Synthesis SE Pilot's Guide
Congratulations on your purchase of a limited edition Synthesis SE! In this guide we've put together some tips covering features specific to the experimental Synthesis design to help you get the most from your kite.
If you’re lucky enough to own one of these special kites we’re assuming you’ve flown sport kites before and have a solid understanding of how to set up and fly a typical two-line kite.
If you have questions or feedback as you get to know it we’d love to hear from you. We’ll be more than happy to help you out and your experience will be valuable as we finalize design decisions for future products in the works.
We hope you have a great time with your kite!
-Mark and the Prism Crew
Floating Center T
The Synthesis SE’s innovative machined floating center T allows a flexible connection to the spine that reduces breakage if you crash. Soft connections like this are common on modern racing sailboats that must withstand high loads in extreme conditions.
By floating the spreaders a short distance above the spine the T fitting changes the wing geometry, reducing drag from the keel for performance in a wider wind range.
The T also provides an easy way to adjust the kite’s control response by shortening or lengthening the inner bridle legs. You can think of control response as the size of the hand motions you’ll need to steer and control it as you fly.
Machined Aluminum Leading Edge Ferrules
We’ve custom machined the internal ferrules connecting the leading edge rods. They’re made from extra strong 2024 structural aircraft aluminum with a 4 degree bend at the joint. This bend reduces stress on the frame by keeping the rods almost straight when assembled. The rods can bend farther before they break while allowing a cambered but durable wing shape for high lift and precision.
Important: During assembly be sure that the ferrules are inserted all the way into the lower leading edge rods before you apply tension at the wingtips. If they aren’t fully seated you can split the lightweight rod at the ferrule.
The ferrules are installed with hot melt glue so they’re easy to reuse if you need to replace a leading edge rod. Just heat them with a lighter or heat gun till the glue melts to remove them from the broken rod.
Molded Leading Edge Fittings
After decades of success with the original APA leading edge connector, we’ve updated the design to make them lighter and easier to use with an integrated channel for the bridle loops where they connect to the frame. Looping the bridle around the fitting rather than the frame improves control response and prevents fittings from getting lost if you ever need to remove or replace a leading edge rod.
Machined Aluminum Wingtip Nocks
Our local flying spots offer lovely views and clean wind, but more often than not we’re flying over a rocky beach with kite-eating barnacles that make it easy to break standard plastic wingtip nocks. For the Synthesis SE we’ve custom machined lightweight aluminum nocks that can’t break when you whack them on hard ground. They also make it easy to tension the leading edges accurately during assembly.
They’re glued on with hot melt glue to make them easy to remove and reuse if you ever need to replace a rod. Just use a lighter or heat gun to melt the glue and swap them onto the new rod. If you eventually wear through the grey tensioning line at the wingtip you can easily replace it with any line of similar diameter.
When we design a sport kite we spend many hours tweaking variables from sail shape to frame stiffness, balance and geometry to give the kite well-rounded performance in as wide a range of conditions as possible. But once the sail and frame geometries are dialed in small changes in bridle, standoff position, etc. still make a big difference in how the kite flies.
Many pilots prefer not to spend a lot of time adjusting their kite. But the more you fly the more you’ll be able to feel the changes that small adjustments make.
Your Synthesis SE will fly nicely in normal winds with no adjustment. But if you want to personalize it for your flying style or specific wind conditions we’ve built in several ways to adjust it that will affect the kite’s speed, pull, and how tightly it turns.
Like most framed sport kites the yellow pigtails where you attach your flying lines let you fine tune the kite’s angle of attack to change its flight characteristics.
Move them up (toward the nose) to tip the wing forward for more lift in light winds, lighter pull and and a wider turning radius.
Move them down (towards the tail) to tip the wing back for harder pull, tighter turns but less forward drive.
In strong winds you can reduce pull and stress on the frame by sliding the pigtails back up towards a light wind setting. This spills wind off of the sail, but the kite will feel a little mushier in turns.
The center T fitting provides an easy way to adjust the kite’s control response by moving the tow points laterally towards the spine or wingtips. Pulling the tow points inwards makes the kite more responsive with tighter turns. Moving them outboard stabilizes the kite adding a more “locked in” feel.
The bridle is is threaded through a micro jammer that lets you easily adjust and lock off the inner bridle legs. There’s a little yellow loop that acts as the release. To adjust the bridle, pull the yellow loop to loosen it, then slide the bridle legs to a new position and re-tighten. We’ve put three black marks on the bridle to show the adjustment range. The middle of the three is a good all-around setup but it’s easy to experiment to find a setting you like best.
Like many sport kites your Synthesis has two standoffs on each wing that push the sail out and give the kite its 3-D shape. Standoffs affect the lift and forward drive of the wing as well as how precisely it tracks. On the Synthesis we’ve designed the outer standoff on each wing to be adjustable so you can fine tune the kite for different winds and your flying style.
To adjust, simply slide the outer standoff retainer fittings along the lower spreaders to change how far they push out the sail. Slide them in towards the spine to increase lift and drive in lighter winds. Slide them out until the standoffs are perpendicular to the spreaders when you want to slow the kite down and add drag for more control in stalls and crisper cornering.
Your Synthesis uses a low stretch Dyneema line hidden in the hem of the trailing edge to prevent the kite from buzzing in higher winds. A tiny, machined jammer fitting at the tail lets you adjust the leech line tension to reduce or eliminate edge flutter as the wind comes up. Leech lines are generally a set and forget item that you only adjust when flying at the extremes of the wind range. A good rule of thumb is to leave it loose in lighter winds but tension it when the wind gets strong enough to make the sail buzz. In stronger winds, tighten the leech lines just enough to stop the noise.
To adjust: Remove the standoffs from their retainers on the spreaders. This takes the tension off of the trailing edge. Pull tension on both lines where they go into the little aluminum disc, then slide the disc down toward the kite and lock off the leech line.
Care and Repair
We’re proud of these special kites and hope they’ll be around for a long time. While many common issues can be repaired, if your Synthesis SE gets irreparably damaged we won’t be able to build a new one to replace it. So we encourage you to be kind to yours and fly it conservatively in safe conditions.
If you do run into an issue with your kite contact us and we’ll be happy to help. Damage due to normal wear and tear can usually be repaired at a reasonable cost and most repairs can be performed with a little DIY. Due to the very limited number produced we won’t stock many spare parts, but if you need a replacement part let us know and we’ll do our best to help you get back in the air.