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      Greetings, we've received notice of a few forum members soliciting other users for specifications on some of the Revolution kites... Please be advised, any such confirmed activity will result in immediate suspension of forum privileges. Making your own Rev style kite for artisitic purposes is admirable, but directly copying the patterns in use will not be encouraged here.
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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog


Sunday 30th November 2008

Blackheath wet and muddy, no clear evidence of Canadian Goose shit today. They were down by the pond!

Wind N to NE, vented speed to begin with but fading as the front passed.

ATM had trouble with wet lines sticking with symmetrical twists but having got through that managed to grasp the concept of the 'bow and arrow' position for lateral passes and to hold the kite in a hover and move forwards (downwind).

We had adjusted lines to assess the 'feel' of the kite and to correct an incorrectly set length on one line by trial and error.

MW also had issues with settings and we increased 'brake' to give more 'pressure' on the kite.

Both fliers had been backing up hundreds of yards when the breeze was stronger. I had to rescue both of them from the lee of the roundabout. It is surprising how much a small group of low trees can interrupt the effective wind flow.

It is not teaching, just observing... They do the learning!


Sunday 23rd November 2009

Early morning snow followed by rain finally cleared around midday so a late trip to Blackheath.

Bright sun for a while and then a passing shower with a complete, perfect rainbow.

Variable breeze, vented 1.5B for me and 10 year old vented for ATM who is getting the hover and 180s with leading edge vertical some of the time.

Looks like the clock 12:25 on the edit page is on New York time!


ATM flew in with Jacob, Jade and I today.

He had been flying the 'on the spot' 90 degree turns including 'leading edge down' earlier. (following on from last week)

Jacob called The Decs 'opening manoeuvre' as well as 'ladder-up/down' which call for some focus and space limits. ATM said he could do the moves as long as there was plenty of escape space. My observation would be that it is possible to get an inexperienced flier to do some very cool moves (read that as 'not trivial') so long as the expectation is not for perfection at the outset. The fact that a move is apparently being executed with ease either side of the inexperienced flier is an great incentive for them to 'learn how to do it' without getting bogged down in the 'practice' syndrome or worrying about the specific controls involved.

I am reminded of the 'not team fliers' who claimed levels of expertise which they thought should qualify them to take part in a team project! <grins>

A small scale frontal event crossed Blackheath today with shifts in wind direction and speed. The lowered dark edge line of clouds illustrated this very effectively. I wish that I had taken time out to photograph the transition.

Attached is an image from a few weeks ago instead!



Step by step

Today after putting Jade in a close following scenario* we tried 90 degree, on the spot turns. Facing left, down, right, up, left etc. then reversing. MW didn't quite get it and twice careered through threatening to take everyone out. ATM got the idea but wanted to work on the face down hover. I suggested that momentary stopping was the way to go.

Leading edge up, grounded, stepped rotations proved an interesting consideration of brake/forward set-up. 1/4, wing tip, 3/4 points all need plenty of forward to deliver. It is not possible to throw these moves, lines need to be set with plenty of forward...

I am still working on finding a way of describing the similarity of long arm flying in both low and high wind situations.

*PS Jade did brilliantly in staying calm and getting back into position... as necessary! FJM


A great blustery, showery weekend. Jade and Ashley stood in for absent fliers to very good effect.

A new compound move, inevitably to be called 'the Rougham' took shape based on Jacobs sketches that he had left at work. He left a few other things lying around over the weekend and paid the price... <grins>

A neat impromptu 12 grid mega fly almost rounded off the event. If they had kept the music rolling we would probably still be there but there was a final arena spot to fit in...

It was good to fly the JMH 1.5s close to the JMH parafoil to start proceedings on Sunday morning.


Rev Blogs

So, never having Blogged before please let me try to understand what is expected. (apart from the last two!)

I fly Revolution kites most weekends on Blackheath in SE London, sometimes with the team, The Decorators.

There are anecdotes and observations relating to this and related matters which I may want to record for my own and potentially, (who knows) other's interest!

I first posted (in 2007) on the Revolution Forum in respect of organising the Portsmouth/Bristol events in 2008. Occasionally/often responses to postings in the forum may be outside the topic in strict terms. OT in 'usenet' was a fairly strict designation but we may not want to go there.

