Well it's official. The summer of 2012 has officially ended giving way to autumn. The leaves are changing color and falling from their soon-to-be sleeping hosts, and the smooth gentle winds blow them all into my yard!
I like autumn because with the crops all harvested the flying fields become abundant. The winds tend to come gently from the west and the south and have been 6 - 20 kph (between 4 and 12 mph) and on the lighter side I really enjoy a light wind kite - typically an UL or an SUL and away I go. I like the way that even with a breath of the winds the sails load up and giddy - up. I am no expert pilot - I was told once that you have a choice, you can be an amazing kite flyer or you can sell kites and though I fly a fair bit, selling them along with other things in my life has stunted my learning curve. Well ... not to mention that I am just not all that co-ordinate either! :) Regardless, I am so enjoying the art of flying well-made kites in the soft autumn breeze and for me that's the bottom line - kites are supposed to be fun!
Of late, I have found myself playing with The Echo. The Echo is a Paul DeBakker design and is manufactured by Into the Wind Kites. I am having so much fun with this kite in next-to-nothing winds as it float for what seems like forever and still has a very real presence in the lines. I have enjoyed the liveliness of the kite, but it is quite precise. I like its balance, it's quite comfortable on its back. Wiith a gentle backwards step it is all too ready to go.
I am also impressed with the build quality. Nicely stitched and finished, and I like its size, again for the presence and the generous square centimetre's of sail. I have also come to appreciate that for a zero wind / indoor kite she is pretty durable which is good for my more spazzy moments. I am finding I am referring this kite more and more to folks who are looking for a solid low wind kite. I think its geometry, sail to weight ratio, bridle and some of the little extras like some tail ballast make this an easier kite for those looking for a thrilling, positive low wind kite flying experience.
Here's the Scoop:
Wing Span: 182 cm
Sail: 0.6 oz. Icarex
Frame: 3mm carbon tubes
Lines: 50lb (Indoors:12-14ft) (Outdoors: 25-35ft) I've been using 25ft 90lb LPG.
Wind Range: 0 - 10 kph
To me it seems like a value packed, solid performing kite for only $130. I will have to figure out how I can take good video and fly at the same time but in the meantime, here is a video of The Echo in the hands of an amazing flyer - Paul DeBakker