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Blog Entries posted by Felix

  1. Felix
    Lighter again today, maybe 2mph from the north but with little thermal variation so the Zens with green race stayed in the air, if nothing else.  That will be the fifth week running so a bit of a Zen autumn!  We did some quite extensive no call flying against a slowly changing high cloud background with some curious almost lenticular like features.
    I did not expect to get very far with the Hexagonal pilot kite but we did get it in the air briefly, enough to make some adjustments and then break a spar*, so, ‘a work in progress’. (*replaced with a pair from the carbon set I had made)
    Having found a way to break down this single sail I have to try a similar approach with the two sections of the 47 kite train as the full sails will not fit in my car…
  2. Felix
    North easterly breeze today starting with mostly clear sky but cloud gradually developing.  Once again, a light breeze so mostly Zens with green race.  Despite their age the Zen sails still sparkle when flown into the sunlight.
    I took time out to see if there was a quick solution to the bias in the two Eddy kites that we flew last weekend.  I did find a fix which worked, as if by magic, and just need to translate it into something more permanent.  Needless to say it was counterintuitive!
    The Hexagonal pilot kite is mostly complete, initial sparing and bridle to be done this afternoon, all being well.  The amount of work that JMH and PM put into their kite constructions is quite amazing as compared to the effort required to ‘reverse’ engineer a single kite!
  3. Felix
    Our regular field was being cleared of firework debris and crowd barriers so Martin had set up to the east of the road.
    Zens with green race again and a south westerly breeze meant that we were not looking into the sun today.
    Clear blue sky above to start but a bank of low cloud loomed from the west.  I had hoped to test fly the two Eddy kites in ‘sunny’ conditions and  that almost happened.  The first one that I put up seemed fine at first but then it became apparent that it did have a slight bias to the right.  The second one had a very similar bias so that will be ‘fun’ to sort out.  Reminds me of ‘fighter kite days’! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hne6cSgn0uo Eddys on Blackheath today
    We attached one Eddy to two sections of the JMH Rhombus-shaped kites 1985 train and while the train did remain stable the Eddy kite did not quite have the buoyancy that I had hoped for.  I’ll try it with the 145cm Malinsky Eddy pilot at some point and see if that works better.  Meanwhile the second new Eddy will be inserted in the fifth position in the green set of the Malinski train.
    I have done the base drawing on the Hexagonal pilot kite sail for the Malinski train and may have this kite ready to test fly next weekend.  I found an article and drawings on a Dutch website relating to this project via Vlieger Magazin:- https://www.kiteplans.org/planos/trein/trein.html
  4. Felix
    I should probably have stayed in bed today but determined to take advantage of the clock change and get to Blackheath at about the ‘normal’ time.
    Light north westerly breeze was lighter than last weekend so the Zens with green race were in use again.
    There really was not enough breeze for the JMH Double / Single Eddy stack 1989 so I resorted to checking the Vienna pocket sled in lighter breeze.  There is a point where it does not inflate fully and can spontaneously go into a spin as a result.  This would not be good if it was heading up a train so I will go ahead with my plan to make up a simple Eddy to be a pilot kite on the JMH Rhombus-shaped kites 1985 train of 81 kites.
    This will be the same form as the replacement kite for the missing one in the green section of the Peter Malinski Eddy train.  Might get to these and the Hexagon Pilot kite in this next week!
  5. Felix
    A light northerly breeze so Zens with green race were comfortable but sometimes just a little overpowered really.
    I had in mind two possibilities for today and in the event we put up four sections of the Peter Malinski Eddy kite train that had been collected from Hamburg recently.  I have been making sleeves for the five sections of the train, one more to do when the fabric arrives.
    Some of the sails have been seriously stretched but only one seam has given way.  I’ll attend to that soon.  We replaced the broken spines and did manage to break the odd spreader during assembly and breakdown.
    The train flew very comfortably in the Zen wind speed zone.  I even got to sit down for quite a while, trying out the new role, obviously!
