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About this blog

My personal observations

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30/05/2010 Blackheath 1.5 Vented Variant thoughts

Some time ago we asked Jørgen Møeller Hansen to produce a graphic for a 1.5 vented kite based on the B Pro sail panel layout. He duly came up with a design which we eventually, (when we were able to afford funding), forwarded to Revolution asking Bazzer to sew the sails. What we had not expected was that Bazzer would follow Jørgen's drawing exactly and so produce a variant of the vented sail with astonishing attention to the detail of Jørgen's design. We have now used these kites in earnest at Berck and Cervia festivals and they have proved to be an excellent investment from a practical point of view as well as being visually stunning. I would never claim to be able to identify incremental differences in sail configuration as the adaptive tendency is so strong but today I did try to compare the JMH sail to a Bazzer B Pro (not LE version). It was probably blowing c15 mph on Blackheath. The JMH sail seemed to absorb wind speed variations even more than than the B Pro did. The downside to this may be that more effort would be needed to articulate speed changes but in bumpy conditions the apparent further flattening of response is helpful. There did not appear to be any loss of wind window. As noted else where I am specifically interested in the collective capability (100 grid) rather than individual performance especially when the increments are so subjective. I will not dwell on the comparison <grins> Felix <edit>

Felix

Felix

 

23/05/2010 Blackheath, Angle of attack

It was strictly light wind flying today. A Zen day indeed. In Cervia we had seen the 'clear advantage' that the Zen had over the Rev1 in light conditions. Today we found an apparent discrepancy in the angle of attack when putting a Zen and a Rev1 face to face. I'm thinking that the difference in the bridle may be the cause of this. The kites did not 'lock' together in the usual way <grins> At Portsmouth in 2009 we flew a 16 person grid using the JMH 1.5 and 1 kites together. I do not think that face to face pairings of the different kites featured but it would be interesting to try this at the next opportunity, maybe at the Blackheath event in June. I am sure that we have stacked the different sized kites before... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

16/05/2010 Rougham

Approaching Bury-St-Edmunds from the west close to 9:00am today, Sunday, we could see a 'Kite Shaped Object' in the air over Rougham airfield. We had been instructed to head for the main car park and to set up alongside the main runway in a 'Rev Designated Area'. This we duly did and soon a group of 10-12 fliers were flying in a relaxed and good humoured way. There was some talk about leader lines and stacking kites in the air. Compatible line lengths are helpful in team flying <grins> At one point I was put on the end of the line of fliers and asked to call. This is not something that I usually do and having had a bad cough/cold during the week it was a struggle to make myself heard. We did, however, manage to set up a grid of nine kites flying upward/downward wing tip turns which looked very neat. This was somthing I had wanted to see 'in team' and also 'in the grid'. I hope that plans for a Rev Gathering at Rougham later in the year do go ahead and I will certainly make every effort to attend. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

09/05/2010 Blackheath

It was very strange flying on grass today after 15 days of flying on sand. It was an unseasonably cold and grey day on Blackheath. On reflection, the idea of flying kites for 15 days and still finding interest and creative possibilities on the final day, in this case, in Cervia, is fascinating in its own right. The 3 or 4 kite days in Italy were magical. No wind at 10 am so set up the Zens, almost imperceptible increase to the point that the Rev1 is viable by about 10:30 am. By 12:00 it is time to switch to the Rev1.5 or go to lunch... The early afternoon is plain sailing but by about 3:30 pm it is time for the vented Rev1.5 kites. Today, the 'plan A' from Berck was dusted down in anticipation of Rougham! It will be a low key event after the last 3 weeks. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

03/05/2010 After Cervia

A great week in Cervia, Italy. We coped with the c125 ft wide arena and light winds earlier in the week and enjoyed 3 kite days towards the end of the event. Rev 1 to start, moving to Rev 1.5 in the middle of the day and ending on the 1.5 vented as the onshore breezes built... It was amazing to meet with people who remembered our visits to Cervia of 10 years ago and more. I hope that we will be able to attend the 2011 event. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

18/04/2010 After Berck

A great week in Berck, France. Heavy winds earlier in the week finally gave way to the chance to fly the Zen in near zero mph this morning. The 'turning interval' is different and I will be interested to do some more flying on a 'more comfortable' surface than soft sand. The Team was led by David Ellison for the first days of the event and he put together a new routine which was well received. Jacob led the arena work for the 8 person team for the last 3 days in The Decs traditional mode. The JMH vented kites performed very well indeed... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

