Kite Blog

28/12/2014 Blackheath

Almost completely clear blue sky with a steady NNE breeze. About 5C so extra layers helped.

1.5 vented with green race were just right.

Four fliers today and we did a quick run through Plan A as well as some brisk called flying at the end of the session as a 'warm-up'.

We may manage a New Years Day fly as well as the usual Sunday fly next week.


26/12/2014 Blackheath

Thick high cloud was not quite completely obscuring the sun. The SW breeze was minimal so full 1.5 sail and diamond rods today.

It was 'fingertip flying' with the handles most definitely horizontal for the long 'pull backs'.

Wet underfoot with a lot of worm casts. Not too much evidence of the geese on the ground but four of them headed towards us in the air before veering off to the east.


21/12/2014 Blackheath

It was gusting over 30mph today from the west, mostly cloudy but dry with some brighter spells.

Xtra vents with green race worked well with the occasional lulls and gusts.

Only two fliers today so nothing called and we did not last very long as the wind chill got through.

The Blackwall Tunnel was backed up to Sun in the Sands roundabout so I took the long route home today. Must be Christmas shopping at Stratford generating extra traffic!


14/12/2014 Blackheath

It was bright today with a brisk southerly breeze. Mostly sunny but with little warming effect.

Full vented 1.5s again with green race were beginning to feel a bit over powered by the end of the session which may be because of flier fatigue, cold getting through or an actual slight increase in the wind speed.

Free flying to start and then a long series of called moves for the benefit, in part, of an enthusiastic photographer. Also the white van driver who made a point of stopping and coming out onto the heath before going 'round the block' to resume his journey... It takes all sorts!


07/12/2014 Blackheath

There were light showers on the road to Blackheath this morning. The promise was clearing skies with sunshine in the afternoon!

A brisk NW breeze so 1.5 full vented with mostly green race today. Five up and initially mostly free flying but Ashley did call some moves only to find the breeze collapsing on one occasion.

The low thinning cloud cover was deceptive and we were subjected to a sharp squall and wind shift to WNW before the sky cleared to cloudless blue. The sun was sufficient to dry the lines before we wrapped after running through some more called sequences as a warming exercise after the rain.


30/11/2014 Blackheath

The fog was breaking up in the light NW breeze as we headed to the Blackwall Tunnel this morning making for dramatic scenes with shafts of sunlight.

Conditions on the heath were very wet underfoot but not too much in the way of worm casts etc. The dramatic lighting continued and of course we were facing the sun when it did break through... the compensation was that it was actually warming!

Full 1.5 sails with Diamond rods were just right for a lazy no call session with only a couple of occasions when the breeze fell away.

I should get to know how plans for 2015 kite events fit with my day job in the next couple of weeks and will be making every effort to get the agenda for the year sorted soon thereafter.



Today the rain did not let up at all so that is twice in a month now that we have been rained off. Must be a symptom of something!

I am not travelling to Miami next weekend as I did last year...


19/11/2014 Blackheath

It was a late start for me but on the 'heath' soon after 11:00am under a lifting layer of low clouds revealing a high layer not quite completely obscuring the sun.

Another light but steady breeze, this time from the east and again at about 4mph so it was the same configuration as last weekend, 1.5 sails with Diamond rods. We did make a bit more effort today in formal moves for the 'photographers'.

Some 'involved' free flying as well and I could see some figures that should be 'learned' in the way that watching a You-Tube performance at Berck I saw moves that I do not remember flying even though I am on the line! It must be an age thing... <grins>


09/11/2014 Blackheath

Soon after 10:30am there was a bank of high cloud only partly obscuring the sun. The clear blue sky to the west approached slowly.

The c4mph breeze from the SW was surprisingly consistent even after the sun arrived so we made good lazy use of the 1.5 sails with Diamond rods (apart from a quick run through PlanB that is!)

The site was very clean today. In previous years the Nov 5th< fireworks display has left the 'heath' littered with partially burnt cardboard components...



We have had a long run without a very wet 'flying day' but today was it! The early forecast this morning suggested that the rain would clear soon after 11am but it was late starting c10:30 and was still steady at midday. No flying today...

