Kite Blog

30/12/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 30 December 2012 199 views

A short fly today given the strong westerly breeze.

Xtra Vent with green race initially but replaced with Strong/4 wrap quite quickly when the initially warming sun disappeared behind clouds rapidly approaching from the west.

There were a few breaks in the cloud subsequently but also rain falling from apparently clear blue sky as in the attached image with tentative rainbow.

New Years Day promises lighter winds to round off the extra flying time over the holiday period.

Now is the time to start planning the summer events...


26/12/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 26 December 2012 172 views

It was bright on the way c10:45am to Blackheath but the high level cloud was approaching from the west.

A brisk breeze so xtra vented with green race provided a relaxed configuration.  No physical stress beyond dealing with the occasional lulls.  Most of the time LE up was fine for holding the hover.

Plenty of close improvisation with varaible speeds today.  We are just going to have to set about writing a routine including all these interesting serial moves.  I'll just have to figure out just how to remember long sequences of moves <grins>

Blackwall Tunnel was busy on the way home and at Bow Flyover it was evident that lots of folk were headed to Stratford.  Good luck to them.  The rain arrived later as forecast.


23/12/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 23 December 2012 181 views

It was dull and breezy at 10:30am today.  Full vented with 4 wrap.  Quiet, so I took the opportunity to try the new leaders.

I am convinced that shorter adjustment intervals are the way to go but equally sure that sliding knots are not sensible.

Ultimately, equalising the lines is the critical element so finding a way to undo and re-tie the end loops will be the best way forwards.  A proper line equalising device makes sense here, not that I currently have one.

Having on occasions handed a mal-adjusted line-set to another experienced flier I know how much it is possible to compensate for incorrectly set lines

The sun did appear for a while today but then the low level cloud thickened and the gloom returned. 

A Boxing Day fly is planned on Blackheath by a few of us, followed by New Years Day fly as well as the usual Sunday meets.  12th and 13th January we will be at Shipley Country Park near Nottingham for a Super 16 (maybe) event.


16/12/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 16 December 2012 155 views

A sunny south westerly day, standard 1.5 sails with race rods. Just enough 'forwards' to be able to land on the vertical spar point only and hold the angle without dropping to the leading edge end as well.

I forgot to pick up my newly tied 'micro adjusting' <grins> snag-less handles so that will have to wait for another weekend.

Four fliers today with some more close, variable speed, improvisation. There are some great moves being 'developed' here especially the serial counter rotations where the group of kites is also moving through an arc in the sky at the same time.

Lots of moments to reflect on long arm movements today especially throwing arms forwards to effect a 'stop' and then adjusting to maintain altitude.

I can see, more clearly now, just how much dynamic input the flier can usefully adopt, even to achieve a 'treacle like' move in the sky.


09/12/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 09 December 2012 154 views

The heath is finally returning to pre-Olympic conditions. The last of the temporary fencing has gone.

A rising breeze today meant that we soon adopted Xtra vent sails with green race spars.

Three fliers indulged in lazy free form flying with some very neat 'treacle' flying moments.

Slow rotation in close proximity to other kites in relatively high wind speed requires confidence in co-fliers especially with multi wrapped lines.

I was very conscious of 'arms straight down, handles horizontal', even in the higher wind speed, being ready to react quickly to the occasional lull and keep the kite in the right place. <grins>


02/12/2012 Dunstable

Posted by Felix Mottram, 02 December 2012 111 views

As Fusion had decided to travel south for the day we just had to get to Dunstable in case the opportunity for a Super 16 did occur. We would have been happy to fly 9...

We, (a small sub-set of the Decs), arrived a little before 10am. While greeting a slightly puzzled Stephen Hoath in the car park a car did an aerial manoeuvre off the local road, landing on its roof on the embankment. The driver walked away but was very shaken according to those who had run to help.

We set up in the bright sunshine and found that the light breeze was smooth and steady. Vince and crew arrived soon after and we quickly had a good group doing some following and figures.

We did get to fly 16 and put some effort into the windmill/mercedes counter rotations. We also flew 12 and did the circular leaders benefit with the split circles exit. We need to figure out a clear conclusion to the move once the lead kite has done the return circle. The breeze was occasionally not quite as much as we needed!

We wrapped up soon after 3:00pm as the breeze finally faded. It was a great day with special thanks to Fusion, The Flying Squad and all the other fliers who turned up and took part.

A special mention for the birthday people <grins>


25/11/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 25 November 2012 129 views

Complete contrast today to last Sunday with c20mph winds gusting upwards so Xtra Vented kites with 4 wrap frames. Still got to ache after a couple of hours flying though, but maybe it was the wind chill as well.

