Jump to content


Forum Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Blog Entries posted by Felix

  1. Felix

    Heavy rain did arrive before 8:00am today with a following band at about 10am.  There were some very heavy short showers later.
    Given that the forecast was for 15-30mph wind I did not plan to travel to Blackheath today.
    If the lockdown does end on 2nd December we may only miss two more Sunday sessions.  Last year all four November Sundays had light breezes.
    I’ll hope to fly solo next Sunday and at the moment one of the forecasts is suggesting a sunny day with a moderate westerly breeze.
  2. Felix

    Decs Sunday
    Took a chance on the weather and while it was wet at about 10:30am the shower cleared and there was a good long break before the next one was closing in about 2 hours later.
    The wind was measuring 17-20mph on the wind meter with stronger gusts and occasional lulls relatively speaking so the RSS Rev 1.5 sails were a handful but not overpowered most of the time.
    We continued the no calls video recording but, somewhat as expected, the wind noise was too much for the camera to cope with so there was no useful result.  Given the flying conditions were quite testing at times it did not feel as if the moments were right anyway.
    We have to figure out if it will be possible to continue flying through the lockdown.  Two people together is permitted for any length of time ‘exercising outdoors’.  A group might be a bit obvious in the middle of Blackheath!  Maybe it will be solo flying for the duration?
  3. Felix

    Decs Sunday
    It was raining quite heavily as I set off for Blackheath from Hackney this morning.  There had been an indication that showers would clear by 10am.  On Blackheath there was some sign of clearing from the west but the shower cloud was slow in moving.
    We set up full sail 1.5 Revs while it was still raining and were eventually rewarded with blue sky and sunshine.  The wind was SSW and steady but nowhere near the forecast 11-22mph.
    No JMH kites today as it was just too wet underfoot and there was probably not enough wind for the late Della-Porta: Four Squares that I had put in the car along with the Hexagonal kite that I had made last year… Another time, maybe soon!
    Further experimentation with the GoPro5 along with various tunes.  I will have to review that at some length later.
    The news about Chris Beel has caused much reflection during the week.  We will miss his reliable presence at future events.
  4. Felix

    Decs Sunday
    The synoptic chart was lacking in isobars so I was not expecting much flying today. Zens with green race were ok when the air was moving. The new meter did show 2.5 - 3mph maximum.
    Having figured out some minimal editing with iPhone video I have been planning to try the GoPro5 on the field again, on a tripod mount. I will do some more work on this but suspect that the best viewpoint is going to be at head height which should be possible if the tripod is weighted. Did a small trial today but will not make it public for the time being due to musical accompaniment!
    I did lay out the 1987 JMH Delta and fitted the new spars. I had not cut the notch on the leading tip of the spine but a launch was not realistic anyway.
    Clock change to GMT next Sunday but at this stage one forecast is showing rain all day...
  5. Felix

    Decs Sunday
    There is still talk about changes in the Pandemic regime but we did get to fly today without issue.  The breeze was quite variable when I arrived on Blackheath and it was really full sail 1.5 Revs that worked in the lighter moments.
    With the Revs it is quite easy to take them all and choose the appropriate one on site.  For the JMH kites a little more planning is required.  The forecast was for 8-9mph gusting 16-20mph.  On that basis I had hoped that we would be able to fly the 1990 and 1991 parafoils together, something that we had tried but not actually achieved previously.  I had envisioned flying them from the same anchor point if not the same flying line.
    The wind was somewhat less than forecast so the first launch of the larger sail, the 1991 kite took longer than expected.  We flew it on about 50m of the 4mm spectra line. Once flying though it seemed stable so we set up the 1990 kite on the other c50m of the 4mm spectra.  The smaller sail is somewhat more manageable on the ground but it still took a few attempts to get it launched.  Both kites needed to be re-launched at some point but given the marginal wind speed it was a very good session.  We did get a short video of the flight and launch attempts. https://youtu.be/UEnuhbw0Rek  Parafoils on Blackheath 
  6. Felix

    During lockdown which ended in the middle of May there was one Sunday when the weather would not have been conducive for kite flying.  Since then there was one day when there was no practical breeze so we were walking the Rev Zens.  There have also been a couple of windy days!
    Today was very wet, relatively cold and very windy so we simply did not make any attempt to fly.  When the remaining projected festivals cancelled back in June a decision was made to concentrate on flying, photographing and videoing the Jørgen Møller Hansen and Peter Malinski kites in addition to our usual low key Rev sessions.  Having a photographer and a video recorder on site as well as the fliers was wishful thinking but we have been very lucky to have had Marian Linford make a timely appearance on site on a number of occasions.  Otherwise we have mostly relied on ‘the team’ to grab images and video as and when possible.
    The results of the summers effort are available at the following URL:- https://www.felixmottram.com/decorators/eventpages/Blackheath_2020.html  Summer Blackheath  
    I get the impression that it will take a long time for the festivals to be re-instated in circumstances where we will have no qualms in travelling and meeting with kite friends as in the past.  In the meantime I am looking forward to continuing the recording of our flights in the way that we have established during the last three months.
  7. Felix

