Flying A Quadline Precision Figure
by Quadzilla (A Semi Well-known Seasoned Quadline Competitor) (Ed. Note: See End Of The Story)
For many fliers, the thought of flying “Precision” is somewhat intimidating. But you have to remember flying “precision” will only make you a better flier. With a rigid frame quadline kite you are flying the most precise kite being sold today. Quadline flight characteristics not only include flying forward, left and right, but also the ability to fly in reverse, hover, spin on-center, side-slides, and so forth. Though the kite will naturally fly easier in certain orientations, you should theoretically be able to fly in any direction with the kite in any orientation. Flying a precision discipline can be a very satisfying or frustrating experience. But remember, this is how many fliers get better. Each precision figure is to be flown with a relative proportion to the wind window. The figures have been designed to not only test your ability to trace a figure in the sky, but also fly it with certain “quad specific” behaviors.
Here is some advice to those who want to give it a shot:
Long Lines- The longer your lines are the bigger your wind window will be. If the wind is good- say at least 8 mph- I would recommend at least 100’ lines. If the winds are over 12 mph I would seriously consider 120’. A larger wind window will let you fly the figure on a grander scale- you are drawing a bigger picture for the judges.
Slow Flying- Fly the figure as SLOW as you can. This shows the judges you are in control of the kite. Remember your kite can’t fly as fast in reverse as it can flying forward. Each leg or segment of the figure should be flown at the same speed. Thus you will have to reduce the speed flying forward to the speed of reverse flight. Slower flight will also help you trace a more accurate line in the sky.
Appropriate Kite #1– The larger the kite, the more stable it will be. Along the same thinking, a heavier kite would be stable as well. Thus, a kite with a lightweight frame would be a bit more twitchy than one with a beefier frame. A higher mass would be less sensitive to wind gusts.
Appropriate Kite #2– A kite with vents in the main part of the sail will greatly increase the stability and smoothness of the kite’s flight. Of course the wind needs to be high enough for the vented kite to be supported. The vents tend to buffer any wind gusts and thus the kite will fly so much smoother. Smoother flight will give you more control & precision.
Finding the right combination of kite size, frame weights, sail configuration, and line length is not as challenging as it may seem. If it flies smooth and effortless- you got the right kite.
Know The Wind Window- Most, but not all, figures start at the center of the wind window- directly downwind. Your figure is being judge within the wind window. The top of the window is considered 100%. Likewise, the furthest you can fly left or right is considered 100% in each respective direction. Regardless of where the figure is supposed to start, once you call “In” you have established the starting point of the figure, and everything will be relative to that. One tip I pass on is before you call “in” but you are on the field and the judges are standing behind you, I would let the judges know that I know the range of the window. I would fly the kite to the top of the sky, making a mental note where 100% is, then I would fly down to 50% and pause- maybe making note of where 50% (or any other percentage- maybe a critical elevation in the figure). This could be the top of a tree, lightpole, bridge, or any other landmark in the background. Likewise the left and right sides of the window- fly as far as you can to the right- then pause. Fly back to center, but maybe touch the ground where 50% (or other) is. Fly as far as you can to the left and repeat the procedure, again possibly marking certain percentages with trees, park benches, parked cars, sign posts, etc. The judges have the option to ask you where the extent of your window is, and thus you will need to fly if they request as such.
Walking Is Okay- Many times a figure becomes difficult at certain areas of the wind window. The judges are looking at your kite, not where you are standing. There is no issue with walking with your kite while flying the figure. Keep in mind however, that any landmarks that you have established while standing in one spot are no longer relevant. Also, you will not be able to fully see the figure you are flying since your point of view is changing.
Pause- When appropriate within the figure, “pause” your kite to the point it its completely motionless before you proceed to the next leg or section of the figure. Not all figures will have this opportunity. Again, this shows you have complete control of the kite.
Loud and Clear- This is VERY IMPORTANT! Be sure you yell “IN” when you start your figure, and “OUT” when you’ve completed it. This tells the judges when to start / stop looking at your figure.
These tips and suggestions have been developed over a period of years competing in quadline precision. There are more techniques that you will develop on your own which would come only after flying consistently. Don’t be afraid to try and fly precision, as mentioned, at the very least it will make you a better flyer.