There have been observations about the friendly and inclusive nature of the Rev Forums which I would endorse and I would applaud the careful moderation of the site. I have seen a couple of examples of individual posters getting over excited and have withdrawn some of my own posts as a result!

As I understand it, we can use the space to contemplate possibilities that we had not thought of previously, like the grid format! <grins>


Rev 1 introduction

After a string <grins> of high wind days c3-5 mph was on offer at Blackheath today. Jacob turned up and eventually we put up a set of team Rev1's and had Jade and ATM doing some basic moves. The JMH graphics looked great. Too busy for pics!

Jade and ATM quickly found effective control of the Rev1 with 4 wrap spars!

5 fliers. 3 1.5JB, 1 Anniversary, 4 JMH Rev1.


The team (6) flew to Potsdam on Friday.

It was a great weekend, celebrating the 20 years since The Decs first visit to Berlin and our meeting with Jørgen Møller Hansen.

We flew with Team4Fun in difficult low wind conditions but the weather was gloriously sunny so everyone was happy.



Mega Team lines

So if each flier is on 4 x 120ft = 480 ft.

There are 36 fliers so 480 x 36 = 17,280 ft.

There are 5,280 ft in a mile if my memory serves me correctly so that make 3.27 miles of line.

With 54 fliers, 480 x 54 = 25,920 ft which is 4.9 miles.

With 100 fliers, 480 x 100 = 48,000 ft which is 9.1 miles.

Quite a lot of string!


Long Arm Slow rotations

So, in the pouring rain today I was rotating the kite slowly in the middle of the wind window about a kites width above the ground, and I mean... slowly!

Flying Rev 1.5B vented, standard spars. My concern is arm span and the angle of the kite to the wind. I have to move back briskly when the kite was face up which gives an indication of the actual wind speed. Face down is less of an issue as we are aware and I was probably moving forwards at that point to compensate. The transition from left arm forward to right arm forward was continuous throughout the rotations. A 'slow march'.

If I can use an alternating full arm stretch with a Rev 1.5 would it actually be possible to utilise a Rev 1 'fully' in these conditions?

This is probably a rhetorical question!


Side sliding a circle with 3 kites was today's spontaneous target.

Initially I wanted to describe the rolling ball but that was a little too ambitious for Jade and ATM (Ashley).

Surprisingly, the expected handle transitions are not actually required which is counter intuitive. Lock the handle positions and it seems that the kite will circle. (OK there may be some subtle inflexion involved) Crossing other lines does however confuse the issue somewhat.

I'm using the clip less handles and have tied staking loops to the tops. On reflection it is the lower clips that were catching, either the upper lines on the same handle or occasionally the other line set. I could not figure out how to snag the top connectors today and could not create a problem with the staking loops. With the handles held down at thigh level in long arm mode much of the time rather than in close proximity in front of the chest it was unlikely that the tops would be a concern.

We have always had to contend with elbows and shoulders in team flying so clip less handles will be a great help in reducing the point of failure. We will just have to get sets for 'everyone' now <grins>


Last Week, Next week

Last weekend I composed an entry and then managed to delete it when in preview mode. Next weekend I have to work Saturday and Sunday so will miss the Blackheath event.

The 'topic' last weekend was about getting fliers to 'commit' to the discipline of the Mega Team, especially the more experienced fliers who may become impatient with the less accomplished. All 'a bit moral' so maybe best left in the imagination...

Light and variable on Blackheath today. After a light shower the breeze settled from the south with some magnificent cloudscapes.


High wind, low wind

In a high wind the handle loading would be best (most comfortable) when the kite is neutral so there is no forward/backwards tendency.

In a light wind the handle loading would be best when the kite is square on to the direction of movement so that the maximum benefit can be derived from the pilot's input.

QED or something equally desperate...


Handle holding orthodoxy

On Blackheath today it was 15mph plus, I guess, from the East with snow flurries blowing through and great cloudscapes.

I have been trying to see how far the long arm technique can be extended into high wind situations. Rather than using the forward/brake control of the handles I have been trying to hit the balance point where the wing of the kite only moves forwards with a full pull of the arms.

Instead of adding brake by adjusting line lengths I have been shifting my grip on the handles way down from the tops. It is a risky strategy in my previous experience but it does seem to deliver those high speed, no wobble stops, at any orientation. Also helps with the 'treacle' mode!

11am - 1pm Five fliers, 4 1.5 JB vented, 1 1.5 10 year old vented.


