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High Level (Level One)

High Level (Level One)

Reaching great heights.

Specifications
Model
Make
Wingspan
Height
Weight
Frame
Sail
Bridle
Wind Range
Line Strength
Price
High Level
Level One
210 cm
111 cm
300 g
Avia Sport .230/3mm stand offs
Toray Nylon
3 point, sleeved Dyneema
4 to 20 mph
75-100 ft
100

Five years ago two line flying was simple: kites just flew around and if they were any good you could probably square corner, stall and land them (good, solid precision flying) without too much trouble. Along came the radical trick of the era, the axel, and two line kites would never be the same again. Trick kites swept across the world's kite fields like a plague of locusts, stripping them of their boring old pure precision kites. Out of the axel came myriad tricks too numerous and complex to mention here. Then, as with many revolutionary activities, kite designers and fliers realised that there was still merit in some of the old school principles of flying solid straight lines, snappy square corners, steady snap stalls and impossibly crunchy snap landings. Try some of those with your latest radical trick beast and you'll get the picture. So the latest development in (competition) sport kites has been kites which will do as much of everything as possible, reliable precision and easy, steady control combined with synapse tingling freestyle trickability. There are a growing number of these all rounders on the market, among them the excellent High Level from the German manufacturer FSD/Level One.

DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION
The High Level was devised and designed by top European flier Daniel Wolfinger (Daniel won the individual section of the Guadeloupe Intercontinental Challenge in 1997) and the construction quality and attention to detail are what you might expect from a combined Swissi German project. Though slightly less than full-sized in span the kite stands tall resulting in close to a 90 degree nose angle that is very helpful for steady tracking and precision control. Add to that the massive 29cm stand-off and healthy nose billow and you've got all the ingredients for a steady but strong pulling kite. In fact the pull is inside the comfort zone, the kite being that little bit less than full-size (a vented version is available anyway for anyone who feels it's a touch too frisky in a big blow). The noticeable but not over-emphasised curve and slight camber of the leading edge are induced by much in-vogue tensioning cord rather than bungee. The fittings are a selective mix of FSD, Jaco, APA and Avia with hardtop leading edge tips. All leading edge connectors are stopper-clipped (lower leading edge above AND below). There's a double reinforced nose with Dacron band and a relatively light but tough enough nylon tape. Other Dacron reinforcements are found at the centre, stand-offs, tips and there's a nice long oblong one between the sail and top spreader. The trailing edge is tensioned with a leech line and banded. The overall workmanship is top quality. Panels are hot cut and seams not rolled in. They're sewn with a double row of dead straight stitching and the leading edge is sewn with a tight zigzag. The sail has 10 panels with a large diamond shape in the centre. Six extra small panels sewn onto the front of the sail at various points form a double layer to the decorative visual effect and the two on each side close to the trailing edge add weight, drag and a pleasant but unobtrusive amount of noise in flight, enough to accentuate those snappy turns and stalls. The test kite in black and grey was decorated in gold, giving a subtly sexy appearance. The standard three point bridle has one of those neat knot and lark's head knot quick adjustment systems on the top leg while tlie tow point itself is double lark's head knotted.

FLIGHT TEST
The High Level is a general joy to fly. Steady in the take-off with promisingly consistent tracking and turn/spin speed, it punches through square comers easily too. In fact you can be quite physical but you don't need to, the slightly reduced size facilitating a less demanding hand movement than bigger kites. The window is a good size and the kite handles well all round. Stalls are stable, helped by the extra deep billow, and it will side slide a good half of a wind window in a decently straight line. Stab and snap landings are good, the kite stays where you put it and will pull up into a tip stand and hold it easily.

From your tip stand try an axel-take off. No problem, this is a biggish 'wing that loves to axel pretty much whichever way you want to try them. And from your axel why not pop it into a 10 second fade?

A possibility witnessed. Keep trying, it's a very forgiving performer and really helps you along. Always the sign of a good one. It was found to be able to do most of the 'advanced' stuff this tester is capable of including flic-flacs, yo-yos, lazy susans, 540 flat spins and the occasional slot machine if lucky. That's an all round kite if not mistaken. Although not fitted with a trick line there doesn't seem to be a problem but it's easy enough to slap one on should you wish.

CONCLUSION
At 100 the High Level is pretty unbeatable value since it will out precision most of the 100 competition kites without any compromise on trickability. Almost everything impressed. It's not the most spectacular looking kite but looks pretty cool nonetheless. It's best not to fly it on more than 125 feet of line after which it starts to look small compared to other big wings. It's maneuverable enough to be good fun even on quite short lines but 50 to 60 feet is quite comfortable and interesting. With one or two notable exceptions (i.e. HQ) not many European kites make it into the UK these days but in terms of value for money this one is well worth a look.

Good Points Bad Points
Value for money
Genuine all rounder
Construction quality
Graphics

Verdict
Accessibility
Reliability
Design
Price/Quality ratio
Performance
Packaging
4/5
4/5
3/5
5/5
4/5
3/5

 

Kite Passion Magazine

This review was taken from
Kite Passion Magazine - Oct/Nov 98

 

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first lesson

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Misc
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Extras
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holder 14

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