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
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
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!!
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.
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.
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
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.
To see video footage of the phantom stack – check