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Felix last won the day on September 22 2019

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  1. It was hot on Blackheath as forecast but the NE or E breeze held up most of the time so we had a good starting session with full sail 1.5 Revs. I had decided that any other kites flown should be simple to put together or even requiring no frame at all as in the parafoils. Having prepared a new spreader for the JMH 1987 Delta I obviously was hoping for the right conditions after the previous spreader break at launch. I might have been a bit overcautious today but we set the kite on the point lines and I selected the tow point one step forwards from the midpoint. I had prepared c40 meters of 4mm braided polyester line and gradually let the kite out until I was able to transfer to the ground anchor completely. The spreader did not break and the kite exhibited 'user friendly' responses to low wind moments and also those times when the kite falls off a thermal element in the wind. I managed to catch some of these moments on video... Felix
  2. Lighter breeze today, 8mph was forecast but it was often less. Full sail 1.5s with race rods were very comfortable and as there was not actually much in the way of thermal effect the breeze felt steady. (Quite a bit of sun and I did remember to keep the hat on after last weeks scalp burn!) There were some directional shifts that caused issues when we set about building the JMH Asymetric Stack 1995. Part of the problem arose from some tangling or looping of the sets as we laid them out and checked alignment. I set a peg in one of the power lines to set the angle of attack of the front set of sails. This was a crude intervention and I will sew in a couple of attachment loops as a more permanent solution to the issue. The wind was just a bit light for a fixed anchor point but we did get enough airtime for some very good photographs by Marian Linford. A longer flying line may be practical with this stack. When we packed the kites we made sure that there was no tangling of the sails. There will still be a moment when extending the stack without all the spars where tangling could occur but the 3 dimensional maze should be minimised. Felix
  3. The forecast suggested 11mph gusting 25 but we probably did not get that most of the time. We did get blue sky, sunshine and impressive cumulus with only one light shower actually crossing the Heath. There was one torrential shower that passed north of the river and it did hit Hackney. Full vented 1.5s today so less wind than my expectations. We did a couple of free flying sessions today as well as a brief fly before finally packing up and leaving at about 3:30pm. Chris Beel had joined us travelling from Peterborough today, hence the extended session. We also flew the full Malinski Eddy train c1985 using one of the replacement sails that I had made (for the missing green one) as a pilot. The full set was mostly well behaved but the direction shifting gusts occasionally had the whole train looping down to the ground. The self launch usually worked fairly quickly from the pilot end or the tethered end. We also set up half of the JMH Expansible Box 1996 with the pilot kite configuration that I had been preparing. I think that with just a couple more miles per hour of breeze we would have had stable flight. Once fully airborne the structure has a very high aspect possibly with the pilot pulling the top of the kite back into the power zone. It will be interesting to try the full structure in slightly more wind now knowing a bit more about the pilot assisted launch. It was hard work assembling and dis-assembling this kite. Not too many stick broken today! Felix
  4. Low clouds, a light northerly breeze, sometimes the forecast 7mph, often less and intermittent light rain which being very fine/small droplets would be called ‘drizzle’ in may parts of the country! Even in the light breeze it was arriving horizontally. I set up the small Peter Lynn pilot kite on 4mm polyester braid for ‘target practice’, but really to see how it behaved in marginal conditions. We flew full sail 1.5 Revs with race rods without calls and with occasional interaction with the pilot kite because we can! I am anxious to fly the JMH Asymetric Kite Stack 1995 again as there is some configuration adjustment needed for the front set but today would not have worked. Too much weight, at about 6 kg, without sails and tails getting wet as well. I took the late Della-Porta: Four Squares (which has a similar design to one of the middle sets of the Asymetric stack) but the light breeze and damp conditions did not feel right at all. After a run of good weather from the middle of May the last 3 Sundays and today have been a disappointment. Too much wind for two, too little on one and wet today. A forecast for next Sunday is suggesting rain again! Felix
  5. By contrast with the last two weekends today was almost a flat calm. There was occasionally sustained air movement from most of the compass points! Zens with green race and a Robertshaw sail were occasionally in the air. I had hoped to fly the early JMH delta kite having been wondering how to re-spar it since breaking a bamboo component at the previous flight last year. I had prepared some 18mm dowel and aluminium connectors. I was aware that there was a potential weak point and so it wasn’t a complete surprise that the sail filled and then with a loud report the kite collapsed! Back to the drawing board! I went on to fly the late JMH delta and the 1991 Decs Rokakku. Both were quite hard work in the occasional breeze from whichever direction. The Rokkaku runs away with line quite forcefully but the delta requires a more hands-on-the-line approach maintaining some tension at all times. It was good to fly it in this way even if there is a risk of line burn. Felix
