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Blog Entries posted by Felix

  1. Felix
    A Happy New Year to everyone!
    A gentle start to the new year. 4 fliers, nothing called, warmed by mulled wine for some. (thanks Martin!)
    Full vented with race rods once again fitted the bill. Only occasionally the frames felt stressed or there was a need to move on the ground.
    The cloudscape was particularly dramatic as it can be occasionally on the heath but eventually the rain started with the look of settling in for the rest of the afternoon. 2 1/2 hours later it is still raining steadily...
  2. Felix
    A clear bright start to the year. Happy New Year to all.
    Standard vented with green race rods worked well for me initially but a slight strengthening of the breeze towards the end of our fly showed just how finely balanced the configurations can be. Hanging on in a cold breeze is not as good as energetic input to keep the chill at bay.
    The long range forecast for Nottingham (Shipley Country Park) on 12th-13th January is looking cold but not too wet. Should be fun, 'whatever the weather', of course.
    Discussions on the field today about routines for 16 fliers. <grins> I must look up the previous correspondence...
  3. Felix
    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
  4. Felix
    The weather window looked a bit close today but we did manage to have a gentle fly under a changing high cloud base grey sky.  There was a shower on arriving and an occasional brightness from the sun.
    It was  a light westerly breeze so full 1.5 sails with race, 2 wrap and diamond spars in the mix.

    Traffic was noticeably light both ways today, no queue on the northern approach to the Blackwall Tunnel going home for a change.  The expected rain had settled in by 1:30pm in Hackney.  A dark afternoon…


  5. Felix
    A blustery NW airstream kept a cloud cap on the heath today with tantalizing glimpses of clear blue sky to the NW. The sun almost broke through on a couple of occasions, not that it would have made much difference to the wind chill.
    Xtra vents with 4 wrap mostly were a bit of a handful in the lulls but the long arm horizontal handles of light wind technique filled the gaps for me and the physical activity helped in keeping warm…
    As Berck and Cervia are organized we need to arrange a March event to get the fliers ‘up-to-speed’ so I am looking at the weekends of 21st or 28th March and searching for a suitable venue. Hopefully suggestions will now come rolling in. <grins>
  6. Felix
    Mostly sunny but with broken clouds driven by a close to westerly breeze that was mostly fluctuating in the mid 20s but with occasional long gusts at or above 30mph so did not exactly make for comfortable flying today.
    Xtra Vents with 4 wrap were the only option. We decided against setting up the new lines to ‘stretch them in’! Interesting to note that the last time we had to take breaks when flying this set-up was back in August at Southshields. It has been a quiet winter and we have not had snow on Blackheath yet, either…
    Only free flying today but given the conditions there was plenty of close flying. We stopped early today, not so much because of the weather but just because we were ’ahead’ and there was no damage <grins>
  7. Felix
    Finally got out on Blackheath today in bright windy conditions.  RSS Rev for a while getting a feel for the breeze which was often as little as c12mph but also sustained gusts probably well over 25mph.
    I decided that although the conditions were a bit extreme I would try to fly the JMH Della Porta: 8 Rhomboids 1993.  Apart from anything else learning the set-up can only be achieved by doing it.
    There was a moment of anxiety getting it out of the bag as the elements did not fall free, seeming to be inextricably tangled.  Fortunately appearances were deceptive and the ‘unfolding’ resolved the apparent tangle leaving the bridle lines free to the comb.  In windy conditions the windward ‘edge’ needs to be secured at all times.  I had set a ground anchor at almost right angles to the kite and the wind direction.  Once the spars were set the kite was held up on its edge allowing the bridle to be combed out completely.  The kite was then held flat on the ground with a ‘pin’ through the top centre join point while the tails were attached.
    At this point I made a ‘mistake’ and as a result a spar was broken and no flight was possible.  In lifting and turning the sail in ‘high wind’ the bridle needs to be secured statically, that is, to a ground anchor.
    Wrapping the kite was done with the ‘pin’ through the top centre; removing the horizontal spars first but leaving the centre of the top one in place until the verticals were split in two and the lower sails folded over.  The loose bridle lines were wound around the sails up to the comb and remaining plaited bridle lines.  The kite was put in the bag followed by the plaited bridle and finally the loose spars.
    I’ll fix the broken spar during the week and maybe try again next Sunday, subject to the weather of course!
  8. Felix
    A late start, something after 11:00am on the heath, no clock change excuse and the fuel gauge light came on as we came out of the Blackwell Tunnel. Note to self, must fill up before setting off for Berck...
    And..., then there was very little wind. Zens occasionally grouped for figures but otherwise taking up a lot of space in 360s. A family group stopped 'downwind' and some of the kids followed my kite. Afterwards I explained that I did not really approve of such activity. There is a significant risk involved which may not be immediately apparent to the flier or those engaging with the kite even in light wind conditions. We do not want that accident to happen!
    Mostly northerly breeze so flying into the sun reminded me that sometime I must get some prescription shades. It helps to be able to see.