    The other possibility  for today was the JMH Double / Single Eddy stack 1989 which I have been working on during the week just gone.  Maybe we’ll get to fly that next weekend.
  6. Felix
    I had almost given up on the weather today but the forecast improved somewhat during the course of Saturday.  In the event there was a delay in the arrival of the rain so we were able to do a small OSOW ‘fly’.  Full vented 1.5s with green race eventually felt overpowered as the rain approached.
    The trip to and from Hamburg during the week was somewhat arduous.  Visits to the Elbephilharmonie building, the Kunsthalle Hamburg and the Deichtorhallen were rewarding even if we managed to walk about 9 miles during the course of the day.
    I have started work on the Peter Malinski kites that were brought back and might try to fly part of the 50 kite Eddy train next weekend.
  7. Felix
    Solo today for the second time this year.  So after a quick spin with a full vented 1.5 with green race I put up a section of the JMH Rhombus-shaped kites 1985 81 kites.
    I had taken the three top sets of the train and found that the orange set had an extra length of line after the last kite suggesting that maybe a pilot kite had been used previously.  It was my intention to try adding the pocket sled in the Vienna Kite Club colours that we had each been given last weekend as I suspected this was the size of kite that might just stabilise the last kites without impacting on the character of the train.
    I added about 15m of line and the sled worked in exactly the way that I had hoped.  I will obviously have to try more of the train in due course but I was very pleased with the result today.  https://youtu.be/8vztcLVIFJU
    Off to Hamburg Tuesday morning so maybe next Sunday I will be trying some of the Peter Malinski kites from the same period as the JMH kite today!
  8. 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.
  9. Felix
    A medium southerly breeze this morning, about 9 gusting 16mph or thereabouts so full vents with green race.  Must get a new anemometer, the last one wore out its bearings!
    There was a short time this morning between belts of rain so I was back in Hackney by One.
    No JMH kites today.  I have completed repairs to the 81 kite train and plan to try combining elements from it and using a pilot kite.  I will start by trying a small wind proven delta and if that works will make some neutral colour variations.
    All set for Austria later in the week.
  10. Felix
    Mid September anticyclonic weather patterns made for a full on sunny day with light west to north westerly breezes.  Zens with green race were fine but did not get a lot of air time.
    The 1995 JMH Edo was perfectly suited to the conditions so having put it together and sorted the bridle lines we all took time on the line.
    This kite pulls up fast and then floats away taking even more line.  I was flying on the 3.5mm spectra for ease of handling as opposed to weight considerations.
    This kite will be firmly on the list for light wind events.
    We have all been able to re-book flights to Austria on the 26th September so we will be able to attend the event!  Just need to select the kites to take now.
  11. Felix
    It did not actually rain today, saving it for Monday morning by the looks of it.
    Central Hackney was closed for the Carnival and I had decided not to make a big deal of making alternative arrangements for getting kites out and back.  Just have a rest and reflect!
    We are still waiting to see how the BA pilot strike unfolds and whether our flights on 27th September will be cancelled and if alternative arrangements will get us to Austria for that weekend event.
    A week after that I will be travelling to Hamburg to collect a small group of kites by Peter Malinski who was working closely with Jørgen in the 1980s.  We have two Malinski kites from Jørgen’s collection already so it seemed like an interesting addition.  That will also be the conclusion of the collection as storage space will be full!
  12. 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.
  13. Felix
    For a change the weather was back to summer mode today, unusual for a Bank Holiday weekend.  We were on Zens with green race rods except in the lulls.  I had brought a chair for those occasions!
    I knew that the JMH 1987 Delta kite was framed in bamboo and so we might be looking for replacement components or different framing.  Given the size of the kite I was not able to pre-assemble it at home.
    There was a slight puzzle in piecing the frame together as one of the ‘notched’ ends had been put inside a ferrule.  There were also two tent pegs in the bag and we eventually figured that the two loose lines at the front of the kite could be attached and pegged out stabilising the kite in preparation for launching.
    There was not quite enough breeze to get the kite soaring today but it was a good opportunity to get an understanding of the tow point options in light breezes.  In the event I managed to break the spreader when hauling the kite around sharply after letting it float downwind.  So now I really do have to find replacements!