Other priorities for the afternoon including a quick 'spin' through Victoria Park and around the post Olympic site which was mostly deserted. The field to the west of the velodrome has been mown since we were last there...


26/10/2014 Blackheath

A slightly lighter SW breeze than last week but it was still 1.5 full vented with green race today.

Free flying felt more comfortable with the more optimal configuration/windspeed.

The cloud cover only broke slightly on a couple of occasions before we left the site at about 1:00pm. The approach to Blackwall Tunnel was backed up to the 'Sun in the Sands' roundabout so we diverted to the Rotherhithe route to get home...


19/10/2014 Blackheath

Blustery 13-20+ mph from the SW so 1.5 full vented with green race worked with the occasional lulls today.

Six up so mostly called sequences with the odd sprocket thrown in to keep us on our toes.

The Blackheath walkers and cyclists were an appreciative audience on a number of occasions today as and when we 'stopped' for a break!

Plans for 2015 Berck, Cervia and, if it occurs, Weymouth were discussed. We hope to be at all of these events but there are logistical considerations given the overlapping dates.


05/10/2104 Blackheath

As luck would have it, it was another glorious sunny day on Blackheath today, the only downside being that there was, for most of the time, almost no discernable breeze.

So, more time on the diamond rods in the larger sails and with longer lines for me today. The Zen, Rev 1 and also the CR sail had air time today. The changing, from all directions, no wind environment meant that it was not possible to evaluate differences between the sail and bridle sets. Keeping the kite in the air was the only issue. How easy is that?

One day, in the dark depths of winter, no doubt, we will get a steady 2mph breeze and be able to sensibly compare and contrast the kite characteristics and decide which configuration is 'easier' and 'most flexible'... <grins>


28/09/2014 Blackheath

I had been watching the forecast all week as it had been indicating light SE breezes around the 4-6mph mark. That is what we got, mostly about 4mph from the East, so it was 1.5s with diamond rods. Four fliers today and lots of 'not called' close flying with only the occasional hesitation or touch...

It was also the chance to try the diamond rods in the larger sails again, the Rev 1 and the Zen, on 150ft lines and the longer handles.

I'm sure the longer lines would work in our favour with the full size sails and larger team format of eight fliers. We might have to look at the precise bridle configurations along the way. <grins>


21/09/2014 Blackheath

Back on our usual pitch today and a 'bright' NE airflow so 1.5 full vented with green race frames.

Most of the kites (NB Xtra Vent Grey?) were back from Dieppe so were relocated in the main team bags. A lost pair of Rev Handles also came back from Dieppe. We'll keep them safe for the 'lucky' owner!

Mostly 'lazy' flying today with discussion about events next year, particularly Berck, Cervia and Weymouth. They all overlap so it is a difficult call...


14/09/2014 Olympic Park, East London

No parking on Blackheath today so an alternative venue was needed. The easterly wind directions are good for the site at the north end of the Olympic Park just to the west of the Velodrome on the west bank of the river.

Plantains and other flowering plants had been left uncut in the sparse grass so launching was sometimes snagged but we mostly survived...

A reasonably steady breeze so mid vents and race rods were good today.

An early finish was required in order to get back into central Hackney ahead of Carnival road closures.


07/09/2014 Blackheath

Arrived on the heath today at 10:00am not having appreciated the likely effect of the tall ships event down at Greenwich. Our early arrival was in the hope of catching the lighter breezes not competing for the limited parking spaces.

1.5 sails with diamond rods felt great in the c2-5mph breeze which was present for most of the time, only really failing when the sun finally broke through the previously dense high grey cloud base some time after midday.

Today I set more appropriate leaders on the 150ft line sets using the extended handles and flew the JMH Rev 1 sail against the Zen sail, both with diamond rods. The different bridles did not appear to stress the rods unduly even in the occasional c6-7mph 'gusts'. The longer handles facilitate maximum braking on 'LE down' descents.

I did mostly walk a 360 with the JMH Rev 1 on these long lines today!


31/08/2014 Blackheath

We were back on home turf today after a relaxed afternoon at The Aquarius Festival in London SE22 yesterday.

Six up, we flew 1.5 sails with green race rods. Rowan was on the line today and we occasionally had a vocal and appreciative audience.

