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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog

 

20/05/2018 Blackheath

I could only cope with a relatively short flying session today after tackling part of the Cornwall Coastal Path yesterday.  Two and a half hours from Eagles Nest to St. Ives was quite a challenge. The weather today, like yesterday, was sunny with clear blue skies.  There was a typical Blackheath summer breeze from the east.  Light and variable sums it up. Full sail 1.5s with diamond leading edges and race uprights mostly.  There was a bit of called flying but I was definitely not able to move on the ground as normal so everything felt like ‘really hard work’.  This is not how Sunday flying is supposed to be! I am sure that everything will be back to normal in tine for the Scarborough event next week. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

13/05/2018 Blackheath

The forecast had not looked promising but the expected rain arrived further east and was somewhat less than expected. There was some moisture underfoot but not enough to wet the lines.  The breeze was light and variable.  We flew full 1.5 sails which seemed very small and light on the 120ft lines compared to the Not Zens on 100ft lines we had used so much in Cervia. We de-sanded the 20 square metre parafoil and checked the location of the small tear which needs to be ‘repaired’.  It is on the upper surface towards the back of the kite so quite difficult to spot.  I am hoping to apply the transparent patch from the ‘inside’ of the cell.  This could be interesting… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

06/05/2018 Blackheath

We were intent on checking the team kites post Berck/Cervia, mainly to dispose of any accumulation of sand.  In the event there was surprisingly little but we did shake the kites out before re-packing them loosely. We also took the opportunity to fly the original Zens against the ‘Not Zens’ especially with the green race rods that had worked so well at Berck and Cervia.  I had also intended to compare the bridles but that will have to wait for another time. We did get to fly some called moves today against various pieces from the Decs recent repertoire. The wind on Blackheath was from the East but nowhere near as consistent as the Cervia variety.  The thermaling effect was in full operation! This was a timely reminder as to why the flying in Cervia looked so good… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

02/05/2018 after Cervia

02/05/2018 after Cervia Somehow the note making gets neglected towards the end of this event. The first clouds appeared on the 10th day.  The eleventh day had a difficult offshore breeze, known locally as ‘the mad wind’ as I understood it… There was a little rain at the end of the day. The twelfth day was cloudy with light wind which eventually strengthened sufficiently to allow us some great final arena performances. In summary we had 10 perfect Cervia days out of the 12!  We often had the ‘right sails and sparing’ just when we needed it… Altogether an amazing event. Felix 27/04/2018 eighth day Cervia There was a real 9/10 mph easterly across the Adriatic today so there was no issue with the morning breeze.  We started with full vents local to our base.  We switched to mid vents for the second after lunch session with our sound system in the North arena. Typically, even though it had been a steady breeze all day by 5:00pm we had to switch to ‘Not Zens’ for the second part of our arena presentation and the mini mega fly of 15 kites. Felix 26/04/2018 seventh day Cervia It was supposed to be a ‘no arena’ day today but did not quite work out that way. Not Zens first thing from some time after 10:30.  An early lunch and we had anticipated going to the North Field but the organisers did not think it necessary. We did a short time in the arena and then the announcement regarding the North Field was made.  The request was for the ‘designated’ fliers to move for the rest of the event. We did do a bit more in the arena before being asked to move on for a formal event. Come 4:30pm it appeared that the ‘no arena’ idea had been dropped so we diid a presentation.  We opted for the mid vents which were at the top of their windspeed range really… No harm in getting to know the sails. The sand was beginning to blow.  We should have been flying the RSS kites! Felix 25/04/2018 sixth day Cervia National holiday in Italy so very busy on the beach. Short fly in the morning after the breeze began to build at about 10:30. We had anticipated using the main arena after an early lunch but the organisers asked us to occupy the north arena which we did for about an hour and a half.  We were able to utilise our sound system for much of the time.  I did remember to take the units back to the hotel for a re-charge. ‘Not Zens’ in the morning,  mid vents early afternoon and full vents for the 5:00 pm arena spot. A good 12 flier routine with Team For Fun Felix 22/04/2018 third day Cervia The parafoils, rokakkus and ‘tent’ had arrived the previous evening thanks to CR. We pitch the tent on the Bagno side of the beach as there was still space.  A slightly ‘rusty’ set-up but I am sure it will get better during the following days. There was not quite enough breeze to get the Parafoil aloft but our efforts were sufficient to dry the sail from the previous evening. We had a morning session in the arena followed by an after lunch session.  We decided to stick with the ‘not Zens’ after lunch despite the gradually rising breeze.  We were just set to change sails when the formal presentations started somewhat after 2:30pm. Our next session was with the RSS kites and we found them to be fine in team.  We even managed some fairly radicle 3 stack rotations in the sky. The 5:30 arena presentation was with the full vents, not least to be compatible with Team For Fun in the ‘mega’ team fly at the end. Felix 21/04/2018 second day Cervia Notable for the night fly after the evening meal on the beach. We flew the 20 sq Metre JMH Parafoil from the bridle.  Various people took a turn and much to their surprise managed very well.  The breeze was ‘just right! Felix 20/04/2018 first day Cervia We secured Bagno storage and set up all the Revs first thing. Setting up the kites is a ‘one off’ for this event… The new ‘not Zens’ worked well on the 100ft lines.  We did check the 1.5 full sails with Diamond LE and Race uprights and there really wasn’t anything in it.  Either kite worked but our preference was for the larger sail for the remainder of the day. Lunch was followed by a fairly long session in the arena before the formal event started at 2:30pm. The breeze which had been from the north eased around to the east and eventually pretty much died away in time for our 4:30 arena spot.  We set up a bit early and did some slow flying but there was little else in the air on the festival site. It was a great start to the event but the strength of the sun left some evidence of over exposure… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

