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S4 (Mullin Kites)
a wink another IFO takes to the skies
223 x 99 cm
G Force 'B-Tweeny' Standard lower spreaders/rest in 6mm Pro sport
Icarex PC31 and Mylar laminate
Turbo with active flux capacitor
2 - 18 mph
80-150 lbs / 70'
Identified Flying Objects exist
in the skies over large Parts of the UK, Amersham in particular. The
immense success of Mullin Kites' Area 51 freestyle kite has prompted them to move onto a
slightly bigger kite, the S4.
It's slightly less than full competition class freestyle kite aimed at the serious recreational flier and with half an eye to the competition scene.
Once out of its tough nylon bag assembly is straight forward, just watch the extra bridle leg to avoid snagging it behind the spreader rods. The tensioned curve of the leading edge becomes apparent during assembly. This and the high profile/low aspect ratio are well compensated by a 25 cm stand-off depth.
Polyester seams on the 8 panel Icarex and Mylar laminate sail are French style, rolled right in for a smooth finish, save the trailing edge. The Mylar seams are laid down flat and glued then sewn. Leading edge is in Dacron; nose Dacron and webbing reinforced with further Dacron reinforcements at the centre plus
a velcro and Dacron band spine tip fitting. A laminate patch at the top spreader/spine point prevents undue wear and tear. It has both leech and trick lines. The trademark stiffener in the trailing edge creates the clearly channel in each half of the sail, neatly done with a wide double layer of Dacron over a 3 mm carbon rod and flat plastic strip.
The frame is a composite using the new G-Force 'B-Tweeny' standard rod in the lower spreaders for extra stiffness, 6 mm Pro-sport everywhere else. Fittings are Tradewinds except for the centre which is an Avia/G-Force internal/external combination. The stand-off/sail fitting is the L'Atelier screw-in version, no snags, no popoffs. Leading edge fittings are stoppered to keep the frame fight and responsive.
The bridle uses Dyneema-cored Dacron. It features the Meurier/Wink set up turbo variant, the suitably mysterious Flux Capacitor.
All in all the finish is excellent and it certainly looks the part.
The kite handled the range of wind conditions pretty well, still just about driving forward at the bottom end on 80 lbs (even better if you've got 50 lbs) line and not pulling too hard at the top, even on
150 lbs lines. The kite felt solid on the end of the lines reflecting the deep billow of the sail and flew steadily all over the window. Even high up it still had plenty of lateral movement. Tracking is smooth, speed medium and it will square or angled corner crisply with a small amount of snappy push/pull hand movement. With all its various bridle appendages it has an amazingly variable turn speed, everything from tight in- tip spins to huge smooth loops. The kite generally has good speed control response and will accelerate and slow/ stop/stall well.
Groundwork is a doddle with no tip wrap problems and good recoverability. It snap and spin landed quite easily but when that wasn't the case and it crashed (it took all crashes without complaint or breakage) it had all the recoveries in its locker: rollover, leading edge, sleeping beauty, belly down, elevator, headspring, etc. It holds a tip stand and moves easily to some tricks and take-offs. It stalls and holds it comfortably and will side slide considerable distances.
Like its smaller Area 51 cousin, this kite loves to trick. It will axel slow or fast. Multiple axels roll out of it, cascades and fountains too with a good feeling of control through the manoeuvre. Coin
tosses and axel take-offs/landings come smoothly. Half axels and slot machines flow easily and the kite is in its element with some of the more advanced flat tricks. 540 flat spins are smooth and reliable. It will flic-flac beautifully, either from a belly out or popping it into a fade from an axel. Turtles/flip cuts backwards are comfortable and lazy susans nice and slow. Serious backspin freaks are getting close to the 100 mark in continuous sequence, often able to stop and reverse spin to avoid overtwisting the lines. Basic instructions for this latest hot trick are in the booklet you get with the kite.
All in all this one impressed as much as Meurier/Wink's earlier, smaller version. It's not the normal way round to do it, going from small to big but they've accomplished their mission without question. It's not quite a direct scale-up but close enough and with the same innovative features and professional presentation that should further establish these alien tricknologists in the UK market and scene. The extra sense of comfortable presence and slightly slower speed of the S4 means you always feel in control, a great place to be.
Attention to detail
of spreader/bridle snag possibilities during assembly