The distraction this weekend was a SLK flier setting up immediately upwind of us tying a large partially inflated sled with noisy line laundry to a lamp post. The kite proceeded to ditch either side of the wind window and then self launch. We re-located 100m to be outside the potential downwind breakaway zone... Enough said!

As the snag less handles are actually drilled front-to-back my plan for new leaders is taking shape. <grins> The only downside is the loose end beyond the knot. I don't think that it would be a snag risk. Now where did I put the line I had started tying?

A Dunstable excursion next Sunday and plans are afoot for the weekend of 12/13 January 2013 at Shipley Country Park near Nottingham.


18/11/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 18 November 2012 78 views

The predicted ridge of high pressure arrived so it was a sunny day again with very light breezes sometimes dropping away altogether.

We flew the Zens and remarked again how effectively they can glide away to make up ground. Some spontaneous parallel flying brought applause from passers by.

A police operation involving coach loads of 'football fans' was a distraction today. A dozen or so coaches pulled up in groups and then were escorted away.

I did not get around to tying knots during the week but I'm beginning to think that very short adjustments are the way to go if not a sliding scale. However, we know that some of those using the sliding system in the past have often not been sensitive enough to calibrate correctly so it is obviously not a solution for inexperienced fliers.

The wear point of the looped line on the 'snag-less' handles poses a small problem. I wonder if a 'front to back' drilled hole rather than a 'side to side' one might be better with the line terminating in a 'figure 8' knot? Hmmm!!! That might just be another part solution to fine tuning line length adjustment <grins>


11/11/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 11 November 2012 67 views

A sunny Sunday with a steady winter wind from the west, about 4mph would be my guess, slightly less than forecast. Cloudless except for the high level line approaching from the west...

1.5s with race worked fine but I also put up the mid vent with those 'magic white spars'. It was also fine but required even longer armed input to keep up with the full sails, as would be expected.

I spotted a fraying top leader at the handle tying point on my current set of lines. It's as well to keep an eye on these as failure can be a bit serious especially as it will inevitably happen in higher winds. I think that I will have to set about making some new sets of leaders with the sleeved kevlar that we have in the bag. <grins> I have had it mind to make smaller steps but have not got around to it! Better to do it at home rather than 'in haste' out on the field...


04/11/2012 After Yorkshire Sculpture Park event.

Posted by Felix Mottram, 04 November 2012 97 views

We arrived on Saturday to find that Vince and crew had set up the arena and were ready to fly. Thanks very much to you all for having looked after the arrangements.

Conditions at the site were not entirely favourable and occasionally on Saturday we had to test the random motion project, essentially to good effect. We did, however, also develop a simple and effective follow-up to the 'windmill'. Thanks to Jacob for having 'interlaced' the fliers at the outset and then calling the move.

Saturday night found 'heated' discussions regarding the relative merits of getting large numbers (c100) of fliers together in the air verses smaller groups (c16/c36/c64) of very experienced fliers together to develop more complex routines. This will run and run but I am happy to go for both! <grins>

Sunday was a 'no wind' day apart from a short period where there was a whisper. This happened to coincide with the moment that the people from YSP who had helped in setting up the 'hosting' of our meeting arrived to say hello! Apart from that moment it was mostly down to individual flying.

There was also the opportunity to check out the sculpture park and specifically see the Miró exhibition which was a real treat.


28/10/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 28 October 2012 161 views

High grey cloud cover today but the rain mostly held off. Full 1.5 sails with race rods worked in the mostly consistent SW breeze.

We were only four but looked at the possibility of the leaders benefit/Felix in a circular format and it looks like the 'get-out' that I imagined will actually work. The other kites separate/fly out and the leader flies back around the circle channel defined by the other kites.

The double version was interesting with four and we found that we could hit the vertical and horizontal transition points to good effect. Interesting speed control here. This speed control was also reflected in some excellent free flying in close proximity today. I suspect that there is a whole new level of complexity in team routines just around the corner. <grins> I'm thinking that the individual fliers in the team will be flying unique patterns but combining with the other fliers to 'make' the routine.

Exciting times!

Maybe we can develop this theme next weekend at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park meeting...?


21/10/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 21 October 2012 110 views

A quiet day on Blackheath under low grey clouds with the trees turning colour around the heath.

A steady NE breeze with occasional light drops of rain. Standard 1.5 with race or 3 wrap worked fine. Amongst other things face to face 180s was good to rehearse as it is a move that requires confidence as much as anything else. 'Just do it' in the vernacular...

We're almost all set up for the event at Yorkshire Sculpture Park the first weekend in November. Anyone looking for overnight accommodation at the Campanile should mention the event to get the discount rate.

The thought of the 'Mercedes Brenda' is somewhat exciting <grins>

  Kaleidoscopic even!


