Kite Blog

29/12/2019 Blackheath

Southerly breeze, some sunshine and blue sky in parts today. The forecasts were about right with a base speed of about 4mph - 8mph. Full 1.5 sails with race rods and a mid-vent, just because! Nothing called as is usual but we did get to discuss events for 2020, just a bit.

We put together the Peter Malinski Flare Kite (ex Hamburg) with its substantial tubular frame in c120cm units, so c240cm high in the four vertical sleeved pockets with press stud closures and the c360cm horizontal secured by loops at the sail edges and substantial ties at two further points at the back of the sail. The sail pulled tight very neatly and looked very flat overall.

The kite felt heavy on the ground but as soon as the windspeed threshold required was reached it took off like a rocket with a very smooth linear trajectory.

I very much like the 'kite shaped' (Eddy) graphic of this kite. It should look very good with the early JMH Delta kite...


22/12/2019 Blackheath

A fairly consistent Westerly breeze, about 10mph so full vented with green race again. The stronger winds stayed to the south of the UK this weekend.

A short fly with accompaniment today and then we set about putting up some sections of the JMH Rhombus shaped kite train from 1985.

I have re-strung the fifth and sixth sets with 4mm polyester braid as the 3.5mm had been overstretched. We only got as far as the three top sets today but even they needed an anchor point really. The Eddy kite that I had made as a pilot for this train worked fine even if it did dive vertically down on one occasion. The stack oscillated in its own rhythm with the pilot mostly taking a different line.

I have uploaded a short video here:- Rhombus-shaped kites 1985, Blackheath


15/12/2019 Blackheath

SSW at about 12mph so 1.5 full vented with green race this morning. It was sunny and a mostly clear sky so I was hoping to do 'something' with JMH kites today!

After a gentle warm up fly it became apparent that we were not going to get a 'full' team by any stretch of the imagination.

As the overnight rain had soaked in and the steady breeze had taken any remaining 'wetness' off the grass it was only slightly muddy underfoot. We staked out the Double / Single Eddy stack and proceeded to untangle the kites and tails and set the spars. A third pair of hands would have made things easier but I really wonder how Jørgen managed by himself.

The stack flew very well indeed and we discovered how to take it to the edge of the wind window in order to untangle tails. We did somehow lose a spar from one of the front kites but this did not appear to affect the flight of the stack. There were a couple of issues with the threading of the replacement split rings and one spar pocket requires re-sewing.

I was able to take a whole series of images and have posted some of them on Facebook. I'll update the Decs Collection site shortly.


08/12/2019 Blackheath

WSW 17 - 34 mph but mostly sunny rather than cloudy. RSS kites were fine, just a little bit noisy in the stronger gusts, merely a sail rattle, not a roar!

Not the wind for flying trains but we did unwrap the 2 square metre black lifter and fly it from the bridle. It seemed to be well set 'out of the bag'.

I also pegged out the top few sets of the PM Yakko Stack in an attempt to find out how much lift these sails can develop. They were certainly ready to go but the top sail really needed stabilising. The pocket sled from Vienna would have been enough but it was folding up in the strong breeze. (I wonder if a spreader could work here?)

The 4 and 5mm braided polyester line for the kite trains arrived last Tuesday and two sets of the 1985 JMH train have been re-strung during the week. The dihedrals for the early JMH kites should arrive during this next week. I'll use one of the prototypes to fix the Double / Single Eddy stack 1989 in the meantime. The on-field fix in Cervia has not actually ever been tested!


01/12/2019 Blackheath

NNE breeze today, fairly steady and probably about 10 mph so finally a change from the Zen Autumn. Full vented 1.5 with green race was just right.

The sun was directly in our sightline and there was a slight warmth when the breeze eased. When there was cloud cover it was distinctly colder.

I had hoped to fly the JMH Double / Single Eddy stack 1989 but it was a bit too muddy and damp underfoot so we flew the single Eddys that I put together recently that need further tuning. One of them can be finalised now, the other one was still showing a bias until I resorted to the same fix I used on the field a couple of weeks ago. As then, completely counter intuitive.

