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The Wizard Sport Kite.Stunt Kite Quarterly Magazine vol. 3 no.2 1991

Wingspan: 72 in.
Weight: 9 oz.
Frame: carbon graphite or fiberglass
Wind Range: 5-25 mph
Rec. Lines: 80-150#
Purchase: IAB Store

It wasn't as if Bob Childs didn't like the way he was flying... he just wanted something different.

"I really like to do a lot of groundwork, so I set out to make a kite that would combine some of the attributes of the ones I liked," he explained, "plus giving me some interesting new abilities in the air." Thus the Wizard was born. It is a curious mixture that does a number of things quite well.

We have flown the Wizard several times... first in a number of prototype stages, and finally as a finished production model. All of the kites that we have had in the air have been sparred with the usual filament-wound fiberglass but, we are told, the Wizard is also offered in carbon graphite.

To begin, the kite is a midsize model with a low aspect ratio. This has the potential to make the Wizard quite precise. There is an element of oversteer that shows up in lower wind speeds while in higher breezes, the picture reverses and the kite shows a bit of under rotation. This is particularly noticeable in off-wind maneuvers. The kite also seems to respond more favorably to push turns than pull turns.

In spite of its less than full size, the Wizard performs landings and launches at the flyer's whim. The standoff spars work well in aiding the maneuvers. Coupled with a fair-sized wind window, the kite is one of the better ones that we have flown for those who list groundwork as their forte. It didn't seem to matter whether we were flying in 8 mph or 25 mph, the Wizard handled the deck-work like a pro. The only drawback, if it can be called that, is a bit of tentativeness. While the kite would set down and relaunch with relative ease, we weren't able to be as precise on picking the spot as we would have liked.

The Wizard also got above average marks in the stalling department. We were able to force stalls almost at will and recover them just as easily. This ability worked beautifully in conjunction with the ground maneuvers. We also found that we were able to pull the kite around into a relaunch position from a nose-down, straight downwind attitude. In fact, three separate times in one afternoon, we successfully launched the Wizard backward... and it flew quite nicely!

Speed experienced was about average for a kite of the Wizard's size. Absent, however was any terrific amount of pull. There was just a pleasant tug at the end of the lines. We had to watch carefully at the edges of the wind less we give the Wizard too much line. With the kite's diminished pull, this can be a very fine line indeed, particularly in low winds. Once this line is crossed, the kite will occasionally flip onto its back.

As a spinner, the Wizard does well, though it does tend to slow a bit with successive turns. It doesn't lose altitude, however, just speed. Turns of a more conventional variety were handled nicely with the strength lying in the sharp, angular styles.

Those who like noise with their flying will find an ally in the Wizard. It is not a "roarer" but, rather a nice resonant buzzer... just enough to scare the birds but not so overpowering as to drive off spectators.

Our test model did have one item that we'd like to see handled differently. The lower spreaders fit over a length of internal ferrule that inserts into the T-fitting. The spreaders themselves, however, do not extend into the vinyl of the T. This will eventually cause the spreader rods to split under pressure from the inside. It is a relatively minor point, but one that should be addressed.

Workmanship on the Wizard is good. Retainers have been placed below the upper spreader vinyls (thought not on the lower), and the T-fitting vinyl is glued to prevent movement. All seams are rolled and double-stiched. The sail graphics are well thought out.

The Wizard is an attempt to combine the perceived attributes of a number of kites into one product... a good plan if everyone is after those particular characteristics. Not everyone will take an immediate shine to this kite. In it's defense... that doesn't appear to be the intention behind the design.

There are a number of performance factors at work here that will please the flyer with specific demands. One thing's for sure... like a favorite fishing pole or a prized 5-iron, the Wizard can grow on you.

*Note: With all do respects to the author, the Wizard would soon after become a popular kite with beginner and expert kite competitors, and a favorite of kite retailers for ten years.

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