Mission (Dot Designs)
This one will not self-destruct in five seconds
New designers are still out there, working on their own, prepared to give ft a go. One such is Dot Designs, otherwise known as John Taylor, another flier local to Mullin Kites.
The sail is a 16 panel layout m two colours with a large plain centre area and a series of different sized triangles radiating from the stand-off point, finishing with a small tip triangle joined with a vertical seam. The trailing edge is hemmed with a band and has a continuous tensioning leech line. Leading edge, centre, spine and stand-off reinforcements are all in Dacron with a super tough Dacron and webbing nose. Stand-off points are double reinforced on the rear with Mylar/laminate. Seams are all rolled in 'French' style, all, including the leading edge straight sewn. The sewing is generally pretty good and reasonably accurate. Wing tips are bungeed and the spine bottom is velcroed and finished with a trick/snag line. The trailing edge is curved along its full length and quite severely cut away. As well as the spine/top spreader reinforcement the spreader is fitted with a grab-on foam protector to prevent wear. The frame fittings, centre, leading edge/spreader, wing and spine tip
and stand-off spreader grabber are Tradewinds. The only exception is the stand-off sail grabber which is the mega efficient L'Atelier screw in flush fitting job, safest on the market in every sense. All leading edge mouldings and the centre are stoppered in place and the whole thing looks ready for some heavy treatment. The frame in the £90 version, is a standard bulk manufacture 6mm Pro-sport carbon/epoxy tube with 3mm carbon rod stand-offs Other frame and sail options are available with a Sky Shark 5P straight tube frame which kicks the price up to £1 20. There are an ultra-light and two vented versions, one with vented panels and one with vented tip~ The bridle is a Dynamic/Turbo configuration made from Dyneema cored black polyester and with clearly marked factory settings. The sail sits relatively tight to the frame with a single stand-off each side of 19m depth. There's a small, smart Dot Designs logo patch between the centre and tail.
Field assembly is straight forward enough although surprisingly, considering its target market, not covered in the rudimentary instructions. For a good steady takeoff the kite needs every bit of the 6mph bottom end of its wind range. The combination of turbo bridle, heavy 6mrn frame and relatively flat sail means it really needs to powered up through the first 10 to 15% of the window. Once airborne the kite moves around at medium forward speed with a decent sized lateral wind window at ground level. The kite's physical properties do affect its overall handling. Moving further around the window the Mission is reasonably comfortable although the top edges of its window are somewhat closed in. Tracking is reasonably steady in smooth wind conditions but the kite stutters in gustier, less friendly conditions.
The kite will perform up and down wide loops and tight spins comfortably with variable turn rate. Square or precise angled corners are less steady, especially when coming down the window. All the same it is a decently steady kite in most standard flying manoeuvres It will perform downward and horizontal snap landings okay and will hold a steady tip stand. Stalls and snap stalls are a little difficult to hold steady. Likewise a sideslide is difficult to take a long way. Ground recoveries are okay with leading edge take-offs easy on or near the edge, rollovers needing a little more care not to tip wrap frustratingly often.
Going into some of the more 'tricky' freestyle manoeuvres you find that the Mkssion will do most of the basic stuff quite well. Thus, single under and over axels, half axel, axel landing and take-off and coin toss all work reasonably
well with the occasional pleasant surprise when the kite gains height coming out of its axel. Going manoeuvres such as cascades it was difficult to get more than two or three steps at any one time. Similarly, moving from one trick to another was too unreliable to persevere with. 540s work but minus 100% tip wrap free reliability (the vented tip version really zips round almost without fail). The Mission will fade quite steadily but didn't seem to want to lazy-susan at all. Yo-yos and flic-flacs didn't get past the second step.
In many respects the Mission is fitted out to the highest standard with all the latest ideas making the price a real bargain. It is made to be a minimum fuss, maximum reliability package. The 'competition' frame would no doubt solve some of the minus points, but that works against the kite's 'entry level' target market concept. However, it is extremely tough and took a very unfriendly wind and a number of heavy crashes without a break. Anyway, most things listed as minus points are in the realm of advanced 'competition' style flying that is beyond where this kite is supposed to take you. As a first time big kite purchase there's quite enough in the Mission to get your ninety quid's worth many times over. Final verdict? Mission, accomplished but coulld do even better.
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