7ft Pirate Rokkaku first flight

edited January 2013 in Kites
Thought you might like to witness my first attempt at using this impressive kite.
I have never flown a rokkaku before so really didn't know how it would go. After reading lots on this forum I was a bit nervous but eager at the same time. The conditions were perfect with a light breeze, maybe 6kn or so. Line pull was 2-3lb.

The video includes assembly, launching, strato hybrid reel and a little KAV.

Py Henry Wharf by kite


  • Looking good!

  • Nice job showing a good rok launch.
  • Andrew you do have a talent in presenting your experiences, thanks for sharing.
  • edited January 2013
    Well done, Andrew.

    I continue to be very happy with my one of these kites (bought from the same source as yours), in varying conditions. The only weak point seems to be the top pocket for the spine spar, which is made of plastic and tends to tear. Other than that, it's a well made and easy-to-handle rokakku.

  • Thanks for the encouragement.

    Jim, your video and review prompted me to try this kite. Many thanks and keep up the good work.
  • Excellent results. And wicked kite! So where do you "source" this kite from?
  • edited January 2013
    Picture Pretty Kites made by Sky Dog Kites.
    More detail here
  • Andrew-

    Your presentations are very pleasing to the eye. Keep up the good work. I am looking at your Pirate rok seriously.
    It seems though, every other post re: roks includes troubles with the bridle. How was your bridle, out-of-the-box?


  • The video shows how it was, that was the first flight. Bridle seemed perfect to me, as a complete Rok beginner.
  • Andrew, I need to borrow your wind. :-)

    In the past there have been discussions about the overall shape of Roks, with the suggestion that tall, skinny Roks are more stable than those more hexagonal in shape, even to the point of making "holy man" kites with holes in them. But from your video at least, I don't see how you could ask for more stability, and your kite isn't at all tall and skinny. So maybe it's something else that determines whether they fly right, or not.

    Anyway, this one looks like a winner.
  • As with Andrew's kite, my identical one (from the same source) has flown well "out of the box" in varying wind conditions. The principal difference between this and such as the Premier Kites 78" rokakku is that this has fibreglass spars, as opposed to the carbon ones on the Premier model. This makes for a little more weight, and thus the need for slightly more breeze to fly, and also means the Skydog kite does not "float" in lulls quite as the Premier one does. On the other hand, the fibreglass bends more easily and allows the kite to adapt to stronger winds where the carbon-sparred kite would be overpowered. I tend to fly the Skydog kite more than I do the Premier one.

  • edited January 2013
    Wayback, after reading post about Roks on this forum I'm beginning to suspect that the flexy fibreglass spars make this a very forgiving kite. Early days, I have only flown it 4 times, but in under 12kn it's a dream. So far the amount of line-pull (in lb) roughly matches the wind speed (in kn) which is handy.

    I have read how with some carbon spars take a bit of effort to set the bow, with this kite you can do it with two fingers.

    The spine may be too flexy for stronger wind. It distorted and flew low in 14kn, but line-pull was still manageable and I wound it in comfortably with a strato-spool. I reckon a bridle adjustment would solve that to some extent too. Haven't touched that yet.
    The amount of bow doesn't seem to be all that critical either.
  • With soft crossbars, rokkaku lose much on performance. This kite is a workhorse, not cuddly toy. Good rokkaku has hurt! So I just think. ;O)

  • edited January 2013
    "Good rokkaku has hurt!"

    Quote of the year, love it!
  • Has hurt?..... has the potential to hurt the owner with a painful wind-in process in increasing winds.

    AN, again, another timely comment about spreader bow this time. Once I set my Rok up I rarely adjust the bow on the (carbon) spreaders. Today I did. I put minimal bow in softening winds and there was little or no effect in the performance. This surprised me somewhat despite my relative experience with the Rok (4 years).

    I appreciate what Piotr is saying, but I readily follow the Simon H mantra that slack line/low pull flying is the best, i.e. match your kite to the wind at the lowest end of necessary pull. The days of flying my PFK in 45+knot gusty winds because I can are behind me (subject to any current aerial 365 requirements).

  • I'm curious what was your feeling when you first flew the Rok, I know mine was of true happiness and calmness the kite seem to just levitate a memorable kite experience that actually got me to order a Jones Airfoil 7' ROK.
  • My first thoughts were something along the lines of "OMG that is so smooth, it's going straight up and sitting there" then I looked around with a big grin on my face wondering if anyones else was as amazed as I was. The fishos nearby were staring too.
    You're right, it is a unique experience in kite flying.
  • Rokkaku is a wall to deflect the wind, is very efficient at work, sometimes all too good. As wind power begins to grow, the decision should be fast. Fiberglass tube can break also. ;O)

  • My KAP project was just funded! I have been looking closely at this 7" Pirate, what have you found to be the upper limit on these for safe use? In Urban KAP I continually deal with dirty air and have a lot of distance between kite and camera, by the time the camera is up where I like the kite is often in very stiff wind. Urban KAP requires a crazy amount of safety concern and I would like to make sure my very limited project budget is spent wisely. Thanks!
  • I'd say 12kn is a comfortable upper limit. It distorts and flies like a bag at around 15kn.
  • Great, thanks! I've got a 6' homemade Rok with 3/16" solid fiberglass. I did this to allow a higher upper range by building in the ability to spill lots of air. This worked too well. It does spill and I have had it in very strong wind before with no issues but with spill comes deformation and with deformation comes drag. Enough drag to make a Rok fly less than 45 degress. Thicker spars are likely the answer. I know carbon is a bit lighter but the added safety and utility of fiberglass is tough to beat. I've been wanting to add in a shock cord for a bit of gust safety but have not done so yet, more to follow.

    I'm thinking this 7' Rok and a FF16 should pretty well cover the vast majority of situations, is this unwise to believe?

  • Yes Roe, you have it pretty well covered. Maybe add a PFK Nighthawk delta for stronger wind if you're after full range.
  • Wonderful. Thanks so much. The community here in link with the external sites of its members is a goldmine of knowledge and kindness. I'm so darn excited to get this project under way!
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