We flew until the sun re-appeared and I noticed again that the grey fabric stripe can catch the sun and appear to be brighter than the white fabric. At the same time the shadowed white ripstop appeared to be sky blue.

The prototype printed dihedrals for the early JMH kite compositions have arrived and I am hoping to finalise an order soon. While we have only seen one actual breakage it will be good to have spares to hand.


24/11/2019 Blackheath

Foggy in Hackney first thing and on the approach to Blackheath from the Greenwich Peninsula it looked as if it was foggy at the top of the hill. It was grey and gloomy on arrival and very wet underfoot but not actually foggy.

Wind from the south was light, probably 3mph to start but as the cloud lifted and brightness approached so the breeze increased; slightly.

So, Zens with green race once again. We did spend quite some time today meandering in close formations occasionally with Terry Riley as accompanyment.

I had hoped to look at the Malinsky Yakko Stack that came from Hamburg and as there was eventually a bit more breeze c5mph and some sunlight we did make the effort to switch the individual sails and see what transpired. There was not enough breeze to launch directly so we put the 145cm Malinsky Eddy in place as a lifter and almost got a result.

The lifter was only able to move about 15 sails but when they caught the breeze the rest of the train was momentarily, at best, in flight. Successive attempts were probably significantly weighed down by the wet sails. A good start, none the less...

I also tried the Hex Pilot with carbon rods (ultra light) but although there was just enough breeze further work is required on the bridle.


17/11/2019 Blackheath

Lighter again today, maybe 2mph from the north but with little thermal variation so the Zens with green race stayed in the air, if nothing else. That will be the fifth week running so a bit of a Zen autumn! We did some quite extensive no call flying against a slowly changing high cloud background with some curious almost lenticular like features.

I did not expect to get very far with the Hexagonal pilot kite but we did get it in the air briefly, enough to make some adjustments and then break a spar*, so, 'a work in progress'. (*replaced with a pair from the carbon set I had made)

Having found a way to break down this single sail I have to try a similar approach with the two sections of the 47 kite train as the full sails will not fit in my car...


10/11/2019 Blackheath

North easterly breeze today starting with mostly clear sky but cloud gradually developing. Once again, a light breeze so mostly Zens with green race. Despite their age the Zen sails still sparkle when flown into the sunlight.

I took time out to see if there was a quick solution to the bias in the two Eddy kites that we flew last weekend. I did find a fix which worked, as if by magic, and just need to translate it into something more permanent. Needless to say it was counterintuitive!

The Hexagonal pilot kite is mostly complete, initial sparing and bridle to be done this afternoon, all being well. The amount of work that JMH and PM put into their kite constructions is quite amazing as compared to the effort required to 'reverse' engineer a single kite!


03/11/2019 Blackheath

Our regular field was being cleared of firework debris and crowd barriers so Martin had set up to the east of the road.

Zens with green race again and a south westerly breeze meant that we were not looking into the sun today.

Clear blue sky above to start but a bank of low cloud loomed from the west. I had hoped to test fly the two Eddy kites in 'sunny' conditions and that almost happened. The first one that I put up seemed fine at first but then it became apparent that it did have a slight bias to the right. The second one had a very similar bias so that will be 'fun' to sort out. Reminds me of 'fighter kite days'! Eddys on Blackheath today

We attached one Eddy to two sections of the JMH Rhombus-shaped kites 1985 train and while the train did remain stable the Eddy kite did not quite have the buoyancy that I had hoped for. I'll try it with the 145cm Malinsky Eddy pilot at some point and see if that works better. Meanwhile the second new Eddy will be inserted in the fifth position in the green set of the Malinski train.

I have done the base drawing on the Hexagonal pilot kite sail for the Malinski train and may have this kite ready to test fly next weekend. I found an article and drawings on a Dutch website relating to this project via Vlieger Magazin:- Hexagonal Kite train


27/10/2019 Blackheath

I should probably have stayed in bed today but determined to take advantage of the clock change and get to Blackheath at about the 'normal' time.

