as hard as the WindDance 1, and the pull of the WindDance 2 falls about halfway in between, 50% more than the WindDance 1.
What lines? 80-100 lb lines work fine for the WD1 up to about 15 mph, for the WD2 up to about 12 mph, and for the WD3 up to about 10 mph -- provided you push-turn to prevent excessive pull when in the power-zone and if you do not pull too hard during pull turns. If you pull-turn vigorously for maximal speed-&-turning thrill and exercise, highly recommended, observe a lower wind-speed limit for these light lines or use somewhat stronger lines. Remember, if you make line sets the way we recommend, breaking/repairing lines is no big deal. In stronger winds, use 135-150 lb lines and be sure to prudently lower the bridle setting and/or add tails as necessary to reduce pull in winds above 15-20 mph especially if they are gusty.
We never use anything stronger than 150 lb line -- it's strong enough to drag you. When the wind and pull get so strong it may snap 150 lb lines, we switch to the next smaller and quicker-&-tighter turning WindDance for an even more thrilling WindDancing experience and an even better WindDancing Workout!
More about lines II
Some Spectra lines have a "sizing" (coating applied to the fibers during the manufacturing process) that gives the line a stiff feel. Some sizings bind fibers together, which can cause stress-concentration and premature failure: instead of all the fibers in the line taking the total load all at once, individual fibers take the entire load and fail one fiber at a time. Like how individual threads in fabric fail one at time when you rip it.
Before tying knots in such lines, "soften" the line where the knots will be tied. Break all the fiber-to-fiber bonds caused by the sizing by pulling the line across a smooth plastic edge. Pull and rub at least four sides of the line past the edge, back and forth several times. When the line feels really soft, it's ready for tying knots.
Where should it break: at the handle or at the kite?
A customer reported, "the lines tended to tangle more when the breakage was at the handle end, the broken line wrapping itself into a large knot that took 5-10 mins to untangle, not made any easier by the strong winds blowing the line around! When the line broke at the top end, there was basically no tangling at all, so I am thinking it may be better to have the weak link at the kite end rather than at the handles. What do you think about this?"
"You're right! When they BOTH break at the handle end, the kite and the lines take off downwind at the speed of the wind; it's like a line snapping indoors. When ONE line breaks at the handle, the wind blows the broken end toward the kite, assisting the line's "elastic snapping-back" action directly into itself. So that's why *we've* had frustrating tangled messes, too! When it breaks at the kite end, as you discovered, the wind tends to keep the broken line blown straight -- helping to prevent it from tangling with itself.
As I recall, we had two reasons for placing the weak link at the handle. 1) When it breaks at the kite, the end of the bridle snaps back into the bridle system and gets "lost" and maybe tangled, and many flyers have difficulty with *any* kind of bridle tangle including a tiny tangle. 2) One day I got scared when both of my 200# lines snapped at the kite end. As I began my backward somersault, both lines shot past my head like shrieking whips and ended up mostly behind me. If they had hit my face, I could have been blinded. That's why, in our Safety section, we recommend protective eyewear. That only happened once, though, so maybe I should get over it!"
How to measure line strength
A customer asked, "have you done any tests to check actual breaking tension of the various lines with their weak link knots?"
"We've never measured line strength. But we did think up a safe and simple way to roughly measure strength at a knot: Connect a short "test line" between a T-handle and a bucket of rocks. Gently lift for a second. Add small rocks, one at a time, until the "test line" breaks at the weakest knot. Weigh that load on a bathroom scale. We haven't done it yet.
We *did* compare strengths of our KITE-endloop knots and HANDLE-endloop knots. We played tug-of-war with them at opposite ends of a short line. The KITE-endloop end always won."
How to overcome "kite-culture" handicapping to reach Pure Fun -- Episode I
Experienced flyers often have more difficulty with WindDances than beginners do. Why? Because they don't read & heed the user's manual or the great tips on this website.
The remarkable string of events below explain how to have Pure Fun from the very start:
"It looks like you're dancing!" beamed two ladies as they strolled by us, Dan and Sue, on top of Seattle's Kite Hill. We were WindDancing side-by-side, Sue with a WindDance 1, me with a WindDance 2 that a very-experienced flyer returned to us a few hours earlier for a refund because it didn't perform as advertised (see below).
Several minutes later, a couple with their teenage son and new WindDance 1 arrived:
"From the parking lot we could see somebody having too much fun and figured it was you!"
Of course I had to check out their new WindDance 1 and take a test fly.
The 100#75' Spectra lineset they made from their lineset kit was perfection, and they had silicone-lubed them. They had adjusted the bridle precisely to 27mm (1mm less than the "new" setting). They had followed the instructions in the manual, the instructions on the lineset-making sheet, and TIPS on this webpage.