Ashley and Martin are attending the Dieppe event in France 6th-14th September in collaboration with Fusion so they prepared appropriate sails and rods today.

I put together two Rev 1 team sails with the Diamond rods and 150ft / 47.7m lines but did not get a chance to test them extensively. The wind speed was probably way beyond the ideal range anyway but in the short time flown there were no breakages. <grins>


25/08/2014 after Portsmouth

Two very good festival days and then it rained on the Monday...

1.5 JMH sails with diamond frames were good for the midday session on Saturday. By the later session full vented JMH sails with race rods worked very well.

On Sunday the breeze was much lighter at the start or the day so we had an opportunity to try the diamond rods in the Rev 1 JMH sails. These worked very well indeed but we did not get to stress test the spars on this occasion. We flew the 1.5 JMH sails with diamond frames in team and the mega-team.

While the Rev arena was not available this year we did manage to use the south side of the arenas for some 'warm-up' flying on both days and some of the team also flew in with Robert Brasington's kites on Sunday afternoon.

I left Portsmouth at about 9:30am on Monday and was soon driving in an absolute deluge. <grins>


18/08/2014 after South Shields with Fusion

Our journey back to London proved to be easier than the northbound one. 5 hours rather than 7 1/2.

Despite challenging conditions this weekend we had a very useful time flying in 8 and 9 flier format as well as preparation for the 4 flier team that will be going to Dieppe.

We are hoping that there will be opportunities for flying the larger format team, 12 or 16, next weekend at the Portsmouth/Southsea event.


10/08/2014 Blackheath

Prospects were not good for today. I headed for Blackheath at about noon in order to avoid the A12 closure for the London Bike Race. There was a last band of heavy rain on emerging from the Blackwell Tunnel which mostly cleared in the short time it took to get to the 'heath'.

Thought about full vented but quickly decided that xtra vent with four wrap was the only realistic set-up.

The sun did break through but with it came a further strengthening of the breeze. A few late swifts were flying but when the 'measured' wind was 35-37mph it seemed sensible to call it a day.

The next band of showers was approaching anyway and proved to be thundery just after I got back to Hackney!


03/08/2014 Blackheath

I had hoped to check out diamond rods in the Rev 1 sail today but the forecast earlier in the week was amended on a daily basis further away from the ideal 2-4mph!

It was a SW breeze today and partly sunny. c8-18mph was forecast and 1.5 full vented with green race felt comfortable. In over 25 years of kite flying I have never used an anemometer so it was quite amusing to try one out on Blackheath today. While confirming the basic forecast the range of inconsistency in the breeze as measured was most revealing on a moment to moment basis.

The other objective today was to run out some 150ft lines for the Rev 1 sails. As the wind speed was really too high for the Team Rev 1s we flew the CR sails with standard rods. The enlarged wind window felt really good and the relative size of the kite was 'just right' with the extra 30ft distance from the flyers perspective. We had, I recall, been flying by choice on 135ft lines some years ago... <grins>


27/07/2014 Blackheath

Thick high cloud bands over Blackheath occasionally thinned to a sunny sky with a gloomy backdrop. Variable light N-NW today so full 1.5 sails with race/green race to start but eventually we decided that diamond rods were the better option.

The plantains had raced ahead over the last week so the field was occasionally treacherous at ground level. <grins>

I'm looking forward to my summer break from work (which may involve some longer bicycle excursions) and especially our informal kite event 'up north' 16th and 17th August. That will be quickly followed by the Portsmouth kite event...


20/07/2014 Blackheath

Very grey, humid and warm leaving Hackney this morning but it was much brighter on Blackheath, sunny almost, with varied high cloud. The NW wind was stronger to begin today so we started with full vented and diamond spars.

Eventually, in running through some four person team moves we decided that we had pushed the full vented sails far enough in the lightening air flow and switched to full sails with mostly green race.

The cumulus clouds were bubbling up as we left at about 1:00pm and thunder storms were active around London later in the afternoon.


13/07/2014 Blackheath

Beef forerib with chips and béarnaise last night at Mayfields seems to have meant that neither Ashley or Rowan were up for a fly today. I can't think why. It was 'very' good food!