Light north westerly breeze was lighter than last weekend so the Zens with green race were in use again.

There really was not enough breeze for the JMH Double / Single Eddy stack 1989 so I resorted to checking the Vienna pocket sled in lighter breeze. There is a point where it does not inflate fully and can spontaneously go into a spin as a result. This would not be good if it was heading up a train so I will go ahead with my plan to make up a simple Eddy to be a pilot kite on the JMH Rhombus-shaped kites 1985 train of 81 kites.

This will be the same form as the replacement kite for the missing one in the green section of the Peter Malinski Eddy train. Might get to these and the Hexagon Pilot kite in this next week!


20/10/2019 Blackheath

A light northerly breeze so Zens with green race were comfortable but sometimes just a little overpowered really.

I had in mind two possibilities for today and in the event we put up four sections of the Peter Malinski Eddy kite train that had been collected from Hamburg recently. I have been making sleeves for the five sections of the train, one more to do when the fabric arrives.

Some of the sails have been seriously stretched but only one seam has given way. I'll attend to that soon. We replaced the broken spines and did manage to break the odd spreader during assembly and breakdown.

The train flew very comfortably in the Zen wind speed zone. I even got to sit down for quite a while, trying out the new role, obviously!

The other possibility for today was the JMH Double / Single Eddy stack 1989 which I have been working on during the week just gone. Maybe we'll get to fly that next weekend.


13/10/2019 Blackheath

I had almost given up on the weather today but the forecast improved somewhat during the course of Saturday. In the event there was a delay in the arrival of the rain so we were able to do a small OSOW 'fly'. Full vented 1.5s with green race eventually felt overpowered as the rain approached.

The trip to and from Hamburg during the week was somewhat arduous. Visits to the Elbephilharmonie building, the Kunsthalle Hamburg and the Deichtorhallen were rewarding even if we managed to walk about 9 miles during the course of the day.

I have started work on the Peter Malinski kites that were brought back and might try to fly part of the 50 kite Eddy train next weekend.


06/10/2019 Blackheath

Solo today for the second time this year. So after a quick spin with a full vented 1.5 with green race I put up a section of the JMH Rhombus-shaped kites 1985 81 kites.

I had taken the three top sets of the train and found that the orange set had an extra length of line after the last kite suggesting that maybe a pilot kite had been used previously. It was my intention to try adding the pocket sled in the Vienna Kite Club colours that we had each been given last weekend as I suspected this was the size of kite that might just stabilise the last kites without impacting on the character of the train.

I added about 15m of line and the sled worked in exactly the way that I had hoped. I will obviously have to try more of the train in due course but I was very pleased with the result today. Blackheath today

Off to Hamburg Tuesday morning so maybe next Sunday I will be trying some of the Peter Malinski kites from the same period as the JMH kite today!


01/10/2019 After Schloss Hof, Austria

We had a good trip to Austria. It was a bit wet on the Saturday with a little wind from the north west but sunny on the Sunday with a good breeze from the south.

The highlight was probably flying the JMH Triple Malay stack on Sunday but we also flew the 1999 Rev 1.5s, the original Decs JMH Rokkaku, the late Delta and the 2008 1 and 1.5 Rev stacks on Saturday, the big Parafoil, the Della Porta 4 Rhomboids along with the 2009 vented and mid-vented 1.5s on Sunday. We had taken the late set of JMH banners which looked very good.

As we had arrived a day early in Austria we were treated to some local cultural attractions including an Art Museum, Danubiana-Centrum moderneho umenia in Slovakia right on the Hungarian border and a large Roman reconstruction at Petronell-Carnuntum in Austria as well as opportunity to explore the Schloss Hof gardens, the site of the kite event.

I am travelling to Hamburg next week to collect some kites made by Peter Malinski.


22/09/2019 Blackheath

A medium southerly breeze this morning, about 9 gusting 16mph or thereabouts so full vents with green race. Must get a new anemometer, the last one wore out its bearings!

There was a short time this morning between belts of rain so I was back in Hackney by One.