    Decs Sunday
    Low flat grey clouds occasionally thinned to  fleetingly show the disc of the sun.  There was a Northerly breeze which measured about 11 - 15mph once I found the magic key press on the new wind meter!  It was initially showing ‘hold’.
    RSS Revs were fine until shortly after 1:00pm when there was a longer lull which provided a convenient hint that it was time for lunch off site.  Terry Riley Assassin Reverie, Tread on the Trail played by Arte Quartett had just come to an end as well…
    Earlier we had put together the Peter Malinski Yakko Stack with a Peter Lynn pilot kite.  I had prepared a spreader for the top kite to prevent it being collapsed by the pilot and had set up a provisional ground anchor connection.  Once launched we found that the best result was achieved by leaving the stack to sort the twists which it did, mostly anyway, after our earlier hand holding proved inadequate.    A link is here:- <a href=“https://youtu.be/rHoPOmnbHQM">Yakko Stack</a>
    New rules did not prevent us meeting today but I suspect that may change soon.  The forecast for next weekend is for rain and wind so maybe we will not be flying.
  8. 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!
  9. Felix

    Decs Sunday
    The week of the Dieppe festival in 2014 was sunny throughout but we were not there as a team.  It was another sunny day on Blackheath with a fairly steady NE breeze, mostly about 8-10mph.
    Full vented 1.5s again were ‘on rails’, a pleasure to fly.  After a Terry Riley piece ‘Tread on the Trail’ we had Bersarin Quartett, Methoden und Maschinen, Composer: Thomas Bücker on the sound system.  Quite a change!  Some of the silent calls worked very well today <grins>.
    On the JMH front I was hoping that there would be enough breeze for the 1993 Della Porta: Nine Squares.  We had not previously had this kite free flying.  At 450 x 450cm and weighing about 5kg it is a bit of a handful.  Setting up and checking the bridle was not too difficult in today’s breeze.  There was only one loop through to resolve.  The kite then launched smoothly on the circa 60m of 4mm line that I had prepared yesterday…
    A certain amount of ground walking was needed to keep the kite up towards the top of its window.  When the stronger gusts blew through it was clear that the underlying breeze was only just enough. Today’s video is here:- https://youtu.be/7Y_86MhNOrw
    The weather is really due to break during this coming week but we may be back in lock-down so what occurs next Sunday may be academic, sadly!
  10. Felix
    Another glorious September day, the last late summer burst of warmth spilling up from the south with a light SW breeze.  I had been following the forecasts all week again and was hoping for the 10mph that the Met Office had been suggesting.  We got a bit less.
    Even so, it was full vented 1.5 kites that we set up initially although a mid vent was all that was available for an extra flier today.  There was a short called session with Bill Frisell providing accompaniment.
    The JMH project for today was to fly two of the compositions from the late 90s together as Jørgen had recorded them in his pdf record.  The Triple Malay Stack from 1988 and the Double/Single Eddy from 1989 were set up, launched and flown together.  This was a logistical achievement and required a certain amount of patient untangling as well as a lot of leaning down to ground level as Jacob observed half way through building the first set!
    A  video is uploaded to You Tube https://youtu.be/L9WlI6YNqvo
    The sky was still cloud free when we left.  I expect there will be changes later in the week!
  11. Felix
    A glorious September morning with a light westerly breeze, 6mph and gusting to quite a bit more occasionally.
    Zens with race rods were sparkly in the sunshine and similar to the clouds that started to form and melted away initially.  Musical accompaniment from the start was Bill Frisell Valentine, a recent release!
    While I had originally expected to fly the JMH parafoils today, plan B, in the lighter wind was his 1995 Edo.  The 17 bridle lines came clear with only one loop through so the kite was in the air in a relatively short time.  Conditions were just about perfect for this kite and the catenary of the bridle lines was on full show at the top of the window!  I managed to catch some video of the kite and lines from the side. https://youtu.be/imLC6yPwLF0 Video from today - Edo 1995
    Maybe we will have a stick free fly (excluding the Revs of course) sometime during the Autumn.
    The early scattered clouds gradually thickened and by the time we left it was a grey cloudscape with highlights and evidence of convective activity even if showers had not developed.
  12. Felix
    The forecast was for 10-11mph gusting maybe twice that and for fairly dense cloud and that is basically what we got although there were some brighter moments.
    Full vent 1.5s felt very comfortable and we even had a bit of jazz piano accompaniment by Andrew McCormack.  A new one for me and might be interesting long term!  For some reason the UE Boom 2s wouldn’t pair up which was irritating so it was a mono playback.
    I had hoped to fly and video the JMH Della-Porta: Four Rhomboids and while setting it up the wind dropped a bit.  When the time came though, the anchored 40m of 4mm polyester braid provided great shock absorption and the kite launched smoothly.  There were moments when the breeze was lighter and the kite needed walking back.  It was not too much to hand hold in the harder pulling moments.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnppT5anbrI Video from today - Della-Porta:Four Rhomboids 1993
    I need to replace rusty components on this kite, the bridle ring being in the most pressing need.  The link lines between the top sail and the sails below may need attention as well.  I’ll try with dowel pegs first!
    Another gale is expected during the coming week.  Autumn had arrived early.
  13. Felix
    We were not anticipating much breeze and there was some doubt as to what direction it would be from.
    Our initial set-up of Zen sails turned out to be in the wrong direction for much of the time when there was any breeze at all.
    I had charged the UE Boom so we had an accompaniment of the new Bill Frisell release followed by a bit of John Scofield.
    As there was so little variable breeze I did not put together the JMH Edo that I had taken, ‘just in case’.
    As there was a distictly thundery feel to the weather today I opted for an early end to the session.  At home in Hackney within the hour the rumbles could be heard!
    The weather should switch to a more autumnal feel before next weekend so I will be watching the forecast for next Sunday closely…
  14. Felix
    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.
  15. Felix
    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!
  16. Felix
    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!
  17. Felix
    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.
  18. Felix
    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.
  19. Felix
    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!
  20. Felix
    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! 
  21. Felix
    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…
  22. Felix
    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.
  23. Felix
    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.
  24. Felix
    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.
  25. Felix
    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!
  • Create New...