04/04/2010 Blackheath

This was the last Blackheath fly for a while. The next two weekends will be in Berck and the two after in Cervia. Getting to Blackheath from home is very easy in the car. A quick drive past the Olympic Park, through the Blackwell tunnel, turn right at the top of the hill and that is it! (15 mins max) A bit more travelling for Berck and Cervia <grins> A parallel side slide 360 around the last kite was today's special moment. We actually set the pendulum going as well and as this was almost entirely spontaneous it says a lot about the practical capabilities of the fliers. Well done... you know who you are! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

27-28/03/2010 Blackheath

We arrived mid afternoon on Saturday to kick off our pre-season warm-up for the 'complete' team. Rev1s were the order of the day until the breeze dropped off almost completely ahead of a squally downpour. There was time to fly David's Zen before the storm broke. We then retired to 'The Tolly' on Royal Hill. Most of us coped with the clock change overnight reasonably well and we were on site Sunday at c10:00am for a 5 hour session blowing out the cobwebs and getting the winter absentees up to speed. Today, with standard 1.5s, forward and reverse parallel wing tip 180 turns were a focus as was the gradually developing 'burst [compound leaders benefit] Felix'. The contrast between very simple moves and compound routines is instructive. Confidence in flying in very close proximity to other kites/fliers is crucial. It is important to get fliers to realise that if things go wrong it is no big deal. Getting out of trouble in the most elegant and friendly fashion is of the essence here. Sometimes, in trying out new moves, any of the fliers must have the confidence to call the stop, especially if they find that they are wrapping lines at right angles. There are some places one just does not want to go <grins> 'Fire drills' should be part of our repertoire! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

21/03/2010 Blackheath

Arrived just before 10:00 am to see Jade and Martin with Rev1s set up but zero wind speed. Just for fun, I set up the Rev2s Race Rods on 80ft x 100lb and 15 inch handles. (On reflection now I can see that additional flex in the spars may be advantageous. I had got used to compensating for the lack of flex in the speed series kites. The tracking advantage may be significant as with the fragile bamboo components of a fighter kite.) The Rev2s will work in almost zero wind speed but light weight snag free handles would help translate the minimal feel/feedback. I will have to check if we have some SUL Rev 2 frames. Switched to the Rev1s on the 80ft lines but this felt very confined in contrast to the Rev2s. The Ex iQuad SUL framed 1.5s proved to be a happy compromise and Martin, Ashley and I carved some slo-mo following and parallel ladders up and down in the slight breeze that developed towards 1:00 pm (circa 1-3mph). Decs Team meet on Blackheath next weekend. I hope that the current weather forecast hold good. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

14/03/2010 Blackheath

There was sunshine on Blackheath today. The temperature may have reached double digits (Celcius) for the first time this year! The custom Rev2 Race Framed on the 80ft lines and long handles (15in) was once again set up alongside the vented Rev1.5 JB Pro custom 4 wrap on 120ft lines (13in handles) in a brisk NW airflow (which meant we were flying directly into the sun). The delicacy of touch required for the Rev2 is in considerable contrast to the expansive moves that are required for the Rev1.5. I had not realised quite how 'long' the arm moves need to be for the larger sail especially if the breeze drops towards the lower end of the wind range of the kite. Stepping up to the Rev1 may demand an even longer span which may be beyond normal reach... We noticed that when flying an inverted hover 'arms straight down, handles horizontal' may be the most comfortable and effective position. I suspect that mobility of the hands while flying is crucial in many ways and I am sure that a rigid grip is completely counter productive as it quickly leads to muscle fatigue. Finding how to keep a light grip in higher wind speed seems to be the key. <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

07/03/2010 Blackheath

A complete contrast weather wise today after last Sunday with clear skies, bright sun, but a steady, (most of the time) cold easterly breeze. Put out the pair of Rev2s Race Framed on the 80ft lines and long handles, not least to dry them out. (?) It was interesting to fly out to the edge of the wind window and 'throw' the kite through 'precise' turns. Long arms and plenty of movement on the ground were 'all' that was required. Slo-mo turns worked 'in the mind' rather than by virtue of physical input. 'Zen' or what? The transition back to the Vented JB 1.5 Pro was curious as noted last week. Suddenly every movement needed to be amplified by a significant factor. Maybe, therein, lies the advantage of switching between kites... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

