Kite Blog

27/12/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 27 December 2009 10 views  

Another blustery day today. Jade observed that we were getting into some 'treacle flying'. 'Very slow' 360 degree rotations in c20mph takes some confidence in fellow fliers at close proximity.

Some of us flew yesterday as well but as the ground was muddy on Blackheath (again today) I did not get out the new JMH sails. I did take a close look at the format of the JMH vented sails later at home yesterday and find that Bazzer has followed JMH's interpretation of the vent locations and proportions very closely. The trailing edge detail looks very good. I had not previously noted the shift from the JB vented sail format to the JB Pro vented sail format. ('Note to self' ...Must pay attention to detail...)


20/12/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 20 December 2009 5 views  

Thanks to Ben, Bazzer and Lolly we are now testing a set of vented 1.5s in a new JMH design:-

It was a bit cool on Blackheath today...


PS thanks to Jade, Ashley, Martin and Maggie as well... FJM  

13/12/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 13 December 2009 8 views  

No let-up in the wind today so another vented 4 wrap morning.  Great cloudscapes in the northerly breeze but we were blinded by the sun at times.

I think that the 'precise stop' (no wobble) is going to be the key factor in team flying in the near future.  Many fliers are making the effort hit the mark...

I understand that Berck 2010 may have a Rev competition!


06/12/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 06 December 2009 6 views  

After a very wet cloudy start to the day the sky cleared from the west and we arrived on Blackheath with a clear sky soon after 11am.  The ground was not as waterlogged as last weekend and the Canada Geese have still not invaded.

The wind was changeable but predominately strong so we flew vented with 4 wrap spars.  I was very interested to see that the other fliers present were using horizontal handles and long arm movements even in the higher winds.  It occurs to me that holding a very precise grip with heavy loading will cause muscle fatigue very quickly and that adopting a more flexible mode will obviously be advantageous.  Having set additional 'brakes' means that the kite will not accidentally fly off in any direction but I have been surprised at how much movement can be used to control the kite in what could be interpreted as 'two line mode'.

It looks like next weekend there will be an anticyclone in place over the UK so there will be an opportunity to practice slo-mo flailing in anticipation of the Zen.


29/11/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 29 November 2009 6 views  

Some of us (Felix, Ashley, David) had a great weekend at Ainsdale last week.  The weather was tough but a bit of extra 'brake' was sufficient to keep us flying.

This weekend was our team meet event.  A short fly on Saturday, late afternoon, saw the other 4 ex iQuad SLE kites checked out.

A succession of squally showers were the theme today.  

I will try to get some images/video of 'long arm/input' in the next few weeks.  I noted recently that even an absolute beginner may intuitively adopt this technique so I do not think that there is any reason not to advocate it for new fliers.


15/11/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 15 November 2009 7 views  

A glorious day after yesterday's storms.  There were showers marching eastwards on the southern horizon, maybe over the South Downs or on the Channel coast?

On Blackheath we were joined by a new flier.  Rowan was taking a break from his usual Sunday lessons.

As an 'almost' first time flier I set him up on a short set of lines with the 1.5 Anniversary kite.  I added a little forward to counteract the tendency to pull back the handles at launch and away he went.  It was instructive to watch him get to grips with correcting the kite after ground contact and also to see him using mobility on the ground and 'long arms' at the outset.

The rest of us settled for vented 3 wrap and we flew some gentle 'mega team' holding positions before letting Maggie lead some following lines.


08/11/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 08 November 2009 3 views  

Blackheath was being 'cleaned up' after last nights fire works display.  Parking restrictions meant that we convened to the west of the cricket field, uphill from the usual church field site.

A fairly smooth easterly breeze was borderline between full sail/race rods(or heavier) and vented/3 wrap.  We opted for the latter and enjoyed the hassle free feel of this configuration.  Jade, Ashley and I completed some neat no-call close format railtrack following.  Maggie was working on an expanded downward turning infinity and looked to be getting the better of it once Jade suggested the forward walk to de-power the downward turn.

