I've been flying
a fighter, made by Jeff Howard at PKC, for several months now.
It's a totally modern little thing compared to a traditional fighter.
It's about 20"x 23",
framed in .070 Carbon and mine has a standard nylon sail.
New models are clothed in Icarex (very colorfull!). The frame is
pretty unusual, a second "half spine" runs from the nose to about the mid
point. This acts as a brace, allowing you to bow the fairly flexible spine
into a ridgid arch. The arch adjusts the sail tension from slack to drum
tight. I've never flown such an adjustable fighter!
As the high tech
construction makes it very light, the Jeff Howard fighter
can be flown in almost any wind. I find that in 0-2mph conditions I can
have a blast flying with a very light line (carpet thread is nice). If the
wind puffs for a minute I send the kite out a ways, as the wind dies I keep
it in the air by gradually brining line in or even stepping back a ways.
The guys flying their $400 SUL stunt kites are envious!
In steady winds the
kite can go all over the sky with just a tug. Of all my
fighters this is the only one that still feels responsive out past 100'.
I've pestered box kites and dragons way up there! I love using my new Triad
"box" as a target. The Triad gets bumped and tumbles, then pops back up.
This is also the
first fighter I've done much ground work with. I bring it
in at an angle and tumble it across the grass. The almost square shape
allows it to "roll" on edge. I'm working on getting it to do two
revolutions and stop nose up ready for takeoff. At this point I just give
it a tug when the nose is coming around and it zooms off into the sky. In
light winds I can bring it in and stall it just above the ground. It
settles to the ground face down, waiting for a sharp tug to send it
levitating back into the air. It actually slices through five to ten feet
of air straight back at me before the wind gets ahold of it. It's serious
hand over hand action bringing in the slack to have any hope of control
once it takes off!
The modern construction
of this fighter makes it extremely durable. The
commonly available framing rods make it easy to repair if something does
happen (like it gets crunched in the trunk of your car, I don't think you
can break this thing flying it).
I don't know if these
are available everywhere, but you can see 'em and buy 'em
on the Gone With The Wind kite shop site http://www.gwtw-kites.com