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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog

 

Rougham 16-17 May 2009

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.

Felix

Felix

 

Leading Edge defined circles

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>

Felix

Felix

 

3rd May 2009

If you are standing on the beach at Weymouth looking out to sea the horizon is dominated on the left by White Nothe. (A big chalk headland) To the left of the coastguard cottages on the tip of the headland there is a dip in the profile and then there is a small building, a mere blip at this distance. It was there that I first flew the cloth and aluminium tube box kite which was part of the kit provided to aircrew in the RAF cWW2! The view of Weymouth Bay from up there is etched in my memory. Later I flew Delta kites at the same location and piloted one through the transition from land/sea to sea/land breeze one morning and found myself flying a kite facing the breeze. I find it fascinating to catch thermal air movements with Revolution kites and just wish that there was a way to hitch a lift on the rising air and reel out the line as with a SLK Delta. Flying the Blast on Blackheath today it felt very close on 100ft lines. I wondered how it would feel on 200 ft? In contrast we were flying 1.5B fully vented so there was a considerable difference in effort... I must get the Paul Morgan Mega Delta out one of these days <grins>. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

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.

Felix

Felix

 

19th April 2009 Blackheath

Glorious day, wind NE c10mph I think with plenty of sun. I am almost not jealous of everyone at Berck! Flew the new Blast with SLE and muscle memory kicked in almost instantly. Having flown the Shockwave or Supersonic when flying individually for quite a few years it was great to fly a larger sail which corresponded so closely in configuration straight out of the bag. Treacle or slo-mo (call it what you will) felt totally familiar and with generous 'forward' on the carbon wrapped handles Leading Edge face up hovers were no problem. Snap clockwork stops were simply scaled up from my memory of the smaller speed series kites. I will have to try the bridle variations but suspect that I will be insensitive to the differences for the time being. I really look forward to flying this kite with the lighter leading edge. I think that it could be my 'no wind kite' for hitching lifts on thermal currents <grins> (flying on 100ft, 200lb lines today) I have said before, and happily repeat today, that flying the speed series kites informs the flying of Rev 1 or Rev 1.5 quite dramatically. Picking up the Mid-Vent JB Pro that also arrived this week after flying the Blast was almost surreal. I was also impressed by the range of this configuration compared to the standard sail or full vented. I had not flown one before and now fully appreciate the extent of the gap that it fills between the other two sails. ATM and Jade flew in with full vented 1.5s and both of them have obviously learned a great deal in the last few months. There is, it seems, no point in rushing. The learning curve will look after itself.... Now, which year was it that we first went to Berck-Plage? Felix

Felix

Felix

 

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...

Felix

Felix

 

12th April Blackheath

Grey day with 3-4 mph maximum to start. A few drops of rain initially, gradually brightening with the mist lifting. Flew with ATM and Jade alternating leading left and right. I called from the centre some of the time. It can work to a degree. ATM finally realised that I had maintained the three kites with crossed lines for a considerable length of time while the fliers moved in line and in parallel. Getting used to line contact can only be done for real. Also tried to hang the kites (1.5B Race Rods) facing left or right with maximum arm stretch. It is not possible to 'grip' the handles in this situation. It has to be 'finger tips', especially for the transitions.

Felix

Felix

 

10th April 2009

Some good smooth wind today for 1.5s at Blackheath. Jacob coached some great 4 person repetitions (not practice, just piano scales) with Jade, ATM and I. Both of them, Jade and ATM, are getting the individual control but still learning the challenges of the team environment. There is only one position, for a team flier in the sky, which is the correct one... They were introduced to a number of the regular Decs routine elements. Other news is that, in addition to Romney Johnstone re-joining the team this year, David Ellison will be flying with us, as from Berck and Rougham.

Felix

Felix

 

5th April 2009 Blackheath

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....

Felix

Felix

 

29th March 2009

Clock change weekend so an early start seemed appropriate given the forecast for gradually reducing wind speed. 3-5 mph translated to nothing really so it was a bit of a waiting game. Fly when you can and expect to respond to 90 or 180 degree shifts was the order of the day. Jacob arrived around midday and we eventually put 4 wrap Rev 1s up. Caught a thermal under a Cumulus cloud at one point simultaneously with both kites on vertical lines. You have to be careful not to pull the kite over the top...

Felix

Felix

 

22nd March 2009 Blackheath

Encouraged ATM to work on leading edge down hover. He was making good progress. Suggested walking forwards to get gradual descent, backwards to gain altitude. I will have to suggest the angled hovers next weekend. The visual feedback is critical.... I then went into reverie mode trying to pin the kite to a position in the sky in horizontal hover with varying wind speed and direction. c20 minutes later I thought it was time to take a break. Some good 'treacle' flying with long arm moves to keep the illusion flowing as the breeze dropped away occasionally. Jade was in parallel for some of the time. I will be very interested to see this included in team flying soon. (if not mega team <grins>)

Felix

Felix

 

15th March 2009

Light variable wind today with 180 degree shifts. The fluctuations in wind speed meant that, at times, the 4 wrap spars were taking the strain in the JMH Rev 1 sails. Lighter sparing would have been risky! The sail I picked up had not had the vertical bungees tightened but once adjusted all was well. Following with Jacob, Jade and ATM was not inspiring but some parallel work looked quite neat with some crisp 180/stops, up and down. I have identified one difficulty in 'long arm' technique which is similar to the 'hand to chest' syndrome. Sometimes, a long pull of the arm is required and it may not be intuitive to sweep past at knee level. I notice that Ben has been photographed on a number of occasions in this mode <grins> Looking forward to another 'not winter' day next weekend!

Felix

Felix

 

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

Felix

Felix

 

1st March 2009

Light breeze on Blackheath today. Johnny turned up (by bicycle) and with the help of Jade and ATM we put up 5 of the JMH Rev1s with 4 wrap spars. Precision in turning is where everything seemed to focus for all of the fliers. I am very interested in the latest news on the Revolution site:- "Also, look for the introduction of the new Blast being flown by Team iQuad at a festival near you." I have mentioned my interest in the speed series kites previously. I wonder if anyone can remember which team was considering using Super Blast kites for low wind team flying and in which year? I cannot offer a prize but anyone with an idea could start a thread in the forum! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

Sunday 22nd February 2009 "just do it"

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! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

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

Felix

Felix

 

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.

Felix

Felix

 

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.

Felix

Felix

 

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!

Felix

Felix

 

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!

Felix

Felix

 

Grid Format 'rules of engagement'

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. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

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!

Felix

Felix

 

2012 events, provisional list

Oh well, another year! <grins> Nothing is confirmed, as yet. 1st January 2012 12-16/04/2012 Berck-Plage, France 21/04-29/05/2012 Cervia, Italy 05-07/05/2012 Weymouth 26-27/05/2012 Exmouth
25-27/08/2012 Portsmouth Margate

Felix

Felix

 

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>

Felix

Felix

 

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:- '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.

Felix

Felix

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