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Matrix (Flexifoil)

Rainbow Matrix  (Flexifoil)

Ultralight version
14 panel sail design in Icarex P31
Icarex P 38 leading edge
3 dimensional panel cut
3 wrap Skyshark frame
2 mm fiberglass stand-offs (4)
Automatic trailing edge tensioning system
Outer Tip Tensioners
Wingspan: 264cm / 104
Height: 103 cm /40.5 "
weight: 197 gram / 6.9 oz
Wind range: 0-10 kph/0-6 mph
Standard version
14 panel sail design in Icarex P 31
3 dimensional panel cut
5P wrap Skyshark frame
2 mm carbon stand offs (4)
Automatic trailing edge tensioning system
Outer Tip Tensioners
wingspan: 264cm / 104
Height: 103 cm / 40.5"
weight: 248 gram / 8.7 oz
wind range: 3 - 24 kph / 2 – 15 mph
Lines: 150 - 200
Price Appr. 170

 

It has been fascinating to see a six year old design become the single most successful kite in the history of team sport kiting One possible reason is the skill limit of the pilots (mmm ..... possible) and another is the perception of what is considered the right stuff maneuver-wise to win competitions (sounds better). A third might be that, until now, almost by definition and since the concept of short line trick flying arrived, a good team kite couldn't freestyle (Hawaiian, Liteflite) and a good freestyle kite couldn't team (Trixter, Stranger). Given that team flying makes such good arena fodder and that most team flyers have been learning freestyle in their spare time (whatever that may be) it was only a question of time before some smart alec designer/manufacturer came up with a kite that would do both.

Competition Kiting
What is appropriate is that this design should come from someone who saw the potential of pure freestyle very early on, encapsulating his ideas in the kite that changed the face of flying fields for ever, Andy Preston (and of course the Stranger). What is more of a surprise is that is should be British manufacturer Flexifoil International, world famous for many things but not team kiting, who can see the possibilities in working with team kites. Not a problem of course since they are both near the top of their trees in terms of quality of flying and manufacture respectively, more a point of interest and a welcome involvement from one of the 'go aheadest' manufacturers in the high potential but under achieving area of competitive kiting.

The Matrix nose angle is relatively wide by team kite standards but the anticipated resultant instability is partly compensated for by the enormous billow right up in the nose area. There is generous depth to the whole sail in fact and a distinct though relatively narrow nose-to-trailing-edge channel created by the panel lay out and double stand-off configuration. The total span of the kite at 2.6 metres is big, accentuated by the dark band across the trailing edge which itself is tensioned and curved for minimum noise and turbulence disruption. At its rear end a wide keel section and tip winglets add drag with, finally, a snag/anti-foul line as you would expect from a kite that's going to spend a good deal of time on its back, so to speak

Bridle Options
The Matrix will come as standard with two bridle options Not two bridle settings but two completely different bridles. Fitted at factory will be the turbo system with a more conventional team/competition option to swap to if you wish. My experience was that if you really want to make an impression on the judges' clipboards with your gravel crunching square corners, make that swap. Of course I'm just a heavy handed fool from the old school of team flying, but I know synchronized square corners performed at speed will get an audience reaction time after time. Try it out with the turbo bridle anyway. I found it less stable in a stall also but obviously because of that, great to set up for axles almost anywhere in the window. With the benefit of time and practice (practice, practice) I found there was not much compromise on freestyle-ability from changing to the team bridle.

Feeling of Power
Matrix comes as standard with Icarex P38 sail and 5P Skyshark wrapped graphite frame definitely worth it for the extra responsiveness but also because the feeling of power generated by the deep sail tells you a standard 6mm frame just wouldn't be up to it, too much tip flutter and all round bendiness. Fully fitted out purpose built mouldings are being finalised as of press time Testing out in the usual range of unreliable inland winds showed me the Matrix has strong forward drive even when technically totally under powered by wind (a good range of extremely thin flying lines helps here) and speed around the wind window, either too little or too much, will not be a problem with both an ultra light and vented version available. Consistent forward speed with excellent speed control (quick, slow, quick quick, slow etc) and a range of cornering speeds from slow big and lazy to tight fast and zippy

An Axle Monster
In fact Matrix will easily turn inside its own wingtip without losing it. Matrix will slow, snap, jab, belly down and leading edge land and, although a bit of a bast**d to take off from leading edge, rolls over with ease. Care and attention is needed on take offs to keep them ruler straight, the team bridle makes them easier by far.

As expected from one of Mr Preston's esteemed kites, it is an axle monster. Even if your set up for the maneuver is less than 100% (less than that frequently in my case) and definitely if you get it right, you can pull off the axle you want: over; under; half; cascade; take off; landing. The world of mad can be yours at the flick of a wrist. Matrix can, on demand, stop dead in any direction, up down or sideways and will merrily flat spin as you marvel at its range. If I've left stuff out its either because I don't know it, don't want to give all my secrets away or I'm leaving you to try out for yourself.

Nearly Cool or Really Cool?
It's not actually the first kite to take on the "combined" challenge and for sure it won't be the last. Most people, other designers included, know when they're seeing a good thing. Matrix represents an alternative view of where competitive (team) flying can go which, looking at how recreational kiting has changed in nature and popularity (not to mention skill level) in the last three years, could make the difference between nearly cool and really cool.

 

Kite Passion Magazine
This review was taken from
Kite Passion Magazine - March/April 97

 

General Kiting Info
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Beaufort wind scale

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UK festival dates
UK stores
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kite fest photos
design and plans

Buggying
how to buggy

first lesson

buggy tricks guide
buggy pics
tandem buggying
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Power Kiting
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Flexifoils
stacking Flexis
launching a Flexifoil

spar maintenance

 

Misc
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about me
 

Extras
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