17/04/2018 After Berck-Plage

Delivery of the new Rev sails occurred on Monday 9th April.  41 Rev kites were duly packed ready for Berck and Cervia. We had an excellent four days in Berck. The 20 square meter parafoil flew beautifully, initially just from the bridle point, hand held, and later on the 100m x 5.00mm spectra which was wonderful to handle, and again, basically hand held.  Our older (to us) parafoil needs some tuning. The new ‘1.5 proportioned Rev 1 format sail’ with green race rods worked very well indeed.  It was ‘out of the bag’ and straight into an arena spot there! The mid vented JMH sails definitely filled the gap between the 1.5 sail and the full vented.  Just what we needed. The wind today, Tuesday, was not as strong as forecast so we did not get to fly the RSS (Reflex Super Spider). 'Rest day' tomorrow than flying Heathrow to Bologna on Thursday ahead of 10 festival days in Cervia… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

08/04/2018 Blackheath

The rain/drizzle almost stopped for a while but there was little or no breeze so we did not really get any flying today. Rowan persevered walking and running 360s… I ran out a set of 150ft lines and briefly flew a Zen using longer handles.  Typically I needed a small increment of extra forward, much less than the leaders offered. The new sails have arrived in the UK.  I hope that delivery will be as advised on Tuesday.  I will then have to shuffle the team kit box ahead of our departure to Berck on Friday. All being well, in addition to the new Rev sails we will also be flying a ‘new to us’ 1991 Jørgen Møeller Hansen parafoil. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

01/04/2018 Blackheath

Last week the slow recovery from ‘flu’ and the clock change conspired against me so I did not get to fly… Today the Easter Circus was on our regular field so I set up on the ‘church’ field just before the footballers arrived.  They were intent on using the marked field so there was no conflict! A light northerly breeze was not particularly consistent and I was not in the ‘mood’ for running around so full 1.5 sail, diamond LE and race uprights… The forecast had indicated higher UV levels and despite the thickish cloud my glasses were at their darkest. We will have to do a kit check ahead of Berck and Cervia next weekend.  Hopefully this will include the new sails! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

11/03/2018 Blackheath

There was an easterly breeze again today c10mph but it was arriving from the Iberian peninsula not the Siberian north! Full vented 1.5 sails with race rods and the RSS kite once again. I have been filling a gap in my music history so today we had c1970s classical at length… Not too bad against the low grey clouds with brighter interludes, only a hint of higher humidity keeping it cool. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