Mostly gentle westerly winds today so full 1.5 sails with Diamond rods or Race.

Some slow-mo moves early on but there was a gradual increase in the air flow over the two hours that we were on site.

The showers passed to the north and south of Blackheath except for one that sqeezed a few drops as we left the site. Here is an image of one that skirted to the north.


06/07/2014 Blackheath

The runners were out on Blackheath today in the form of 'Race for Life'. We had to park in Greenwich Park so a slightly longer walk to 'close by' our usual pitch.

It was a high grey cloud day after the early rain cleared to the east this morning with the sun finally breaking through as we left the site some time after 1:00pm. (A slight variation on rain before 7 fair by 11)

Mid vents with race or full 1.5 with 4 wrap today. Maggie flew the 1.5 pink/black/grey iQuad training sail in respect of the run that started when we had arrived and appeared to finish when we left.

Ashley called a couple of 'formal' routines today and Rowan appeared to be very comfortable with both the routines and the free flying in between. Last week's mystery about the Cervia staple move was well and truly resolved today...


29/06/2014 Blackheath

12,500 runners did the half marathon around Hackney last weekend. I'm not doing the Dunwich Dynamo next weekend. (EDIT 12th July) Saving it for next year <grins>

Typical sunny summer Blackheath wind today. All over the place, certainly until the abrupt transition at about 1:00pm from sunny day to gray and overcast... The breeze was generally from the NW so we were flying into the sun until the cloud cover consolidated.

Mostly mid vented 1.5 with race but Ashley flew the full vented with diamond rods, eventually handing the kite to Rowan towards the end of the session when the breeze strengthened.

We had a bit of a puzzle today trying to remember one of the staple moves from Cervia which involved one pair of the four doing a 'radar up' and the other pair 'radar down' with a direct transition to a 180 rotation.

Some things are easy on the beach when one has all the time in the world!


22/06/2014 Blackheath

Leaving Hackney this morning was slightly complicated by the Half Marathon route that encircled the borough.

It was quiet on Blackheath today as the light SE breeze meant that we were not in the flight path of planes bound for Heathrow.

Full 1.5 sails with a mix of Race and Diamond kept us entertained today with some neat and sometimes slow motion interaction.

I set up a Zen today and switched rod sets around in an attempt to figure out what to do with the larger sail given that the 1.5 Diamond configuration is so effective. I'm thinking that we really should try out longer lines for the Decs Rev1s to give us space in the sky quite apart from the speed issue. I am, however, wondering if 'arm reach' issues will mean that the smaller sail has the optimum proportions <grins>


15/06/2014 Blackheath

Arrived at about 11:00am under low cloud with occasional brightness in the NE breeze. This was not a summer's day and although it did not actually rain it looked imminent all the time.

It was mid vents with standard race rods again today.

Lots of free flying with just a few called interludes before the wind chill sent us packing. Hats and jackets in June! Whatever next? Maybe the mid summer weekend will be better...


08/06/2014 Blackheath

Martin, on site first, as is often the case, suggested that mid-vents would be the right choice this morning.; He was right, so the rest of us flew mid vents with race but, Martin, not having one, stuck with the full sail.

The predominantly southerly breeze occasionally dropped away and it was interesting to see how well the mid vents reflected the light wind characteristics of the full sail.;

It was occasional 'fluffy white clouds' today but although it felt very dark in the shade there was not a very big temperature change.; Dare I say it, but, 'another summer Sunday'!


01/06/2014 Blackheath

The light breeze was from the NW today but turning intermittently through about 90 degrees. Most of the time we were facing the sun... This was our second summer Sunday <grins>

Six up today and we flew standard 1.5 sails with Diamond Rods. Rowan was on the line today and we flew repeated Sprockets as well as the Mercedes without issue in the marginal conditions.

When the breeze failed we switched to 'free flying' and saw plenty of interesting silent interaction with only an occasional 'falling out of the sky' moment, most of which were quickly recovered.


PS The field had been mown so no snags FJM

25/05/2014 Blackheath

True to form it was a bit cool on Blackheath this morning from about 10:30am in the southerly breeze especially when the sun was obscured by the lines of cumulus.