We discussed long arm technique and noted the LE facing left/right altitude achievable with the full stretch (long arm) as opposed to the 'bow and arrow' stance.  Smooth speed control and transitions appear to be best effected with the use of plenty of manoeuvrability on the ground as well.

  Looking forward to Ainsdale.


25/10/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 25 October 2009 5 views  

It was sunny on Blackheath today as predicted.  Wind speed was probably 15-20mph so at the top end of comfort level with 1.5 vented on 4 wrap.

A 'not very scientific' comparison between Bazzer Pro and early iQuad vented indicated that the [EDIT] 'new' kite is easier to hold on a straight line. <grins>

Flying the kite consistently very slowly is what I describe as 'treacle' mode.  I have found that 'long arm' movements are required to maintain this mode of flight.  I think that it would be very interesting to see team flying in this mode.

Martin, Maggie, Ashley and I flew in line for a while and we stacked the kites in the air.


18/10/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 18 October 2009 7 views  

Martin, Jade, Ashley and I put the four 2 wrap framed ex iQuad kites up when a light breeze finally arrived c12:30 today.

They felt crisp and consistent despite our differing selection of handles.  15 inch would be my preference now for sure in light breezes.

We flew some simple, but deliberately slow, following moves and had some applause from passers by.  Romney would have been proud...


11/10/2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 11 October 2009 7 views  

The post office has not delivered the iQuad kites yet...

No formal OSOW fly on Blackheath today.

A good breeze so vented 1.5 on UL spars for me.  Treacle flying looking for straight arms as default.  Habits are difficult to break despite the obvious advantages.  Repetition is good for setting the precedent...

Still waiting to hear from LOCOG.


Blackheath 04/10/2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 04 October 2009 10 views  

After the great hospitality laid on in Potsdam last weekend it seemed very quiet on Blackheath at 10:00am today.

There was, however, a light breeze (c6mph) and no hard woody stems at ground level!

In the interest of an ongoing discussion I set up the Pro B full sail with Race Rods on 13 inch handles and the Pro B  mid vented, also on Race Rods but with the 15 inch handles.  The object of the exercise was a simple comparison.  

I have to admit that it was very difficult to state a clear advantage either way.

Later, when Jade and Maggie arrived, I switched to a Pro B vented/Pro B  mid vented comparison with the long handles now on the full vented kite.  Again, it was difficult to call...

I know that this is far from scientific but I did not feel much difference in the ability of the different sails to hold altitude in the lateral passes. (LE facing left or right)  I suspect though, that the simple expedient of pulling back on the top lines will have dealt with the difference.

OSOW is next weekend.  I will be at Blackheath and hope that the iQuad kites will have arrived by then just in case there are fliers on hand.


Bristol 12-13th September 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 15 September 2009 6 views  

Arrived on site Saturday morning c9:30am to find the arenas not staked but vehicles parked as anchors in the SLK area.  With the wind in the NE this arena is narrow and with inflatable structures for kids on the North side our traditional location was not viable.  I have to question whether these inflatable structures are appropriate at a kite festival given the impact that they can have on low altitude kite flying?  Large cabanas and tents around arena boundaries are detrimental to the flying conditions, let alone a 30 foot structure!

We set up in a corner of the main arena and made occasional forays towards the golf course on Saturday and 'The Third Arena' (which did get set up by STACK) on Sunday in addition to arena presentations, and had a great weekend.

It was borderline between 1.5s on 3 wrap spars and 1s on 4 wrap through the weekend.


6th September 2009 Blackheath, Rev2

Posted by Felix Mottram, 06 September 2009 10 views  

It is a long time since I have flown a Rev2.  I set up the Race framed one kindly loaned to me by Baloo on my c50ft 90lb lines.  I also set up the Red-Orange-Yellow Sedgwick prototype which I have been re-building with contemporary fittings.  Jade lent me his 50ft lines!

Both kites felt 'very' light but responded fantastically well to 'long arm' input.  The prototype has a deeper V but I would be hard pushed to describe differences in handling.  Slo-mo was very interesting, I think that I would like some more flex in the rods but directional stability was not an issue.  I will have to try the speed series and Rev2 comparison again now.  

