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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog

 

05/06/2016 Blackheath

Proper Summer like day today but with a light NE breeze occasionally above Diamond territory. Race uprights is a quick and very satisfactory fix in borderline conditions. After a trip out into the countryside yesterday it was good to see that the Blackheath verges are doing their best again. I didn’t spot the litter collecting feature until later as in the attached image. Specifics of team moves were under discussion today. A wing tip turn is ‘as stated’, a 180 pairs switch, kite ‘place’ to kite ‘place’. Failure of ‘team fliers’ to grasp the overall picture is something that we have lived with for many years and so ‘un-necessary comments’ from the caller may be directed at the wrong ‘team flier’ which is not helpful. A quick check of the JMH 3m Rokkaku showed that previous ripstop damage had been repaired so the frame replacement can proceed without further issue ahead of Dieppe. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

29/05/2016 Blackheath

Another early(ish) start but the weather was not summer like at all. Vented 1.5 with race rods were occasionally overpowered in the chilly Northerly breeze under low cloud cover. We discussed handle holding today. I find that a horizontal grip helps with avoiding inadvertent input in long power pulls. This comes from ‘light’ wind situations but it is quite often useful even on days like today in the middle of some turns. It is also especially good for ground launches. http://www.vliegertakkitelines.nl/product_gallery appears to have line equalisers available in case anyone has been looking for them… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

22/05/2016 Blackheath

Better start time today. C10:30 on Blackheath. Diamonds in 1.5s mostly. I set up the Reflex for some comparison flying. The muscle memory that we have for flying the 1.5 sails is quite deeply ingrained so it is difficult to assess a sail with different characteristics. The larger sail does provide more ‘feedback’ down the lines without a doubt but the extension of the wind window requires some further learning. The kite feels ‘heavy’ but travels further, probably just as fast? We’ll have to check this further. The Decs flew Rev1s originally because that was the kite that was available. We eventually settled on line lengths of about 38m/125ft which gave us enough vertical spacing for eight kites. Flying on 36.5m/120ft definitely feels cramped now. It is difficult to fly a Rev1 fast and we also found that the Zen sail area was advantageous in low wind. I think that we might want to try a Rev1/Zen sized sail with the Reflex ‘stand off’ just for fun.<grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

15/05/2016 Blackheath

A bit of a late start today, almost made it to Blackheath by 11:30am but thwarted by heavy traffic on Cassland Road in Hackney. Not quite Diamond conditions today so full 1.5 sails with race rods. Some called moments and an occasional appreciative audience. This is the late spring/early summer week when everything is perfect except, maybe, the ambient temperature. We must firm up plans for Beverly and confirm arrangements for Portsmouth. Dieppe is all set apart from travel arrangements and the ‘delegation’ offering. I just located the file of original Decs photographs from 1996. As I had some anxiety about the location of said file this is very good news… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

08/05/2016 Blackheath

Summer has arrived since we were last at Blackheath. A month makes an extraordinary difference! We were set to de-sand the kites after Cervia but there was little more than dust to shake away. We set aside some of the vented JMH sails that need attention to the mesh edges. C10mph from the east so we were on our own vented kites on race rods today. I set up a couple of line sets, one on the Reflex handles. Wind speed was a bit high for the kite but I did park it at the top of the window at one point and noted just how high that was relative to the standard sails. The Reflex handles are provided clip-less with generous leaders on the top. These proved to be ‘well set’ using the end knot for our normal ‘brake’ setting. There is a ‘middle’ knot which I will try at some point to see if that is a viable ‘fast forward’ setting. I have noticed that the Rev Forum is a bit quiet lately but had set these posts locally some time ago… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

02/05/2016 After Cervia

The advanced party attended the event from the beginning. Those less fortunate mostly arrived on Wednesday 27th April ready for the final four days of the event. We were on the beach early every day and thoroughly enjoyed our flying and using the full selection of team kites. It was great to see the eight 1999 JMH sails together in the air again! Possibly a highlight were the two routines with six fliers using the Xtra Vents after which the comment was that we should make sure that we have eight sails in the future… Having the right kit available is as crucial as being able to decide when to use it <grins> I really hope to be able to attend the full event in 2017. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

24/04/2016 Olympic Park/QE Park

London Marathon Sunday so we used the alternative venue which is good for the Northerly breezes. The occasional sunny intervals were very welcome in the chilly breeze. Checking 100ft lines was really the agenda for today ahead of Cervia. By chance we ended up with an odd mix of 1.5 sails. I was on full vented with race, others on full sails with some diamond rods but green race verticals. I had about 1½ inches difference on the top lines so it was time well spent. The ‘late’ team will mostly be flying out to Italy on Wednesday and we are anxiously watching the synoptic charts. Looking good for the last day of the event, temperature wise, but we will enjoy it whatever the weather… The ‘early’ team are doing well by all accounts <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

