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Blog Entries posted by Felix

  1. 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.
  2. Felix
    Blackheath was in full on summer mode today. The recently cut grass is brown but the plantain seed heads have carried on growing to provide plenty of snagging opportunities. The forecast suggested light winds and it was 0-6+ mph predominately from the NW but with big swings either side.
    It was another opportunity to test drive the Diamond spars but, while the spars are great, flying directly into the sun without sunglasses makes appreciation of the ‘top of the window’ capabilities a bit difficult. While I could see the kite and still feel control I could not see the lines to understand quite how slack they had become on some occasions!
    Lower down in the wind window the JB Pro 1.5 sail with Diamond spars felt light but very precise. We flew Zen (Race rods) and Robertshaw (3,4,3_3,3 I think) sails as well as the 1.5s with Diamond and Zen spars today. There were some moments of ‘silly close’ light wind flying.
    Rowan flew a Robertshaw sail with 3,4,3_3,3 spars on 80ft lines and he kept the kite airborne most of the time despite the light breezes.
  3. Felix
    A similar forecast to last Sunday but the wind was from the North today and the cloud cover gradually thickened.
    Full vent 1.5s with race rods were fine again.  We did manage to get the sound system set up properly so had the benefit of Bill Frisell for our final flying session which helped cover the background noise from the Bank Holiday fairground on the other side of the A2.  Mr. Helicopter was unusually on our side of the road today doing all his trick flying but fortunately he didn’t stay long.  It is a noisy machine.
    In addition to the Rev flying today we put together the Peter Malinski Tetraeder from 1989.  This was a kite that Jørgen owned and as part of the transaction from early 2019 we were asked to take care of it.  In January 2020 I replaced all the rubber fixing loops with tied string.  I had done a test build of a few cell but today was the first field test.  We configured 20 cells in a regular tetrahedron which seemed a sensible place to start.  I hand held the kite prior to tying the flying line to the spar fixing one level down from the top of the kite.  The launch on the 40m line was remarkably smooth.  Thereafter the kite occasionally needed a bit of manual input but was well behaved.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSUDJQudgrY
    At the end of the session a slightly over firm impact with the ground resulted in a couple of the fixing element splitting and it may be that they are all quite brittle with age.  I will have to investigate further!
  4. Felix
    It was a sunny November day, the NW breeze was reasonably consistent and the temperature may have reached 12c which was somewhat higher than expected. The occasional small cloud obscuring the sun introduced a clear chill but there were only a few… The sun was, of course, almost directly in our field of vision! No hiding place available so we were sometimes dazzled!
    Standard vented with green race worked today except for the odd lull where the mid-vented sail might have been more appropriate. (If only we had a set <grins>)
    Plenty of inventive free flying today and Rowan saw the opportunities to fly in with the group.
    Maggie brought her Cody out for an airing. The breeze was not quite consistent enough to tie it off but mostly enough to avoid possible line burn when letting out the line; hand over hand was OK, letting it run free not necessary.
  5. Felix
    Travel to Portsmouth was a bit dramatic for some of the team with repeated torrential downpours.
    The event on Saturday was very well attended.  We set up close to the War Memorial as the 'other' end of the south side of the arena was dominated by ‘commercial operations’.
    Not Zens were used extensively early in the day but the JMH mid vents came into play later…
    Sunday was going to be wet but we had a narrow window in which to get prepared before the rain started.  It was a ‘one-kite’ day, that being the mid vent.  It did get very wet on site but by the end of the afternoon we were actually able to pack everything ‘dry’.
    Interesting to meet with fliers who had originally met the team in Germany in 1989…
  6. Felix
    On Blackheath today it was 15mph plus, I guess, from the East with snow flurries blowing through and great cloudscapes.
    I have been trying to see how far the long arm technique can be extended into high wind situations. Rather than using the forward/brake control of the handles I have been trying to hit the balance point where the wing of the kite only moves forwards with a full pull of the arms.