They set up to fly their WD1 in the only remaining space left on the hill: directly downwind of a row of tall bushes. Considering that the wind was low-quality and turbulent there, considering that the "good" wind at the top of the hill where Sue and I were flying was pulse-&-pause and choppy at times, and considering that a reduced bridle setting makes it less stable in ornery wind, I feared their WD1 might not fly well at that poor location on the hill. I was wrong!!!
Their son had never flow a dual-line kite before. He quickly learned how to fly the WD1. He also got pretty good at flying our demo WD2, the same one I was flying above. So did his dad. Because the basic "pull-to-make-it-FLY" skill in the manual comes naturally.
Since they read & heeded the instructions, their Pure Fun happened from the very start.
Earlier, an unhappy customer emailed us:
"My sole purpose for buying a WindDance 2, was to have a medium size kite for strong winds, to get a workout, without being dragged all over the field.
After trying it over three days, it is my opinion, from close to a decade of flying a wide range of kites, the performance is marginal at best. It is certainly no better than any other kite I've flown. On each day, it was launched almost in the middle of the power zone.
On the first day, it arched to the right, the wing suddenly collapsed in a ball, and fell like a wet noodle, and would not reinflate. This happened at least 15 times, which led to frustration and disgust. I got more exercise walking between the handles and kite, than actual flying time.
The second day, it collapsed several times, but after putting on tails, it seemed to stay in the air longer, and fly better, but speed and pull was sacrificed.
On the third day, the wind was blowing steady at 10-15 MPH, and gusting over 20 MPH, which should have generated significant pull. But alas, the majority of my time was watching it collapse, and fall to the ground, so once again, my primary exercise was walking back and forth, between the kite and handles.
I am not a stranger to soft kites; my experience includes over five years of flying dual and quad lines foils. Looking back, there was NEVER a time, when any of my kites launched, and almost immediately failed to fly. I just don't see where the fun is, when most of the time is spent setting it back up to launch.
Let me be perfectly frank, that I am not interested in WindDance kites, and would never buy another. For this reason, it will be sent back, because it doesn't perform as advertised. Please issue a credit on my [card], less shipping cost."
Immediately we saw the potential of using this as a teaching tool to help others have Pure Fun.
We try get them to understand WHY they must read & heed: since WindDances and WindDancing are different from what's usual, they require a little learning -- or some un-learning and re-learning. Much of the usual "kite culture" knowledge, "kite culture" flying, and "kite culture" skill don't apply. WindDances are "airgear" for a sport-&-recreation kind of flying. They are physically different. They have different performance & handling: they have the basic qualities of sport-&-recreation gear. They require a reasonable minimum level of attention and care that recreationists normally bestow on their fun gear. And they require a natural sport-&-recreation kind of skill that's innate to people -- rather than the "kite culture" kind of skill. All this is entirely new to the world of kiting. To learn it, you have to read about it -- in the WindDance user's manual and on this website.
Almost always our customers follow though. Their problems go away, they discover the Pure Fun, often they order more WindDances, and sometimes their friends order WindDances, too.
If reading and heeding our advice doesn't work, something might be wrong with their particular WindDance. We ask them to send it to us ASAP so we can fix it or replace it -- free -- as quickly as possible.
In this case, we sensed that any educational effort on our part would have no effect.
We replied by email:
"Sorry you had so much trouble. When we receive your WindDance we will issue you a credit, inspect the kite, test-fly it in accordance with the user's manual and our website TIPS, and send you a report."
"The bridle was tangled, which undoubtedly caused the awful performance and frequent collapsing from the very start.
I quickly untangled the bridle. In fluctuating mild wind that was choppy at times, we test-flew it for a couple of hours on 135#75' lines. It flew magnificently. We tried bridle settings from 24mm (2mm less than the "First-flight setting") to 28mm (2mm higher); as we increased the bridle-setting in 1mm increments, the pull strengthened, turning grew snappier, stability rose, all exactly as described on pp.17-18 of the user's manual. The speed -- especially in response to the wind pulses, in response to active power input into BOTH lines, and in response to forceful ONE-line turns -- was awesome. Carving sharp corners and spinning on a wingtip? Great fun! Maneuvers virtually impossible with other kites -- powerful DOWNWARD spins at the side-edge starting from one-wingspan above the ground, and fast & POWERFUL hairpins -- were a blast. During all this fun it felt solid, powerful, and ALIVE. "You're panting!" Sue said (we always fly side-by-side). That's when I noticed that my sweatshirt was wet. In all respects, your WindDance 2 sure performed as advertised! Even a novice flew it well! It's now in our demo bag. Many will experience how wonderful it is!