14/10/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 14 October 2012 78 views

It turned out that it was better for me to do Saturday at Frieze so I was able to get to Blackheath today after all.

Another light wind day flying directly into the sun. It didn't prevent us from doing lots of close free flying with the CRs and Zens.

We occasionally lapsed into formal team flying as and when the breeze was more consistent.

Once the afternoon cumulus started to form it became clear how cool the air really was.

There were a few extra kites on the heath today but I am not sure that they were there in respect of OSOW.


07/10/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 07 October 2012 88 views  

In contrast to last Sunday, today was at the other end of the spectrum in terms of wind speed with periods of absolute calm.

So it was Zens and CR sails. I was flying the CR with 3 wrap most of the time but finally changed to Race Rods which allowed the kite to float on the rising air when the directional flow died away. Sometimes a little extra weight allows for the sail to be thrown around but somehow it did not feel like that today.

It was T-shirt temperatures and as is often the case at this time of year all our kit became covered in spider's silk. We could occasionally see the silk attached to the flying lines as we flew, for most of the time, directly into the sun.

Next weekend I will be working at Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park so will miss out on Kite Flying. Occasionally the 'day-job' gets in the way! <grins>


EDIT Happily one of my colleagues offered to switch days so I will be able to fly on Sunday...  

30/09/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 30 September 2012 93 views  

The Canada Geese have certainly made an impact on our pitch at Blackheath this year. No sight of them in the air today, they were down by the pond, but the evidence was underfoot...

The forecast today was for 15mph plus and although it was not quite that at 10:45am we set up Xtra Vents with green race and enjoyed a relaxed fly as the variable breezes strengthened up to and, in the gusts, well above 15mph.

Long arm technique and treacle flying were very much in evidence. No gripping muscle fatigue either when moving on the ground to keep the occasionally underpowered sail on course. As long as a 'leading edge up' hover is 'just' possible the configuration is the correct one. <grins>

Great to see the plans for WSIKF 2013 100 flier Rev Event beginning to shape up. I hope that we can get a good showing for the YSP event 1st weekend in November. We only need 16 fliers...


23/09/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 23 September 2012 86 views  

The rain started just before leaving Hackney and was steady during the c15 minute drive to Blackheath. Didn't expect much flying today given the weather forecasts leading up to the weekend.

Out on the field the Canada Geese had made their presence felt after a couple of years when they did not impact the site. I wonder what changed?

Some good free flying with standard 1.5s with three wrap/green race and extra brake in the steady easterly breeze. Some treacle flying was in evidence which I always commend as were transitional moves from free flying to called manoeuvres.

Leaving the site, once the lack of gloves and chill/damp factor set in, a dozen or so Canada Geese flew past, very low down, in formation, landing over the road to the north of the pond. Earlier we had seen curiously 'repeated' performances by a flock of starlings grouping and splitting to the west, the graphical emphasis changing from dark to 'grey' as the birds changed direction.


16/09/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 16 September 2012 41 views  

The Olympic restrictions are over so it was off to Blackheath in the car with the full kit today; not that we used it all of course, just the opportunity to get spars and kites in the right places in the bags!

Full sails 1.5 with 3wrap/green race worked today with the occasional gusts highlighting the need for a little bit more sail tension on the vertical spars. The difference this makes is just so dramatic. <grins>

Free flying today was good with only the occasional touch. At some point it will be great to put together a routine based around some of the spontaneous 'figures' that we have seen. Memorising such a routine will, of course, not be trivial.

I need to source images of the team for a forthcoming publication so if anyone has images of the team that they would be willing to give us permission to use I would appreciate being sent the location of the images by PM to pass on to the publisher. Obviously the eventual choice of images will rest with the publisher.



09/09/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 09 September 2012 41 views  

Next week everything will be back to normal after the Olympics. <grins>

For today it was a very low key fly; everyone is away! However, Maggie was there and did take some time out to show a young lad how to fly a Revolution. Impressive result; they took photos as well on his 'phone', so mum who works in Blackheath village on Sundays will see the evidence.

My thoughts go back to the extraordinary success of the Monday morning Super 16 fly at Portsmouth. I wonder if it would be possible to put something together over the winter to build on this?

All those animations that John set up (thanks John) suddenly appear to be completely within our grasp and some much more complex stuff is just there for the taking.


02/09/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 02 September 2012 81 views  

After the excitement of the super-16 windmill counter rotations and the arms of the windmill rotating last Monday it was back to the more relaxed, positively lazy flying on Blackheath today.

However, under mostly complete low grey cloud coverage we did look at some configuration issues in respect of the Rev1 and the CR version. We know that reducing the billow in the 1.5 sails by tightening the bungees 'just so' (thanks to Lee Sedgwick many years ago) freshens up the response of the sail. I have always been reluctant to make changes that may alter performance to the extent that there might be incompatibility with other fliers in a mega team environment but with the Rev1s this would not generally be an issue.