    Greenwich S*******s did have petrol and only a short queue so I am all set for the Easter weekend and departing for Berck on the 13th April for the first weekend of our initial 2012 four week tour to Berck, Cervia and Weymouth.
  9. Felix
    Last week the slow recovery from ‘flu’ and the clock change conspired against me so I did not get to fly…
    Today the Easter Circus was on our regular field so I set up on the ‘church’ field just before the footballers arrived.  They were intent on using the marked field so there was no conflict!
    A light northerly breeze was not particularly consistent and I was not in the ‘mood’ for running around so full 1.5 sail, diamond LE and race uprights…
    The forecast had indicated higher UV levels and despite the thickish cloud my glasses were at their darkest.
    We will have to do a kit check ahead of Berck and Cervia next weekend.  Hopefully this will include the new sails!
  10. Felix
    We were on site at 9:00am for our final day. The breeze was from the NW so the usual turbulence slightly constrained our efforts. After ‘coffee’ at about 10:30am we headed to the arena and ran through a couple of track before being joined by Stephan Versteegh for a couple more.
    We had booked an early lunch and watched the wind direction turn to onshore at about 12:30.
    We had a quick visit to the arena after lunch and then spent some time at the north end of the site before retuning to the arena at about 4:30pm at which point our final arena ‘presentation’ got under way. The 12 person mini-mega team was our finale.
    What a great week!
  11. Felix
    The light breeze was from the NW today but turning intermittently through about 90 degrees. Most of the time we were facing the sun… This was our second summer Sunday <grins>
    Six up today and we flew standard 1.5 sails with Diamond Rods. Rowan was on the line today and we flew repeated Sprockets as well as the Mercedes without issue in the marginal conditions.
    When the breeze failed we switched to ‘free flying’ and saw plenty of interesting silent interaction with only an occasional ‘falling out of the sky’ moment, most of which were quickly recovered.
    PS The field had been mown so no snags FJM
  12. Felix
    "Race for Life" dominated Blackheath today with 10:30 and 14:30 events. The very limited parking usually available was obviously off limits so we resorted to pay and display in Greenwich Park given that parking restrictions are already in place around Victoria Park near the Olympic site, our usual fall-back site if Blackheath is not available.
    It is obvious that during the Olympics we will have to find a different venue for our weekly fly. The TFL site is suggesting that a 15 minute journey, from Hackney to Blackheath currently, would be 50 minutes during the Olympic events. Maybe we should go to Dunstable instead?
    Anyway, having braved the pink line we set up on the cricket field opposite Greenwich Park entrance with JB 1.5 vented (race and 4 wrap) and watched the light showers speeding through with the swifts, apparently indifferent to the kites, occasionally distracting attention while flying in the same airspace.
    The runners/joggers/walkers occasionally drifted towards our flying area as their line meandered from the designated route and the wind switched direction as the showers approached and receded.
  13. Felix
    Another Zen possible day but again, like last weekend, alternating with the 1.5 JB Pro. Both line sets benefited from some precision adjustment enabled by the needle nosed pliers. I'm thinking that a finer leader knot spacing is going to be beneficial, about 1/4 inch steps should be good. Sliding adjustment has it's attractions but I do not think that the flier is ever going to be 'clever enough' to be able to adjust by 'feel' alone.
    A strange sky scape over Blackheath c11:00am with contrasting cloud tone that gradually gave way to a more conventional 'sunny' afternoon.
    The swifts that arrive over Hackney at the beginning of May have almost all vanished as they do most years at the end of July.
  14. Felix

    Decs Sunday
    Light breeze again, from the SW this time.
    We set up Zens and were flying some of the time to the accompaniment, once again of Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan.
    Jake arrived as the wind took a break.  We transferred team kites and JMH Parafoils to his car and then proceeded to have a session of called flying even as a light shower passed over.
    Then, picking up from last weekend, I set up the late JMH Delta as a target for video recording.  The c6mph breeze was perfect for the kite and happily I had figured out some of the camera controls so that I could record video on auto levels and switch back to manual for still images.
    Over the last couple of days the forecasts for the Portsmouth/Southsea weekend have been a bit troubling.  4mph from the north for two days initially, then 20mph from the west for two days more recently.  That just did not feel comfortable.  The latest was 8mph from the south west but this far out it is still likely to change!
  15. Felix
    It was great to be back at Bristol this weekend after the Olympic ‘holiday’ last year. We had two days of sunny weather with good wind mostly, if a little variable/turbulent at times.
    Standard JMH 1.5s with race on Saturday worked 'all day'. We started with standard JMH 1.5s with race on Sunday then switched to JMH 1.5 vented with 3 wrap but were back to the standard 1.5s for the last performance.
    No ‘Mega Fly’ opportunity but the sequence of arena presentations kept the ‘very large’ audience very attentive throughout the weekend.
