PL Phantom Overview
by adamski on Friday 10 December 2004
You MAY have heard of these Phantoms… they are the flavour of the month on the forums and everyone seems to have a view… it matters not if they have flown them. A review by (And many thanks to) Adamski
I was happily flying my 7.3 and 9.5 Frenzies, putting up with the constant collapsing in the gusty inland flying areas I have to use most of the time. My local shop got a 15m Phantom on two week demo and I was first in the queue for a play!!
One week later and my frenzies were gone… being replaced with phantoms, here is how I got on and why we like them so much!!
First of all… these kites are marked up as expert only kites… don’t let that scare you off! Any hooked in kite takes a fair level of commitment and these are no exception. If you want to learn to go high and fast these may be your way forward… just start in lower winds.
They come in an Orange rucksack with a stylised Phantom screen printed on the back, the sack is expandable for leaving the spars fitted for a fast packdown. There are many and useful straps and clips on the exterior, including a board holder which can be hidden away when not required.
The spars are a bone of contention… they are great because they are lightweight Carbon Fibre but SUCK quite badly because they split strands off which lodge painfully in your skin!!
As with all the other Peter Lynn Arcs they are available as Kite only or ready to fly. Kite only means you get the kite, spars, rucksack, instructional video (why not a DVD?) and best of all… a Phantom t shirt. Ready to fly is all of the above but with a Zero4 bar and a set of nicely colour coded lines.
The quality of the lines has yet to be proven to me… I have seen one snap and have seen two sets “go fluffy” and need replacing.. PLs warranty is top quality though.
There are five kites in the range 6/9/12/15/18. Each is available in only one colour, if you see a Red one up the wind will be howling, yellow will mean a quiet wind day! Peter Lynn specify wind ranges for land and water for all of them but the six metre kite which is land only due to it being a bit mental. They are all a 6.5 Aspect ratio making them about as extreme as it gets.
On land you will be covered from about 3 knots up to 35 (ish) and over water 7 to 40(ish again)
If you have never set an Arc up before you will be about to wonder if you did the right thing my first set-up took about half an hour!!! Once you have the knack it takes only a few minutes longer than a traditional foil.
Each kite also has a recommended bar length… the 6 and 9 metre kites having the tiny 40cm bar, there are HANDLES on the market which are longer than this!!
We have found that the MOST important element to successful launching is proper inflation… give the kite time to fill well and it will launch first time… try to launch at less than 75% full and it will “clap it’s hands” and fall back to earth.
They are self launchable but it IS better to have a helper, if they “bowtie” it’s an absolute ball ache to pin it down, sort it out and launch again!
This highlights the MAJOR downside to these kites… ground handling! They really do NOT like it… best to either have them in the air or semi packed away… leaving them flapping about like huge Duvets is not great for other users of the area, or in the long term the fabric of the kite.
My first flights were in VERY low wind and I was not overly impressed sure they fly well but where was the manic lift I had heard about and experienced on my demo?
I was flying a 12m in about 7-8mph… nowhere near enough it transpires.
Then we were at the beach, the wind was about 10-15mph and we had the 15m Phantom out!
JESUS! Launching was fine, they finish off filling up as they climb above your head, so don’t give the huge drag, scud, lift that a bridled foil offers on launch. Once it was up and the power strap was wound up I dipped a wing then let it climb, pulling the bar in as it reached the zenith…. WHHHEEEEEEEEE! Up we went!!! “Lovely “ I thought faith restored in my purchases.
These kites are for my son and myself to help the progress of our landboarding, get into kitesurfing and do some buggying too. Sam is about 6.5 Stone… I am double that so we will be using different kites in the same wind.
Sam launched the 12m and was happily zooming up and down the beach, starting to do some pretty good jumps too.
Next time out the wind was down under 10mph, Sam launched the 15m and inside 30 minutes was pulling off some 360s and getting grabs in… a first for both!
We have 6/9/12 and 15m phantom at the moment, the 18 will be for next spring I need to find a shop selling MUCH larger testicles than the ones I am equipped with at the moment before “going big” on one of these. My Mate Cory has one and I watched him doing some VERY high and stupidly long jumps the other day… a TOTAL commitment kite that… you ARE going up, best to smile while you are doing it!!
I have flown the 6m in 30mph+ wind and while it is FAST it is still very stable and has the characteristic I love on all of the phantoms… It doesn’t luff in gusts or after jumps.. It just sits happily above your head, waiting to be asked to perform. Each of these kites will send you as high as you want in the right winds, the smaller the kite the higher the wind required. They DO take a bit of fiddling with at first, setting the attachment line lengths, finding full power on the range system and playing about with the internal strap.. shorter line = higher jumps!
Would I advise you bought one? NO I would advise you get a demo on one first… if they suit you it will be the only kite you want to fly… if they DON’T suit you they will be an expensive mistake!!
That is the final point…. Criminy these things are not cheap…..£540 up to £800 ready to fly…… another thing that makes them for the committed (or single!!) flyer!
I will post a review of each of them as I get to know them better. I hope this short review whets your appetite for a try!!