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Blog Entries posted by Felix

  1. Felix
    Arrived soon after 11:00am today. Some sunshine provided ‘just enough’ warmth to contend with a chilly easterly breeze which was about 7 mph when we arrived but more like 14 mph when we packed up.
    Mostly mid vents with race rods. We really should sort out a team set of this sail as it really does become very useful at a certain wind speed <grins>
    Nothing called today, just lots of close flying based on trusting the other fliers to keep it smooth and not to try and ‘show off’.
  2. Felix

    Decs Sunday
    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...
  3. Felix
    Oh well, another year! <grins>
    Nothing is confirmed, as yet. 1st January 2012

    12-16/04/2012 Berck-Plage, France 21/04-29/05/2012 Cervia, Italy 05-07/05/2012 Weymouth 26-27/05/2012 Exmouth
    25-27/08/2012 Portsmouth Margate
  4. Felix
    Good to be back in Dieppe after a long absence.
    Arrived Friday 9th September c2:00pm and went directly to the site which was still being constructed… We went for a walk around the town and then back at the tent found that supper was arranged for that evening on site.
    It was pretty much a one kite event over the eight days flying. Full 1.5 sails with Diamond leading edge with the uprights switching between Diamond and Green Race. It was only on our last day, Saturday 17th that we switched to team JMH vented sails with 4 wrap spars late in the afternoon when the rain finally eased.
    Along the way when the wind was particularly difficult coming over the town we did try the 150ft line sets which turned out to be helpful in softening the shocks and extending the available window. We will certainly use these lines with the Rev1/Zen sized kites in the future.
    The Rokakku kite that I originally flew in Dieppe in 1988 took the single line arena one lunchtime during the week. The multiline arena provided an extended launch area and then I walked the kite across the site. It was the only kite flying bar one small delta towards the east end of the event area.
    We flew the 3m JMH Rokakku with the JMH 1.5 sails. There should be some images available soon.
    We also set up the ‘Robertshaw’ tent in various configurations having prepared guy ropes on the ferry…
    There were some good mega flies during the week despite the occasionally challenging conditions.
    A great event. I certainly hope to go back another time.
  5. 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.
  6. Felix
    We had a great afternoon on Saturday mostly flying 12 (full 1.5 Race Rods) and getting up to speed with some of the 'familiar' team moves in the larger format. It was a bit muddy as in the attached image.
    Occasionally we came up against the limitations of 'in-line' flying and we did switch to grid for a while. I think that ease of movement on the ground in transition from one scheme to the other will help in developing the larger team format.
    Saturday evening we found the local Indian and Brewery Tap... before returning to the bar next to the bargain Hotel.
    Sunday was a very light wind morning with a dusting of snow on the field. We set up Decs Rev 1s with other Rev 1s and occasionally had groups of fliers in the sky in tight formation.
    On the side we also discussed the potential of 'no-call free flying' in order, maybe, to develop fliers perception of the available space and possible moves subject to the actual prevailing conditions (rather than attempting to impose a pre-determined routine on given conditions). I have seen some amazing potential team figures flown spontaneously in this manner. It requires complete trust in and co-operation with fellow fliers and works best when speed control of the kites is utilised to the full with carefully tuned rotations being a particular focus.
    We are hoping to set up another similar weekend event (Super 16 or 12!) in the not too distant future.
    PS Thanks very much to everyone who took part. "Round of applause"
  7. 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...
  8. 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.
  9. 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>
  10. Felix
    A bit late arriving on Blackheath today but we were then six up so Ashley called plenty of fast paced team moves.
    Green race in vented sails almost covered the lulls and occasionally felt overpowered as the gusts blew through. No actual showers but quite a lot of stately cumulus clouds ‘marching’ by.
    The plantain heads were occasionally troublesome. Maybe the site will be mown before Autumn sets in properly…
    We switched spars in the team kites post Dieppe and contemplated the Zen project on 150ft lines and the 8 stack of Rev1s.
  11. 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!
  12. 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...
  13. 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!
  14. Felix
    After a late start last weekend due to the start of summertime we did better today and were rewarded with mild and sunny conditions with plenty of evidence of the greening of the trees in Greenwich Park.
    Standard 1.5 Sails with race rods, to start with (four fliers), and, for us (The Decs that is), the almost complete novelty of flying to music when not 'at a formal festival'. OK, it was only from a mobile phone in my pocket but it seemed fairly radical at the time.