    Apart from the kite festival auction on Saturday evening there were various ‘charity fund raising raffles’ over the weekend and Jacob was a winner. It will be interesting to learn which prize option he chooses! (Hot air ballooning to sushi making... <grins>)
    Back to Blackheath next weekend and I hope that we can sort out a ‘Super Sixteen’ weekend before Christmas. It’s all about the logistics…
    Edit 8/9/2013 http://www.flickr.com/photos/burtskitecam/9686762855/lightbox/
  16. Felix
    Back to normal temperatures today but in the sunny conditions we still saw evidence of the Blackheath thermals spinning past us, not a real dust devil but windblown material looping about.
    Full Rev 1.5s with race rods and some relaxed and sometimes intricate no call flying.  The rule is that no-one speaks and the evidence is of a concentrated effort to do nothing that is inconsistent.  The kites ‘interact’ moving together and apart, rolling across the wind window and back, expanding and contracting the group as they proceed.
    Then the breeze dropped for a while and we selected the penultimate kite from the JMH collection to put together for the first time… This was the Flare kitestack 1987, 10 kites each kite measuring 100 x 140 cm, tails: wind drogues, total size: 1 x 1.4 x 27 metres.  While the spars were quite light and reinforced with whipping at the notched ends the flying lines that run through the stack were substantial.  I suspected that the overall loading would be quite high and prepared the spectra flying line accordingly.
    The first launch from the bridle was relatively benign, but when there was slightly more breeze and a long launch the stack really needed to be anchored, not a hand held proposition!
    I note that it has been recognised that 150ft lines could be useful for achieving better results in larger Rev style mega teams.
  17. Felix
    The weather had not looked promising but we were lucky with our usual timing.  It was showery during the drive from Hackney but there was no rain on Blackheath.
    SSW with low clouds and the occasional brightness.  The breeze was probably 12 mph with occasional higher spells so we were flying mid-vents with Race Rods.
    Nothing called today but we had musical accompaniment and the occasional passing murmuration of starlings.
    It seems very early but we are getting asked about plans for 2018.  It is 30 years for the team so we might have to do something special <grins>
  18. Felix
    We had a good trip to Austria.  It was a bit wet on the Saturday with a little wind from the north west but sunny on the Sunday with a good breeze from the south.
    The highlight was probably flying the JMH Triple Malay stack on Sunday but we also flew the 1999 Rev 1.5s, the original Decs JMH Rokkaku, the late Delta and the 2008 1 and 1.5 Rev stacks on Saturday, the big Parafoil, the Della Porta 4 Rhomboids along with the 2009 vented and mid-vented 1.5s on Sunday.  We had taken the late set of JMH banners which looked very good.
    As we had arrived a day early in Austria we were treated to some local cultural attractions including an Art Museum, Danubiana-Centrum moderneho umenia in Slovakia right on the Hungarian border and a large Roman reconstruction at Petronell-Carnuntum in Austria as well as opportunity to explore the Schloss Hof gardens, the site of the kite event.
  19. Felix
    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.
  20. Felix
    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.
  21. Felix
    Arriving slightly ahead of schedule we had to wait a few minutes before the Cafe opened at 10:00am for 'breakfast' for some and a quick 'expresso' for others.
    Out on the field there was one thing missing, as in, the 6-8mph breeze that had been forecast. However, in the circumstances a valiant effort was made by everyone and we did get to fly 16 in some of the moves that had been suggested, most notably the square to diamond rotation and the following diamond threads. We also established the laddered launch and landing sequence. At launch this led directly into the regular 16 grid threads providing a smooth introduction to a potential routine.
    Thanks very much to everyone who took part.
    I wonder if it would be possible to schedule a follow-up meeting sometime before Berck. I'm intent on doing the full week at Berck so would be interested to know if we could put together 16 fliers for the first part of the week?
  22. Felix
    Didn’t travel last Sunday as the rain was due to start at 10am and continue until 3pm. The forecast was correct.
    Mid Vents with Race Rods seemed appropriate today initially but the increasingly blustery airflow eventually meant that we switched to Full Vents, still with Race Rods. The low cumulus built up gradually while we were on the ‘heath’, no doubt reflecting the turbulence at ground level. The cloudscape was curiously three-dimensional today.
    Driving home one of those ‘warning’ indicator lights in the car illuminated and the manual stated that the vehicle should be taken to a diagnostic facility without delay. Who needs that?
  23. Felix
    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.
  24. Felix
    It was bright to start c11:45am but the low cloud gradually thickened and the variable breeze rose incrementally.
    Xtra Vent kites again but because of the lulls we went for green race which mostly coped except for some of the more sustained gusts.
    The GB Foreign Office and USA State Department seem to be in concert regarding Turkmenistan so it looks like we will pursue the possibility of attending the event at the beginning of August subject to ongoing political issues in the region.
    Interesting to hear of the kite event in Alor Setar. Our visit there was a long time ago. I think that we should try to travel further east again in the near future…
  25. Felix
    A great week in Cervia following on from Berck. Two weeks of intensive kite flying has been a great start to the year.
    Mostly light breezes in Cervia, apart from the first evening we were there, the vented kites were not used. The Zens helped us keep kites in the air, particularly on the final day!
    The team first visited Cervia in 1997 following up in 1999, 2000 and 2010. It is a great event with a specific focus on the 'creative' side of kiting.
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