Maggie, having recently tied a CR bridle took the initiative and shortened the centre attachment link on her Rev1. This appeared to reduce the billow in the sail to a similar extent as tightening the bungees. It seems that this also reduced the tendency for the kite to 'over steer' to a significant extent. We were flying 1.5B kites with race and CRs with 4 wrap centre and 3 wrap the rest as a benchmark. Maggie's modified Rev1 felt much more comfortable than Martin's unmodified Rev1 flown side to side given that both were being flown in higher wind speed than would be usual, for us, for these kites.

Potentially, a bit of a result as the bigger kites have more visual impact. Extending the comfortable wind range would be good.


27/08/2012 After Portsmouth

Posted by Felix Mottram, 27 August 2012 232 views  

Conditions on Saturday were much better than forecast so while there was rain at the beginning and the end of the day the winds did not get too high.

Vented kites with 4 wrap were good for much of the day but we switched to 3 wrap later. The kites were packed wet at the end of the day but quickly dried on Sunday morning when we stayed with the same configuration but in sunny conditions for most of the day.

Sunday's arena mega-fly was particularly successful with Jacob calling a 25 person team to a tune that the Decs often fly to.

Monday morning's super-16 grid fly with Air-4-ce, Fusion and The Decs was possibly the highlight of the weekend. The counter rotating windmill was mind boggling. Thanks to Jade for having suggested it. That was after the 4 arms of the windmill had done linear 180s and back to starting position! Thanks very much to everyone who participated.


19/08/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 19 August 2012 52 views  

The train from Lewisham to Blackheath was not due for another 25 minutes so we walked up the hill to the heath from Lewisham accompanied by unexpected light rainfall from high clouds.

Arriving on the heath we found from other fliers that what had been a good breeze for standard 1.5 sails (race rods) had faded some time before we arrived. A mix of CR1s and Zens were put up under the increasingly unusual cloud formations. It was not long before it was evident that the next approaching cloud would be thundery and this duly proved to be the case with some elaborate forked lightning across the Greenwich Park skyline. By the time we saw this, we were, of course, safely off the flying field and watching from a local hostelry.

The sky cleared and we set up the CR1s and Zens again but there was mostly very little air movement. It was a surprise, when for a short time, there was sufficient air to start a routine. Inevitably it did not get finished but it felt good to have started...

The weather forecast for Portsmouth looks very normal, unlike this weekend!


12/08/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 12 August 2012 88 views  

The journeys to and from Blackheath were the same as last weekend apart from slight details. (277 not D6 on the return leg)

The weather on the heath was much more settled today with no thundery shower concerns.

1.5 vented with race to start but soon full sail race. Later almost back to vented.

A clear 90 degree shift from East to South took place and we saw the A2 Shooters Hill Olympic bridge in use as spectators arrived for the Modern Pentathlon (I think).

Thoughts turning to Portsmouth where a Rev Field with PA has been confirmed by the organisers. With 11am, 1pm & 2pm Rev slots for the main arena it looks like we should have plenty of time in the afternoon to take advantage of the Rev Field facilities.


05/08/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 05 August 2012 50 views  

Bus, Docklands Light Railway and Train delivered us to Blackheath today but it was raining as we arrived c11:00am and it proceeded to get heavier with peals of thunder over the following hour.

Soon after 1:00pm there was a gap in the clouds and in slightly steamy conditions we broke out a mix of Rev1, Zen and Robertshaw sails and assorted spar sets.

Another storm appeared to be drifting in from the SW some 45 minutes later so we packed up and headed for home only to see the dark clouds dissipate as we walked towards Royal Hill. Olympic traffic meant a diversion for us from Greenwich to Deptford Bridge to get the DLR back to north of the river.

Not much flying today, seven hours door to door...


29/07/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 29 July 2012 37 views  

By way of the D6 (bus), the DLR (docklands light railway) and a 20 minute walk up Royal Hill and Hyde Vale we did get to our usual site. It is currently protected by some military hardware as well as police with automatic devices. A bit surreal really given how quiet the roads were in East London on the way over and how little traffic was passing on the A2 up on Blackheath.

Vented kite with race rods was the choice on arrival at c11:00am. It soon became apparent that there were some heavy showers drifting in from the south west. The first one drifted to the north. The next one looked like it would pass to the south but we did get caught as we ran through a routine. When lightning was seen in the rapidly approaching third shower we quickly wrapped up and retreated to a local hostelry. Heavy rain and further lightning confirmed that this was a good move.