28/02/2010 Blackheath

A very wet morning but lower wind speed than forecast provided an opportunity to set up lines and handles for the 2 new Rev2 kites that arrived last Monday morning. For reasons I will not go into here we are using the 15 inch handles. The top leader extensions I had to make measured 11 inches to the used knot. The kites felt fantastically light and extremely responsive and worked very well with long arm slo-mo input. Switching back to the vented 1.5s afterwards was quite curious. The rain finally eased as we left the Heath having tested the wet weather gear to the point of failure... Felix (EDIT Thanks to Maggie for the photos)

Felix

Felix

 

21/02/2010 Blackheath

David Ellison was up from Devon this morning so we planned a 10:00am start. At 9:45am driving towards the Blackwall Tunnel the rain was getting heavier and the skies lowering. Happily the forecast for early rain with brighter conditions following was completely correct. By 10:05am the downpour had eased and the sky was brightening from the south. Six fliers convened to run through some basics as well as the 'Burst Felix and Brenda' combo. The there was also an 'e*** axis' thing. My head is still spinning. Conversation turned to the question of how many experienced 'grid capable' fliers there may now be in the UK? <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

13-14/02/2010 Penshaw Monument

It was strange to fly in close proximity this weekend to the monument which dominates the area close to the Washington Kite Festival event which I first attended individually in about 1987. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penshaw_Monument The local road system presents the monument from many directions and so it can be confusing as an outsider to know one's actual position within the local geography. Two days of gentle weather is sufficient to develop the BDGs mentioned elsewhere. I hope that more fliers will take on the mantle of light wind flying. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

07/02/2010 Blackheath

A low grey cloud backdrop lifted soon after I left the field today. Team fliers were not out in numbers today so I was able to concentrate on the turning interval etc. of the 1.5B/Bazzer sail with Race Frame on extended handles. I have alluded previously to the throw, spin and catch aspect of flying this kite and the similarity in this to a diamond fighter kite. I am still working on the 'long arm' moves, occasionally finding 'body blocked' moments where the full sweep of the arms needs some concentration. The breeze was light today and so the challenge of 'slow' (treacle) flying was very much in evidence. The pro-active stance on the ground seems essential... <grins> All set for the trip North next weekend. I am looking forward to 'the gathering'. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

31/01/2010 Blackheath

A bright sunny day with a westerly breeze, frosty underfoot. Today we flew Rev1s with 3.4.3/3.3 UL spars sometimes at the top end of the comfort window. I wanted to push the extended handle issue and found that in the slightly stronger breeze than last weekend 'too much forward' is very difficult to cope with. If the breeze gets up the kite becomes 'very difficult to control' and feels like it will go off at a tangent if the pilot slips slightly. This is exactly what we see in practice, time after time, so suggests that we should aim for the 'sweet point'. Flying 1/8th turns with wing tips on the ground requires a specific amount of 'forward' in the line settings. It is not possible to compensate by moving on the ground... Looking forward to the NE event. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

24/01/2010 Blackheath

Following on from last weekend but in lighter conditions (2-4 mph) we flew parallel moves, 5 fliers on Rev1 3/4/3-3/3 90lb 120ft and just for fun had Jacob calling from the middle of the team for a while. He was not entirely happy about this which is understandable as callers do like to have an exit strategy rather than being 'locked in'. Parallel 'nailed' wing tip 90s, 180s and 360s looked sublime once everyone had 'clocked' the turning interval. I had set up on long throw handles and as the calling receded behind me it became apparent how much easier it is to hold ground in light breezes with these handles. The Canada geese had been on the field but fortunately not in great numbers. Looking forward to the NE Event. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

17/01/2010 Blackheath (Interlaced parallel team flying)

We had a very creative few hours on Blackheath today. The sub-title says it all. There were also plenty of parallel 180 degree wing-tip turns, both forward and reverse in the equation. One of the key considerations for grid flying was to keep the individual fliers in the centre of their wind window. The next step is to expect them all to be able to deliver a stationery 360 degree rotation without risk. The slower the better... No wobbles! I think that we should be looking at the 'lowest common denominator' in this respect and figuring out how to deal with the issues. Full 1.5 sails today with 4 wrap mostly. Well done Maggie for going for it...! <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