All of your problems could have been prevented and cured by reading & heeding the user's manual. Take bridle tangling for example. At the top of the first page, the "QUICK START" alerts about bridle tangling. The "QUICK START" directs you to the "CHECKLIST," which directs you to the sections that teach how to easily prevent, spot, and cure any tangling -- including the sections titled "Bridle pre-flight," "How to prevent bridle tangles," and "How to untangle bridle." In addition, the "Setup" and "Takedown" sections instruct how to prevent tangling from ever happening while handling the kite. It's a simple and sensible process, and the instructions are easy and hard to miss. We suspect the bridle got tangled BEFORE THE FIRST LAUNCH by not following the "Bridle pre-flight" and "Setup" instructions.
Also regarding collapsing. The "CHECKLIST" explains what to do: "If it's unstable and collapses, the bridle-setting is too low. Increase it in 1mm increments until it flies well." Increasing the bridle-setting far enough in that fashion, to accommodate rough skill and/or rough wind, stops collapsing almost entirely. "Full basic skill" (instead of the usual "kite-culture skill") is also highly effective at preventing collapsing; the manual and our TIPS explain how to do it. We included free nylon cord for making "bumpy-wind" adapters (your sales invoice directed you to our TIPS where the instructions are); in gnarly wind they can almost totally eliminate collapsing AND they boost speed & pull, but you did not try them.
Much of the fun that we aeronautical-engineered into our WindDances -- the powerful high-speed turning and the great full-body exercise -- comes alive by ACTIVELY flying it with "full basic skill" (sort of like what you do with a pair of hot athletic shoes). It's very different from the usual flying and the usual skill. That's why "full basic skill" is so thoroughly covered in the manual, and on our website, too.
We are very sorry that none of the Pure Fun happened for you. A little "reading & heeding" would have made all the difference in the world."
Our unhappy customer replied:
"Thank you for taking the time to send a report. However, the bridle had to have been tangled when I got the kite, because of it's marginal performance on the first, and subsequent days."
"Suppose the Man On The Moon had somehow tangled the bridle before setup and launch. Even that shouldn't be a problem. Because in every case the WindDance user's manual catches the problem and provides the cure.
"QUICK START" > "CHECKLIST" > "Setup" which instructs, "Check that the bridle is not twisted or tangled." It takes merely a few seconds. "QUICK START" > "CHECKLIST" > "Launching" which directs you to those same instructions. The table of contents lists the "Setup" and "Launching" sections, too. If the manual is followed, launching with a tangled bridle is impossible.
Before we introduced WindDances, we observed other flyers. We saw how some flyers tangled the bridles of their deltas and parafoils during setup. We didn't want that to happen to our customers. So we wove the easy precautions into our manual.
Suppose you don't see any of those instructions and it flies like crap. The "QUICK START" at the top of page 1 directs you to "Problems & solutions." Problem #1: "It doesn't fly incredibly well as advertised." One of the solutions: "Untangle the bridle." The table of contents lists that section, too.
We careful designed the total WindDance product -- which includes the manual, website TIPS, and our long-term product support -- to ASSURE Pure Fun, to pretty much GUARANTEE that Pure Fun will happen to each and every customer. All it takes is a little reading & heeding."
How to overcome "kite-culture" handicapping to reach Pure Fun -- Episode II
An experienced flyer was very unhappy with his WindDance 2:
"I've about 3 weeks to fly and evaluate the WD2 I bought from you. I've since flown the kite from everything from choppy suburban parks to world class gales . . .
I have to be honest and admit I'm not as impressed as your site advertises about the WD2, and simply wanted to relay my experiences. I own two other foils [dual-line parafoils, small A and large B], and half a dozen various 'higher' end delta stunt kites. My biggest and perhaps sole complaint about the WindDance is it is substantially less tolerant of wind conditions than either of [my parafoils A or B]. Unless I'm dealing with a very clean and constant wind I've found my WD2 regardless of bridle setting to be 'fussy' at best. In a clean wind the kite performs as advertised, and tears across the sky like pink banshee. However, any kind of chop or unsteady wind and the kite in nearly worthless, and will either not fly, or randomly 'chuff' and fall out of the sky. Both my [other parafoils] can be flown in town as well as the beach in far 'uglier' wind than the WD2. . . .
For instance, at the beach in a mild 5mph wind, I can track my [parafoil B] six inches above the sand like it's on rails from corner to corner. The WD2 flies faster, but is nearly impossible to keep in a straight line, and all the videos linked from your site illustrate this fact showing the WD kites bobbing and weaving. Either of my [other parafoils] can be made to hover right at the edge of the window at 45 degrees damn near as good as a delta stunter. The WD2 on the other hand flies like crap unless it's moving at substantial speed.
