Re: Outer Space ? (COM)

Subject Re: Outer Space ? (COM)
From (Andy Wardley)
Date Fri, 8 May 1998 11:27:45 GMT
Newsgroups rec.kites

[ Having finished writing this post and gone back and read through it, I thought I better go and add a (COM) to the title. For those who don't already know, I'm sponsored by Benson kites and I've been involved with the development of the Outer Space for the last year or so. It's not intended to be an advert, rather an enthusuastic outpouring about a great kite, but it could certainly be construed that way. Hence the (COM) ]

Jens Becker  <> wrote:
> Hi! Does anybody have some news on the Benson Outer Space - I thought
> it should be available soon ;-)

As it happens, yes I have.

At the weekend Tim and I were at Weymouth festival and I took away the latest prototype of the Outer Space. This had a few small changes in the sail shape over the previous version.

I bridled it up with the Active Bridle and I flew it last night.

The kite is quite honestly a masterpiece. You get better precision than you would expect from a Phantom Elite and you get a kite that will trick like a Box of Tricks. But there the similarity ends, because it's bigger than the Box and has a little more weight (and the corresponding drive to take it happily down into light wind). This makes it slightly more controllable, a little slower and more graceful. It's capable of balancing perfectly on its front or back, spinning or fading, wrapped or un-wrapped, and its flexibility and versatility open up a whole new realm of tricks.

There is no trade off. The kite is not more tricky at the cost of being less precise or stable. About a dozen people flew the earlier protoype at Weymouth in winds ranging from about 8mph to 20mph and the kite held up superbly, despite the very choppy wind. Everyone who flew it liked it (most absolutely loved it) and it remained stable and controllable yet immensely trickable even in strong winds.

Last night I took it from about 15mph all the way down to about 5mph. No problems there, even though this was framed in 6mm pultruded carbon. This will be the standard model: 6mm Hi-Modulus carbon frame, Polycarbonate Icarex and Mylar sail, Active Bridle and a new Active Trick Line (more on that later!). We've had various prototypes framed in Avia Super-Duper skinnies and this has proved to be an excellent kite for lighter winds. I expect we might see this available as a Super-Ultralight version.

The Active Bridle not only extends the wind range of the kite, but also makes it fly smoother through the wind window. The nose automatically drops back a little when the pressure is greatest on the kite. In the middle of the window, for example, the kite will slow down slightly. At the edge and top of the window, the nose is pulled in giving it a little extra drive to squeeze the most out of the wind. Tracking is rock steady. There is a greater dynamic of turning radius meaning that a slight pull give a large turning circle, a hard pull gives a fast spin.

The bridle makes Snap Stalls and Side Slides very easy to get right and hold. With a little slack in the lines, the nose drops back and the kite remains "parked" in mid air. Unlike a standard dynamic bridle which tends to spin the kite when trying to hold a stall or slide, the Active Bridle actually self-adjusts to keep the kite level. As soon as you pressure up the lines, the nose pulls straight in and you have instant drive. No rocking. No delay. No sluggishness.

The whole range of tricks from Axels, Flic-Flacs, Fades and Flat Spins become easier because the bridle has enough movement to make the transition into, during and out of these tricks, smoother. Multiple Flat Spins and Axels are significantly easier. Cascades and Fountains are easier. The greater control you get in a stall extends to Tip Stabs/Stands and Leading Edge Drags.

It's important to note that while I rant on about the bridle, I wish to take nothing away from the kite itself. A good bridle can get the best out of a good kite and isn't a substitute for something that isn't there. It's a testament to the kite, the designer and the year or so of research that he's put into it that the kite flies so well. I can rant about the bridle because I really understand that element and the affect it has, but there's as much to say about the kite itself that Tim would be much better placed to say.

So I'll end my rant here, before the froth starts dribbling down my chin.

I'll have the kite at Swindon Festival this weekend and invite everyone to come and fly it (just as long as I get to play with it, too :-)= I never thought I'd say this, but the Box of Tricks might just have been usurped as my favourite kite.

It's not a category killer. It defines a whole new category.

Ooops, rant overflow error (ERANT2MUCH).


Andy Wardley  <>     Signature regenerating.  Please remain seated.
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