One role that needs to be addressed for future events will be a 'field organiser' who would get the fliers lined up and correctly spaced and then keep an eye on the fliers positions on the ground during a performance. (This should probably not be in the callers/leaders remit except for determining the overall configuration)

Another possible role is for a 'spotter' to home in on any flier who is having difficulties and to guide/advise them accordingly and may also involve relaying a '2nd strike invitation' to land their kite (and move off the field) as has been suggested elsewhere. (The caller/leader may need to initiate the request)

There may be other 'rules of engagement' that need to be discussed.

Reminder... Rule number 1. It is supposed to be fun so do not take it too seriously OK?

The caller/leader may have to be allowed complete discretion to determine the number of fliers and request others to leave the field. The fliers may need to confirm their agreement to this prior to taking part....

There are many sports where the rules are quite difficult to interpret but where the official has the final say. Given the precarious dynamics that might be involved we will have to give the caller/leader free reign IMHO.



Grid Format

David noted in his REVisions : Grid Economics article:-

'But, Felix Mottram, founder of The Decorators <snip> had an idea one night. Maybe it came to him in a dream, or he looked at something and an idea popped into his head, but he began to try and get some of us to get our head around it. And to be honest it made no sense to me initially, I know I had problems visualizing how it would work. I don’t think I “really” got it until such time as Felix worked a group of us through it in Uchinada earlier this year.'


'And, the first time I got to experience it first hand was in Uchinada Beach where Felix had managed to make his way over to the festival.'

I had started to try and document the process of getting a large Revolution Team event together by copying all the messages in the Revolution Event 2008 thread into one place but it was too painful.

I arrived at the idea of the Grid in 1993 and wrote to Revolution at that time.

Having proposed the Portsmouth/Bristol events it was apparent that all the players would need to be on-side if we were going to attempt the Grid format. Having been at the rained off event at Uchinada in 2004 I had some reason to try and get there again.

Serendipity comes to mind.


First Time

I installed a Race Rod frame in the Rev 1 today for the first time with one of the new sails. I set up one of the other new sails for comparison on a standard centre and UL remainder. The Race frame felt good but I could not make a definitive statement comparing the two at this stage. <grins>

I installed the Race leading edge in the Blast today for the first time. Having heard anecdotes about the frame I treated it very gently at first but soon found that the kite could be thrown around and that the frame absorbed airborne shocks smoothly.

I set up the standard 1.5 JB Pro with Race frame on 35cm handles today. I just wish that they were clip-less handles as I was very much aware of catching the top lines on either side occasionally. These handles felt very heavy but did allow very immediate stops and a slower glide out in the very light breeze on a summery Blackheath today.

I was reminded of the difference between the sizes of the basic Indian fighter kites. The small ones are very quick. The larger ones are smoother. I think that it might be time to get a Rev 2 with Race frame and see how slowly it can fly...


Arrived on site Saturday morning c9:30am to find the arenas not staked but vehicles parked as anchors in the SLK area. With the wind in the NE this arena is narrow and with inflatable structures for kids on the North side our traditional location was not viable. I have to question whether these inflatable structures are appropriate at a kite festival given the impact that they can have on low altitude kite flying? Large cabanas and tents around arena boundaries are detrimental to the flying conditions, let alone a 30 foot structure!

We set up in a corner of the main arena and made occasional forays towards the golf course on Saturday and 'The Third Arena' (which did get set up by STACK) on Sunday in addition to arena presentations, and had a great weekend.

It was borderline between 1.5s on 3 wrap spars and 1s on 4 wrap through the weekend.



Blackheath 04/10/2009

After the great hospitality laid on in Potsdam last weekend it seemed very quiet on Blackheath at 10:00am today.

There was, however, a light breeze (c6mph) and no hard woody stems at ground level!

In the interest of an ongoing discussion I set up the Pro B full sail with Race Rods on 13 inch handles and the Pro B mid vented, also on Race Rods but with the 15 inch handles. The object of the exercise was a simple comparison.

I have to admit that it was very difficult to state a clear advantage either way.

Later, when Jade and Maggie arrived, I switched to a Pro B vented/Pro B mid vented comparison with the long handles now on the full vented kite. Again, it was difficult to call...

I know that this is far from scientific but I did not feel much difference in the ability of the different sails to hold altitude in the lateral passes. (LE facing left or right) I suspect though, that the simple expedient of pulling back on the top lines will have dealt with the difference.