Ashley, Jade and Maggie were flying on standard JB 1.5s.  Switching from the Rev2 to my early Pro JB 1.5 (Race Rods) was quite amusing.

I will have the Red-Orange-Yellow Sedgwick at Bristol if anyone would like to try it!

I will add a picture of the two kites later. [EDIT thanks Jade]


Attached Thumbnails  

29th - 31st August 2009 Portsmouth

Posted by Felix Mottram, 31 August 2009 8 views  

A great weekend which included getting the 16 JMH kites (8 x 1.5 and 8 x 1) in flight with help from The Flying Squad and Sailor. (Thanks again J)

I hope that images will be available somewhere eventually.

There was limited space off arena during the festival after the special provision last year but we did manage to get some time between the funfair and the road to begin to put together the obligatory 'new move' sequence for the weekend.  This was refined on Monday morning in the more friendly breezes before many of the fliers joined into a 20 person mega-fly.  A great finale but no doubt we will hear more from those who were able to stay for the rest of the day.


23rd August 2009, Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 23 August 2009 10 views  

A glorious summers day with a rising southerly breeze and mostly clear skies, apart from vapour trails and some semblances of lenticular clouds.

10mph plus so JB 1.5 vented from the outset.  Jade, Jacob, Ashley and I worked through some of the Decs routine stuff.  Prior to Jacob's arrival we flew 'ad-hoc' with some great 'present and response' moves occupying the full window, mostly without repetition.  I think that this is great 'training' for team flying as the pilots must observe the full window while deciding where to 'send' their kite.

We finished with a session of wing tip 180 ladder up/down and a final slo-mo unwind just to see who could really cope. <grins> Needless to say the newbies demonstrated their capabilities with aplomb....


16th August, 2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 16 August 2009 12 views  

After our visit to 'Humber Woodland of Remembrance' on Friday I realised that although 120ft lines were OK on that occasion it might very well be useful to have shorter sets available for tighter spaces in the future.  It is a long time since I flew on short lines.  The Decs were flying on 125ft lines prior to the 2008 events.

I ran out a c50ft set today using some fat sleeving that I had obviously prepared years ago and never got around to using.  (The fat sleeving will be replaced as soon as is possible.)

We had been flying full vented JB 1.5s (UL/Standard) and I set up the mid vented on the short lines with the 'strong' spar set.  All seemed fine to me apart from the sudden limitation of the wind window relative to the size of the kite.  I handed the kite Ashley who had been demonstrating vertical snap tip 180s* to great effect.  It was immediately apparent to him that the 'natural turning interval' of this kite configuration was actually quite different to the full vented on 120s.  He described the difference as similar to switching between the 1 and the 1.5.  It had occurred to me that the transition related to the difference between the 1.5 and the Speed series.

I wonder if it would be possible to evaluate the 'turning interval' of the various configurations in a meaningful way?  However, I think that it may be more interesting to adapt a slow flying mode for the kites that have a fast 'turning interval' as that will facilitate a greater range of performance. <grins>


*Wing tip 180s ending stationary, no wobble!  

9th August 2009, Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 10 August 2009 8 views  

A light wind day with news of the [Edit, no capitalisation] Zen to contemplate.

Parallel multiple diamonds with Jade and Ashley came about almost spontaneously.  I can envisage some moves being generated from 'not organised' interactive flying but as with 'the grid' a certain level of capability is required.  We did manage to lock up the three kites at right angles at one point.  Careful with those lines, even in light wind.

Back to the Zen I'm thinking that even though JB has said 'Also, for those with limited mobility, the B-Zen will be a blessing in low wind' there may very well still be a case for looking at the possible advantages of a palm down grip in light wind conditions... <grins>  

2nd August 2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 02 August 2009 8 views  

Light to start but a Three Kite day on Blackheath, Standard, Mid and Vented.  I was intent on noting handle position and can confirm 'palm down' with minimal grip.  The line pressure holds the handles against the fingers...  I am very conscious of enabling a full pull past legs at thigh/knee level and making an effort to avoid 'body blocking' such moves.  I have also found that the archery stance, one leg forward, one back, is good for anticipating movement on the ground.  Be prepared to be mobile...

