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Jumping Jack Flash UL, First Impressions

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Way back in the winter of 2006 I got my hands on the new Jumping Jack Flash by German Level One. Here are some insights from my initial flight ... on a very limited flying field.

Despite horrendous flying conditions yesterday I managed to take the JJF UL out for its first real spin. A thick layer of snow is covering all of the local flying spots, but I managed to find a tiny strip of snowless ground at one of the beaches. With only 3-4 meters from the water to the close to waist-deep snow, footwork was definitely limited. However, the wind was perfect and I was able to put in some decent flying.

First of all, let me just clarify that Level One has put the JJF UL together like we’re used to. Workmanship if as good as expected and the materials are well proven and up to or above pare. The kite really looks great (…if you have a taste for orange!

Jumping Jack Flash UL sitting in the waist-deep snow of winter 2006
Jumping Jack Flash UL sitting in the waist-deep snow of winter 2006

So what is it like in the air?

Definitely promising I dare say!

Due to the limited space of my flying field, I have not yet had the pleasure of exploring all its possibilities, but I can assure you that with the JJF UL Level One has included yet another top kite to their range!

Here’s a quick rundown of a few tricks I was able to perform on that 3m wide strip of dry land.

** Axels
No problems whatsoever, quite flat as well and you can do them nice and slow or lightning fast. Doubles are well within reach.

** Half Axels
Even better! Crisp and solid and linking them together are very easy making for excellent Cascades. Make sure you have the correct tension in your lines, and you can make super-fast Cascades too.

** 540’ies/Slot Machines
No problems. OK, perhaps not the flattest ones, but flat enough to look pretty in my eyes

** Fades
The fades are rock solid and very easy to maintain. The 6g brass weight at the tail end of the spine makes for a very well balanced kite. It’s easy to enter the fade from lots of different ways; from a fractured axel, pancake to fade, 540 to fade and others.

** FlicFlac
WOW! This is a FlicFlac machine! Just like the Std version the UL is very agile doing FlicFlacs. Not wildly agile (like the NTK Big Bang) but agile AND controllable! Cool!

** Turtle/Lazy Susan
It’s easy to put the kite over onto its back in a Turtle. …and from there the kite settles with the nose deep enough encouraging Lazy Susans. MultiLazies are also comfortably within reach.

No mistaking, this IS a Jumping Jack Flash!
No mistaking, this IS a Jumping Jack Flash!

** Insane
Eezypeezy! Hit them and stay put and the kite will perform the trick on its own. Just make sure to recover before you hit the ground!

** Rolling Cascades
Takes a little more timing than the Insane, but as soon as you get the timing right, they’re pretty easy to do. I managed 4 using a 20m line set and a VERY limited space for body language. Not bad at all!

** Jacobs Ladders
Not bad at all. …but the kite seems to need a tiny pause when in the Turtle position allowing the nose to drop enough to make for a clean rotation. When you get the hang of it this pause will probably be unnoticeable for the mere mortals, but it seems like this tiny pause aids the performance.

** Tip stabs and 2 point landings
The kite has got what it takes. It’s all up to the pilot and his/her timing to drive the wingtip/s into the ground.

Another snow photo
Another snow photo

The limited space of my flying field made it close to impossible to allow enough slack in the lines to do rollups. I did try a couple of times and I have a feeling the JJF UL is a kite that will do the best rollups with the two-pop method. More on this when the snow melts

** Comète
Perhaps not the trick I can do the best, but it’s getting there. For some strange reason, I struggled a lot doing cometès counterclockwise. Clockwise worked pretty fine. (With my Nirvanas it’s the opposite. Clockwise is hard, counter-clockwise a lot easier.)

** Precision
For a Nirvana pilot it takes a little while to get used to the (much) smaller input required to snap razor-sharp 90 degrees turns with the JJF, but as soon as you have fine-tuned your body language, the JFF UL delivers.

Straight trajectories are available without much adjusting and speed control is also surprisingly good.

Precision oriented stuff can also be improved by adjusting the inner standoffs, moving them into the inner setting on the trailing edge. This makes for a looser trailing edge and slows down the kite without interfering too much on its trickability.

That rounds up my experience with the JJF UL so far. I’ll be back with more on this great kite as soon as the snow conditions allow for better flying. But just let me finish by getting it straight: This kite will definitely see some serious air time this spring!

Stay tuned!

Standoff details
Standoff details

This article was originally written by Sven A. and published on AERIALIS-DOT-COM on March 8th, 2006

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