Initially mid-vents with various frame sets worked OK but there was a gradual increase in the variable breeze and we switched to full vents, again with various frame sets.

I had started with the Diamond Rods in the mid-vent and should have tried them in the full vent as well for completeness.

That will just have to wait for next time but I did like the crisp response in the mid-vent. <grins> If the rain holds off tomorrow I will be doing a 4 hour London bicycle ride with Jacob and others. In the mean time our 'bee tree' is occupied with bees at 30cm intervals in the afternoon sunshine.


18/05/2014 Blackheath

In contrast to last Sunday today was a 'full on' summer's day on Blackheath. We arrived soon after 10:00am and I suggested that this might be the one and only summer Sunday here for 2014. <grins> The Dandylion and Plaintain heads have sprung up over the week just to add to the amusement or irritation level as the case may be.

It was a typical summer Blackheath breeze, as well, with plenty of thermal activity around the basic SE direction. Green Race in the full 1.5 sail was just about OK but there were plenty of lulls where the Diamond rods would have been better.

After many years of wearing prescription glasses I finally got around to getting photochromic lenses which arrived this week. Today was my first opportunity to 'test drive' them on the kite field so it was ironic to be flying with our backs to the sun... Still the comfort factor on a very bright morning was quite considerable. Can't think why I had not done this before!


11/05/2014 Blackheath

It was a cursory visit to Blackheath today as we had not anticipated the wind chill factor on a grey May day. Gloves and leggings would have been appropriate...

Xtra Vents with three wrap worked today but we would have to have been much more energetic to keep the cold at bay.

The swifts may have followed us back from Italy but, as is often the case, their arrival is followed by seemingly unseasonal conditions.


05/05/2014 After Weymouth

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and might have flown if the arena areas had been secured. In the turbulent southerly breeze it did not seem sensible to take any risks.

Sunday and Monday we had SE breezes which were occasionally difficult but overall it was a very successful weekend.

Sunday was the sunnier of the two days... The mini mega flies at 2:00pm on both days were executed quickly and effectively <grins>


01/05/2014 Eighth Day Cervia

We were on site at 9:00am for our final day. The breeze was from the NW so the usual turbulence slightly constrained our efforts. After 'coffee' at about 10:30am we headed to the arena and ran through a couple of track before being joined by Stephan Versteegh for a couple more.

We had booked an early lunch and watched the wind direction turn to onshore at about 12:30.

We had a quick visit to the arena after lunch and then spent some time at the north end of the site before retuning to the arena at about 4:30pm at which point our final arena 'presentation' got under way. The 12 person mini-mega team was our finale.

What a great week!


30/04/2014 Seventh Day Cervia

It was a bright start and on the beach at 9:00am there was a light onshore breeze probably 1-2 mph. After some line adjustments we flew through to about 10:30 before breaking for a coffee. <grins>

We took to the arena for a while and then took an early pre-lunch break!

Early afternoon and we were back in the arena watching the cloudscape developing.

At around 5:00pm there was a call for a mega-fly against the darkening sky. It was 12 up this time! Soon afterwards the rain started and quickly became torrential as the thunderstorm arrived.

By 7:00pm the main body of the storm had passed and there was brightening to the west but is was still raining.


29/04/2014 Sixth Day Cervia

The forecast was not promising for today and although we had a good hour flying from 9:00am the rain then set in. The wind was WNW so not very consistent. Soon after 12 the sun began to break through. We began to set up to fly with Team For Fun but it became clear that it would not be viable so 'went for lunch'.

From bagno 111 we watched the clouds burn off and the wind turn to the NE. From 2:00 to 3:00 pm we flew in the arena with a little encouragement from Lupo. A great session with some surprise tracks from the Decs 'back catalogue' thrown in for good measures...

Soon after 4:30pm we headed back to the arena to find that the late afternoon wind shift was under way. We flew a couple of times in very low wind and then individually just to demonstrate what was possible.

Team For Fun took advantage of the offshore breeze that had then set in and finally we put together a mini mega-team of 9 fliers.


28/04/2014 Fifth Day Cervia

The forecast was for rain today. We had decided to head for the beach for 9:00am regardless and were 'rewarded' with a period without rain and a NW breeze which was momentarily strong enough for us to set the standard sails with normal race rods and try the vented kites with green race.

