Following on from this
I have spent most of my flying time since then mainly concentrating on the Utopia, trying to learn to fly it and love it.
Neither have happened to any great extent.
Let's start with a little history:- the Utopia was introduced at the KTAI in 1999 and received the only change that I know of (a change from T8 to T10 lower spreaders) in 2000. It seems that it remains for sale in the Far East
but it's been donkey's years since I heard of a new one for sale in the West and it's no longer on Flying Wings' own website
. It was designed by Martin Schob
(aka Jam Design) who gave us the TrickTail, which in retrospect looks like a gateway drug to the full-on, Class A Utopia experience.
Upon introduction it quickly gained a reputation for being an absolute bugger to fly and for plenty of breakages. Despite or perhaps because of its reputation it did develop a fiercely loyal, if small, fanbase. Front and centre of this was Brian Todd with his website "Trick the Wind", long since dead and even beyond the powers of The Wayback Machine, although some parts remain for download here
Anyhooooo...... what's it like ?
Firstly you will need to read and
understand the manual to put it together properly. It's more than possible to put it all together such that it looks OK but it's really not. There are soooooo many adjustments and alternatives that you can even put the kite together properly and it still
not fly. It isn't a kite you whip out and fly. You work your way up to that special event.
But when it has been put together and setup, well.... it's not immediately obvious why you'd want to fly this kite. Given its shape and design it is amazing that it does fly but it's very light on the lines, needs microscopic hand movements and pivots rather than turns. Axels are not, as some might have you believe
, impossible but need a very definite technique. Lazy Susans might well be impossible though. Anyone who can yoyo it deserves an award. Fades do lock in but only after a little porpoising before it settles down - every time, without fail - just watch the video
for an example.
Frankly I could try to run through a list of tricks but in all cases it's the same - your action will need to change and the window of opportunity to perform any trick is so narrow as to almost disappear. Get it right and you're rewarded with a nice move. Get it wrong and frankly anything could happen. I found trying to string moves together especially frustrating. I just couldn't get it to flow. At all.
And this really is the nail in the coffin. All the time I was trying to learn The Way of the Utopia
I was thinking that I could just pull out a kite, any kite from my bag and be having a lot more fun. I don't have an infinite amount of time to fly kites and I want to enjoy myself straight away, not labour over basics.
I am mightily impressed with the fact of the Utopia - it's amazing that it flies at all - but the experience is not as impressive. It simply is not
a very good kite. Even when I did manage to pull off a move it wasn't so transcendent that I could overlook all the frustration that accompanied it. It'll be moving along in my next sell off although I've probably just done a bang-up job of reducing its value if anyone has been bothered to read all of this.