Larger foils - just for lifting more weight?

I regularly fly, when travelling on holiday, an ITW Ultrafoil15 and was thinking about travelling also with a larger foil (rather than my Deltas or Rokkuku) for lighter winds.

However, will something bigger like a Kapfoil 5.0 or 8.0 just lift more weight in the same wind range Untrafoil15 or would they actually work in winds too light for my Ultrafoil15 (4-12mph)?


  • Hi Ronald

    Others here will probably give you better advice, but I have four kites that I take when going abroad. Two FlowForms - a homemade 16 and an Air Affairs FF30 (the 16 is pretty close to your Ultrafoil 15) and two FLEDs (both homemade) - one 200 by 175 cms and the other roughly 250 by 185 cms. I've cut down the spars of the two FLEDs so they fit into the case I travel with - see here.

    The FlowForm 16 gets used much more than the others - its wind range matches the wind rage I find most comfortable. The FF30 will lift a rig in lighter winds, but like most foils becomes hard to manage if the wind suddenly strengthens. Sparred kites deform in such conditions so the pull doesn't escalate so rapidly.

    My rationale for using FLEDs is that setting up is much quicker than a Rokkaku or Dopero (they are easier to make too). You can buy a standard FLED commercially but you'll have to make your own if you want something bigger.

    I note you live in Twickenham. I know it well - we lived in Richmond between 1989 and 2002 (the red arrow in this photo - taken from Richmond Green - points to our house.
  • edited August 2017
    More lift in less wind from a foil is a tricky one. It's not just a matter of size. In my experience light wind foil performance comes down to fabric weight- not simply scale. Unfortunately the larger surface in light weight fabric means seam failure happens very easily with prolonged use.

    The bigger 'Ultrafoil' 30 is a 'heavy' kite so all it does is increase power in the same wind range as the 15, it will not give you lift in a lower wind speed than the 15. (In my opinion the Ultrafoil is a poor kite to begin with as it has such a narrow wind range.)

    I have had some success with Ivo van Olmen's Didak Explorer 2.7 ( 30 sq ft) but the flying angle is quite low.

    The best result I have with a low speed foil is the 4msq Colors in Motion 'Lifter' 4.0 which was light enough to give more lift in Bft 2 than the Sutton Flowform 30 but despite doing well in Bf2 it is terrifying if the wind picks up and, even worse has a 'collapse' mode in lull. The C i M lifter is no longer supplied but it is a version of the Peter Lynn Pilot.

    Ralf's KAPfoil is very stable in lull (no collapse no inversion) although the HQ models are of a heavy fabric so they sink rather than float. I have not flown one bigger than 1.6m. The KAPfoil has a terrific wind range although flying it at its top end can be a muscular experience, the 1.6 dosn't really get going until the top of Bft3.

    The Air Affairs Sutton Flowform 30 (sadly defunct) only really starts to work at Bft 3 but it will lift 1kg happily in that. Gomberg do one but I leave it to others for comment as I don't have one.

    All of the foils are tough to launch in light winds single handed. They need to be flown on a heavy line ( which doesn't help) as they pile on the power, even with modest increases in wind speed.

    Hope that helps,
  • That's very helpful, thank you both.

    I think I will hold off buying a larger foil, as it is not really the answer to my travel needs. I will stick with my Rainbow Rok and Triton for lighter winds than the ITW U15 is happy in; plus look at a Fled.

    I have now got my camera, simple travel rig and pendulum to under 500g (1.1lb) so I am not trying to lift a lot.

    Thanks again.

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