I think that the the palm down handle grip is quite interesting when dealing with high/light loading and precise control.  Also in respect of long pulls while maintaining forward/reverse control.  Palm down is possible, palms facing centre probably not at all!

At a very different level, a pair of needle nose pliers should be in everyones kit for undoing those tension driven adjustment knots in the leaders.

Looking forward to Portsmouth!


26th July 2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 26 July 2009 13 views  

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...


12th July 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 12 July 2009 7 views  

Windy on Blackheath, 12-18 mph today.  Flying the 1.5 full vented trying to figure l/r arm transitions.  Keeping the handle set in a forward flight mode I was finding some 'long' movements to maintain altitude with a precise stop without wobble.  I wonder how anyone else can describe this 'snap' stop?


PS Please support Bristol 2009.... See the top of the thread at the following URL!


4-5th July 2009 Washington/Sunderland Friendship Festival

Posted by Felix Mottram, 06 July 2009 11 views  

It was a great weekend on the Northern Area Playing Fields at Washington, Tyne and Wear.  We flew eight and joined with Flying Squad/FLIC (Stephen, Susan/Ben, Caroline) and Mike Mossman for a 'mini' Mega Fly using the JMH Rev 1s and 1.5s with one of Mike's custom 1.5s.

I hope that some images will be posted soon.  

28th June 1009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 28 June 2009 11 views  

Today on Blackheath we got close to going head to head with the Rev 1 and Rev 1.5's.  Next weekend, at Washington, Tyne and Wear we may have the opportunity to fly a mixed mega-team.  The Decs should be 8 and with a few extra hands I am hoping that we can put up 12 - 16 of the JMH sails with appropriate sparing.

Slo-mo with the 1.5 is key to this...

Looking forward to the trip north again!


21st June 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 21 June 2009 8 views  

A gentle workout with the Rev 1s with standard spars was a pleasure after last weekend working away from home.  There was a breeze for some of the time on Blackheath and Jacob called moves that may have defeated the oldies last weekend.

As an alternative the 1.5 with Race spars felt very responsive, similar to a 15 inch tissue and bamboo fighter kite!

We hope to post details regarding 'fund raising' for Bristol 2009 within the next 24 hours.  

Last Week, Next week

Posted by Felix Mottram, 07 June 2009 5 views  

Last weekend I composed an entry and then managed to delete it when in preview mode.  Next weekend I have to work Saturday and Sunday so will miss the Blackheath event.

The 'topic' last weekend was about getting fliers to 'commit' to the discipline of the Mega Team, especially the more experienced fliers who may become impatient with the less accomplished.  All 'a bit moral' so maybe best left in the imagination...

Light and variable on Blackheath today.  After a light shower the breeze settled from the south with some magnificent cloudscapes.

Attached Thumbnails  

First Time

Posted by Felix Mottram, 24 May 2009 13 views  

I installed a Race Rod frame in the Rev 1 today for the first time with one of the new sails.  I set up one of the other new sails for comparison on a standard centre and UL remainder.  The Race frame felt good but I could not make a definitive statement comparing the two at this stage. <grins>

I installed the Race leading edge in the Blast today for the first time.  Having heard anecdotes about the frame I treated it very gently at first but soon found that the kite could be thrown around and that the frame absorbed airborne shocks smoothly.

I set up the standard 1.5 JB Pro with Race frame on 35cm handles today.  I just wish that they were clip-less handles as I was very much aware of catching the top lines on either side occasionally.  These handles felt very heavy but did allow very immediate stops and a slower glide out in the very light breeze on a summery Blackheath today.  

I was reminded of the difference between the sizes of the basic Indian fighter kites.  The small ones are very quick.  The larger ones are smoother.  I think that it might be time to get a Rev 2 with Race frame and see how slowly it can fly...  

Rougham 16-17 May 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 17 May 2009 6 views  

A great blustery, showery weekend.  Jade and Ashley stood in for absent fliers to very good effect.

A new compound move, inevitably to be called 'the Rougham' took shape based on Jacobs sketches that he had left at work.  He left a few other things lying around over the weekend and paid the price... <grins>

A neat impromptu 12 grid mega fly almost rounded off the event.  If they had kept the music rolling we would probably still be there but there was a final arena spot to fit in...

