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Felix last won the day on September 22 2019

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  1. And then it was wet. High winds had been forecast but did not really materialise. So, preventative maintenance on the 2007/8 Rev 1 stacks today. All leading edge mesh edges oversewn with a three step zig-zag stitch. There were not as many actual breaks as I had anticipated. Maybe there are more on the 1.5 stack? We managed to get a peculiar wrap in the stacking lines of one four set. Not yet resolved but shows that it can be done! After un-tangling the JMH Double Malay stack anything is possible! Felix
  2. The synoptic chart from the Met Office on Wednesday 5th February was clear that the isobars would be tightly packed today and so they were. No thoughts of kite flying but a bit of weather spotting via the webcams at Lyme Regis, West Bay and Polzeath. The day did start though, with a bit of knot tying, roping in a rotten fence post in the back yard… Felix
  3. Brisk WSW breeze 17-30mph so 1.5 RSS kite for me today… Out of the comfort zone for anything else really so no SLKs today. Terry Riley’s album Assassin Reverie track Tread on the Trail proved to be an interesting accompaniment for two fliers. Having completed the rigging for the Peter Malinski Tetraeder earlier in the week thoughts turned to configurations. Having done one initial drawing it became apparent how versatile the system is and just how many variations are available. It will be fun translating back into the configuration of the spars and connectors as they are one step removed from the sail shapes. The team will be doing the first four days at Berck this year to leave days available for Dieppe. I am thinking about Fanø but suspect that it would be best left until we are more familiar with the JMH kites. Felix
  4. There was low dark cloud and some drizzle leaving Hackney but the low cloud had broken south of the river with a bit of sun breaking through occasionally. Steady southerly breeze probably about 10mph so full vented 1.5s with green race. A bit of Bersarin Quartett to get ‘in the mood’ and then I was intent on putting together the JMH Double Malay stack. I had a dim recollection that it had been put away hastily ‘the last time’ but had not fully appreciated the consequences of that! It took almost two hours to get to the stage that the individual pairs of bridles could be addressed. At that point the forecast rain was approaching fast and despite a hasty wrap it was on us before we got to the vehicles. It might be a bit frustrating when things don’t quite go as smoothly as hoped for. The image posted this week of the Double Malay stack flying at Fanø in 2009 was an inspiration. We’ll get the flying images and video in due course! Felix
  5. Just enough breeze for Zens with green race but not much else today. I had taken the Peter Malinski Hex stack pilot copy as more work is needed on the bridle. It was not to be! Yesterday I had been working on the connectors for the Malinski Tetreader. 40 or so still to do so that is 120 knots to tie before starting to fit them; 4 to each of the 35 sails. The line I was using was being re-cycled from the 2007 JMH design Rev 1.5 bridles. I do have a reel of bridle line somewhere! I was travelling light today as my normal vehicle had been hit by catalytic convertor thieves during the week. Not all cars are kite kit friendly. Still waiting to get final confirmation for Berck and Cervia but plans are mostly in place. Felix
  6. There really was a brisk SW wind this morning despite forecasts suggesting otherwise up until about 24 hours previously! While there were quite extended periods of 10-15mph it did blow c30mph quite often during the time we were there. So RSS Spiders 1.5 were just right! In the circumstances I was not ‘brave’ enough to attempt to put up the JMH Double Malay stack 1994. We have flown it before but not with a good sunny backdrop such as we had at times today. We flew the RSS kites for a considerable length of time, silent mode only with accompaniment from Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Kronos Quartet and Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan. The approach to the northbound Blackwall Tunnel was stationary so I took the long route home. Felix
  7. A bit of a grey day again but there was some SW wind and the drizzle I saw driving towards Blackheath held off. I.5 full vents with green race were comfortable but mid vents would probably have been fine. I had hoped that Jake would be able to join us today for the first un-wrapping of the JMH Asymetric Kite Stack 1995. I had brought the kite along with some 2m lengths of dowel in case of breakages and as the ground was not wet and the wind speed felt low enough we did go ahead with assembling the ‘structure’. I could not quite feel the ‘lift’ of the stack initially and while we did get two launches there was something amiss. On reviewing the video it was clear that there was a configuration issue with the front set. We had a similar issue with the Triple Malay stack on our first flight of that composition. We have received the formal invitation to Cervia and some of us have opted for the early flight out of Heathrow this year as there was a significant price step already. Scarborough is not happening again so we are looking at other options now to fill out the years events. Billing near Northampton is a possibility even though it is the week after Portsmouth. We might consider other events in the West! Felix
  8. Southerly breeze, some sunshine and blue sky in parts today. The forecasts were about right with a base speed of about 4mph - 8mph. Full 1.5 sails with race rods and a mid-vent, just because! Nothing called as is usual but we did get to discuss events for 2020, just a bit. We put together the Peter Malinski Flare Kite (ex Hamburg) with its substantial tubular frame in c120cm units, so c240cm high in the four vertical sleeved pockets with press stud closures and the c360cm horizontal secured by loops at the sail edges and substantial ties at two further points at the back of the sail. The sail pulled tight very neatly and looked very flat overall. The kite felt heavy on the ground but as soon as the windspeed threshold required was reached it took off like a rocket with a very smooth linear trajectory. I very much like the ‘kite shaped’ (Eddy) graphic of this kite. It should look very good with the early JMH Delta kite… Felix