17/04/2016 After Berck

We arrived late on Wednesday evening. Thursday provided a light wind opportunity so I flew the Revolution Reflex along with other interested fliers. I was impressed by the very positive feel down the lines even when the kite was lifting almost vertically. I am familiar with hooking onto rising air with no real feedback. Others thought that the kite felt ‘heavy’ but I was impressed with its actual speed. I am looking forwards to racing the glide on a firm surface, as opposed to soft sand! We used all our team kites over the four days but it was particularly good to get the new 1.5 sails in Joergen’s 1999 design into the air at a big event. We flew our JMH parafoil in the night fly alongside six of the new sails. We had to move a bit quickly when the fireworks started but fortunately we were not directly downwind! (Unlike in Glasgow many years ago <grins>) Felix

Felix

Felix

 

10/04/2016 Blackheath

Soon after 10:30 again today for a final casual fly prior to the Berck/Cervia launch of our event season. Some final shuffling of kit was completed and the flight box is now prepared for Cervia as well. SE breeze again but colder and stronger than last week. Vented sails with race rods today. The circus has almost completely packed up so we were back on our usual field, just a bit muddy underfoot because of the car park. Discussion today was about very basic routines and our dependence on regular ‘callers’ who take complete responsibility for organizing the ‘rest of us’ who don’t really think about the consequences of our line positions and wrapping overlay… <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

03/04/2016 Blackheath

10:30 start near enough and we were still on the East side of road because of the circus. The light SE breeze was coming ‘up the hill’ from the pond so mostly steady. Full sails and diamond rods for most of us. We were six up today having been joined by Tom Greenfield and Damon Meheux. Damon flew with the team from 1995 to 1997. Tom flew with the team from 1998 to 2008. They were both very comfortable on the line today. As conditions were reasonably dry we did do a pre-Berck/Cervia kit check. Diamond rods in the standard sails, Green race in the vented sails and 4 wrap in the Xtra Vents has the bases covered. We just need to borrow back the sixth Xtra Vent… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

27/03/2016 Blackheath

Late arrival as usual after the clock change and we sat out the approaching torrential shower. Once it had passed it looked like there was a half hour interval before the next one. We set up xtra vents with 4 wrap spars as the wind speed was about 18mph gusting upwards to 25mph or more. The following shower did not actually amount to much but the original system was obviously growing as it headed to the NE. We will be at Dieppe, five fliers so far, hoping for eight… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

20/03/2016 Blackheath

The Circus is now set to go… Winds from the NE again and similar speed to last week so we used the same configuration, full vented with race rods which were only occasionally underpowered. There was a curious moment when the cloud edge that we had seen approaching from the NE passed over and we were suddenly in full sunshine. It didn’t last long, the higher and lower clouds materialized and were soon only occasionally broken by a bright patch. Lots of free flying... We have an invitation to Dieppe, France so now have to get the fliers organized. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

13/03/2016 Blackheath

A circus caravan had arrived on the main field before us this morning, hazard lights still flashing before the tractor unit disconnected. More vehicles arrived while we flew. NE c10mph or more so vented sails with race rods. Some called sequences today even if some of the fliers were not in their usual places in the line. I almost got around to running out a new set of lines but although there was some warmth in the sun the wind chill meant that flying rather than line maintenance was preferable. Maybe next weekend… Just a month now before Berck. <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

06/03/2016 Blackheath

The grass had been mown so the heath was striped. Just as well I didn’t drop a glove last Sunday, it would have been shredded… North Westerly 7-12mph so the mid vents got an airing. We’ve not got a team set but we usually fly personal kit at Blackheath so these sails with race rods were the right choice. Hoping to have news about Dieppe soon and we have a couple of small UK events to potentially add to the agenda. There was some real warmth in the sun today but we wrapped early as a slight shower was approaching. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

28/02/2016 Blackheath

North Easterly today but mostly 10mph so standard vented with race rods/3 wrap just OK but occasionally overpowered in the c15mph gusts. A small shower was not sleet or snow soon after arriving. Glad to be in the right kit. The persistent high cloud cleared for a few minutes close to the end of our session and there was some warmth in the sun! No calls again but plenty of relaxed close flying. Some complex close routines are almost emerging through habit as with the drift of focus across the wind window. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

21/02/2016 Blackheath

South Westerly today around 22mph and occasionally much more so Xtra Vents with 4 wrap. Overcast with occasional bright spots. Walking onto the field I picked up the glove that I dropped last Sunday as we were leaving. It was a bit wet! No calls today. I need to focus on Dieppe arrangements now and finalise the line-up for Exmouth. These events may seem a long way off but people need to know… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