It was good to fly the JMH 1.5s close to the JMH parafoil to start proceedings on Sunday morning.  

Leading Edge defined circles

Posted by Felix Mottram, 10 May 2009 10 views  

Side sliding a circle with 3 kites was today's spontaneous target.

Initially I wanted to describe the rolling ball but that was a little too ambitious for Jade and ATM (Ashley).

Surprisingly, the expected handle transitions are not actually required which is counter intuitive.  Lock the handle positions and it seems that the kite will circle.  (OK there may be some subtle inflexion involved)  Crossing other lines does however confuse the issue somewhat.

I'm using the clip less handles and have tied staking loops to the tops.  On reflection it is the lower clips that were catching, either the upper lines on the same handle or occasionally the other line set.  I could not figure out how to snag the top connectors today and could not create a problem with the staking loops.  With the handles held down at thigh level in long arm mode much of the time rather than in close proximity in front of the chest it was unlikely that the tops would be a concern.

We have always had to contend with elbows and shoulders in team flying so clip less handles will be a great help in reducing the point of failure.  We will just have to get sets for 'everyone' now <grins>  

3rd May 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 03 May 2009 20 views  

If you are standing on the beach at Weymouth looking out to sea the horizon is dominated on the left by White Nothe. (A big chalk headland)  To the left of the coastguard cottages on the tip of the headland there is a dip in the profile and then there is a small building, a mere blip at this distance.  It was there that I first flew the cloth and aluminium tube box kite which was part of the kit provided to aircrew in the RAF cWW2!  The view of Weymouth Bay from up there is etched in my memory.

Later I flew Delta kites at the same location and piloted one through the transition from land/sea to sea/land breeze one morning and found myself flying a kite facing the breeze.

I find it fascinating to catch thermal air movements with Revolution kites and just wish that there was a way to hitch a lift on the rising air and reel out the line as with a SLK Delta.

Flying the Blast on Blackheath today it felt very close on 100ft lines.  I wondered how it would feel on 200 ft?  In contrast we were flying 1.5B fully vented so there was a considerable difference in effort...

I must get the Paul Morgan Mega Delta out one of these days <grins>.  


Berck 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 26 April 2009 10 views  

It seems that we first went to Berck in 1990.

The team congregated in Berck on Friday 24th April 2009 in a different configuration but fully enjoyed the space and hospitality that some of us remember all the way back to that first visit.

This weekend we had eight fliers. Three could be described as 'newcomers to the current team' even if two of them have flown with us before.

We sketched out some new manoeuvres on the ferry between Dover and Calais on Friday and they were duly extended on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and included in the arena flight on Sunday afternoon.

The Mega Fly on Saturday was somewhat constrained by the arena space.  Getting all the individual fliers up to 'a level of confidence' in their ability so as not to have to rely on 'comfort factors' seems to be a significant issue.  Saying that, everyone did extremely well and I look forward to further collaborations on this scale.  

19th April 2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 19 April 2009 10 views  

Glorious day, wind NE c10mph I think with plenty of sun.  I am almost not jealous of everyone at Berck!

Flew the new Blast with SLE and muscle memory kicked in almost instantly.  Having flown the Shockwave or Supersonic when flying individually for quite a few years it was great to fly a larger sail which corresponded so closely in configuration straight out of the bag.  Treacle or slo-mo (call it what you will) felt totally familiar and with generous 'forward' on the carbon wrapped handles Leading Edge face up hovers were no problem.  Snap clockwork stops were simply scaled up from my memory of the smaller speed series kites.  I will have to try the bridle variations but suspect that I will be insensitive to the differences for the time being.  I really look forward to flying this kite with the lighter leading edge.  I think that it could be my 'no wind kite' for hitching lifts on thermal currents <grins> (flying on 100ft, 200lb lines today)

I have said before, and happily repeat today, that flying the speed series kites informs the flying of Rev 1 or Rev 1.5 quite dramatically.  Picking up the Mid-Vent JB Pro that also arrived this week after flying the Blast was almost surreal.  I was also impressed by the range of this configuration compared to the standard sail or full vented.  I had not flown one before and now fully appreciate the extent of the gap that it fills between the other two sails.

