BILL'S BLOG

BILLS BLOG


  • Nitro4 Development by Bill Hansen

    The Nitro3 was such a successful kite we had to work hard to improve it. The fabric improvements developed for the Element3 clearly created an opportunity to implement them on the Nitro4 but, there were also other improvements based on rider feedback we felt needed work.
     
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  • Kitesurf Fabric – The Key is Weight and Strength

    At Switch, we are always on the look-out for new fabrics and materials to improve the performance and durability of our kites. As part of the Element kite development (both version 2 and version 3) we experimented with and tested a number of different canopy materials.

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  • Is your kite's leading edge as strong as it looks?

    Is your kite's leading edge as strong as it looks?

    In the last blog, we discussed the various aspects of Leading Edge Tube diameter as it relates to structure and performance of an inflatable kite. We also understand that smaller tubes may have aerodynamic advantages which must be balanced with structural considerations so the kite will not buckle or distort improperly.

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  • Kite Tube Size. Is Bigger Better?

    Since the advent of inflatable traction kites, tube size is not only a constant question for designers but also for kiters of all disciplines. Tube size debates occasionally develop online and at the beach during discussions about performance of different styles and brands. Most kiters intuitively understand that bigger tubes are stiffer. They also understand that more pressure is needed to prevent buckling, particularly at the wingtips under higher loads. Some believe that bigger tubes create more powerful kites by increasing the kites foil (wing) profile.

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  • Does Aspect Ratio Matter in Kite Choice?

    Aspect ratio has become a common term amongst kiters and sometimes, like it or not, a determining factor to some in pre-judging the viability of a particular kite. The general consensus is that higher aspect kites will be more efficient in terms of lift vs drag and correspondingly better upwind with increased glide and hang time in jumps, etc. But, how important is aspect ratio in choosing a new kite?
     
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  • Bill Hansen - 'Working the Kite'

    In lighter winds or at the bottom of the range, it seems natural to 'work the kite.' Everyone does it without thinking. Mostly, it is a reaction to the kitesurfing kite losing speed and potentially falling out of the sky. To prevent the looming disaster, actively flying the kite is the only possibility. The interesting thing about 'working the kite' is how well it works allowing continued kiting when it otherwise would be impossible.

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  • Victor

    It started off relatively harmless. A small fluff-ball struggling about awkwardly in the grass immediately in front of the mower. Lucky for him I was watching. But, not your usual small bird fallen from the nest. This one about the size of a tennis ball with big feet, sharp claws and a nasty hooked beak. Bird of Prey he was.

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  • Obsessed with Boomerangs

    I had a long career as an early morning paperboy thanks to my older brother vouching that I could do the job at a young age. It was a hilly 10km with 120 customers every day. I did the job for 8 years until leaving for University. It was at times heartbreaking in deep snow and sub-zero winter. Dogs were a constant threat. Human relations could be trying. But, it rewarded me in a number of ways. Strong legs, iron-man stamina, perseverance and an exceedingly strong throw plus sufficient funds to support my model airplane habit and later on, ground school for my pilot's license.
     
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  • Wings and Things

    I was subjected to airplanes at an early age. My father had a number of planes starting with a Piper Cub and moving on to a Cessna 195, Engineering Research 415c Ercoupes, a Tri-Pacer, and several Piper Cherokees including a Cherokee 6. They were all cool in their own way and learning to fly them (when I wasn't mowing the runway) was an adventure. The 195 was a massive radial-engined taildragger impossible to see out of when taxiing. The Ercoupes were all-metal, low-wing, tricycle gear, twin-tailed marvels like a miniature B-25.

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  • Constant Curve

    Lately, I've been seeing a number of inflatable kites on the market with highly angular segmented leading edge tubes and considerable canopy distortion at the joints. Some have only a minimum number of segments (only 1 or 2) between struts which exaggerates their visibility. To me, this just seems wrong. But, I see little if any talk of it at the beach or in internet discussions about the merits of one kite over another. It is as though most kiters just do not notice it or if they do, don't see it as a problem.

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