An expanded bright spell gave us the opportunity to fly the kites again for long enough to dry them and the lines. A timely wrap saw us on Blackheath railway station before the rain from the next, even bigger shower, hit. The DLR and a different bus route took a bit longer getting home to a sunny Hackney.


22/07/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 22 July 2012 74 views  

It was a perfect summers day on Blackheath.

The wind was light but variable swinging through 90 degrees.

It was just right for putting up the JMH Roc.

Good for the Robertshaw kites as well.


15/07/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 15 July 2012 39 views  

A bright start today but the clouds gradually thickened.

Full 1.5 sails with race rods were fine with the changing NW to SW breeze.

Drachen Foundation will be putting out a message soon regarding JMH.

So sad.


08/07/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 08 July 2012 24 views  

I set off for Blackheath this morning in a deluge and did not expect to get much flying today.

On arrival the rain was settled but there did appear to be some brightness to the north and west. Half an hour later wandering across to look at the temporary 'footbridge' at the entrance to the now closed Greenwich Park the rain eased. A quick fly seemed in order; standard 1.5 sails with race rods and full brake worked today.

It wasn't long before the rain started again and it became evident that the showers were potentially thundery. I am particularly risk averse in these circumstances and even though the sun shone again as we left Blackheath the bubbling cumulus formations were a clear warning.

There was some activity on http://www.isleofwig..._storm_data.htm but at the time of writing things seem to have calmed down somewhat.


01/07/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 01 July 2012 141 views  

"Race for Life" dominated Blackheath today with 10:30 and 14:30 events. The very limited parking usually available was obviously off limits so we resorted to pay and display in Greenwich Park given that parking restrictions are already in place around Victoria Park near the Olympic site, our usual fall-back site if Blackheath is not available.

It is obvious that during the Olympics we will have to find a different venue for our weekly fly. The TFL site is suggesting that a 15 minute journey, from Hackney to Blackheath currently, would be 50 minutes during the Olympic events. Maybe we should go to Dunstable instead?

Anyway, having braved the pink line we set up on the cricket field opposite Greenwich Park entrance with JB 1.5 vented (race and 4 wrap) and watched the light showers speeding through with the swifts, apparently indifferent to the kites, occasionally distracting attention while flying in the same airspace.

The runners/joggers/walkers occasionally drifted towards our flying area as their line meandered from the designated route and the wind switched direction as the showers approached and receded.


24/06/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 24 June 2012 41 views  

The temporary footbridge over Shooters Hill Road (the A2) now spans onto the north edge of our usual field.

After heavy overnight rain conditions were blustery on the heath this morning. The 1.5 Xtra vents proved to be just right for some informal flying.

I set up the CR Rev1 again this week with additional brake settings and was very interested to find how viable it was in the relatively extreme conditions. Not something to set a novice loose on but an interesting pointer to situations where we might want to present larger sails. Totally not viable for the 'fast forward' style of flying, of course!


17/06/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 17 June 2012 63 views  

We are wondering how much the Olympic events will impact on our usual routine. The Blackheath site is covered in tents and has expanded to the south side of the A2.

Today was vented 1.5s with race rods for most of us. I set up the CR Rev1 as well with four wrap and it did not feel over powered but I do want to extend the brake options for this sail. The wind speed was sufficient to fully engage the top line to LE attachment point line with the resulting LE curve. I'm wondering if the bridle experts in the USA have tried Carls's set-up yet.

We rolled the four kite ball and it was evident that skill levels are moving forward as with 'free' flying where spacial awareness seems to get better every week.


10/06/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 10 June 2012 52 views  

Gentle breezes from the South East on Blackheath today. The light rain forecast held off until later in the afternoon but while we were on the site the cloudscape looked increasingly inclement.

I flew the Carl Robertshaw Rev1 with 4 wrap centre and 3 wrap the rest switching to the JB 1.5 with Green Race rods when the CR was 'borrowed' by other fliers.

We learned during the week that the event at Margate will not go ahead in 2012. Our schedule is somewhat reduced as a result of this and the demise of Sunderland and the pause at Bristol. We may have to explore different possibilities next year...


03/06/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 03 June 2012 58 views  

The holiday weekend in the UK, steady light drizzle with a cold (12C/54F) NE 9mph breeze.

With a wet 1.5 kite with green race this is just fine for a while. And then, solo flying today, I become aware that the foam on one of my handles is rotating on the handle. This would have been bad news at a team event but a simple fix would be available using 'brown parcel tape'. I will now have to figure out a more elegant solution and decide which adhesive would be best and how to apply it!

The Canary Wharf towers had their heads in the clouds as I travelled back to Hackney. The new cable car Thames crossing was hardly visible in the murky atmosphere.