ATM and Jade flew in with full vented 1.5s and both of them have obviously learned a great deal in the last few months.  There is, it seems, no point in rushing.  The learning curve will look after itself....

Now, which year was it that we first went to Berck-Plage?


High wind, low wind

Posted by Felix Mottram, 13 April 2009 18 views  

In a high wind the handle loading would be best (most comfortable) when the kite is neutral so there is no forward/backwards tendency.  

In a light wind the handle loading would be best when the kite is square on to the direction of movement so that the maximum benefit can be derived from the pilot's input.

QED or something equally desperate...  

12th April Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 12 April 2009 20 views  

Grey day with 3-4 mph maximum to start. A few drops of rain initially, gradually brightening with the mist lifting.

Flew with ATM and Jade alternating leading left and right.  I called from the centre some of the time.  It can work to a degree.  ATM finally realised that I had maintained the three kites with crossed lines for a considerable length of time while the fliers moved in line and in parallel.  Getting used to line contact can only be done for real.

Also tried to hang the kites (1.5B Race Rods) facing left or right with maximum arm stretch.  It is not possible to 'grip' the handles in this situation.  It has to be 'finger tips', especially for the transitions.  

10th April 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 10 April 2009 19 views  

Some good smooth wind today for 1.5s at Blackheath.  Jacob coached some great 4 person repetitions (not practice, just piano scales) with Jade, ATM and I.  Both of them, Jade and ATM, are getting the individual control but still learning the challenges of the team environment.  There is only one position, for a team flier in the sky, which is the correct one... They were introduced to a number of the regular Decs routine elements.

Other news is that, in addition to Romney Johnstone re-joining the team this year, DE will be flying with us, as from Berck and Rougham.  

5th April 2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 05 April 2009 8 views  

Another light and variable wind day.  No good for Berck training but we did put ATM 'in the middle' for some 3 kite repetitions.  There is no point in giving a beginner the easy option.

Jade and I had earlier flown some 'treacle' moves in line and in parallel.  I think that once fliers have grasped the concept, as Jade obviously has, there will be scope for interesting developments in team and mega-team flying.

At the end of play ATM had the misfortune to catch the leading edge of the staked kite that he was re-positioning on the ground with his foot.  The result was a broken leading edge and a string of silent expletives.  He will have to call the local supplier of UL 1.5 spars!  

We may go to Dunstable next Friday....  

29th March 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 29 March 2009 14 views  

Clock change weekend so an early start seemed appropriate given the forecast for gradually reducing wind speed.

3-5 mph translated to nothing really so it was a bit of a waiting game.  Fly when you can and expect to respond to 90 or 180 degree shifts was the order of the day.  

Jacob arrived around midday and we eventually put 4 wrap Rev 1s up.  Caught a thermal under a Cumulus cloud at one point simultaneously with both kites on vertical lines.  You have to be careful not to pull the kite over the top...  

22nd March 2009 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 23 March 2009 16 views  

Encouraged ATM to work on leading edge down hover.  He was making good progress.  Suggested walking forwards to get gradual descent, backwards to gain altitude.  I will have to suggest the angled hovers next weekend.  The visual feedback is critical....

I then went into reverie mode trying to pin the kite to a position in the sky in horizontal hover with varying wind speed and direction.  c20 minutes later I thought it was time to take a break.  

Some good 'treacle' flying with long arm moves to keep the illusion flowing as the breeze dropped away occasionally.  Jade was in parallel for some of the time.  I will be very interested to see this included in team flying soon.  (if not mega team <grins>)  

15th March 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 15 March 2009 14 views  

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!  

8th March 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 08 March 2009 13 views  

An early start today in anticipation of 'afternoon' showers.

Blustery conditions '18mph plus' provided the opportunity to try some long arm, treacle effect flying with the vented 1.5B.  How slow can you go?

I wonder if we should actively avoid any 'following' team routines.  Apart from the line wraps it is not really very interesting IMHO.