10/01/2010 Blackheath

Last year on Saturday evening, the second weekend in January, I tripped and fell, badly bruising my left elbow. Last night I slipped on ice and fell, badly bruising my right elbow. The symmetry is spooky <grins> Anyway the weather on Blackheath was relatively benign today compared to what was forecast. A few inches of snow underfoot (and a smooth north easterly breeze) with slate grey clouds enhanced the appearance of the mixed set of JB vented 1.5 sails. Jacob led 5 fliers in some parallel forward/reverse upward then downward 180 wingtip turns. Later we paired the 'columns' in opposite directions which looked really cool. The last reverse turn up at the top of the window was the testing one. Moving on the ground is a great help both on the upward and downward execution. I cannot imagine why... <grins> We flew a number of variations from centre column to edges also with emphasis on speed control. We noted that in order to impart maximum acceleration in a 'pulled' manoeuvre it is advantageous to be holding the handles in a horizontal position so as to avoid imparting imbalance in the loading on the sails as the 'pull' progresses. 'Hanging' the handle at the top connection point has limited application in my view. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

03/01/2010 Blackheath

David Ellison did the Devon/London/Devon trip in order to attend today. "Kudos" Thanks David... Most of us were on the Heath at 10:00am and the light breeze was OK for the standard 1.5 sails with UL or Race spars. David led us into some slow reverse ladder up/downs to great effect, either wing tip or double kite width. Jacob joined us a little later having recently returned from visiting JMH in Denmark over Christmas. A bottle of Gammel Dansk was broached to toast the new vented sails. We continued to fly the standard 1.5 sails and worked on the six person Burst Felix/Compound Benefit where the original move is extended with bursts to edges, step by step... A Radar and consecutive global 360 rotations complete the move. The breeze lightened so we switched to the JMH Rev 1 sails and installed our favoured 3/4/3 LE with 3 Verticals spar set for the first time with these sails. We continued to work in a similar vein until the breeze freshened again at about 1:30pm. (Note to self - must organise lunch on Blackheath during the winter in order to extend the flying day)

Felix

Felix

 

27/12/2009 Blackheath

Another blustery day today. Jade observed that we were getting into some 'treacle flying'. 'Very slow' 360 degree rotations in c20mph takes some confidence in fellow fliers at close proximity. Some of us flew yesterday as well but as the ground was muddy on Blackheath (again today) I did not get out the new JMH sails. I did take a close look at the format of the JMH vented sails later at home yesterday and find that Bazzer has followed JMH's interpretation of the vent locations and proportions very closely. The trailing edge detail looks very good. I had not previously noted the shift from the JB vented sail format to the JB Pro vented sail format. ('Note to self' ...Must pay attention to detail...) Felix

Felix

Felix

 

13/12/2009 Blackheath

No let-up in the wind today so another vented 4 wrap morning. Great cloudscapes in the northerly breeze but we were blinded by the sun at times. I think that the 'precise stop' (no wobble) is going to be the key factor in team flying in the near future. Many fliers are making the effort hit the mark... I understand that Berck 2010 may have a Rev competition! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

06/12/2009 Blackheath

After a very wet cloudy start to the day the sky cleared from the west and we arrived on Blackheath with a clear sky soon after 11am. The ground was not as waterlogged as last weekend and the Canada Geese have still not invaded. The wind was changeable but predominately strong so we flew vented with 4 wrap spars. I was very interested to see that the other fliers present were using horizontal handles and long arm movements even in the higher winds. It occurs to me that holding a very precise grip with heavy loading will cause muscle fatigue very quickly and that adopting a more flexible mode will obviously be advantageous. Having set additional 'brakes' means that the kite will not accidentally fly off in any direction but I have been surprised at how much movement can be used to control the kite in what could be interpreted as 'two line mode'. It looks like next weekend there will be an anticyclone in place over the UK so there will be an opportunity to practice slo-mo flailing in anticipation of the Zen. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

29/11/2009 Blackheath

Some of us (Felix, Ashley, David) had a great weekend at Ainsdale last week. The weather was tough but a bit of extra 'brake' was sufficient to keep us flying. This weekend was our team meet event. A short fly on Saturday, late afternoon, saw the other 4 ex iQuad SLE kites checked out. A succession of squally showers were the theme today. I will try to get some images/video of 'long arm/input' in the next few weeks. I noted recently that even an absolute beginner may intuitively adopt this technique so I do not think that there is any reason not to advocate it for new fliers. Felix

Felix

Felix

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