  6. Another windy forecast had me looking back at notes for July over the last few years to find that it had generally been a light wind month. I can remember Washington Tyne and Wear events with blustery conditions, not least when a Cody train broke loose. On Friday afternoon the forecast windspeed for Sunday was 19-38mph but it was a bit less on the day c16-32mph. So we were all on RSS kites. These have proved to be a very successful design, lightening the line loading but maintaining performance. We had a good session without calls today. I also managed to tune the Peter Lynn pilot kite following the simple instructions regarding the “B” bridle. The JMH 1986 Flare that was damaged last Sunday has been repaired using oversewn dacron. This replaced a previous sticky tape repair. A similar preventative fix was done on the other vertical pocket. I also attended to a small repair on the JMH Della Porta: Eight rhomboids 1993 yesterday. Felix
  7. The forecast was for c15-30mph and cloudy. We had the wind but the cloud was broken so there was quite a bit of sun as well. RSS kites and an Xtra Vent because Martin arrived first. There were some lulls but mostly it was constant with gusts blowing through. My plan for today hit an early problem which was not resolved on the field today. The pilot kite that I had planned to use needed tuning and while I found that small incremental corrections to the bridle did make a difference I did not hit on Peter Lynn’s solution from 2010:- ‘To pull a Pilot kite to the right, shorten "B" bridle on the right. - End of story!’ So that will have to await another occasion. A launch of the 1986 Flare resulted in an arc to crash landing. I knew that the bridle needed further adjustment but have paid a price for over confidence. One broken spar and a split sleeve end will need to be fixed. We could see that showers were forming so left a little earlier than in past weeks. Turning back to the A2 roundabout proved to be a quicker route to the tunnel approach. There were a few spots of rain as I unloaded the car back in Hackney! Felix
  8. Another week of weather watching and once again we have been fortunate that early rain moved away to a drying breeze which was strong enough for our needs. Ironically, when I arrived on site there was a bit of a long lull in the breeze, sufficient to set up a full sail 1.5. I had been expecting to use a full vent and so it proved after a third flier arrived on site and set up a full sail. We quickly changed to full vent with green race and had some subtle no calls interaction. Then, as is the custom, we set up a JMH kite. This time it was the 1994 Double Malay stack. It is probably the equivalent of a seven Rev 1 stack so I had made an anchor point with the barge pins again. After a couple of mis-steps we got the stack in the air and took turns on steading the bridle bar. A simple turn of the bar seemed to have the desired input to the kites if they appeared to drift off line. Quite how Jørgen managed to fly these kites without assistance I am not sure. They are however obviously designed for a substantial breeze and a good ground anchor. There was a magical sound of the wind resonating through the whole rig. Wonderful! Felix
  9. I had been watching the weather forecasts all week and was hopeful for a settled steady southerly breeze with some brightness. We got the breeze but actually had some good sunshine as well. I set up a full sail 1.5 with race rods and was just about airborne when Martin arrived. I was then able to collect the additional kit from the car. My plan was to see how many of the JMH Rhombus shaped kites 1985 we could put up. We have flown up to three sets previously. I had undertaken quite a lot of restoration/refurbishment of the 81 kites. All the tails had been re-fixed to the ramin spines, the eyelets had been replaced and the reinforcements for the eyelets re-sewn as needed. The flying lines for the pink and pale green sets had been replaced with new line. And of course, spare spreaders had been cut and finished! The 16 square metres sail area and the 5mm polyester braid line for the lower sets indicate a fairly heavy load so I set two of the barge pins with a rope link for connection. We flew seven sets as more would have taken the line too close to the main road. The angle of flight achieved with seven sets probably took the top kite close to the 60m height limit as well. The kites were sometimes settled in line, other times they were snaking rhythmically with the coloured tails swinging into view. Altogether a great result. I have posted a video here:- We did even manage to fly the revs up close… Felix
  10. The wind was lighter than forecast soon after my arrival but strengthened later. Full sail 1.5s with race rods were just holding in the lulls and we did fly a bit closer today as the rules have changed. I had hoped to fly the Peter Malinski train in full today as I thought that I had cut spare sticks and put them in the new bags for each set. Seems like I had only replaced broken ones and so we only managed four sets again today using ‘spares’ from the fifth set as we inevitably broke some during assembly. While the whole train was well behaved in lighter breeze moments today the pilot kite exhibited an anticlockwise loop tendency when the gusts blew through. I will have to check it over but do not think that the length of the pilot line should have been an issue. The mini spectacle certainly attracted attention across the heath today. I hope that we will be able to do some further focused flying days over the remainder of the summer. That would include some Rev flying, of course. Felix