04/03/2018 Blackheath

Southerly breeze 6-8 mph, about 9C and only a light occasional shower today!  Quite a contrast to the weather during the week… I did not switch spars in the RSS kite today but it did keep on flying, albeit with a lot more input than a standard 1.5 sail with black race rods. Line sets ordered, kite sails in hand, events listed and just under six weeks before Berck… ‘Time to relax… and fly kites’ Felix

Felix

Felix

 

25/02/2018 Blackheath

Almost cloudless today but the sun couldn’t really help much in the strong easterly breeze.  We did notice some possible thermal effect when the breeze dropped after shifting direction slightly. Xtra Vents again today and after re-adjusting my line set ‘considerably,’ in the case of one line, the RSS kite performed very well indeed.  We switched kites around between fliers to understand a bit more about the ‘variable’ settings in use… New sails, Zens and 1.5 mid vents in JMH designs should make the trip from The Scilly Isles to San Diego before the end of this coming week.  That will be something to focus our attention ahead of Berck! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

18/02/2018 Blackheath

Probably 8 mph gusting 15 mph today from the South with the temperature about 10C, so fairly benign for February in London… Mostly full vented 1.5s with race rods and the RSS with standard reflex spars.  I am interested in the line settings for the RSS as it seems more sensitive to precise adjustment or maladjustment as the case may be with my current set.  Time to get the ‘equaliser’ out really! Another flier put the RSS kite on their own lines and seemed perfectly happy with the overall performance compared to the full vent sail. We are in discussion about an event in Ireland at the end of June.  Always good to go somewhere ‘new’. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

11/02/2018 Blackheath

Sunny to start but the convection clouds soon developed and eventually became an almost continuous cover.  The westerly breeze was about 15mph but gusting considerably higher. Mostly Xtra Vents with four wrap spars (which were occasionally overpowered) but once again I was flying the RSS kite with the standard Reflex spars.  In the higher gusts I definitely needed additional brake and it was clear that the ‘tractor’ like stability of the Xtra Vents did have some advantage that may or may not be countered by the lighter weight and speed of turns of the RSS kite.  (A further brake step on the RSS kite may do the trick) Quite a bit of called flying today but it was limited by the ‘tired hand’ factor.  The lack of warming sun eventually saw us packing a bit earlier than usual.  As luck would have it traffic back to Hackney was slow today! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

04/02/2018 Blackheath

There were a few sunny intervals today when there was a perceptible warmth from the sun but it was mostly thick low clouds in the brisk and cold NE breeze.  The forecast was for 13 - 26 mph but I don’t think that  the gusts really approached 26 mph. Full vented 1.5s with green race and the RSS again but I went with the standard Reflex spars today.  Speed and window were mostly consistent given it was mostly called flying today.  The edge of window lulls had me needing to move quickly to get the sail moving but ironically in some of the gusts I felt that I could use more brake!   The Portsmouth event is confirmed now so we only have a couple more events to finalise. Felix  

Felix

Felix

 

28/01/2018 Blackheath

Mostly stable WSW breeze under cloudy sky today.  12mph (probably) gusting to c18 plus but only briefly. Mostly on 1.5 full vented with green race, (I didn’t look closely). I was flying the RSS with the ‘Diamond’ rods. There certainly seemed to be a good wind window match between these kites and when I added 2cm ‘forward’ on my line set others in the team found that this sail and configuration worked fine.  I had also tightened the bungees reducing the sail profile deflection to about 2cm, probably less than half than with the factory setting. Nothing called today.  We were looking out for the occasional breaks in the cloud… Invites have arrived for Berck and Cervia. Just need to get the ‘team’ up to speed! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

21/01/2018

For a while this morning it looked as if the forecast rain was going to arrive late.  The radar showed a shadow effect persisting from St Albans down to East London.  It was not to be; the initial rain really did close in and then turn to snowflakes in Hackney… Our plans for a mid vented 1.5 sail are almost finalised and they should be ready in time for Berck.  We also have other sail projects in the pipeline for later in the year. The forecast, however unreliable at this distance, looks positive for next Sunday! Felix 

Felix

Felix

 

14/01/2018 Blackheath

From the web cam it looks like it was sunny all day in Berck.  The initial brightness on the horizon just about reached Blackheath by the end of our session today. The predicted 2mph gusting to 0mph was about right so not a lot of called flying today. We were six up again and then Tom and Frances appeared en route to the north of England.  It was an opportunity to catch up on planning details for 2018 events and for Tom to get back in on the line albeit briefly. Events for 2018 are shaping up.  We just need to get some formal invitations in place now! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