27/05/2012 After Exmouth

Posted by Felix Mottram, 27 May 2012 48 views  

We had to re-arrange plans for this event rather late in the day but everything came together finally and we had two very different days in terms of flying conditions on this very scenic site.

Saturday was clear blue skies with a strong blustery easterly breeze. Initially we used the JMH vented sails with four wrap spars but then switched to race rods. Later in the day we ventured out onto the estuary sands for some 'relaxed' flying. Geoff Strangeway had joined the five regular team fliers after the first performance at 10:15am.

On Sunday winds were light and switched direction during the course of the day. We flew the JMH Rev1 kites and once again Geoff flew in with the team and, given that he had little experience with the Rev1, did a great job.

We very much hope to be able to attend this event next year! <grins>


20/05/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 20 May 2012 33 views  

A dull grey day with an unseasonal chilly north easterly breeze but finally the weather forecasts are mentioning warmer prospects.

The tents in the fenced Olympic encampment on Blackheath are nearing completion.

Mid vented with shiny white spars today felt smooth in the forecast c8-11 mph breeze. I'll try a definitive comparison of all the Race Rods, sometime/never, but...

Exmouth next weekend is a new event for some of the team, me included. I get the Friday evening train ride to catch up with the rest of the team soon after 10:00pm Friday evening, all being well.


13/05/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 13 May 2012 47 views  

Back to the home site today after four weekends away. The Olympic preparations are well under way here on Blackheath but no sign of those 'pointy' things today.

A typical early summer breeze accompanied by swifts today. Standard 1.5 sails with race rods were only slightly stressed as the thermal gusts blew through. There were a few moments when the breeze dropped away completely before or after 90 degree, or more, shifts in direction.

We did not quite match those moments to getting the team kites out to dry any remaining moisture and de-sand them after a month of beach flying. We identified a few sails that need some TLC and made sure that the various rod sets were returned to the correct sails.


07/05/2012 After Cervia and Weymouth

Posted by Felix Mottram, 07 May 2012 61 views  

I left the laptop at home for both events...

Cervia was great in the special way of that event. I certainly hope that we will be able to get back next year. The c160ft circular arena with a hard barrier perimeter was interesting and occasionally challenging.

Weymouth was very good as well, not least because of onshore breezes on Saturday and some of Sunday. On Monday we had the usual prevailing winds over Nothe Gardens and the town but the rain on Monday morning cleared by 11am followed by a great skyscape towards Ringstead and White Nothe with the relief clouds forming over Portland and extending across the bay.


17/04/2012 After Berck

Posted by Felix Mottram, 17 April 2012 54 views  

The team flew Thursday 12th and Friday 13th April prior to my arrival on Friday evening. They had been flying the Rev1s but on Saturday morning it was evident that conditions had changed and Rev1.5s in various configurations were used through the rest of the weekend and on Monday when the four remaining fliers were on Xtra-Vents for most of the day concluding with a final arena spot before the close of the event at 4:00pm. (Just as well we took delivery of some more of the Xtra-Vents kites a few weeks ago; thanks Lolly and Bazzer)

Thanks especially due to Gérard Clément for another great Berck-Plage event.

Next up is Cervia and we are set to travel on Friday 20th April returning on Monday 30th April. I think that I might leave the laptop at home and make a real holiday of it! <grins>


08/04/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 08 April 2012 45 views  

Another late start but there is no point in making kite flying a chore.

A light wind day with lowering dark grey clouds and occasional drizzle lifted by lighter spells and the greening of the trees in Greenwich Park.

I'm still puzzling over the white spars. They certainly seem to work for me in terms of flex and weight in the standard 1.5 sail.

Later today I pulled a spar from a bag with a view to marking it ahead of Berck. When rolled across a flat surface it was obviously curved. With a bamboo spar in a fighter kite the ability to fine tune the curve of spars is a great advantage. I wonder with the Revolution spars if it actually matters...?

It looked a bit grey on the Agora camera this evening but I am sure that everyone over there will be having a great time. I'm certainly looking forward to next weekend and the first event of our year...


01/04/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 01 April 2012 63 views  

A late start, something after 11:00am on the heath, no clock change excuse and the fuel gauge light came on as we came out of the Blackwell Tunnel. Note to self, must fill up before setting off for Berck...

And..., then there was very little wind. Zens occasionally grouped for figures but otherwise taking up a lot of space in 360s. A family group stopped 'downwind' and some of the kids followed my kite. Afterwards I explained that I did not really approve of such activity. There is a significant risk involved which may not be immediately apparent to the flier or those engaging with the kite even in light wind conditions. We do not want that accident to happen!

Mostly northerly breeze so flying into the sun reminded me that sometime I must get some prescription shades. It helps to be able to see.