    Instead of adding brake by adjusting line lengths I have been shifting my grip on the handles way down from the tops. It is a risky strategy in my previous experience but it does seem to deliver those high speed, no wobble stops, at any orientation. Also helps with the 'treacle' mode!
    11am - 1pm Five fliers, 4 1.5 JB vented, 1 1.5 10 year old vented.
  7. Felix
    Light variable wind today with 180 degree shifts. The fluctuations in wind speed meant that, at times, the 4 wrap spars were taking the strain in the JMH Rev 1 sails. Lighter sparing would have been risky!
    The sail I picked up had not had the vertical bungees tightened but once adjusted all was well.
    Following with Jacob, Jade and ATM was not inspiring but some parallel work looked quite neat with some crisp 180/stops, up and down.
    I have identified one difficulty in 'long arm' technique which is similar to the 'hand to chest' syndrome. Sometimes, a long pull of the arm is required and it may not be intuitive to sweep past at knee level. I notice that Ben has been photographed on a number of occasions in this mode <grins>
    Looking forward to another 'not winter' day next weekend!
  8. Felix
    It was an excellent event at Portsmouth this year with 'slightly' demanding conditions on Sunday afternoon. <grins>
    Thanks to everyone who took up the challenge of the grid fly in the arena on both days and also for all those who took advantage of the dedicated Rev field on Saturday, Sunday and Monday as well.
    Having flown alongside Herman van den Broek in kite arenas in many countries over many years I was very touched to have been awarded the Portsmouth 2010 trophy by the event organisers. Thank you.
  9. Felix
    10:00am start and the first Spring weather fly with a light south westerly breeze and some warming high cloud broken sunshine.
    1.5 full sails with race rods were only occasionally stressed or left without direction. The fliers were taking the lazy option as no one could be bothered to call so mostly random flying followed by some silent following. Some interesting close proximity moves may inspire 'designed' moves eventually but on the day it was great to simply share the sky.
    Four weeks now until the Berck/Cervia marathon so 'relaxed' flying is completely appropriate for the time being!
  10. Felix
    A slight respite today, 1.5 Standard Vented 4 wrap was good for a late 11:00am start but thickening high cloud turned to rain early in the afternoon.
    The current forecast is for rain next Sunday as well, maybe making up for the drought, this Spring, in SE England. I will take the wet weather gear, just to be sure...
    Just before leaving Blackheath today we discussed some aspects of 'long arm' flying, using arms, shoulders and torso as well as moving on the ground to 'throw' the kite around the sky and achieve absolutely 'rigid' stops 'at any angle in the sky'. Light wind techniques translate directly into middle and high wind conditions providing that 'brake' settings are appropriate.
  11. Felix
    It was a very good weekend despite showers on Saturday and Sunday morning. 1.5 Vented sails were all we used, swapping from Race to 4 wrap on Saturday later in the afternoon. Race rods on Sunday!
    On Sunday afternoon the breeze which had been slightly offshore rather than along the beach gently swung through about 90 degrees to a steady onshore which lasted until the end of the event. This provided probably the best flying conditions we have experienced this year and Jacob called a great routine to Miles Davis 'Tutu' followed by a final Beatles 'Come Together'.
    We carried on flying outside the arena for quite some time after the arena spot before taking a break before the final Super Sixteen which also proved to be a highlight of the event, if not the year.
  12. Felix
    Another sunny Sunday. From 10:30am it was a Zen breeze until a residual weather front approached about two hours later.
    We were four fliers and occasionally fell into team order.
    Steve (goestoeleven) joined us when we had switched from Zen to 1.5... Steve had obviously enjoyed plenty of flying time since the last time he joined us on Blackheath. We flew ad-hoc and then some called moves. 'Pendulums' and 'rolling balls' were flown.
    When we were packing up a local person approached us and explained that she had 'almost crashed her car' having been distracted by watching our kites...
    Oh well!
  13. Felix
    The 'half term fair' was still in place today but the prospects on Blackheath were altogether brighter than last weekend with sunshine and a variable NW breeze.
