WSIKF 2019 Stack Mega Fly
Organizers: Dylan Nguyen and Alden Miller
Beating our own record of simultaneously flying 7 stacks of 44 quad line kites set on August 20, 2018 at the 2018 Washington State International Kite Festival.
Creating a virtual check in for stack fliers coming together sharing the same passion.
Eight stack enthusiasts Alden Miller, Paul Dugard, Steve Polansky, John Mason, Tom Greenfield, James Fletcher, Spence Watson and I myself, Dylan Nguyen, attended Monday’s Stunt Kite Stack event at the above-mentioned festival. We took turns flying seven stacks of 44 quad line kites for 75 minutes. Spence Watson called the shots, and we flew synchronized to non-stop music, in formations, and performed team maneuvers such as thread, ball, boxes, roll-over landing and all… It was a great sight to see and an awesome feast to be a part of.
tools or applications used
Stack can be of one type of sail (full, mid or vented sail) or progressive in sizes and venting. Flying lines range from 80 ft to 100 ft, and of 150 lb to 200 lb test lines depending on the stack size and flying conditions. Typical 13-inch handles works fine, however longer ones give better control. We utilize Facebook event, Messenger and Google Drive to coordinate and share materials.
On the first day of the festival, I watched many veteran stack fliers having fun with their stacks on the beautiful Long Beach peninsula, Washington. Soon Paul Dugard, Tom Greenfield and Alden Miller respectively rested their handles on my hands, gave some pointers, then walked away. I was hooked. Or rather, dragged down the beach. Even though I had merely hours of stack airtime under my belt, the veterans encouraged me to come fly with them and trusted me with their gorgeous stacks. Instead of competing against one another, we decided to put on a collective stack fun fly. Flying quad line stack requires more effort to launch, the strength to counter the pull and the ability to handle unexpected wind gusts higher up. The force of wind on the sail is vastly increased with the more kites in the stack and at certain spots in the wind window. The lighter the pilot’s body weight and strength, the more effort (and skills) it takes to handle their stack. It also takes more skills to hold a hover, fly in reverse, and do certain tricks. The ability to read cues and leave room for a stack to regain its stability is an added bonus when flying with other people. There we were, seven semi trucks weaving in and out of traffic in harmony on a multilane highway. Each of us came from a different state of the U.S., one from Canada and another from England but we clicked the moment we got on the field till the end of the performance. Our hands were tired, body ached but our hearts all filled with joy! It was hard to wipe the smile off of our faces. It was currently the biggest stack fly, especially with team maneuvers, with the most stacks and kites ever in the U.S. Posted videos went viral and has sparked a renewed interest in stack flying and the challenge aspect of doing tricks with it as one kite. It is great to see many being inspired to join and being creative with new aspects of stack flying. Many festivals have gone by and we keep reminiscing about that fun fly. It dawned on me that we should do it again so Alden Miller and I created a Stack Party @ WSIKF event on Facebook in February 2019. That virtual bulletin board becomes a place where people check in, ask questions, share tips, videos and photos… Some have learned to fly it for the first time, some pulled out forgotten stacks, a few made their own...
Stacks flying in group involves follow the leader in simple moves like an infinitive figure and 180 turns. When Spence Watson assumed the lead position, team moves like thread, boxes and ball… were thrown in. The initial ‘Curse you, AquaScum’moment (Finding Nemo movie, as they tried to keep it PG-13 for “some” folks) soon turned into a fantastic triumph on the demo field! We are planning to do more complex team moves with stacks this year.
Now this wasn’t a mistake or failure, just something fun to share. Had I known Tom Greenfield was going to go Facebook live on me when I first flew that 8-stack of his, I would don the widest grin and instruct my feet not to turn into noodles!
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ideas for next generation?
THE MORE THE MERRIER this year at the same festival, same Stunt Kite Stack event on Monday, August 19, 2019 in Long Beach, Washington. All of the original eight pilots but Tom Greenfield are planning to attend. As of this writing, June 2019, there are 15 additional pilots have checked in, with a collective 30 stacks of almost 200 quad line kites. Ages range from 12, my brother Cardin Nguyen, to 70 and better… Clearly kiting is one of the few sports/hobbies that spans multiple generations and crosses geographic and language barriers. It’s going to be epic. We will update with photos and videos.