home

welcome
kite reviews
kiting terminology
coping with wind
Beaufort wind scale
kiting dangers
UK kite stores
US kite stores
UK Festivals
kite fest photos
design & plans


Buggying
how to buggy
buggy: first lesson

buggy tricks guide
buggy photos
tandem buggying
kite buggy e-list


Power Kiting
kite jumping
kite surfing
kite skiing


Flexifoils
stacking Flexis

Flexi launching
spar maintenance


Misc
kiting links
KiteAstrophy
kite fest photos
the kite bag
sky surfer
sanibel 18
holder 14

aquaria

guitars
about me


 

Area 51 (Mullin Kites)

 

What are they keeping at Area 51 in the USA? How do you get to see one? What happens to you if you see one? Or get to fly one? Kite Passion breached security long enough to get the low-down and the high-down on this strange new identified flying object, right behind the controls.

Area 51 (Mullin Kites)

This information is totally classified and only accessed with code red security clearance *

Specifications
*You have now gained clearance to access the specification file.
Make
Name
Dimensions
Sail
Frame

Stand offs
Bridle
Opt.wind range
Rec. lines
Price zone
Mullin Kites
AREA 51
183cm x 87 cm
Iarex PC31
Excel 5.5mm carbon fibre tube
3mm carbon fibre tube
Turbo with active 'flux capacitor'
4 - 20 mph
80-150 lbs / 50-75 '
85

Area 51 is also the new kite from Mullin Kites, designed for them by hot trick fliers Patrick Meurier and Amersham's very own international man of mystery, the alien being they call Wink. In essence the Area 51 is another small trick kite fitting well in its price position at 85. Take a closer look at the details and get to know its less familiar qualities and you soon find that this is indeed, as the instruction set has it, an identified flying object capable of the very latest in radical 'alien tricknology'. You soon begin to understand how it can expand your flying into a new dimension, making possible the newest, most exciting tricks being flown today (Monday).

 

DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION
Mullins have opted for rolled in 'French' style seams in the six paneled Icarex sail rather than the flat glued and sewn version that's so hip these days. The Dacron leading edge is straight stitched and all the sewing is excellent quality, neat and perfectly accurate. The tensioned, leech-lined trailing edge is cut curved in all but two places, those being the clearly marked air flow channels

running from the nose of the kite to the rear. These have a straight cut flat edge. There is a strong Dacron and webbing nose and a both-sides Dacron centre reinforcement. The spine is neatly velcro-d into place and the bungee holes at the wing tips are through a well-tough two layers of doubled back Dacron. There's no patch under the top spreader to prevent a friction hole because the Area 51 comes fitted with an much better foam sleeve on the top spreader fixed in place at the right place.

Frame fittings are APA for the stoppered leading edge/spreader connection, Tradewinds tip and centre mouldings and spar grabber along with the super cool and totally flush L'Atelier screw in stand-off/sail fitting guaranteeing no line snags on the rear and no unwanted stand-off pop-outs. There's a nice touch with the can't-come-loose trick line which goes through a hole drilled in the tip moulding before being fixed with a simple thumb knot.

What about the special features that give the Area Slits special flying characteristics? Let's have a look at the trailing edge of that channel formed down the sail by the coloured panel.

It's cut dead straight then stiffened with a flat plastic board and a piece of fibreglass rod and sewn over both sides with Dacron. It is not in fact heavy and elaborate and looks very neat. It also holds the channel open with only one stand-off needed where other kites might use two so probably saves weight in the end. It also keeps that section of the trailing edge absolutely straight, which seems to count for something as will become apparent later on. The kite comes in many colour ways but always with the distinctive orange or yellow channels. One of these carries the funky screen-printed Area 51 logo complete with spinning UFO.

Next, the new Area 51 tweak to the turbo bridle, the 'flux capacitor'. This takes the Active system's extra bridle leg one leg further, linking the extra leg with another extra leg running to the outhaul. It makes a three point extra bridle between the tow point and the sail and helps control and accentuate the kite's ability in trick manoeuvres to stay flatter longer enabling a whole series of wacky tricks. But there's even another extra bridle leg running from half way along the outhaul down to the tail, adding a bit of extra cornering power.