Before the first rain arrived we had gone back to the standard sails with diamond rods in order to cope with the lulls.

We flew 11 in a mini 'mega' team before lunch and that was the point that the rain set in initially.

We did get to spend time in the arena during the afternoon and Lupo selected some of our favored tracks but the turbulence from the pine forest along the beach sometimes left us with no means of recovery. All good experience ahead of Weymouth of course where the prevailing wind is over the town. <grins>


27/04/2014 Fourth Day Cervia

We arrived on the beach at about 9:00 to find that there was a very light c1mph onshore 'breeze'. As the morning progressed this breeze gradually increased. The afternoon session saw enough wind speed to switch to the vented sails with green race rods.

We flew with Team For Fun in a 9 and 10 person format in preparation for the 4:00pm expected presentation in the main arena. The approaching wet weather, however, sent the audience packing and the rain actually arrived at about 4:30pm.

Along the way today we did manage to run through a number of our 'formal' routines so it was a productive day in that respect <grins>


26/04/2014 Third Day Cervia

The clouds did not clear until about 12:30 today so the onshore breeze did not cut in until about 1:00pm.

We spent some time in the arena this morning and Lupo put 'Take Five' out on the PA. Occasionally the breeze was very light and we resorted to free flying.

Late afternoon was very crowded and we moved back to the arena ahead of the allotted time but were quite quickly involved. Alternate performances followed and we ended flying with Team-4-Fun in a 'mini mega-team'.


25/04/2014 Second Day Cervia

Sunny all day today (c23 degrees celcius) and the wind turned onshore at about 10:30am. We flew Robertshaw and Zen kites against the 1.5 sails with Diamond rods all on 100ft lines initially today. The preference was for the latter in the light breezes. We went into the arena c11:15am and had some good flying ahead of the presentation of the fliers at 12.

Lunch was 12:30 at bagno 111 which was very busy with the first sunny day crowds.

We were back in the arena in the run up to the UK presentation in the afternoon at 3:00pm and then a formal two routines close to 5:00pm.

It was quite a frenetic day on the beach today but the weather may calm things down over the weekend.


24/04/2014 First Day Cervia

It has been a stunning first day. Light WNW breeze to start with so a bit bumpy over the trees. We took a break at about 11:30am and within a short time the sea breeze cut in as smooth as we like. Not much more than 3-4 miles an hour but plenty for the 1.5 sails and the Diamond rods.

We did take lunch at bagno 111 and continued flying through the afternoon.

We were due to do an arena turn at 5:00pm and arrived to find that the breeze was dropping.

The event was formally closed but we stayed in the arena and after a few minutes there was just enough to get airborne. Lupo spotted this and cued up 'Come Together'. We got through just fine and after Carl Robertshaw did a number we finished with Moby... <grins>


20/04/2014 After Berck-Plage

Getting to Berck on Thursday 17th< April in the evening proved to be quite difficult. Delays in London meant that we would have missed our booked time on the Channel Tunnel. 5 hour delays at the tunnel meant that rather than arriving at Rang-du-Fliers at Midnight we got there at 5:00am on Friday morning! (This was the late contingent, 5 of the team were in Berck earlier in the day on Thursday.)

Despite the difficult start it proved to be a great weekend in the Berck style; team flying early in the day, some 'run-through' opportunities for the mega-team late morning, followed by lunch in the tent.

Afternoons started with Mega flies, two line and four line and then demos by the various teams.

Along the way the Decs flew the standard 1.5 sails with Diamond rods in full team for the first time. It will take a while for the team to get used to the responsiveness of these spars but I am sure that they will be used to great effect. <grins>

The flight case will be prepared tomorrow for the Cervia trip.


13/04/2014 Olympic Park, East London

The London Marathon took over Blackheath today, hence the change of venue.

The field to the west of the River Lea and the Velodrome is in the shadow of the media building but clear of obstructions in other directions. As luck would have it the NW breeze today was affected by thermals as well as the building so occasionally we were well and truly becalmed or subject to rolling turbulence and down draft which is not good when flying four line kites...

