Copyrighted 2000 - All Rights Reserved - JEFF MacINNIS


   Table tuneing gives a point of reference to begin flight testing/fine tuneing.

   The first thing to do is to impart a slight bend to the spine.   Observed from the back of the kite, the spine curve will be concave.   The bend is gradual from about the area of the lower bridle point smoothly increasing in depth to about the area of a point roughly between the center of balance and the bow.   The curve continues to an area near the bow.   At about the area of the bow impart about a 15 degree or so small radius bend to "kick" the nose back.   An imaginary line running from tail to nose will reveal 3/4" inch depth of the total bend/curve + or -.   Experiment.

   Remember how I harped on testing materials with scraps?   The pliability of spine material is a good thing to know before spending hours on the construction phase.   If you have chosen to use bamboo for spine material, ( good choice ) listen to it carefully upon bending.   Some bamboos bend more easily than others.   All but the stiffest and driest of bamboos will "complain" before their backs are broken.   Upon over stressing you will hear faint crack- ling shortly before the big "SNAP".   There are ways to stress relieve bamboo but for the most part this should be done prior to construction.   If the spine snaps, consider it an inexpensive kite lesson.   If it worked, set the kite on a flat surface, front side up.   The curvaceous spine and nose kick make the kite appear as if it were some sort of evil bottom fish.   Sort a' like a Skate or something.

   There are perhaps a handful of knots kiters' in general should be familiar with.   Check a good kite, macrame` or marlinspike book for drawings and details.   Fighter kiters' can sail along quite nicely knowing but a few knots.   I use seven ( usually not all at once ) knots to construct and secure the adjustable three leg bridle.   The overhand, the double overhand ( similar ), the larks head, the square knot, the prussik ( related ), the bowline and the tiller hitch.

   To demonstrate the way bridle adjustment knots work, try this.   Cut two lengths of twine, like in type and diameter, 1' foot long and color them differently.   Loosely square knot them together at the centers.   Say for example one is black and one is pink.   Hold the ends of the black twine and pull.   Cool huh?   Now grab the ends of the pink one and pull.   Is that bitchin', or what?   Alright, re-adjust it so you again have the square knot ( this is nothing more than two interlocking larks heads ).   Hold both ends of the black twine in one hand and stroke the knot until it tightens.   Now hold a black end in one hand - a pink end in the other and tug.   See what I mean.   Pull the ends of a like colored twine and the knot comes out.   Slide it to another position and re-tighten.   A very fighter conducive hunk of marlinspike, ain't it?   Tip: Avoid using waxed line, Spectra or any slippery type materials for the bridle.   If your design requires these types of materials ( slippery ), you'll need to learn some specialized knots and applications.   The bridle should be constructed with like types and sizes of material.   Check out the article in: "From the fat kid's Notebook" entitled "Finishing it Off".   It contains a great trick regarding treatment of bridle material.

   Jeez, four paragraphs and there are only a couple of wise cracks and no jokes.   Arrgg, I'm loozin' it! No sweat, I'm only half way through one tattered dusty notebook and I got two more waiting in the wings - back stage.   Ample opportunity for a bunch more a' some juicy snappers.

   All we're going to do now is adjust the bridle to a general setting to facilitate !*flight testing*! There are only two knots to deal with; the knot ( or bead ) at the crotch of the "Y" where the upper and lower bridle legs join and the knot where the tow loop and lower bridle leg join.

   First the "Y".   This knot ( or bead ) controls the roll attitude.   A kite with maladjusted roll attitude imparts yaw.   The kite will not track straight if this adjustment is off.   First, the crotch of the "Y" should be centered over the spine with both upper bridle legs being generally equal in length.   Cinch the knot down.

   Hold the bridle of the kite so the nose and tail are approximately- 1" inch above the flat surface.   What we're shooting for is the wingtips to be level and equidistant from the surface.   The "Y" adjustment is VERY sensitive and should not require un-tying.   If one of the wingtips is high, hold the "Y" knot ( or bead ) and pull the upper bridle leg to very slightly lengthen.   This also effectively tightens the knot.   Repeat tugging on the high side bridle leg until the head, the square knot, the prussik (related), the bowline and the tiller hitch.

   The knot joining the tow loop and lower bridle leg is less sensitive.   It can be loosened and re-tightened in 1/8th" inch or so increments.   Adjust it so the tail of the kite touches the flat surface while the nose hangs about 1" inch above.   Cinch it down.   That's it!

   Hang in there little buck-a-roo! All we gotta' do now is get vertical.   I'm gonna' go grab my kite box, meet you on the field.   Oh - hey, you ever seen the picture my wife took of me; the one I got proudly and conspicuously displayed on the front of my kite box?   Its a real killer diller'.   You might say; "moving".   I'll show it to ya' when we hook up on the field.   Regresso ahorita   ( I'll be right back).   YES!

the fat kid