OSOW is next weekend. I will be at Blackheath and hope that the iQuad kites will have arrived by then just in case there are fliers on hand.



Berck 2009

It seems that we first went to Berck in 1990.

The team congregated in Berck on Friday 24th April 2009 in a different configuration but fully enjoyed the space and hospitality that some of us remember all the way back to that first visit.

This weekend we had eight fliers. Three could be described as 'newcomers to the current team' even if two of them have flown with us before.

We sketched out some new manoeuvres on the ferry between Dover and Calais on Friday and they were duly extended on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and included in the arena flight on Sunday afternoon.

The Mega Fly on Saturday was somewhat constrained by the arena space. Getting all the individual fliers up to 'a level of confidence' in their ability so as not to have to rely on 'comfort factors' seems to be a significant issue. Saying that, everyone did extremely well and I look forward to further collaborations on this scale.


Thursday to Sunday we did get out on the beach in the morning.

On Thursday we set up close to the water opposite our hotel c8:30 and having switched to the shorter line sets started to fly the the full vented 4 wrap iQuad training kites in the smooth onshore breeze. Rich Comras arrived at about 9:30 and while he was setting up his kite the lifeguard who had recently arrived told him that from 10:00 we would not be able to fly at that location but that there was an area to the north where the beach narrowed that we could use.

We walked the kites north and found that we could just fit although there were waste bins to contend with on the ground.

Jacob could not fly on Friday as he had to attend to changes at the stand in the Convention Centre. Rich was there again.

Saturday we were three up again but on Sunday Rich was not able to be there. Once again the full vented kite were a perfect fit but we did use the 3 wrap spars for the last two days.

Should get the opportunity for another fly on Tuesday but it may be later in the day...



A light wind day with news of the [Edit, no capitalisation] Zen to contemplate.

Parallel multiple diamonds with Jade and Ashley came about almost spontaneously. I can envisage some moves being generated from 'not organised' interactive flying but as with 'the grid' a certain level of capability is required. We did manage to lock up the three kites at right angles at one point. Careful with those lines, even in light wind.

Back to the Zen I'm thinking that even though JB has said 'Also, for those with limited mobility, the B-Zen will be a blessing in low wind' there may very well still be a case for looking at the possible advantages of a palm down grip in light wind conditions... <grins>


8th March 2009

An early start today in anticipation of 'afternoon' showers.

Blustery conditions '18mph plus' provided the opportunity to try some long arm, treacle effect flying with the vented 1.5B. How slow can you go?

I wonder if we should actively avoid any 'following' team routines. Apart from the line wraps it is not really very interesting IMHO.

Heavy rain later after rising wind speed justified the early start.

PS Jade showed me the Prussic knot which could provide incremental adjustment for leaders rather than relying on pre-tied knots. It would be interesting to see if it really stays in place in practice. 09/March/2009


It is a long time since I have flown a Rev2. I set up the Race framed one kindly loaned to me by Baloo on my c50ft 90lb lines. I also set up the Red-Orange-Yellow Sedgwick prototype which I have been re-building with contemporary fittings. Jade lent me his 50ft lines!

Both kites felt 'very' light but responded fantastically well to 'long arm' input. The prototype has a deeper V but I would be hard pushed to describe differences in handling. Slo-mo was very interesting, I think that I would like some more flex in the rods but directional stability was not an issue. I will have to try the speed series and Rev2 comparison again now.

Ashley, Jade and Maggie were flying on standard JB 1.5s. Switching from the Rev2 to my early Pro JB 1.5 (Race Rods) was quite amusing.

I will have the Red-Orange-Yellow Sedgwick at Bristol if anyone would like to try it!

I will add a picture of the two kites later. [EDIT thanks Jade]



Another light and variable wind day. No good for Berck training but we did put ATM 'in the middle' for some 3 kite repetitions. There is no point in giving a beginner the easy option.

Jade and I had earlier flown some 'treacle' moves in line and in parallel. I think that once fliers have grasped the concept, as Jade obviously has, there will be scope for interesting developments in team and mega-team flying.

At the end of play ATM had the misfortune to catch the leading edge of the staked kite that he was re-positioning on the ground with his foot. The result was a broken leading edge and a string of silent expletives. He will have to call the local supplier of UL 1.5 spars!

We may go to Dunstable next Friday....