No JMH kites today. I have completed repairs to the 81 kite train and plan to try combining elements from it and using a pilot kite. I will start by trying a small wind proven delta and if that works will make some neutral colour variations.

All set for Austria later in the week.


15/09/2019 Blackheath

Mid September anticyclonic weather patterns made for a full on sunny day with light west to north westerly breezes. Zens with green race were fine but did not get a lot of air time.

The 1995 JMH Edo was perfectly suited to the conditions so having put it together and sorted the bridle lines we all took time on the line.

This kite pulls up fast and then floats away taking even more line. I was flying on the 3.5mm spectra for ease of handling as opposed to weight considerations.

This kite will be firmly on the list for light wind events.

We have all been able to re-book flights to Austria on the 26th September so we will be able to attend the event! Just need to select the kites to take now.



It did not actually rain today, saving it for Monday morning by the looks of it.

Central Hackney was closed for the Carnival and I had decided not to make a big deal of making alternative arrangements for getting kites out and back. Just have a rest and reflect!

We are still waiting to see how the BA pilot strike unfolds and whether our flights on 27th September will be cancelled and if alternative arrangements will get us to Austria for that weekend event.

A week after that I will be travelling to Hamburg to collect a small group of kites by Peter Malinski who was working closely with Jørgen in the 1980s. We have two Malinski kites from Jørgen's collection already so it seemed like an interesting addition. That will also be the conclusion of the collection as storage space will be full!


01/09/2019 Blackheath

Back to normal temperatures today but in the sunny conditions we still saw evidence of the Blackheath thermals spinning past us, not a real dust devil but windblown material looping about.

Full Rev 1.5s with race rods and some relaxed and sometimes intricate no call flying. The rule is that no-one speaks and the evidence is of a concentrated effort to do nothing that is inconsistent. The kites 'interact' moving together and apart, rolling across the wind window and back, expanding and contracting the group as they proceed.

Then the breeze dropped for a while and we selected the penultimate kite from the JMH collection to put together for the first time... This was the Flare kitestack 1987, 10 kites each kite measuring 100 x 140 cm, tails: wind drogues, total size: 1 x 1.4 x 27 metres. While the spars were quite light and reinforced with whipping at the notched ends the flying lines that run through the stack were substantial. I suspected that the overall loading would be quite high and prepared the spectra flying line accordingly.

The first launch from the bridle was relatively benign, but when there was slightly more breeze and a long launch the stack really needed to be anchored, not a hand held proposition!

I note that it has been recognised that 150ft lines could be useful for achieving better results in larger Rev style mega teams.


25/08/2019 Blackheath

For a change the weather was back to summer mode today, unusual for a Bank Holiday weekend. We were on Zens with green race rods except in the lulls. I had brought a chair for those occasions!

I knew that the 1987 Delta kite was framed in bamboo and so we might be looking for replacement components or different framing. Given the size of the kite I was not able to pre-assemble it at home.

There was a slight puzzle in piecing the frame together as one of the 'notched' ends had been put inside a ferrule. There were also two tent pegs in the bag and we eventually figured that the two loose lines at the front of the kite could be attached and pegged out stabilising the kite in preparation for launching.

There was not quite enough breeze to get the kite soaring today but it was a good opportunity to get an understanding of the tow point options in light breezes. In the event I managed to break the spreader when hauling the kite around sharply after letting it float downwind. So now I really do have to find replacements!

Happy to note that the WSIKF crew managed to get 100+ pilots flying together finally.


18/08/2019 Blackheath

At the last moment I realised that there was going to be heavy rain coinciding with our usual arrival time on Blackheath so delayed departure. I was then able to finish putting back together the blue section of the 1985 JMH kite train that we flew briefly at Portsmouth last weekend before setting off.

Light westerly/south westerly breeze so full sail 1.5s with race rods. I had expected stronger breezes.

We put together two sections of the 1985 JMH train and had some good flying time before it became apparent that the last kite was regularly looping one way. Bringing the train down was easy and it was clear that an arch could be sustained. The trailing kite probably needs a stable lifter, long term, so I will set about finding the right one.