That being said we had a relaxed couple of hours flying ahead of the events in the next few weeks.

We will be at Berck Friday 18th-Sunday 20th April then at Cervia Thursday 24th April- Thursday 1st May and finally at Weymouth Saturday 3rd-Monday 5th May.

I may decide to join Jacob's SE London Cycle Group for a ride on Sunday 11th May which will be a c50 Mile ride for me just to keep in practice. I may be tempted to do the Dunwich Dynamo again this year... <grins>


06/04/2014 Blackheath

Another post clock change late start today. Heavy rain at about 8:30am didn't exactly help matters.

Soon after 11:00am the question was whether to go Xtra Vent with green race or Full Vent with 4 wrap. We went with the latter option and flew some slow, no calls, close, rolling patterns.

The greening of the Greenwich Park trees was in contrast to the low grey clouds today. We'll not be on Blackheath next weekend as the London Marathon takes over the whole site. We may go to Victoria Park or possibly the newly opened park on the Olympic site in the Lea Valley.


30/03/2014 Blackheath

Hazy and grey today with a variable light SE breeze. With the temperature hitting 20 degrees C it was almost T shirt weather.

It certainly was a treat to fly the 1.5 full sails with Diamond Rods again today. The 'two turn' pull to the top of the window and the long, long downwind walk are just great.

We dropped in and out of formal team flying as conditions dictated today and saw some fluent close form free flying albeit with the occasional snagged line or stalled sail. Sometimes it is possible to 'catch' the kite on the lines as it falls from the sky...

A close family relative passed away early this morning so it has been a reflective day.


23/03/2014 Blackheath

I did get to Blackheath today but only to see if any of the team were still there. It appeared that the thundery showers had sent them packing.

I was on my way home after taking part in a bicycle ride from SE23 (Devonshire Road Nature Reserve to be precise) on the 23rd< March led by Jacob who had estimated the ride as 23 miles. It turned out to be 28 miles with a coffee break in Orpington.

My total for the day was 52 ¼ miles. The new set of wheels, a Genesis Equilibrium 20, worked a treat on this first longer trip. The daily commute in 2014 has been somewhat transformed. <grins>


16/03/2014 Blackheath

A sharp clear blue sky today, almost cloudless at c10:15, wind from WNW so the sun was not in the middle of the wind window. Similar temperature to last weekend but felt cooler occasionally given the relative direction of sun and wind. <grins>

Mid vented with Race Rods only occasionally felt over powered.

We took advantage of the mild conditions to do a kit check ahead of the Berck, Cervia and Weymouth events. Ferrules, spar sets, leading edge mesh and lines were reviewed and various components were set aside for further attention, as in TLC. Given that the main team kites arrived in 2008 they are still in very good shape.

It appears that the Turkmenistan event will not happen in 2014. We also learned that Bristol will be a biennial event, next occurring in 2015. We may have to dream up some alternative 'pop up' events to fill the gaps! Super 16 anyone?


09/03/2014 Blackheath

Some of us didn't quite manage to arrive at 10:00am but it was not by much <grins>.

Who would not want to be out flying on this spring like day with the temperature approaching 20C?

Vented kites with race rods worked for most of the session but we switched to full sails with race in order to do some 'team' flying including the six person 'sprocket'. (Rowan was the exception here, he just flew his mid-vent with race) The sunny conditions meant that there were plenty of visitors to the Heath and we frequently had appreciative audiences.

A slightly early close today as Maggie had to prepare for an event at Hackney Attic; The Second Sunday Salon...


02/03/3014 Blackheath

It was bright to start c11:45am but the low cloud gradually thickened and the variable breeze rose incrementally.

Xtra Vent kites again but because of the lulls we went for green race which mostly coped except for some of the more sustained gusts.

The GB Foreign Office and USA State Department seem to be in concert regarding Turkmenistan so it looks like we will pursue the possibility of attending the event at the beginning of August subject to ongoing political issues in the region.

Interesting to hear of the kite event in Alor Setar. Our visit there was a long time ago. I think that we should try to travel further east again in the near future...