In terms of pull and size, I found the WD2 to actually have less pull than my [smaller parafoil A]. This of course may be fine for some flyers who don't want to feel the flying experience. However, in a typical 12-15mph breezy summer day my WD2 barely seems to pull at all. My [larger parafoil B] on the other hand will lift me from prone lying on the sand.
In short, I found the WD2 to be fun kite that lives up to it's expectations - provided I'm dealing with clinical grade lake shore breeze. Anything else, and it's worthless. This why my [other parafoils] get pulled from the trunk far more than my WD2.
It would be neat to see a WindDance kite with perhaps bigger cells to accommodate it's poor edge and choppy wind handling. As it is, from an aerodynamics perspective I feel you spent too much time making the kite fast and turn quick, but simply not stable by virtue of it's small cell structure."
Our instructive answer:
"Sorry you are having difficulty with your WD2 and are unhappy with it.
WDs aren't made to deliver loads of "pull." In 15 mph wind a WD2 pulls about 30-40 lb when flying passively in the powerzone (see performance curves /flier_t.htm#purchase1). However when flying actively there, as when turning fast and tightly and powerfully using swing-your-arm pull-on-a-line skill, the pull can be 50 lb and all of it in ONE arm. That amount of pull feels rather powerful to most people, like when you pick up a 50-lb pail of laundry detergent with one arm. Actively turn like that once-a-second and it works out your body lots more than a "power" kite that pulls steadily at 50 lb in each arm.
WDs operate at a lower lift coefficient (angle of attack) than usual parafoil kites -- a WD wing operates like an airplane wing at cruise instead of like a typical parafoil operating near stall -- which is why they are less tolerant of nasty wind especially when at the edge (suppose jet airliners had parafoil wings and imagine flying into a sharp downward gust; picture the instant wing collapse and death; see why paragliders aren't all that safe either?). However it is easy to compensate for this by reading and heeding the advice in the user's manual and on our website: 1) Use natural "sense & respond" FLYING skill. 2) Increase the bridle setting (angle of attack) as necessary [like the manual explains even in the Checklist]; the bridle setting can be increased to make a WD fly more like a typical parafoil; some very experienced flyers, who had yet to learn sense-and-respond natural FLYING skill, have had to boost the bridle setting by 10 mm or so. 3) Make and use "bumpy-wind" adapters; they work! 4) Make sure the bridle isn't tangled, especially near the webbing loops (see manual's Checklist and Care). 5) Assure the visual signs of wing break-in.
Personally, I [Dan] don't like to WindDance in smooth "clinical grade" wind. Too boring. I prefer the excitement of frisky wind that's textured with pulses and jolts of speed and power. With basic FLYING skill alone -- no bridle-setting increases to make it more stable (we like "fast" settings on the verge of being too low), no bumpy-wind adapters to make it more stable -- we can fly in pretty gnarly winds including immediately downwind of trees. There's no "running around" to keep it flying, just the natural active "flyrod" action of our arms that maintains FLYING tension in our control lines. Of course on some days the wind is way too frisky: the wind instantly shifts direction sometimes 90 degrees or a turbulent blast hits the upper skin or a vortex twists up the wing and bridle into a knot. One day, when we were having trouble, the wind was so nasty it suddenly pitched delta stunt kites downward and knocked them out of the sky.
About tracking. Other customers marvel about how well WDs track and do low ground passes. One customer wore out the fabric on both wingtips by doing too many drag-the-wingtip low passes on sand! No way do our video clips show how WDs are "nearly impossible to keep in a straight line;" they're "bobbing and weaving" because turning them is lots of fun to see happen, and because it feels so good to turn them!
About small cell structure. Narrow cells don't make a parafoil unstable, but they do make it faster and stronger.
So please try for WTMF (way too much fun) again. For experienced flyers, the trick is to set aside "kite culture" thinking and skills, and take up and embrace the "natural FLYING" thinking and skills described in the manual and on our website.
If none of this works there may be something wrong with your WD2 -- perhaps a bridle tangle you don't see or a subtle manufacturing flaw that missed our careful eye -- so please send it to us so we can check it out and make it right."
He never responded. We hope he found WTMF!
WindDance dual-line parafoil stunt kites/sport kites are developed, sold, and backed by Seattle AirGear.
WindDance, WindDancing, Seattle AirGear, and AirGear are trademarks of Seattle AirGear.
Copyright © 1995-2017 Seattle AirGear.
This page last revised Mar-21-2006