At last my parcel form KAPshop arrived and I was keen to see how this new flowform by Ivo van Olmen compares to the Becotized Sutton FF30. These kites bear the name of their designers so I feel confident in the designs as fit for purpose. I flew them both, back to back on the same 30m of 250DaN in 10 minute sessions.
A fairly rough Westerly airflow gave a wind speed running at 11mph gust dropping to 6 at lull.
The 2 kites are about the same size and come with a strong recommendation for KAP, the Sutton is a little lighter with a softer feel to the fabric than the Explorer. The lift, line angle and pull are about the same for both kites with the Explorer being easier to launch single handed- it finds its shape without blowing inside out like the Sutton.
The Explorer uses a different airflow design to the Sutton, it does not use air intake holes in the lower wing skin and vents in the upper, it uses a simple vent at the rear of the 2 middle cells. The ‘ram’ air in the 2 outer cells is balanced by holes in the internal cell walls: The Sutton uses upper and lower vent holes:The keels on the Explorer open deeper on the outsides and sideways cell collapse didn’t happen even though it got knocked about a bit; a lesson learned from Christian Becot?
The big difference betwen the two is the movement of the kite, the Explorer has a tendency to rock to left and right in gust whereas the Sutton FLOWS with the wind smoothly. This is not a drastic difference and certainly I’ll be flying my camera from Ivo van Olmen’s kite soon, the Sutton behaves better but it has the benefit of Chritians research applied to it. I feel the Explorer is well behaved enough not to warrant modification yet: it flew unadjusted straight out of the bag. In a straight line. I’m going to miss the Sutton Flowform but the van Olmen Explorer is a pretty close replacement!The Sutton flows with the wind smoothly: it’s not easy to see but in this shot- the drogue is pulling to the right (of the flying line) but the kite has barely moved from its downwind line: its movements are slow and smooth.
These 2 shots are about .2s apart and show the Explorer’s ‘rocking’ tendency. This is not serious, just different to how the Sutton moves. It’s possible the ‘Y’ tail line used by the Sutton is a more effective damper of this movemet so if it gets annoying I’ll add attachment points for the towing line to the tips of the trailing edge and see. Both kites sank as the wind dropped and neither would lift my 800g rig in 6mph.