    Full vented 1.5s with 4 wrap were occasionally struggling in lighter moments but Race Rods felt over stressed in the gusts.
    Six up today so it was entertaining to visit the 'sprockets' once again. This move demands a special level of concentration as even an experienced caller may get the sequence wrong at the critical moment. Properly colour co-ordinated kites make all the difference in providing visual clues. <grins> We did not have that luxury today but survived...
  14. 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.
  15. Felix
    Conditions on Saturday were much better than forecast so while there was rain at the beginning and the end of the day the winds did not get too high.
    Vented kites with 4 wrap were good for much of the day but we switched to 3 wrap later. The kites were packed wet at the end of the day but quickly dried on Sunday morning when we stayed with the same configuration but in sunny conditions for most of the day.
    Sunday's arena mega-fly was particularly successful with Jacob calling a 25 person team to a tune that the Decs often fly to.
    Monday morning's super-16 grid fly with Air-4-ce, Fusion and The Decs was possibly the highlight of the weekend. The counter rotating windmill was mind boggling. Thanks to Jade for having suggested it. That was after the 4 arms of the windmill had done linear 180s and back to starting position! Thanks very much to everyone who participated.
  16. Felix
    The prospects were a bit grim. North easterly breeze, snow flurries and all that.
    As with last week the re-instated football pitch was in use and ML opted to set up to the east of the road as the NE breeze was not obstructed in any way. We've flown on this field before (notably on one snowy AGM winter weekend) but it does feel strange being a bit lower than the rest of the heath.
    Full vented with Race/3 Wrap worked OK today and in the short free form fly we did see some great rolling interactions. I'm almost inspired to try and write out the moves and try a stop-frame animation. In free flying the individual wraps are of course never an issue as the flier chooses the moment to get out of them, the more elegantly the better, in the course of further interaction. <grins>
    Very conscious today of horizontal handles and 'long arm' flexibility in order to hit the slow rotation points and to maintain position 'height wise' at the same time.
    Turned out that a missing flier had not heard the 'breakfast' call today...
  17. Felix
    No sign of spring today. Low grey clouds, wind north easterly with light precipitation, not quite sleet!
    Full vented 1.5s, (my frame was green race) but it sometimes felt that the Xtra Vent would have been the warmer kite to fly given more movement on the ground.
    Once again a mix of uncalled free flying with called episodes thrown in occasionally. Of course it is easy to measure the capability to fly recognised moves but it can be much more interesting to improvise 'in the air' and find the space... As long as the fliers 'get the idea' the flying can be much more complex with a greater dynamic range. <grins> Once again some of the close rotational moments were particularly inspiring. Rolling the group of kites and rotating individually seems to really hit the mark.
    We finished with a look at the four person 'sprocket' which is an interesting level of abstraction from the six or eight person version.
  18. Felix
    Late March gloom with an overnight dusting of snow did not present any real obstacle in getting to Blackheath today but the wind chill on site made it feel colder than any other flying day this winter.
    Full vented with green race for me again was over stressed on a couple of occasions even with extra brake. My kite and others with different frames were landed safely to ride out the squalls.
    Conversationally it was decided that free flying as we have been 'practicing' recently does not really work if too much 'thought' is applied. 'Talking' about it or suggesting 'frameworks' tends to kill the spontaneous elements and the 'errors' multiply. Seems like it is one of those AoxomoxoA (EXWX3XMXE) situations and as such I am not going to speak of it further or directly in the context of this 'blog'. <grins>
    If you encounter groups of fliers flying mostly silently and often closely with 'total concentration' please do not break the spell. Thanks!
  19. Felix
    It has been an intense week in anticipation of Thursday’s HMRC inspection which was a gruelling four hour meeting.
    Glad to set off for Blackheath today for a head clearing moment! c11:00am arrival and Martin and Maggie were changing to full sails with race rods. The breeze occasionally dropped off or peaked but most of the time it was good for team flying. There were a few brief bright moments but soon after 1:00pm a light shower arrived as we were packing up…
    I shuffled some kites in preparation for the Miami trip next weekend and located the 80ft line sets that we prepared for Cervia last year.