Heavy rain later after rising wind speed justified the early start.

PS Jade showed me the Prussic knot which could provide incremental adjustment for leaders rather than relying on pre-tied knots.  It would be interesting to see if it really stays in place in practice. 09/March/2009  

1st March 2009

Posted by Felix Mottram, 01 March 2009 12 views  

Light breeze on Blackheath today. Johnny turned up (by bicycle) and with the help of Jade and ATM we put up 5 of the JMH Rev1s with 4 wrap spars.  Precision in turning is where everything seemed to focus for all of the fliers.  

I am very interested in the latest news on the Revolution site:- 'Also, look for the introduction of the new Blast being flown by Team iQuad at a festival near you.' I have mentioned my interest in the speed series kites previously.

I wonder if anyone can remember which team was considering using Super Blast kites for low wind team flying and in which year?  I cannot offer a prize but anyone with an idea could start a thread in the forum!


Sunday 22nd February 2009 "just do it"

Posted by Felix Mottram, 22 February 2009 14 views  

ATM flew in with Jacob, Jade and I today.

He had been flying the 'on the spot' 90 degree turns including 'leading edge down' earlier. (following on from last week)

Jacob called The Decs 'opening manoeuvre' as well as 'ladder-up/down' which call for some focus and space limits.  ATM said he could do the moves as long as there was plenty of escape space.  My observation would be that it is possible to get an inexperienced flier to do some very cool moves (read that as 'not trivial') so long as the expectation is not for perfection at the outset. The fact that a move is apparently being executed with ease either side of the inexperienced flier is an great incentive for them to 'learn how to do it' without getting bogged down in the 'practice' syndrome or worrying about the specific controls involved.

I am reminded of the 'not team fliers' who claimed levels of expertise which they thought should qualify them to take part in a team project! <grins>

A small scale frontal event crossed Blackheath today with shifts in wind direction and speed.  The lowered dark edge line of clouds illustrated this very effectively.  I wish that I had taken time out to photograph the transition.  

Attached is an image from a few weeks ago instead!


Attached Thumbnails


Step by step

Posted by Felix Mottram, 15 February 2009 10 views  

Today after putting Jade in a close following scenario* we tried 90 degree, on the spot turns.  Facing left, down, right, up, left etc. then reversing.  MW didn't quite get it and twice careered through threatening to take everyone out.  ATM got the idea but wanted to work on the face down hover.  I suggested that momentary stopping was the way to go.  

Leading edge up, grounded, stepped rotations proved an interesting consideration of brake/forward set-up.  1/4, wing tip, 3/4 points all need plenty of forward to deliver.  It is not possible to throw these moves, lines need to be set with plenty of forward...

I am still working on finding a way of describing the similarity of long arm flying in both low and high wind situations.

*PS Jade did brilliantly in staying calm and getting back into position... as necessary! FJM  

Rev 1 introduction

Posted by Felix Mottram, 08 February 2009 19 views  

After a string <grins> of high wind days c3-5 mph was on offer at Blackheath today.  Jacob turned up and eventually we put up a set of team Rev1's and had Jade and ATM doing some basic moves.  The JMH graphics looked great.  Too busy for pics!  

Jade and ATM quickly found effective control of the Rev1 with 4 wrap spars!

5 fliers.  3 1.5JB, 1 Anniversary, 4 JMH Rev1.  

Handle holding orthodoxy

Posted by Felix Mottram, 01 February 2009 40 views  

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.  

Long Arm Slow rotations

Posted by Felix Mottram, 30 November 2008 19 views  

So, in the pouring rain today I was rotating the kite slowly in the middle of the wind window about a kites width above the ground, and I mean... slowly!

Flying Rev 1.5B vented, standard spars.  My concern is arm span and the angle of the kite to the wind.  I have to move back briskly when the kite was face up which gives an indication of the actual wind speed.  Face down is less of an issue as we are aware and I was probably moving forwards at that point to compensate.  The transition from left arm forward to right arm forward was continuous throughout the rotations.  A 'slow march'.

If I can use an alternating full arm stretch with a Rev 1.5 would it actually be possible to utilise a Rev 1 'fully' in these conditions?

