A few years ago i was following the progress of Birger Garbe’s (Ulzburger Kites) kite design on the german Drachenforum. Birger and his son built a lot of open source kites during the past years and i was always impressed by the build quality and details in their builds. Birger started to design his own trick kite in 2014. The feedback of his friends was very positive and the development went quite fast. At the beginning of fall in 2015 the kite was finished and named: End Of Line (EOL).
The design goal was to create a kite with a frame that wasn’t too special (read: expensive). The flight behaviour should be sufficiently neutral and rather precise. The current standard tricks should be possible. So suitable for ambitious beginners, but also appealing to intermediate and experienced pilots.
I received an EOL from Birger in December 2015 and had it on the lines regularly since then. I’ve even used it in trick competition with rather satisfying results. In the meantime, after building quite a lot of EOL’s, Birger decided to stop building kites commercially because it consumed too much precious free (flying and building) time. The EOL plans have been released as a open source design last year. There’s plans for a Light Wind and Mini version available as well. Time for a review! Let’s see if it’s worth it to build your own! The following review is based on one of Birger’s production models.
Wingspan: 230,0 cm
Height: 90,0 cm
Leading Edge rod length: 145,0 cm
Sail material: PC31
Tailweight: 20 grams
Bridle: 3 point
Leech line: yes (but not tight)
The EOL is very neatly built. All Icarex sail panels are sewn using the 3-step zigzag stitch. Bisonyl is used for the nose reinforcement and dacron is used to reinforce the critical wear points like centercross, standoffs and tail. APA connectors are used all around. Grommet style yoyo-stoppers are fitted. There is a leech line fitted but the advised setting is slightly loose (which i like).
The lower windrange of the EOL is very impressive. I’ve been flying the EOL STD when some SUL’s of other models were on the ground. Since the leech line is not too tight the kite develops a slight buzzing sound in moderate wind. This results in nice tracking and slow flight. There is good feedback on the lines without too much pull, even in higher wind speeds. It does tend to get a little faster when the wind picks up. Turns are not too tight and there is no oversteer. I like the way push turns can be accentuated. I didn’t experience any wingtip flapping when the wind picked up.
In tricks the EOL feels a bit like more conventional and stable compared to the ultra-radical design of the past years. It feels remarkably forgiving and easy to trick. For instance: there’s no noticeable dead spot in the flare so flicflac’s and fractured axels are no problem. Fade is very stable. Backspins are flat when enough slack is given and can be executed from a stable fade. No need for a off-centred setup. Also Backspin Cascades are nice. 540’s and Slots need careful slack management to not catch a wingtip but can be performed very flat. Taz Machines need a firm first input to get a nose high flare which makes the timing a bit different but when you get it right Taz’s are nice and flat and even Taz-Cascades are very doable.
The backflip is not too deep and easily recoverable. Lifters are possible when done with care. (Multi-)Lazies, Rolling Suzans and Rolling Cascades are very nice. I haven’t tried many Cyniques yet but those are not my specialty anyway. Cometes are a blast to perform and easily controlled. The same goes for Axel Cascades. The EOL re-introduced Wapdoowaps for me, a trick i always forget but the kites does them well. Yoyo’s are fast enough and controllable. A nice feature is that the EOL easily rolls out even when a stopper is missed. Front flip is nice too which brings Crazy Copters within reach. Other highlights for me are Jacobs Ladders and 2 Point Landings.
Birger designed a very nice, well rounded kite with it’s own character and it is a lot of fun to fly. The EOL feels different compared to other recent German designs. It reminds me somehow of the flow of British kite designs. It has a rather broad bag of tricks and wide wind-range, it’s forgiving and wants to be flown in straight lines and corners. A LW (Light Wind) version is available to build as well, which is actually more like a SUL. Go build one (or look for a second hand EOL), you won’t be disappointed!
Plan files: http://www.kareloh.com/kite-plans/end-of-line/
EOL Topic on Drachenforum.de: https://www.drachenforum.net/index.php/Thread/95015-End-Of-Line-EOL-ein-neuer-Trickdrachen/