    As conditions were on the light side, breeze wise, we checked out the Team Rev1 (red and green sails, Italian set) Kites and found that one notch on the brakes basically gave us a viable setting as compared to the 1.5 sails. The turning interval is an issue as well as flier familiarity but we were happy with the run-through of one of the team's 'choreographed' routines.
    Some ladder up/down sequences helped re-establish familiarity with the turning interval issues.
    Only 'so-many' 'get-ups' before the Berck/Cervia events...
  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
    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.
  17. Felix
    I travelled to Cervia on Wednesday 29th April arriving in time for some late afternoon flying. Four full days followed with varying conditions, the highlight day being Saturday 2nd May when the onshore breeze started early and firmed up sufficiently for a very well received arena performance towards the end of the afternoon.
    Along the way we entertained the local audience and ourselves at the north end of the festival site.
    The invited fliers from ‘up north’ contributed to this event as well as an Italian ‘ringer’ and there were plenty of other fliers who were keen to join the line. Team 4 Fun were also in attendance and so a 16 flier grid was flown on Thursday 30th April.
    A great event all in all and we hope to be back next year with a full team line-up, the same for Berck…
  18. 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.
  19. Felix
    Summertime started today so it was an 11:00am start on Blackheath with the first green tinge evident on some of the trees beyond the wall of Greenwich Park.
    High hazy cloud gave a 'summery' look to the scene but the easterly wind was not exactly warm. It was race rods and full 1.5 sails again. Some consideration in flying planning was given to the line-up of the team for the first three days of Berck which will not be one we have flown before. All being well we will have four fliers for Tuesday to Thursday and eight for Friday to Monday. Some of us will be going on to Cervia so it will be a continuous two weeks of 'flying'. What a treat? <grins>
  20. 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.
  21. Felix
    A quiet day on Blackheath in terms of the number of fliers and an easterly breeze that was a little above that was forecast earlier in the week. There was an opportunity for me to check lines and casually compare kites and spars. Today the full sail 1.5 JB Pro with green race rod against the mid vented version with standard race rods. Too many variables, I know, especially when longer handles were in the equation as well, but sometimes it is best not to be too serious.
    Some journeys take on an iconic status and Calais to Berck is one such especially since the opening of the Peage A16/E402 with its sweeping viaducts over the chalk valleys just beyond Boulogne-sur-Mer. Too bad that the outward journey will be after nightfall this year.
    It will be great to visit L'Albatros in Berck again and this year some of the team, at least, will be staying in the centre of town... just over a week away!
    Arrangements for the trip to Cervia the following week are almost complete and we should expect a proper taste of summer weather on the Adriatic Sea as opposed to the teasing conditions in the UK over the last few days.
  22. Felix
    A running/walking event was taking place on the Heath as in previous years so we used a slightly different pitch today, closer to the paid parking in Greenwich Park.
    The WSW breeze was mostly 7-8mph but quite often dropped away as is typical here in the summer. Diamond rods LE and Race verticals felt comfortable most of the time.
    Events on Saturday night meant that it was a limited line-up today but we expect some busier meetings ahead of the Beverley, event at the end of July.
  23. Felix
    Late start after heavy rain gave way to a showery SW breeze.
    Full vented with race rods felt very smooth except in the occasional higher gusts.
    One shower passed Blackheath Village just to the South East with a dramatic cloudscape when the sun reappeared. Later a shower looked like it would be a direct hit.
    Back in Hackney after a 30 minute wait on the Blackwall Tunnel approach it is now raining very heavily!
  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
    So it was ‘Race for Life’ again on Blackheath today. Maggie phoned ahead having parked up in Greenwich Park at about 10:00am. I arrived a bit later having encountered a slow bus (108) in the Blackwell Tunnel.
    In the spirit of the day we flew pink kites but with a twist. The ‘Diamond Spars’ really are very good indeed. We used the iQuad training sails two SUL sails (pink and purple) and one Standard sail (pink/gray) and put them through their paces against a 2 wrap set.
    The weightless ‘glide away’ was just magic as well as the top of the window ‘slack line’ performance.
    It is fair to say that high specification equipment may not really make things easier for a beginner but it certainly opens up the possibilities for the more experienced flier. The Diamond spars are very light and when pressured, ‘snap’ back into line, very quickly.
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