This is probably a rhetorical question!  

Sunday 30th November 2008

Posted by Felix Mottram, 30 November 2008 14 views  

Blackheath wet and muddy, no clear evidence of Canadian Goose shit today.  They were down by the pond!

Wind N to NE, vented speed to begin with but fading as the front passed.

ATM had trouble with wet lines sticking with symmetrical twists but having got through that managed to grasp the concept of the 'bow and arrow' position for lateral passes and to hold the kite in a hover and move forwards (downwind).  

We had adjusted lines to assess the 'feel' of the kite and to correct an incorrectly set length on one line by trial and error.

MW also had issues with settings and we increased 'brake' to give more 'pressure' on the kite.

Both fliers had been backing up hundreds of yards when the breeze was stronger.  I had to rescue both of them from the lee of the roundabout.  It is surprising how much a small group of low trees can interrupt the effective wind flow.

It is not teaching, just observing... They do the learning!  

Grid Format 'rules of engagement'

Posted by Felix Mottram, 28 November 2008 47 views  

One role that needs to be addressed for future events will be a 'field organiser' who would get the fliers lined up and correctly spaced and then keep an eye on the fliers positions on the ground during a performance.  (This should probably not be in the callers/leaders remit except for determining the overall configuration)

Another possible role is for a 'spotter' to home in on any flier who is having difficulties and to guide/advise them accordingly and may also involve relaying a '2nd strike invitation' to land their kite (and move off the field) as has been suggested elsewhere.  (The caller/leader may need to initiate the request)

There may be other 'rules of engagement' that need to be discussed.

Reminder...  Rule number 1.  It is supposed to be fun so do not take it too seriously  OK?

The caller/leader may have to be allowed complete discretion to determine the number of fliers and request others to leave the field.  The fliers may need to confirm their agreement to this prior to taking part....

There are many sports where the rules are quite difficult to interpret but where the official has the final say.  Given the precarious dynamics that might be involved we will have to give the caller/leader free reign IMHO.


Mega Team lines

Posted by Felix Mottram, 25 November 2008 21 views  

So if each flier is on 4 x 120ft = 480 ft.

There are 36 fliers so 480 x 36 = 17,280 ft.

There are 5,280 ft in a mile if my memory serves me correctly so that make 3.27 miles of line.

With 54 fliers, 480 x 54 = 25,920 ft which is 4.9 miles.

With 100 fliers, 480 x 100 = 48,000 ft which is 9.1 miles.

Quite a lot of string!  

Rev Blogs

Posted by Felix Mottram, 23 November 2008 27 views  

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>

Grid Format

Posted by Felix Mottram, 23 November 2008 67 views  

David noted in his  REVisions : Grid Economics article:-

'But, Felix Mottram, founder of The Decorators <snip> had an idea one night. Maybe it came to him in a dream, or he looked at something and an idea popped into his head, but he began to try and get some of us to get our head around it. And to be honest it made no sense to me initially, I know I had problems visualizing how it would work. I don't think I 'really' got it until such time as Felix worked a group of us through it in Uchinada earlier this year.'


'And, the first time I got to experience it first hand was in Uchinada Beach where Felix had managed to make his way over to the festival.'

I had started to try and document the process of getting a large Revolution Team event together by copying all the messages in the Revolution Event 2008 thread into one place but it was too painful.  

I arrived at the idea of the Grid in 1993 and wrote to Revolution at that time.

Having proposed the Portsmouth/Bristol events it was apparent that all the players would need to be on-side if we were going to attempt the Grid format.  Having been at the rained off event at Uchinada in 2004 I had some reason to try and get there again.

Serendipity comes to mind.

Sunday 23rd November 2008

Posted by Felix Mottram, 23 November 2008 65 views  

Early morning snow followed by rain finally cleared around midday so a late trip to Blackheath.

Bright sun for a while and then a passing shower with a complete, perfect rainbow.

Variable breeze, vented 1.5B for me and 10 year old vented for ATM who is getting the hover and 180s with leading edge vertical some of the time.

Looks like the clock 12:25 on the edit page is on New York time!

December 2023
Felix Mottram