    I’ll be ‘in the air’ next Sunday but hope to fly the kites (iQuad training set) 5-8th December on South Beach, Miami <grins>
  20. Felix
    Thursday to Sunday we did get out on the beach in the morning.
    On Thursday we set up close to the water opposite our hotel c8:30 and having switched to the shorter line sets started to fly the the full vented 4 wrap iQuad training kites in the smooth onshore breeze. Rich Comras arrived at about 9:30 and while he was setting up his kite the lifeguard who had recently arrived told him that from 10:00 we would not be able to fly at that location but that there was an area to the north where the beach narrowed that we could use.
    We walked the kites north and found that we could just fit although there were waste bins to contend with on the ground.
    Jacob could not fly on Friday as he had to attend to changes at the stand in the Convention Centre. Rich was there again.
    Saturday we were three up again but on Sunday Rich was not able to be there. Once again the full vented kite were a perfect fit but we did use the 3 wrap spars for the last two days.
    Should get the opportunity for another fly on Tuesday but it may be later in the day...
  21. Felix
    It was gusting over 30mph today from the west, mostly cloudy but dry with some brighter spells.
    Xtra vents with green race worked well with the occasional lulls and gusts.
    Only two fliers today so nothing called and we did not last very long as the wind chill got through.
    The Blackwall Tunnel was backed up to Sun in the Sands roundabout so I took the long route home today. Must be Christmas shopping at Stratford generating extra traffic!
  22. Felix
    The forecast for today was not good but the approaching front stalled during the morning so we did get to fly for a bit today.
    Very little air movement as we walked onto the heath at about 10:30am.  We decided to fly first and then check kit ahead of Berck.  Full sails with diamond rods got us into the sky but little else. 
    The kit check revealed almost all was in order.  Mostly green race leading edges in the vented kites.  Diamond leading edges in the full sails with black race uprights.  Four wraps in the Xtra Vents…

    We ended up with kite lines at all points of the compass and as the few first spots of rain arrived decided to call it a day.  3 hours later it is still raining, albeit, lightly…


  23. Felix
    The forecast indicated light NW breeze and some broken cloud.
    The breeze was just a bit too light for the Double / Single Eddy stack 1989.  I had replaced the spreaders and found today that the main spars are very brittle which given that they are 30 years old is hardly surprising!
    Did some more bridle adjustments on the Della Porta: 4 squares but something is not quite right.  Probably need to start from the beginning again!
    I did remember to take Rev handles but didn’t get a chance to use them.
    We need to ‘cadge a lift’ for one person travelling back from Berck on the evening of Sunday 14th April.  We are two fliers down for Berck, one of them being a driver with vehicle!
  24. Felix
    So, never having Blogged before please let me try to understand what is expected. (apart from the last two!)
    I fly Revolution kites most weekends on Blackheath in SE London, sometimes with the team, The Decorators.
    There are anecdotes and observations relating to this and related matters which I may want to record for my own and potentially, (who knows) other's interest!
    I first posted (in 2007) on the Revolution Forum in respect of organising the Portsmouth/Bristol events in 2008. Occasionally/often responses to postings in the forum may be outside the topic in strict terms. OT in 'usenet' was a fairly strict designation but we may not want to go there.
    There have been observations about the friendly and inclusive nature of the Rev Forums which I would endorse and I would applaud the careful moderation of the site. I have seen a couple of examples of individual posters getting over excited and have withdrawn some of my own posts as a result!
    As I understand it, we can use the space to contemplate possibilities that we had not thought of previously, like the grid format! <grins>
  25. Felix
    After Dunstable last weekend, yet another windy Blackheath. Ashley and Jade followed into some slo-mo flying without issue.
    I will have to figure out how to loosen up after the concentrated effort in order to avoid fatigue. It is a bit like remembering to breathe in the mega fly...
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