In the meantime, a couple of the line loops that hold the kites apart failed so they will need replacing as well as a heavier duty repair to some of the eyelets.

Looking forward to hearing news from WSIKF over the next few days.


10/08/2019 After Portsmouth

The forecast played out surprisingly accurately. On Saturday the wind was about 30mph steady but gusting to about 50mph. We did not try to fly anything.

On Sunday the breeze was about 20mph gusting to 30mph plus I think. We did do a number of 'routines' but were somewhat hampered by an underpowered PA system.

Ashley did manage to call a routine for a small mega fly along the lines of the Italian black sail performance. It was quite long but I got the impression that it was appreciated by the audience as well as the fliers.

I really did not feel confident about flying any of the JMH kites but we did set up half of the expansible box kite and I did eventually get to feel the strength of pull flying it without the bridle lines. I also put together one section of the 1985 Rhombus-shaped kites and found out why some of the lines in the bags were so severely twisted. That will need fixing in some way!


04/08/2109 Blackheath

Writing this on Monday afternoon as I was busy dealing with images yesterday afternoon.

It was a diverted outward journey to Blackheath because of the London Cycling event. Martin had set up a Zen on green race and that was entirely appropriate in the light SE breeze so we flew close, no calls for an indeterminate period of time.

Then, as had been previously suggested, I started to put together the JMH Triple Malay stack 1988. During the course of the last week I had established that Jørgen had flown this kite at Washington, Tyne and Wear in July 1989. The Decs had attended that event but only really met up with Jørgen later in 1989 in West Berlin.

As we constructed the 'train' it became apparent that it was probably going to be possible to fly it in the light breeze. We were constructing it 'the right way up' and the front kites were raring to go! It did fly at the first launch but it was clear that something was not quite right. Finally we saw that the front left sail had a tip wrap. Once this was sorted and then another couple of wraps were resolved the stack flew perfectly.

It was extremely satisfying to put together a kite that had been made 30 years ago and which looks so good in the sky even against all the kites that have been designed in the interim.

The forecast for next weekend at Southsea Common, Portsmouth does not look great at the moment but we will of course fly whatever we can over the weekend.


28/07/2019 Blackheath

Westerly 13-15mph gusting 20 plus so it really was at the limit for testing kites today. I waited for a lull and did manage to launch the JMH Flare kite from 1986. It has recently been spotted with Jørgen in photographs from the 1989 Washington International Kite Festival in the UK.

I had replaced the missing lower spreader and was concerned that I had not made it tight enough against the retaining knots. Indeed, it might be that it was missing because it had fallen out in flight and not been replace at the time. There was a slight tendency for the kite to wander to the right but that was only evident in the strongest gusts. The rest of the time it was just pulling hard at the top of the window. Dull and overcast so no point in attempting to photograph it in the air.

For light relief I switched to the Rev 1.5 RSS prototype with the full lightweight frame. All very familiar and relaxed despite the varying breeze.

Next Sunday we have to deal with pre-Portsmouth logistics. Too much kit for one car really! I also have to figure out what to take apart from the team kites. Spoilt for choice.


21/07/2019 After Shropshire

There was a deluge on the M40 as we headed out for lunch and an after lunch stroll on Friday before the event.

The selected accommodation seemed fine on Friday evening.

Saturday weather was mostly dry but with a variable wind rolling over the field boundary of houses and trees. We did, however, manage to launch Expansible box kite 1996 after some helpful advice and energetic contributions from the gathered kite fliers who also confirmed the source of the design, Eiji Ohashi. It did not fly for long but we now understand the basics.

After a brief fly of the late JMH Delta and the 1990 Parafoil we set about launching the JMH Della Porta: Nine squares 1993. I had added inserts to strengthen the main spars and we had time to accept advice on the bridle settings which entirely matched my perception of how the kite had behaved previously. Finally we reduced the tail load by one half, looping one of original tail ends back to the other attachment point. We achieved a sustained stable flight before running out of field area.

Saturday evening meal at one of a number of local curry houses was rather good but there was a loud event back at the pub where our overnight accommodation was located.

