Phantom Stack PowerkiteshopYou don’t have to be flying long to discover the wind doesn’t always play when you want it! There’s nothing more frustrating than turning up at your flying site only to find that the predicted 15mph is clearly happening elsewhere. You either turn around, and make the 120mile trip home or you do what the Powerkiteshop team do and build a 54 square metre traction beast!

The stacking images you see here are the result of that spontaneous decision to do just that, If you decide to do any similar venture don’t do it in too strong a wind and apply common sense as it could be dangerous!

Stacking kites isn’t new, it’s done often. I can remember seeing Flexifoil’s Joost Meijerink holding onto over 208 stacker 6’s in 1993 and tethered to a three ton truck in France, not only did it pull like crazy the spectacle alone was memorable and fantastic.

More unusual is the stacking of four line kites because of complex bridle systems that are built into land based ram air kites. The stacking of Lei’s or Peter Lynn Arc kites however can be real easy and expands the possibilities in more ways than you may initially think.

To inflate arcs you’re best with about 8mph minimum though by manoeuvring the kite around the sky with effort you can get them fully inflated and flying in less. We had our windmeter maxing out in gusts at 4.8mph!! Not good.

Phantom Stack Powerkiteshop

The ‘Plan’ was to fly each kite individually, get each inflated, then add a kite to the stack until we couldn’t hold anymore power safely. The stack would be the 18m at the back, with the 15m, 12m, 9m stacked in front respectively.

Not so easy, the arc’d kite has a span it prefers to fly at and if you prevent this from happening it doesn’t want to fly too well. Alas, logic or any sophisticated calculation at this point was not an option and a swift decision to use 6m stacking lines was applied.

First up in the stack was the 18m and 15m and it’s a fact that usually the bigger the kite the slower it is and stacking two big kites doesn’t make the situation any better. It’s worth noting that small tweaks can make all the difference.

Our stacking lines were just made up of equal lengths of looped end line but by attaching the stacking line further up the front attachment line on the kite you effectively bring the nose of that kite forward speeding up that kite.

Phantom Stack Powerkiteshop

On larger stacks the shortening of the attachment line may need increasing by small increments from the first kite and increased progressively on kites further up the stack. Experiment with what you’ve got.

Going back to Big Kites being slower it was mentioned that perhaps that more speed may be achieved from two 9m Phantoms rather than one 18m though we didn’t manage to try this on the day.

Light winds and big stacks do slow the turns down. A feature of the Phantoms is a Power Adjustment Strap within the foil which by many doesn’t often get tampered with, however it is worth experimenting with the strap to change turning speed and bar pressure.

The 18m and 15m with a 6m stacking line worked a treat and at first this project looked as if it was going to be easy.

Logically we‘d now be adding the 12m and 9m in front of the stack but in actual fact this didn’t happen. The 9m was the next one up but despite many attempts could not get this set up to fly.

Phantom Stack Powerkiteshop

At the time we put this down to the wing span of the 9m requiring more than what we had to fly freely on and so the juggling began.

The 12m produced a similar and even more difficult problem, collapsing and never quite getting stable flight.

What was to prove the most effective for us on this day was the 18m, 12m, 15m and 9m and with hindsight longer stacking lines certainly would have improved the set up.

When the full Phantom stack was launched they soon began pulling riders along without a problem, speeding through the air and quick enough to loop through the sky to generate that extra boost when needed.

Overall despite it being a ‘No wind day’ we all learnt something about stacking phantoms, produced something real special with traction kites and instead of sitting and getting bored on a beach we produced a 54sq. metre rig that actually enabled us to buggy and board. Good Day.

Phantom Stack Powerkiteshop

John Eaton
www.powerkiteshop.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phantom Stack Powerkiteshop