07/01/2018 Blackheath

A bright day with a blustery NE breeze probably averaging about 15mph.  Mostly Xtra Vent sails with race rods and the Reflex Super Spider with its standard frame. Six up so mostly called flying today against a ‘random’ musical background.  The RSS was very light compared to the Xtra Vents.  There is a slight issue with the RSS when it is stalled at the edge of the wind window at the end of a move.  Getting it moving again requires ‘a lot of input’.  With so little sail area there is inevitably ‘not a lot of grip’. The lightness and speed of turns was certainly appreciated by the fliers who tried the kite today.  We’ll have to get all the team to fly it in line with the other higher wind sails. Felix   

Felix

Felix

 

31/12/2017 Blackheath

The weather turned out to be fairly benign today compared to the forecasts, 10-12mph or less and no rain during our usual flying time. The new kite had arrived on Wednesday having spent the previous few days in Leyton.  On Thursday I flew it for a short time in about 4mph with the new Diamond rods.  Today it was flown for somewhat longer with the standard Reflex frame alongside an Xtra Vent with 4 wrap frame.  Today the ‘Reflex Super Spider’ felt light and quick especially through wingtip turns. We did not make much attempt to check the wind window but it felt reasonable without a strict comparison. For our purposes we will have to fly it ‘inline’ in order to assess it fully but my first impressions are that this is a very useful configuration for a 1.5 sail. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

24/12/2017 Blackheath

The low ‘anticyclonic’ clouds did not break but the SW breeze was mostly consistent.  We were mainly on full vented 1.5s with race rods which were only stressed a couple of times. The UE device software has been updated and now has a ‘stereo’ option when using two units.  There were plenty of called sequences today with this improved sound system. The new kite arrived at the courier transit facility in Leyton early on Saturday morning according to their tracking.  That is about 3 miles from home but delivery is not expected until Thursday… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

17/12/2017 Blackheath

High cloud and a light SW breeze to start today.  Mostly 1.5 sails with diamond and race rods but I put up the standard Reflex as a reminder for the ‘feel’ of a larger sail. Just a small bit of called flying today with some musical background.  We should be on site as usual on the next two weekends and hope to have a new kite to test fly at some point! The fast approaching slightly lower clouds partly prompted our departure today.  It didn’t look particularly threatening but as soon as we were all in the cars it started raining… Felix 

Felix

Felix

 

10/12/2017 

The forecast was such that we had decided against any attempt to fly today. The rain turned to snow shortly after 8:00am in Hackney and it was still falling at 1:00pm.  There is no real accumulation as the temperature has been just above freezing point… A slow trudge in the slush proved the be hard work, not least because of the ‘age related slip fear’.  I may have to forego the usual bicycle circuit on Monday if conditions do not change. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

03/12/2017 Blackheath

Low grey clouds and heavy drizzle at times today! The breeze was from the NW and mostly about 5mph so there was some lift available for the wet kites and lines.  Full 1.5 sails, mostly with race rods worked with occasional wet face down moments. There were some issues with wet line wraps; somewhat inevitable, I guess… No calls and no tunes today, just the hiss of the traffic on the A2. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

26/11/2017 Blackheath

Mostly clear blue sky with a reasonably steady westerly breeze today.   Mid vents with race rods were used but the one full vent was only occasionally underpowered. The fillers between the Decs tracks were supposed to have been edited out but somehow that hadn’t happened. Another try required but we put up with the drums today! Just the occasional call today and we finished when the tracks ran out and the occasional clouds began to become more frequent. Accidents at the Blackwall Tunnel meant that some of us took the scenic route home via Rotherhithe. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

19/11/2017 Blackheath

Variable cirrus and other high cloud today meant that there was no low cloud formation so some sunshine filtered through.  The NW breeze was mostly at about 4mph but quite often dropped away after shifting towards the SW. Full 1.5 sails with diamond LE and race uprights were mostly OK but a few line catches proved to be ‘final’! Not much called today but we did have some of the team tracks playing. Felix 

Felix

Felix

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