23/02/2014 Blackheath

22mph gusting to 38mph* is not really very comfortable for team flying so we did not attempt too much today with the Xtra Vents and 4 wrap rods.; However, a neat rolling ball materialized at one point before a gust prompted a quick but elegant un-winding fire drill...

The Xtra Vents 'side slide' and 'reverse fly' very smoothly and some outward facing counter 'pendulums' looked very neat as well as the close knit rolling rotations that have become central to our 'not called' flying.

That 'indicator light' issue in the car from the beginning of the month on leaving Blackheath proved to be expensive.; Driving back to Hackney today the Thames cable crossing was still operating so maybe it was not all that windy after all!


*Met Office figures

16/02/2014 Blackheath

Clear blue skies today with a few 'fluffy white clouds' in contrast to the gales and torrential rain up to yesterday meant full 1.5 sails and race rods.

The occasionally shifting breeze allowed us to 'perform' for the passing Blackheath audience who were particularly vocal today. It is strange, though, to have to tell someone that, yes, we have been flying on Blackheath with these kites since 1989.

We did get to test the initial 'pass by' of the 'free flying' project but Rowan suggested that he would try to document the moves for the individual fliers. There is an interesting level of abstraction involved when the shape that is to be invoked is 'completely' transitional, as in, moving! <grins>


09/02/2014 Blackheath

Xtra Vents with 4 wrap rods today for most of us but Maggie flew her vented Rev2. It was blustery but not quite as extreme as at Washington Tyne and Wear one year when almost all of the single line kites had been brought down but we still went ahead with a demo...

In difficult conditions 'free flying' can be the most viable option and watched closely can produce some excellent interaction provided that the fliers are suitably attuned.

Figuring out how to direct fliers who are all flying individual trajectories may be the latest challenge. You have flown the 'grid' and maybe the sprocket (grinder?) or 'Dutch Windmill' so what comes next? <grins>


02/02/2014 Blackheath

Didn't travel last Sunday as the rain was due to start at 10am and continue until 3pm. The forecast was correct.

Mid Vents with Race Rods seemed appropriate today initially but the increasingly blustery airflow eventually meant that we switched to Full Vents, still with Race Rods. The low cumulus built up gradually while we were on the 'heath' no doubt reflecting the turbulence at ground level. The cloudscape was curiously three-dimensional today.

Driving home one of those 'warning' indicator lights in the car illuminated and the manual stated that the vehicle should be taken to a diagnostic facility without delay. Who needs that?


19/01/2014 Blackheath

Another 10:45am arrival today but it was warmer and drier than last weekend in the light, fairly steady, westerly breeze. Full 1.5 sails with race rods worked fine except for one short interlude. We ran through some of the four person routines in anticipation of the Cervia event.

Blackheath is great for watching the clouds and we were treated to some long regular bands of cumulus today appearing from the SW apparently heading N and E.

Having finalized the line-up for Cervia today I went on-line to find that our preferred flight times/routes were almost fully booked. A couple of quick calls later we managed to get everything arranged but it did feel like a close call. Making travel arrangements with the team has always been a challenge <grins>


12/01/2014 Blackheath

It was a bright frosty start in Hackney but by the time we arrived on Blackheath c10:45 the grass was frost free. On the way the flags were hanging down but the forecast breeze cut in as we walked onto the field. Mid vents with race and full vents with race worked today.

Rowan flew his new sail* and eventually found that inverted hovers were a bit difficult with the gradually increasing wind speed. An extra ¾ inch brake step made the kite much more controllable for him. We went on to run through Plan A and also did some repeated UK and EU 'roundabouts' as a 'warm-up' exercise towards the end of the session.

The intermittent low cloud had gradually become more persistent and thickened so there was no further prospect of warming sunshine...


*picture attached FJM

05/01/2014 Blackheath

We did not fly on New Years Day but flew six today from soon after 10:30am.

Full sail 1.5s with Race Rods and 3 wrap worked most of the time but there were lulls when the Diamond Rods might have helped keep the team work going in the southerly breeze. The darkness of the weather front approaching from the west, dampness in the air and increasing wind speed led to an early end to the session today but not before Rowan was introduced to the six person sprocket.

Sometimes it's a good idea to quit while you're ahead...


December 2023
Felix Mottram