61/49 setup and tuning

  • Lay the rolled kite on a flat surface and unroll it towards you.
  • Lay open the spine/keel, and join the two pieces. Tension the tail.
  • If you’re not familiar with the tensioning on the KMac Fab. kites, you can watch a short video on tensioning your keel.
  • Insert the keel standoff into the TAPA fitting. You will likely need to turn the fitting a little to the side and then turn it back after inserting the standoff.
  • Make sure the sails and lines are split, side-to-side, on both sides of the keel and nothing is twisted or fouled.
  • Insert the male spreader into the T fitting and make sure it’s seated fully. you should be able to pull the first wingtip fitting over the end of the spreader. Again, make sure nothing is fouled or twisted.
  • Flip the kite over and install the other spreader over the ferrule. Make sure it’s seated fully. It’s very important that you assemble the spreader at the T first and then tension the wing. If you do it the other way around, you will likely crack the end of the tube.
  • When you’re ready to tension the spreaders, rest the assembled tip on the ground or against a wall, tree, etc. Double check that you’re still fully seated at the T. Push down to bow the spreader and install the tip fitting over the end. Please don’t do this with the end of the spreader pointing at your head!
  • Install the jib standoff into the spine fitting. Again, you will probably need to turn the TAPA fitting a little to the side to allow installation.
  • Check again that nothing is twisted or fouled. Install your bridle on the pigtails with a larks head. There is no front or back, the pigtail is in the middle.

Does your kite look like this picture? » Get yourself a cold drink and admire your fine assembly job. Go fly. (but read the rest of this page first!)

Notes on safety

  • The very nature of a “controllable” kite is that, at heart, it’s really not in control. You are only able to fly a stunt kite with any level of control because you are giving it constant input and making constant correction. Try making a vee leader , hooking it up to your stunter’s tow points and flying it off one line. It doesn’t work because you take out the most important variable, you.
  • The 61/49 moves into a little different territory than your stunt kites, into the “semi-controllable” and “interactive” range. Like a fighter kite, the 61/49 will only fly in a straight line when it has direct tension on the line, which causes the frame to flex and the sail to change shape. When you relieve tension, either directly, by giving slack, or by flying to the top of your wind window, the 61/49 will stall, flare and turn. Which way it turns can be somewhat controlled with practice, but it’s never 100% certain. Be very aware of other people and kites around you.
  • Interactive means that you are going to be involved with your 61/49 on an up-close-and-personal basis, especially in low to no wind flying. When the 61/49 is on the ground, you can often relaunch by simply pulling on the line when the nose comes around. If you’re close, and the nose is pointed at you when you tug, the 61/49 is coming AT YOU. The 61/49 will glide backwards as well as forwards, I think maybe even a little faster. If the kite is flying away form you, close up, and the keel is lined up directly away, a tug on the line can possibly pull the 61/49 right back AT YOU.
  • *Protective eyewear, like a good pair of no-shatter sunglasses, is highly recommended when being “interactive” with your 61/49.* They’ll also protect your eyes from the sun, especially important while staring wildly into the sky and grinning profusely.
  • The 61/49 is not inherently dangerous, but it does require a certain level of responsibility on the part of the flyer. Think of interactive like a boomerang or yo-yo, it can come back and bite you if you’re not careful.
  • Have fun with your 61/49, but please remember, safety first and always

 Tuning your 61/49 for glide and flare…

(Please click on the picture to the right to open it in a new window or tab.)

  • Basically, the glide is controlled by the relationship between the front pair of sails (jibs) and the rear ones (mains). As you raise the rear of the jibs, the 61/49 will glide further and climb(flare) less.
  • In extremely low to zero wind, when you want to fly your 61/49 overhead 360 degrees, you’ll want to raise the rear of the jibs to increase the glide and reduce flare. You can take it too far and reduce flare so much that your kite doesn’t want to come about at the end of it’s glide, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. I’ve been flying mine in zero wind with the tensioner about 2 1/2 inches above the mark on the adjustment line (string thingy). When tossed forward from the tail, I like the 61/49 to glide forward relatively flat for about 20 feet before it starts losing forward speed and flares into a stall.
  • As you increase and decrease the length of the “string thingy” to raise and lower the angle of your jibs, you’ll also want to move the “connector widget” so the “stick doo-dad” keeps rearward tension on the jibs.
  • Your 61/49 was designed to be flown in very light to light-ish winds, around 2-8MPH. Your bridle will probably not need adjustment and you’ll notice that there is no front or back to it. The tow point is right in the middle.
  • I’m recommending that you fly on heavier line than you would normally expect to use, for safety of handling. You’re going to find yourself flying your 61/49 with the line sliding through your fingers a lot. Small diameter line will cut! I fly on 130# line even in zero wind. *For safety purposes, I’d also recommend wearing light leather gloves.* You’re also likely to fly with a pile of line on the ground around your feet, so be careful out there!