    Happy to note that the WSIKF crew managed to get 100+ pilots flying together finally.
  14. Felix
    At the last moment I realised that there was going to be heavy rain coinciding with our usual arrival time on Blackheath so delayed departure.  I was then able to finish putting back together the blue section of the 1985 JMH kite train that we flew briefly at Portsmouth last weekend before setting off.
    Light westerly/south westerly breeze so full sail 1.5s with race rods.  I had expected stronger breezes.
    We put together two sections of the 1985 JMH train and had some good flying time before it became apparent that the last kite was regularly looping one way.  Bringing the train down was easy and it was clear that an arch could be sustained.  The trailing kite probably needs a stable lifter, long term, so I will set about finding the right one.
    In the meantime, a couple of the line loops that hold the kites apart failed so they will need replacing as well as a heavier duty repair to some of the eyelets.
    Looking forward to hearing news from WSIKF over the next few days.
  15. Felix
    The forecast played out surprisingly accurately.  On Saturday the wind was about 30mph steady but gusting to about 50mph.  We did not try to fly anything.
    On Sunday the breeze was about 20mph gusting to 30mph plus I think.  We did do a number of ‘routines’ but were somewhat hampered by an underpowered PA system.
    Ashley did manage to call a routine for a small mega fly along the lines of the Italian black sail performance.  It is quite long but I got the impression that it was appreciated by the audience as well as the fliers.
    I really did not feel confident about flying any of the JMH kites but we did set up half of the expansible box kite and I did eventually get to feel the strength of pull flying it without the bridle lines.  I also put together one section of the 1985 Rhombus-shaped kites and found out why some of the lines in the bags were so severely twisted.  That will need fixing in some way!
  16. Felix
    Writing this on Monday afternoon as I was busy dealing with images yesterday afternoon.
    It was a diverted outward journey to Blackheath because of the London Cycling event.  Martin had set up a Zen on green race and that was entirely appropriate in the light SE breeze so we flew close, no calls for an indeterminate period of time.
    Then, as had been previously suggested, I started to put together the JMH Triple Malay stack 1988.  During the course of the last week I had established that Jørgen had flown this kite at Washington, Tyne and Wear in July 1989.  The Decs had attended that event but only really met up with Jørgen later in 1989 in West Berlin.
    As we constructed the ‘train’ it became apparent that it was probably going to be possible to fly it in the light breeze.  We were constructing it ‘the right way up’ and the front kites were raring to go!  It did fly at the first launch but it was clear that something was not quite right.  Finally we saw that the front left sail had a tip wrap.  Once this was sorted and then another couple of wraps were resolved the stack flew perfectly.
    It was extremely satisfying to put together a kite that had been made 30 years ago and which looks so good in the sky even against all the kites that have been designed in the interim.
    The forecast for next weekend at Southsea Common, Portsmouth does not look great at the moment but we will of course fly whatever we can over the weekend.
  17. Felix
    Westerly 13-15mph gusting 20 plus so it really was at the limit for testing kites today.  I waited for a lull and did manage to launch the JMH Flare kite from 1986.  It has recently been spotted with Jørgen in photographs from the 1989 Washington International Kite Festival in the UK.
    I had replaced the missing lower spreader and was concerned that I had not made it tight enough against the retaining knots.  Indeed, it might be that it was missing because it had fallen out in flight and not been replace at the time.  There was a slight tendency for the kite to wander to the right but that was only evident in the strongest gusts.  The rest of the time it was just pulling hard at the top of the window.  Dull and overcast so no point in attempting to photograph it in the air.
    For light relief I switched to the Rev 1.5 RSS prototype with the full lightweight frame.  All very familiar and relaxed despite the varying breeze.
    Next Sunday we have to deal with pre-Portsmouth logistics.  Too much kit for one car really!  I also have to figure out what to take apart from the team kites.  Spoilt for choice.
  18. Felix
    There was a deluge on the M40 as we headed out for lunch and an after lunch stroll on Friday before the event.