Greenwich S*******s did have petrol and only a short queue so I am all set for the Easter weekend and departing for Berck on the 13th April for the first weekend of our initial 2012 four week tour to Berck, Cervia and Weymouth.


25/03/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 25 March 2012 29 views  

Clock change weekend so late on the field. 11:00am not 10:00am!

First green hints in Greenwich Park beyond the fenced Olympic preparation area where temporary buildings are going up.

Checked out new Xtra Vent sails today although wind speeds were more in line with standard 1.5 sails with Race Rods. The new sails with red or purple flashes look neat alongside the production grey fades. Thanks Lolly and Bazzer for delivering these in time for Berck.

Tried some 'in linear' odd/even opposing 180 and 90 degree turns in vertical, diagonal and horizontal line-up which looked cool especially when the fliers hit the same turning interval.

Otherwise some more increasingly elaborate close form free flying and a successful attempt to plait four flier's lines which obviously resulted in kites on the ground and little further flying control. I had to direct the fliers to 'unwrap' themselves physically 'step by step' from the knot that they had woven.

It is only 3 weeks to Berck which will be the first occasion for the 'whole' team to fly together this year. As the rest of the team will have two days on site in Berck ahead of my arrival I am hoping that they will have plenty of new material to develop over the weekend and for the following Cervia week.

Flew the standard 1.5 sail with the new white Race rods today. All felt very good but I'm not sure that I could finger precise differentiation just yet. The kite did pass the the top of the window on a couple of occasions but that may have been down to rising air rather than revolutionary rods.


18/03/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 18 March 2012 48 views  

The Canada Geese flew across a couple of times c10:00am today as a reminder of their previous presence on our regular pitch.

Just across the A2 the Olympic fence has now been firmly established.

Casual flying only today switching from green race mid vent to standard race full sail. The white race rods in Maggie's mid vent felt very light and responsive. Removing momentum from the flying equation will demand further specific input from the flier so it will be interesting to see how the very light sail/spar combo develops.


11/03/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 11 March 2012 32 views  

The forecast weather duly arrived and so we were able to fly white kites in respect of the event in Japan on the 11th March last year. During my last long visit to Japan we travelled to Sendai in NE Japan and on to Matsushima and saw the islands that are the inspiration for the placed stones in the raked gravel gardens.,+Miyagi+Prefecture,+Japan&hl=en&ll=38.365988,141.070998&spn=0.011222,0.015535&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=17.361197,31.816406&oq=sendai&hnear=Sendai,+Miyagi+Prefecture,+Japan&t=h&z=16

(NB copy the whole of the above URL to your browser)

Today on Blackheath was a two kite day. The 1.5s with Race Frames (white for Maggie) alternated with the Zens. Happily we all had two line sets so switching was not a chore.

The early cloud cover eventually burned off and fortunately the generally northerly breeze switched direction (c180 degrees) often enough so that we were not always flying directly into the sun.

Berck is just five weeks away <grins>


04/03/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 04 March 2012 34 views  

The weather did not look promising this morning, it was raining lightly and the forecast was for more rain.

On the way to Blackheath I saw two cyclists doing the Blackwall tunnel. Crazy people!

I was not quite sure which 1.5 kite would be best today but the bag that came to hand was the mid vent and with green race rods it worked very well. As the team do not all have mid vents it is not a kite that I fly very often. There were only a couple of moments when the gusts stressed the frame to any extent. The rest of the time it was just the right kite to be flying.

After a couple of bright interludes when the sun almost broke through the clouds the southern horizon turned very dark and the rainfall increased. Later, after much more rain, the southerly breeze switched to a stronger north westerly but that was seen from home.

I wonder how things have progressed in Gandia today?


26/02/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 26 February 2012 28 views  

Not many isobars on the map and the projected 4mph did not materialise in a consistent direction for more than a few minutes during the time we were on Blackheath today.

Mostly it was a shifting 1mph perceptible only as a directional cooling effect in the warming sunshine.

It was occasionally possible to get the Zen/CR1 to the top of the window and hang on the rising air but the cumulus effect only became fully evident later in the day.

I am looking forward to hearing reports from Spain next weekend. Sorry not to be there in person...


19/02/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 19 February 2012 64 views  

The 'half term fair' was still in place today but the prospects on Blackheath were altogether brighter than last weekend with sunshine and a variable NW breeze.

Full vented 1.5s with 4 wrap were occasionally struggling in lighter moments but Race Rods felt over stressed in the gusts.

Six up today so it was entertaining to visit the 'sprockets' once again. This move demands a special level of concentration as even an experienced caller may get the sequence wrong at the critical moment. Properly colour co-ordinated kites make all the difference in providing visual clues. <grins> We did not have that luxury today but survived...