On Sunday the breeze was slightly lighter but just as variable. There was not enough consistent breeze to get both of the parafoils launched within the confines of the site but we did get the anchors and safety line configuration established.

We flew two of the three meter Rokakku kites with heavy spars over two sessions along with the late delta as well.

We noted that while we could have flown the Rev kites during the course of the weekend the conditions were really not likely to have made for an interesting or constructive experience.

Most of us were off site at about 5:00pm just after receiving an award for team effort over the weekend.


14/07/2019 Blackheath

Arrived soon after 10:30 am which was about the time that Jake had suggested he might get to the heath.

We had not had the chance to fly the JMH kites together for some time now and this was an opportunity to check some of the kites we may be able to fly next weekend in Shropshire.

First up, almost was the 8 diamond Della Porta. Not quite enough wind again but it is clear that this 'composition' is completely viable.

The 1990 Parafoil which I have been partly re-bridling was then launched in the light NE breeze and performed very well indeed. We removed the old 'cut and repaired' lines and I will leave any fine tuning until I have measured the profile of the larger 1991 kite.

Next up was the late delta with the light wind frame, mostly for Jake's benefit but I really like flying that kite so was happy to have the opportunity again.

Finally we put together what had been known as the 1988 expandable box kite with 60 cells but it was missing any bridling set-up. It was clear that this could be part of a larger composition and on checking the other bag back in Hackney it is obvious that it was the upper half of the kite from 1996, with 120 cells. We will hope to get the whole kite together next weekend in Shropshire. It will be worth the effort even if it does not get in the air.

We didn't quite manage any rev flying on this occasion but I am sure that we will do a bit next weekend on Saturday and Sunday.


07/07/2019 Blackheath

A light easterly breeze so Zens with green race today. The high and low cloud threatened drizzle but it didn't happen. The ground was very wet from overnight rain and the plantain heads had sprung up over the last week.

Nothing called and there was an occasional lull which had us walking back, every which way, it seemed. We had a visitor today who had seen the Revs from a passing bus. He was a Blacksmith student at an institution in Herefordshire having completed the first of three years taking a summer break in London.

I had brought the 1990 JMH parafoil out with the intention of measuring the bridle lines. This was duly done with the kite remaining in the ski bag to avoid getting it wet. Three bridle lines have been replaced in parallel to repaired elements but they have not been finalised until the lengths have been checked against the overall profile. Getting hold of George Hamm's and Ed Wright's design principles has proved to be a bit challenging. At this stage we will probably just have to learn directly from Jørgen's practical interpretation. Having the larger and well tuned 1991 parafoil should give us some clues.

I hope to deal with the first of the two 'stairway' box constructions in the next week. The main issue is rusty metal fittings. It is probably impractical to replace with stainless steel so a clean and 'prevent' regime is in order.


30/06/2019 Blackheath

Only revs today as there was a running event taking place and the wind forecast did not look great.

The high cloud was receding so fair weather cumulus but not very developed most of the time. The westerly wind was typical summer Blackheath, on the strong side this time, but consistently variable. Opting for mid vents with green race made a certain amount of sense until the arm ache set in!

Very little called as the variability of the breeze really was not conducive to team flying.

Festival in the Forest next Saturday in South London but we should be at Blackheath on Sunday as usual.


23/06/2019 Blackheath

I did take the personal revs to Blackheath today but managed to 'forget' the handle bag. As no one else was expected that really didn't matter but I had also left the SLK toolkit behind as well. That might have been irritating!

The challenge today was to set up the Edo kite solo. After the kind assistance of the team at the beginning of June I knew that I had to establish a method to accomplish this. I know that ground stakes are only to be used 'carefully' and as conditions were relatively calm I used the mooring pin to attach the bridle and the flying line. I set the spars and then walked the kite away downwind and placed it face up with the leading edge/top of the kite upwind secured, on this occasion, with my jacket.

I then combed the lines back towards the anchor point. This is a slow process but it helps to know that it will resolve successfully.