14/02/2016 Blackheath

North Easterly today, mostly about 16mph so Xtra Vents with Race rods. There was occasional sunshine but with minimal warming effect. No calls today except towards the end of a spontaneous inverted pendulum which slightly spoiled the moment. Slow flying against the occasional bright sun looked good. Interested to see more about the new design from Revolution. We know a bit about slack line flying with the 1.5 and Diamond Rods… Flights are all booked for Cervia, eight fliers for the last four days with an advanced party in place from the start of the event. Eight fliers for the last four days of Berck as well, just need to work out the cars. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

07/02/2016 Blackheath

Brisk SW breeze mostly 18mph but often gusting considerably higher so Xtra Vents with 4 wrap frames today. Mostly cloudy with occasional breaks of sunshine which almost countered the considerable wind chill even though the temperature was almost in double figures centigrade… Some called moves today but also plenty of confident close free flying. Someone just has to write the figures but it might be better to try and describe the ‘rules of engagement’. It would be a bit like flying fighter kites with absolutely no intent in cutting the other fliers lines. We’ll be doing the last four days at Berck, team of 8 subject to the organisers approval and will be present at Cervia for the whole event with a full team of 8 for the final weekend.

Felix

Felix

 

31/01/2016

A no fly day. The rain might have stopped at midday but at that point I had set about unscrambling a ‘password’ issue and could not let that go until I had resolved it. Ironically it was all about the number of characters allowed… We are almost set for Cervia and Berck is shaping up subject to the team confirming individually. I still do not have details of the new kite from Revolution. It will be interesting to see how the bridle works! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

24/01/2016 Blackheath

A later start today c11:30 and completely different temperature wise, well into double figures. Wind was from the South and mostly 10mph+ so vented sails with race rods again. Quite a lot of called flying today but only in a leisurely sense, no way ‘practice’; just for the simple enjoyment… We should be able to firm up on plans for Berck and Cervia in the next few days. Portsmouth and Exmouth are straightforward and Dieppe is a distinct possibility this time. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

17/01/2016 Blackheath

There was evidence of overnight snow in Hackney and on arrival on Blackheath there was a melting residue which had all but disappeared by Midday. High clouds thinned at times to let a bit of sun through; just enough to see shadows on the ground. Wind was from the SE and much lighter than forecast, c1-3 mph so diamonds in full 1.5 sails. Nothing called today but early on there was some close smooth following searching for the wind window. Always a treat in light winds… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

10/01/2016 Blackheath

There was an extensive potentially thundery cloud system looming to the south as I set off from Hackney this morning. Even in the time that it took to reach Blackheath it became clear that this system was tracking quite quickly to the SE even though the local wind direction was from the SW. 10-20mph so full vented with race rods felt very comfortable. Once the sun appeared from behind the high cloud there was almost a balance between wind chill and a slight warming effect, but definitely full gloves weather now. I have been getting feedback from the team regarding attendance at the 2016 events so we should have a plan in place before long now. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

01/01/2016 Blackheath

The forecast looked better for today than Sunday 3rd so we made an appropriately late start under thickening high cloud. A flier was close to our usual pitch on the heath with some two line kites and also a couple of Revolution sails. It was Damon Meheux making an occasional visit. He was in the process of packing up so we exchanged seasonal greetings before setting up. The breeze was from the SE and initially we thought it was going to be a full sail day but even as we wound out the lines it became apparent that this was a lazy winter’s breeze; goes straight through you rather than going around. So it was full vented with race rods… The more seasonal temperature of about 7 degrees Celsius meant that we did not fly for long but it was definitely ‘gloves on’ for the complete session. It was sad to hear the news from Vienna… https://www.facebook.com/flyhigh.drachen/photos/a.180454338654738.39593.111492718884234/1099249796775183/?type=3&theater Felix

Felix

Felix

 

27/12/2105 Blackheath

There was a bit of drizzle in the air on the way to Blackheath but it stayed dry for a while on arrival. C20 mph from the SW again with similar temperatures to last week. We started with full vented and race rods but switched to four wrap. This felt a bit rigid and on reflection I would have preferred Xtra Vents and race. It is time to start making arrangements for the 2016 events. I will have to make some difficult decisions all too soon about the time I will be able to take away from work for Berck and Cervia… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

20/12/2015 Blackheath

It was a showery SW airstream today with un-seasonally high temperature of c14 centigrade again. Full vented 1.5s with a variety of race rods and 3 wrap felt comfortable. Some called moves today along with plenty of close freeflying. Lots of sky-scapes including the one I have attached to this message. We’ll probably fly next Sunday and then New Years Day just because… Felix

Felix

Felix

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