All in all the kite is very professionally put together with some genuine innovation one or two very nice finishing touches The Area 51/X File style package comes through in the humorous but helpful instructions and 'will be a key part of the promotion and advertising behind the project. But how did the kite stand up under the rigorous flying examination it underwent at the secret KP Test Site?

 

FLIGHT TEST
The anonymous pilot decided to approach the craft initially as a virtual beginner to see how good it would be simply to fly around the sky and it passed comfortably. Take-off is steady and forward speed is comfortable giving ample time to plan manoeuvres. Loops and spins are smooth with consistent turn speed and it simply isn't able to over-accelerate like some super fast, hard to control trick kites. It has a decently large window and good tracking all round including very easy to hold high and low passes. It will, with a little practice, square corner quite well and sits in a stable stall easily The generous billow in the sail helps, as does the close to 90 degree nose angle accommodated within the noticeable curve all along the leading edge.

Moving on to some of the fancy freestyle flying you'd look for in a trick model like this tests showed the Area 51 to be a no limits flying craft, with one outstanding and fascinating capability. Testing within the OWR (optimum wind range) guidelines found all sorts of axels easily accomplished, its fast and very flat rotations making double axels a reasonable doddle. Flat spins' 540 flat spins, slot machines, flic-flacs and yo-yos just come rolling out of it with relative ease. It's brilliant though how easily this kite can move straight from one trick move to the next. Almost anything you can find on a trick instruction video is in the Area 51 just waiting for you to bring it out of yourself. The Flux Activator and Wink variant bridle adaptations make a lot of what happens happen.

Nowhere is this truer than in the trick at which this kite excels: the backspin. The Area 51 is one of the most comfortable kites to take you through tricks involving it lying on its front and back. So, pop the kite into a fade (also very helpfully easily achieved), pull - but don't yank - on one line and the kite will rotate on its back executing a backspin. Time it just right and successive line pulls 'will keep the kite spinning round, and round, and round, and round. It's equally good in the lazy Susan and back-flip type maneuvers and the ease with which it does these things make it a great kite for a relative newcomer. Easy enough to fly around with, easy enough to trick to turn you into a grand trick master. Not only that, it's all possible without needing to make a single adjustment to the kite, just flying it comes out of the bag from the Mullin Kites secret underground manufacturing plant. Only thing that could improve Area 51's performance is the ability to 'dead' launch. Nevertheless, it's very recoverable from most of the trick fliers' inevitable on-the-ground situations you can get into.

 

CONCLUSION
Our report on this UFO concludes that the Area 51 is, as suspected, a secret of potential world importance waiting to break. Once the knowledge is out there may be no stopping the backspin phenomenon before it's too late.

This kite encourages trick flying but not as we know it. If you see one grab it and take it immediately to your nearest flying field for positive identification. It may be classified now but Area 51 could blow the whole thing wide open any day. The truth is out there.

 

 

GOOD POINTS
BAD POINTS
Precision
Construction quality

 

A few line hangups
VERDICT  
Accessibility
Reliability
Design
Price/Quality ratio
Performance
Packaging
4/5
3/5
3/5
4/5
4/5
3/5

 

Kite Passion

This review was taken from
Kite Passion Magazine

General Kiting Info
home
welcome
kite reviews
terminology
coping with wind
Beaufort wind scale

safety code
kiting links
UK festival dates
UK stores
US stores

kite fest photos
design and plans

Buggying
how to buggy

first lesson

buggy tricks guide
buggy pics
tandem buggying
kite buggy email group

Power Kiting
kite jumping
kite surfing

 

Flexifoils
stacking Flexis
launching a Flexifoil

spar maintenance

 

Misc
kite bag
KiteAstrophy
sky surfer

about me
 

Extras
sanibel

holder 14

aquaria

guitars


Send Comments  The Power Kite Site
1998-2001 kitepower dot com
The Power Kite Site - www.kitepower.com



k i t e p o w e r   d o t   c o m


This website is hosted by
This website is hosted by www.kites.org ... thanks!