    The selected accommodation seemed fine on Friday evening.
    Saturday weather was mostly dry but with a variable wind rolling over the field boundary of houses and trees.  We did, however, manage to launch Expandable box kite 1996 after some helpful advice and energetic contributions from the gathered kite fliers who also confirmed the source of the design, Eiji Ohashi.  It did not fly for long but we now understand the basics.
    After a brief fly of the late JMH Delta and the 1990 Parafoil we set about launching the JMH Della Porta: Nine squares 1993.  I had added inserts to strengthen the main spars and we had time to accept advice on the bridle settings which entirely matched my perception of how the kite had behaved previously. Finally we reduced the tail load by one half, looping one of original tail ends back to the other attachment point.  We achieved a sustained stable flight before running out of field area.
    Saturday evening meal at one of a number of local curry houses was rather good but there was a loud event back at the pub where our overnight accommodation was located.
    On Sunday the breeze was slightly lighter but just as variable.  There was not enough consistent breeze to get both of the parafoils launched within the confines of the site but we did get the anchors and safety line configuration established.
    We flew two of the three meter Rokakku kites with heavy spars over two sessions along with the late delta as well.
    We noted that while we could have flown the Rev kites during the course of the weekend the conditions were really not likely to have made for an interesting or constructive experience.
    Most of us were off site at about 5:00pm just after receiving an award for team effort over the weekend.
  19. Felix
    Arrived soon after 10:30 am which was about the time that Jake had suggested he might get to the heath.
    We had not had the chance to fly the JMH kites together for some time now and this was an opportunity to check some of the kites we may be able to fly next weekend in Shropshire.
    First up, almost was the 8 diamond Della Porta.  Not quite enough wind again but it is clear that this ‘composition’ is completely viable.
    The 1990 Parafoil which I have been partly re-bridling was then launched in the light NE breeze and performed very well indeed.  We removed the old ‘cut’ and repaired’ lines and I will leave any fine tuning until I have measured the profile of the larger 1991 kite.
    Next up was the late delta with the light wind frame, mostly for Jake’s benefit but I really like flying that kite so was happy to have the opportunity again.
    Finally we put together what had been known as the 1988 expandable box kite with 60 cells but it was missing any bridling set-up.  It was clear that this could be part of a larger composition and on checking the other bag back in Hackney it is obvious that it was the upper half of the kite from 1996, with 120 cells.  We will hope to get the whole kite together next weekend in Shropshire.  It will be worth the effort even if it does not get in the air.
    We didn’t quite manage any rev flying on this occasion but I am sure that we will do a bit next weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
  20. Felix
    A light easterly breeze so Zens with green race today.  The high and low cloud threatened drizzle but it didn’t happen.  The ground was very wet from overnight rain and the plantain heads had sprung up over the last week.
    Nothing called and there was an occasional lull which had us walking back, every which way, it seemed.  We had a visitor today who had seen the Revs from a passing bus.  He was a Blacksmith student at an institution in Herefordshire having completed the first of three years taking a summer break in London.
    I had brought the 1990 JMH parafoil out with the intention of measuring the bridle lines.  This was duly done with the kite remaining in the ski bag to avoid getting it wet.  Three bridle lines have been replaced in parallel to repaired elements but they have not been finalised until the lengths have been checked against the overall profile.  Getting hold of George Hamm’s and Ed Wright’s design principles has proved to be a bit challenging.  At this stage we will probably just have to learn directly from Jørgen’s practical interpretation.  Having the larger and well tuned 1991 parafoil should give us some clues.
    I hope to deal with the first of the two ‘stairway’ box constructions in the next week.  The main issue is rusty metal fittings.  It is probably impractical to replace with stainless steel so a clean and ‘prevent’ regime is in order.
  21. Felix
    Only revs today as there was a running event taking place and the wind forecast did not look great.
    The high cloud was receding so fair weather cumulus but not very developed most of the time.  The westerly wind was typical summer Blackheath, on the strong side this time, but consistently variable.  Opting for mid vents with green race made a certain amount of sense until the arm ache set in!
