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.
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>
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...
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...
(EDIT Thanks to Maggie for the photos)
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>
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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>
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.
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)
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...)
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!
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.
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.
A glorious day after yesterday's storms. There were showers marching eastwards on the southern horizon, maybe over the South Downs or on the Channel coast?
On Blackheath we were joined by a new flier. Rowan was taking a break from his usual Sunday lessons.
As an 'almost' first time flier I set him up on a short set of lines with the 1.5 Anniversary kite. I added a little forward to counteract the tendency to pull back the handles at launch and away he went. It was instructive to watch him get to grips with correcting the kite after ground contact and also to see him using mobility on the ground and 'long arms' at the outset.
The rest of us settled for vented 3 wrap and we flew some gentle 'mega team' holding positions before letting Maggie lead some following lines.
Blackheath was being 'cleaned up' after last nights fire works display. Parking restrictions meant that we convened to the west of the cricket field, uphill from the usual church field site.
A fairly smooth easterly breeze was borderline between full sail/race rods(or heavier) and vented/3 wrap. We opted for the latter and enjoyed the hassle free feel of this configuration. Jade, Ashley and I completed some neat no-call close format railtrack following. Maggie was working on an expanded downward turning infinity and looked to be getting the better of it once Jade suggested the forward walk to de-power the downward turn.
We discussed long arm technique and noted the LE facing left/right altitude achievable with the full stretch (long arm) as opposed to the 'bow and arrow' stance. Smooth speed control and transitions appear to be best effected with the use of plenty of manoeuvrability on the ground as well.
Looking forward to Ainsdale.
It was sunny on Blackheath today as predicted. Wind speed was probably 15-20mph so at the top end of comfort level with 1.5 vented on 4 wrap.
A 'not very scientific' comparison between Bazzer Pro and early iQuad vented indicated that the [EDIT] 'new' kite is easier to hold on a straight line. <grins>
Flying the kite consistently very slowly is what I describe as 'treacle' mode. I have found that 'long arm' movements are required to maintain this mode of flight. I think that it would be very interesting to see team flying in this mode.
Martin, Maggie, Ashley and I flew in line for a while and we stacked the kites in the air.
Martin, Jade, Ashley and I put the four 2 wrap framed ex iQuad kites up when a light breeze finally arrived c12:30 today.
They felt crisp and consistent despite our differing selection of handles. 15 inch would be my preference now for sure in light breezes.
We flew some simple, but deliberately slow, following moves and had some applause from passers by. Romney would have been proud...
The post office has not delivered the iQuad kites yet...
No formal OSOW fly on Blackheath today.
A good breeze so vented 1.5 on UL spars for me. Treacle flying looking for straight arms as default. Habits are difficult to break despite the obvious advantages. Repetition is good for setting the precedent...
Still waiting to hear from LOCOG.
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.
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.
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.