12/02/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 12 February 2012 9 views  

The remains of last weekend's snow was still lying on the heath this morning but our usual pitch was occupied by a 'half term' fair, generator trucks, bouncy castles 4WDs barking dogs and all... Not a pretty sight!

The forecast 6-7mph NW breeze was not in evidence so we made do with the 1-2mph SW one that was in place most of the time. The dull grey low cloud cover occasionally showed shifts of colour and slight precipitation. Rain, not sleet or snow.

It's great to have the Zens/CR1s in the bags so it was another lazy fly until a missing layer meant that core temperature could not counteract my chilling feet.

Plans for Berck, Cervia and Weymouth are basically finalised. I am very pleased at the prospect of 9 days in Cervia. My time in Berck has, however, been further curtailed to just 3 days...


05/02/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 05 February 2012 6 views  

I had go out and check the local road conditions before deciding that it would be OK to set out to Blackheath today. In the event traffic was lighter than usual. Only five inches of snow...

Blackheath presented a bright white field under a gloomy sky. The breeze was slight but remained steady between 10:30 and 12:30.

The Zens were the kite of choice today along with the Robertshaw with a race frame. Powering the kites to the ground provided a curious bass thump with a higher pitched sail rattle.


29/01/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 29 January 2012 13 views  

The construction next to the Olympic stadium was shrouded in the low lying cloud as we drove towards Blackheath this morning as were the towers at Canary Wharf.

On the Heath wet grass meant bound lines after the initial winding out. Always a puzzle, that one, especially to 'beginners'! <grins> It's not so funny when it happens in the middle of complex team wraps...

A lazy Zen day, in the best sense, as in flying the Zen kites following or 'ad hoc' without the need for rehearsal. Rolling the four kite ball was always going to be a challenge in very light conditions but we seem to be learning how to slide the kites as required.

The Team Agenda is 'falling into place' for the year. We hope to confirm most of the events that we will be attending in the next week or so. Just need to make sure that we have spare line sets and we will be ready to go...


22/01/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 22 January 2012 4 views  

Watching the weather forecasts during the week it appeared likely that mega vented sails would be needed today. As often is the case on a windy day the median may have been about 15 mph but the gusts were probably much in excess of 30 mph.

So having set up the standard vented with 4 wrap initially it was not much of a surprise to find that really the mega vented sail was the more comfortable option even if the standard vented was still flyable.

We ended up flying a four person team with two regular vented, one mega vented and a vented Rev 2. An amusing mix and I think that I was able to keep the Rev 2 appropriately slow <grins>

The rolling ball and 2 to 4 LE rotations featured today along with the burst Felix/Leaders Benefit move.

I'm sad not to be personally able to attend the Gandia event but hopeful that there will be a UK presence.


15/01/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 15 January 2012 22 views  

A bright sunny morning looked like an opportunity to get some time on the Zens but soon after setting up c10:45am the breeze picked up and we switched to the standard 1.5s. It was not long before these were feeling overpowered and so we were back on the full vented 1.5s with Race rods.

Following on from last weekend we tried the parallel figure eights with wing tip turns and a stop on the diagonal with five kites diced. That is definitely a move for a confident grid one day. Finding the form of words to explain the move on the fly is a bit of an issue... Linear arcs switching from 2 and 3 to 3 and 2 was a bit of a challenge descriptively.

Somewhere along the line today we flew some 360 degree pendulums in fairly tight order which is, in my view, a good indication of flier co-ordination.


08/01/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 08 January 2012 10 views  

Another grey day but lighter breezes meant standard 1.5 sails with Race rods for the first time in a long time.

Four fliers settled into some neat 'free form' flying with some good slow and close flying. Somehow linear flying as in 'follow the leader' seems so 'yesterday' after 'free form' but we did fall-in for some 'V' infinities and then some parallel switched 'two to four' infinities before trying some parallel figure eights. I have in mind the possibility of interlacing all of these moves with another four kites in opposition so it is as well to get familiar with the basic moves, simple as they may seem in isolation. Remember the 'Sprockets'!

The team agenda for 2012 is shaping up quite quickly which is great. However it looks as though access to Blackheath may be somewhat restricted during the Olympic period so we may have to find an alternative site for the duration.


01/01/2012 Blackheath

Posted by Felix Mottram, 01 January 2012 12 views  

A Happy New Year to everyone!

A gentle start to the new year. 4 fliers, nothing called, warmed by mulled wine for some. (thanks Martin!)

Full vented with race rods once again fitted the bill. Only occasionally the frames felt stressed or there was a need to move on the ground.

The cloudscape was particularly dramatic as it can be occasionally on the heath but eventually the rain started with the look of settling in for the rest of the afternoon. 2 1/2 hours later it is still raining steadily...


December 2023
Felix Mottram