    Very little called as the variability of the breeze really was not conducive to team flying.
    Festival in the Forest next Saturday in South London but we should be at Blackheath on Sunday as usual.
  22. Felix
    I did take the personal revs to Blackheath today but managed to ‘forget’ the handle bag.  As no one else was expected that really didn’t matter but I had also left the SLK toolkit behind as well.  That might have been irritating!
    The challenge today was to set up the Edo kite solo.  After the kind assistance of the team at the beginning of June I knew that I had to establish a method to accomplish this.  I know that ground stakes are only to be used ‘carefully’ and as conditions were relatively calm I used the mooring pin to attach the bridle and the flying line.  I set the spars and then walked the kite away downwind and placed it face up with the leading edge/top of the kite upwind secured, on this occasion, with my jacket.
    I then combed the lines back towards the anchor point.  This is a slow process but it helps to know that it will resolve successfully.
    The bridle point was then switched from the anchor to the flying line and the kite was walked out and placed face down leading edge still to the front and the bow set.  Then the kite was rolled and the bridle lines checked with the leading edge on the ground.
    Finally, keeping the bridle lines supporting the kite it was turned to leading edge up and launched once the centre of the window had been found.
    I launched the kite several times and while it was stable in the centre of the wind window when the wind was lighter as soon as a stronger flow occurred the kite tracked clockwise until it inevitably hit the ground.
    On breaking down the kite the process was reversed but I put a holding knot in the bridle lines at the anchor end first before taking the comb back to the kite and looping the lines together, using the carabiner to hold the final loop!
  23. Felix
    RSS kites today in contrast to last weekend.  Today there were also very localised heavy showers to contend with on the brisk SW breeze.  We were mostly lucky but were dressed accordingly anyway.
    Extended no call flying watching the highly contrasted clouds passing by.
    The plantain seed heads that were becoming prevalent in recent weeks had been mown so really no issues today!
    No JMH kites today as it was clear that conditions would be a bit fierce.
    Happy to have the ‘drum kit’ bags back in use finally for kite transport and storage.  Both of them were damaged during Cervia and have been replaced with new.
  24. Felix
    Zens with green race today gives a measure of the breeze from the SW.  Mostly fair weather cumulus in long standing lines with very high cloud gradually thickening.
    There were occasional lulls which made a perfect excuse for putting together some of the JMH kites.
    First up was the re-framed late Delta.  Mainly 10mm carbon tube but with a re-purposed Rev SLE spreader.  This is a very good light wind option now.  I note that this was flown on the rear connection point.  I tried the middle point but the sail was immediately spilling too much air, not enough brake, one might say!
    Following this I put up both of the 2m Rokkakus having split the main rods for portability.  The yellow kite flew perfectly straight away, the blue kite needed the lower bridle shortening slightly, a clove hitch around the 5mm peg that I had prepared before leaving Hackney this morning.  I had remembered both kites as being slightly unbalanced but they were fine in ‘just enough’ breeze today.
    I had repaired the Edo after last weekends attempt but will wait until the missing diagonal ribbon fixing is replaced before trying another flight.
    I have decided that the Della Porta: Nine squares is probably needing stronger spars and have discovered that Not Zen green race rods with a short carbon rod supplement will fit inside the white fibreglass rods.  This may be the next week’s project in addition to de-rusting one of the ‘stairway’ kites…
  25. Felix
    I had hoped for 8-10mph today but it ended up more like 13-15 with significantly higher gusts.  Full vent 1.5s with green race were ok most of the time.  I had not taken the RSS kites so that was not an option.
    During the week I had prepared a light wind frame for the large JMH delta and also modified the frames for the two Rok and Rev JMH Rokakkus which need further bridle adjustment.
    Today I opted to put together the JMH Edo from 1995.  The fact that the bridle took a considerable time to untangle should have been an indicator that this was not really the right kite for the day.  In the event there was too much breeze.  This really is a light wind JMH design!  Good to spend the time looking at the configuration anyway.
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