  11. So next weekend we can fly six kites together providing we keep 2 meters apart. Unlikely that there will actually be six of us but at least it is now allowed. Today was full on blue sky, just the odd clouds off towards the horizon and plenty of swifts to keep us company in the air above. A fairly steady easterly breeze meant that full vent 1.5s were just about comfortable most of the time with green race frames. Having had recent experience of the JMH Della Porta kites and some success in configuring the Hex Pilot I was intent on tackling the late Four Square that we initially flew back in March 2019. At the time the kite appeared to be unstable and we thought that the bridle may not have been finished. In keeping with social distancing I was intent on managing the kite by myself although assistance was offered. I had run out about 35m of the 2.5mm spectra flying line ‘secured’ at the ground end. The kite was assembled and then pinned face up with the lower edge of the kite downwind. I attached the bridle to the flying line and moved the kite so that the lowest legs of the bridle were tight. I then lifted the kite so that all the bridle lines were tight with the top edge of the kite on the ground. There were issues with the bridle lines that needed to be resolved. This could not be done under tension so the kite was lowered to the ground again and secured. Once the bridle was set with no loops the kite was lifted back under tension and the tails attached. It was then a case of rotating the kite, checking that everything looked ‘correct’ and then releasing it into the sky! It was somewhat gratifying that the kite launched perfectly with no sign of instability. Flying on spectra is somewhat risky because it does not stretch under stress like polyester line. If the kite goes into a powered dive or spin releasing line quickly may help in recovery. I was expecting to hand hold this kite both to soften the impact of gusts and to aid recover. I would also expect to fly on twice the length of line as used today to help avoid the possibility of the kite drifting off to either side of the wind window and ‘falling out of the sky’ in lighter breeze moments as seen a couple of times today. Felix
  12. Another breezy day so I was flying the RSS kite today. There were two other fliers nearby but we were not sharing kit so they were flying the Xtra Vents by Bazzer. Flying was ‘at a distance’ except for one moment when a family group came a bit close. Should have grounded the kites really… A further session on the Hex Pilot and this time the breeze was consistently strong enough to keep the kite at the top of the window which turned out to be really quite high. Except, of course, for when a switch occurred and the kite went into a spin all the way to the ground. Dropping the line tension will probably resolve the spin but I was not quite set up to release line fast today. A further small adjustment to the bridle may also resolve line pressure sufficiently. I am very pleased to have put this kite together even if it does not eventually get used with the Peter Malinski Hexagonal kite train. Felix
  13. It was strange to be driving to Blackheath today. I was quite prepared to turn around and drive home again if there was any indication of congestion on the site. While there were people about, many in pairs at a distance, there was plenty of space at our usual spot. Mid vent 1.5 for a while just to remember how it felt on a dry surface with some sun breaking through the high cloud. I then set up the Hexagonal ‘pilot’ kite that was sewn up back in the autumn as a possible replacement for the missing element of the Peter Malinski ‘stack’. The bridle had been roughly configured but I knew that there may be some considerable ‘tuning’ required to achieve anything like a stable and sustained flight. A combination of re-tying and using dowel pegs eventually got close to stable flight on a fixed line. At that point I extended the flying line, hand held it, and found that the kite was flying like a well balanced fighter kite. It really needed slack line in order to change direction or to stop a spin. While I had put seven lines in the bridle the centre and top two are the main elements and it may be that the remaining four lines will need to be discarded. It is possible that they are the cause of instability. More experimentation is required but considerable progress had been made today! Felix
  14. Website distraction yesterday in a good way. I had found some details of the two kites that were raffled in aid of the Bristol Kite Festival 2009. They were in the original JMH design from 1991 but in the 1.5 format, one yellow, one blue. After a bit of further research I found some images by Laura Berg from Long Beach WSIKF 2009 and Laura was able to send me higher resolution versions for the web site. It was good to pin down that episode and to be reminded that Rich Comrass who Jake and I met in Miami 2013 was one of the winners of the raffle. It may now be possible to fly kites individually depending on the interpretation of the new rules that are coming into effect during this week. Felix
  15. Cervia would have ended today and the lilac bush in the Hackney garden here has begun to end its glorious spring show. Still haven’t started the Tetraeder exercise but the weather has not been great this last week. The 1992 Rev 1 re-make project is now in hand. Martin Lester will sew the sails and Revolution will finish them as has been our practice. They may be finished in time for any surviving Autumn events but probably will only really get used next year. Something to look forward to, anyway. It is quite likely that we will also get the fourth Rokkaku made as well, to complete the set. Not sure that my sewing skills are up to that yet so probably get ‘someone else’ to do it! I have laid off the JMH kite repair works in the last few weeks and intend to pick up on that soon hoping for a slight lifting of restrictions over the summer. One issue that I have encountered is figuring out how to remember what needs to be done and to keep track in some way. Getting spares organised and ‘in place’ is also needing further attention. That is a useful reminder that JC may also have some Rev SLE spares that could be very useful for some of the JMH kites, notably the early 7m Delta which needs replacement for broken bamboo spars. Felix
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