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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog

 

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

 

13/12/2015 Blackheath

Very wet underfoot this morning under a low almost featureless cloud ceiling except for a slight brightening to the south early on. 3mph Easterly breeze so full 1.5 sails with diamond rods were mostly smooth and precise even with a bit of movement required on the ground. The wet lines did occasionally ‘lock up’ but that was mostly transitional and there were only a couple of accidental landings. No calls today but a lot of close interactive flying. As ever the potential ‘figures’ were quite remarkable. Changing pace was the one aspect that stood out particularly today. Apparently it is ten years since, on Blackheath, I watched the approaching ‘black cloud’ from north of London and wondered why the sunlight was not turning it white… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

06/12/2015 Blackheath

Arrived at about 11:00am. 14 degrees celcius, wind from the SW about 18mph gusting to 30. The lulls gradually stretched with 10mph or less occurring more frequently. Xtra Vents with 4 wrap were fine to start. Close, slow, not called moves worked well with a few formal sequences. Berck, Cervia, Portsmouth, Bristol, Exmouth and Dieppe are on the agenda for 2016. We will confirm events in due course. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

29/11/2015 Blackheath

The forecast was not very optimistic but we did make the journey ‘just in case’. Arrived later than usual and the wind was much as predicted, mostly 25mph with gusts up to 38-40. Xtra Vents with 4wrap were OK most of the time and as at South Shields the other year we decked the kites during the stronger sustained gusts. There were a few moments of ‘brightness’ and the contrast between buildings and sky to the south was somewhat remarkable. The occasional squally shower eventually sent us packing early but it was surprising how localized the rain was. North of the river, at least in Hackney, it had remained dry. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

22/11/2015 Blackheath

While it was only about 3 degrees centigrade in the shade the light c3mph NW breeze and the clear sky meant that it did not feel too cold on the Heath today. Full 1.5 sails with diamond rods were mostly fine for free flying. Holding the diagonals for team moves did occasionally prove difficult but we did persevere to some degree. I didn’t actually wear gloves but that was probably because I had taken serious measures to avoid getting cold; lots of layers! Conversationally we realized that in the past we would have been flying the Zens in today’s conditions but our current preference was for the smaller kite which could move more quickly in light conditions, if needed. Even so we will be pursuing our project to get some JMH sails made in the Zen format for the occasions when a ‘big’ presentation is needed. We will probably go back to using longer lines as well for the bigger sails. We took up the 120ft standard so as to be able to ‘fit in’ with the 1.5 Mega Fly project. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

15/11/2015 Blackheath

11:00 am on the Heath with a strong SW breeze, Mostly cloudy with occasional breaks of sun or views of blue sky. Still unseasonably warm so no gloves yet! Xtra Vented kites mostly with race rods only occasionally felt over stressed. No calls again with only the occasional touch disturbing the sequences. Sometimes the kites overlap without touching… Exmouth is now the last weekend of August in 2016 so we should be able to muster a full team. I’m still waiting to hear about work commitments for the last weekend in April 2016. Looks like I will not be able to do the full Cervia again! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

08/11/2015 Blackheath

A bit of a late start today. Local road closures in Hackney and post fireworks cleaning on Blackheath might have interfered with our plans but on the day were not an issue. The southerly breeze today was fairly consistent and not as strong as forecast so it was full vented with race rather than xtra vents. Plenty of no call rolling moves today and some patterns are becoming evident. I’m particularly interested in a ‘stalled’ follow where the lead kite travels the full distance but the following kites take a shorter route while matching the figure. The starlings were performing on the heath today with the gulls adding a less defined spectacle. The geese were evident underfoot and provided a fly past gaining altitude when crossing our grounded lines. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

01/11/2015 Blackheath

The fog was even more dense on Blackheath than in Hackney or ‘en route’. The grass was saturated again but ‘new boots’ were effective <grins> There was a slight N or NNE breeze so setting up was not too difficult but the wet line magic was in place again. Occasionally the disk of the sun was just about visible but the church spire was beyond the ‘cotton wool’ environment. It was a fairly energetic fly today. Getting home was a bit tedious as the tunnel was backed up to ‘Sun in the Sands’ for no apparent reason. The sun was breaking through on the final approach to the tunnel with Canary Wharf emerging into view. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

25/10/2015 Blackheath

There was no discernable air movement when we arrived on Blackheath today. The grass was dew saturated and the boots that I thought were on their last legs almost a year ago finally leaked. We set up with diamond rods in the assumed direction of the breeze with the usual magic wrapping of wet lines. I actually had to add more brake to get a comfortable grip on the little air movement that was occasionally evident. The 9 degrees Celcius did not feel ‘cold’ at all… Ashley did call a few sequences but mostly we were working on keeping the kites in the air with no enthusiasm for 360s. That would have been too much like hard work. As the air was moving from the SW there was a limit to forward movement as well. Best not to overfly the road <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

18/10/2015 Blackheath

I was a bit late arriving on Blackheath today. Maybe it was in anticipation of the clocks changing next weekend. The daily homebound cycle ride commute is already almost completely dark… The anticyclonic spell continues so there was a light NE breeze mostly good for full sails and Race frames. Some good ‘no call’ interaction with the kites close in the sky and we had complimentary remarks from one of the Sunday footballers. Talk was about impending change at the ‘office’ and the possibility of a ‘meet’ during the winter months. The gamble with the weather makes for a difficult call especially as we have been lucky in the past. Mostly it will depend on the enthusiasm of potential participants <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

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