  9. A fairly consistent Westerly breeze, about 10mph so full vented with green race again. The stronger winds stayed to the south of the UK this weekend. A short fly with accompaniment today and then we set about putting up some sections of the JMH Rhombus shaped kite train from 1985. I have re-strung the fifth and sixth sets with 4mm polyester braid as the 3.5mm had been overstretched. We only got as far as the three top sets today but even they needed an anchor point really. The Eddy kite that I had made as a pilot for this train worked fine even if it did dive vertically down on one occasion. The stack oscillated in its own rhythm with the pilot mostly taking a different line. I have uploaded a short video here:- Felix
  10. SSW at about 12mph so 1.5 full vented with green race this morning. It was sunny and a mostly clear sky so I was hoping to do ‘something’ with JMH kites today! After a gentle warm up fly it became apparent that we were not going to get a ‘full’ team by any stretch of the imagination. As the overnight rain had soaked in and the steady breeze had taken any remaining ‘wetness’ off the grass it was only slightly muddy underfoot. We staked out the Double / Single Eddy stack and proceeded to untangle the kites and tails and set the spars. A third pair of hands would have made things easier but I really wonder how Jørgen managed by himself. The stack flew very well indeed and we discovered how to take it to the edge of the wind window in order to untangle tails. We did somehow lose a spar from one of the front kites but this did not appear to affect the flight of the stack. There were a couple of issues with the threading of the replacement split rings and one spar pocket requires re-sewing. I was able to take a whole series of images and have posted some of them on Facebook. I’ll update the Decs Collection site shortly. Felix
  11. WSW 17 - 34 mph but mostly sunny rather than cloudy. RSS kites were fine, just a little bit noisy in the stronger gusts, merely a sail rattle, not a roar! Not the wind for flying trains but we did unwrap the 2 square metre black lifter and fly it from the bridle. It seemed to be well set ‘out of the bag’. I also pegged out the top few sets of the PM Yakko Stack in an attempt to find out how much lift these sails can develop. They were certainly ready to go but the top sail really needed stabilising. The pocket sled from Vienna would have been enough but it was folding up in the strong breeze. (I wonder if a spreader could work here?) The 4 and 5mm braided polyester line for the kite trains arrived last Tuesday and two sets of the 1985 JMH train have been re-strung during the week. The dihedrals for the early JMH kites should arrive during this next week. I’ll use one of the prototypes to fix the Double / Single Eddy stack 1989 in the meantime. The on-field fix in Cervia has not actually ever been tested! Felix
  12. NNE breeze today, fairly steady and probably about 10 mph so finally a change from the Zen Autumn. Full vented 1.5 with green race was just right. The sun was directly in our sightline and there was a slight warmth when the breeze eased. When there was cloud cover it was distinctly colder. I had hoped to fly the JMH Double / Single Eddy stack 1989 but it was a bit too muddy and damp underfoot so we flew the single Eddys that I put together recently that need further tuning. One of them can be finalised now, the other one was still showing a bias until I resorted to the same fix I used on the field a couple of weeks ago. As then, completely counter intuitive. We flew until the sun re-appeared and I noticed again that the grey fabric stripe can catch the sun and appear to be brighter than the white fabric. At the same time the shadowed white ripstop appeared to be sky blue. The prototype printed dihedrals for the early JMH kite compositions have arrived and I am hoping to finalise an order soon. Felix
  13. Foggy in Hackney first thing and on the approach to Blackheath from the Greenwich Peninsula it looked as if it was foggy at the top of the hill. It was grey and gloomy on arrival and very wet underfoot but not actually foggy. Wind from the south was light, probably 3mph to start but as the cloud lifted and brightness approached so the breeze increased; slightly. So, Zens with green race once again. We did spend quite some time today meandering in close formations occasionally with Terry Riley as accompanyment. I had hoped to look at the Malinsky Yakko Stack that came from Hamburg and as there was eventually a bit more breeze c5mph and some sunlight we did make the effort to switch the individual sails and see what transpired. There was not enough breeze to launch directly so we put the 145cm Malinsky Eddy in place as a lifter and almost got a result. The lifter was only able to move about 15 sails but when they caught the breeze the rest of the train was momentarily, at best, in flight. Successive attempts were probably significantly weighed down by the wet sails. A good start, none the less… I also tried the Hex Pilot with carbon rods (ultra light) but although there was just enough breeze further work is required on the bridle. Felix
  14. Lighter again today, maybe 2mph from the north but with little thermal variation so the Zens with green race stayed in the air, if nothing else. That will be the fifth week running so a bit of a Zen autumn! We did some quite extensive no call flying against a slowly changing high cloud background with some curious almost lenticular like features. I did not expect to get very far with the Hexagonal pilot kite but we did get it in the air briefly, enough to make some adjustments and then break a spar*, so, ‘a work in progress’. (*replaced with a pair from the carbon set I had made) Having found a way to break down this single sail I have to try a similar approach with the two sections of the 47 kite train as the full sails will not fit in my car… Felix
  15. North easterly breeze today starting with mostly clear sky but cloud gradually developing. Once again, a light breeze so mostly Zens with green race. Despite their age the Zen sails still sparkle when flown into the sunlight. I took time out to see if there was a quick solution to the bias in the two Eddy kites that we flew last weekend. I did find a fix which worked, as if by magic, and just need to translate it into something more permanent. Needless to say it was counterintuitive! The Hexagonal pilot kite is mostly complete, initial sparing and bridle to be done this afternoon, all being well. The amount of work that JMH and PM put into their kite constructions is quite amazing as compared to the effort required to ‘reverse’ engineer a single kite! Felix
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