The bridle point was then switched from the anchor to the flying line and the kite was walked out and placed face down leading edge still to the front and the bow set. Then the kite was rolled and the bridle lines checked with the leading edge on the ground.

Finally, keeping the bridle lines supporting the kite it was turned to leading edge up and launched once the centre of the window had been found.

I launched the kite several times and while it was stable in the centre of the wind window when the wind was lighter as soon as a stronger flow occurred the kite tracked clockwise until it inevitably hit the ground.

On breaking down the kite the process was reversed but I put a holding knot in the bridle lines at the anchor end first before taking the comb back to the kite and looping the lines together, using the carabiner to hold the final loop!


16/06/2019 Blackheath

RSS kites today in contrast to last weekend. Today there were also very localised heavy showers to contend with on the brisk SW breeze. We were mostly lucky but were dressed accordingly anyway.

Extended no call flying watching the highly contrasted clouds passing by.

The plantain seed heads that were becoming prevalent in recent weeks had been mown so really no issues today!

No JMH kites today as it was clear that conditions would be a bit fierce.

Happy to have the 'drum kit' bags back in use finally for kite transport and storage. Both of them were damaged during Cervia and have been replaced with new.


09/06/2019 Blackheath

Zens with green race today gives a measure of the breeze today from the SW. Mostly fair weather cumulus in long standing lines with very high cloud gradually thickening.

There were occasional lulls which made a perfect excuse for putting together some of the JMH kites.

First up was the re-framed late Delta. Mainly 10mm carbon tube but with a re-purposed Rev SLE spreader. This is a very good light wind option now. I note that this was flown on the rear connection point. I tried the middle point but the sail was immediately spilling too much air, not enough brake, one might say!

Following this I put up both of the 2m Rokkakus having split the main rods for portability. The yellow kite flew perfectly straight away, the blue kite needed the lower bridle shortening slightly, a clove hitch around the 5mm peg that I had prepared before leaving Hackney this morning. I had remembered both kites as being slightly unbalanced but they were fine in ‘just enough’ breeze today.

I had repaired the Edo after last weekends attempt but will wait until the missing diagonal ribbon fixing is replaced before trying another flight.

I have decided that the Della Porta: Nine squares is probably needing stronger spars and have discovered that Not Zen green race rods with a short carbon rod supplement will fit inside the white fibreglass rods. This may be the next week’s project in addition to de-rusting one of the 'stairway' kites...


02/06/2019 Blackheath

I had hoped for 8-10mph today but it ended up more like 13-15 with significantly higher gusts. Full vent 1.5s with green race were ok most of the time. I had not taken the RSS kites so that was not an option.

During the week I had prepared a light wind frame for the large JMH delta and also modified the frames for the two Rok and Rev JMH Rokakkus which need further bridle adjustment.

Today I opted to put together the JMH Edo from 1995. The fact that the bridle took a considerable time to untangle should have been an indicator that this was not really the right kite for the day. In the event there was too much breeze. This really is a light wind JMH design! Good to spend the time looking at the configuration anyway.


28/05/2019 After Scarborough

The weather forecast for the weekend indicated that Saturday was going to be the day that offered the opportunity to fly JMH kites as well as the Revs and possibly Rev stacks.

On that basis we set up with the full banners and tent configuration first thing on Saturday. Not Zens were the right sail all day with green race as usual.

We flew the three large JMH Rokkaku kites with the light weight frames and they looked stunning together in the sky. There was not quite enough breeze for the Della Porta: Eight rhomboids kite but it appeared to be completely viable. We did try the Della Porta: Nine squares but once again it exhibited the oscillation with the top of the kite dropping down. Two spars were broken on impact with the ground. We will have to have a close look at the bridling before further attempts to launch this kite.

The Rev 1.5 eight stack was flown towards the end of the afternoon.

There was rain first thing on Sunday morning with a blustery westerly offshore wind throughout the day. The Rev RSS kites worked reasonably well even in the strongest gusts but it was hard work. We did not put up banners or the tent and used the car as our base...

Monday started with the same blustery conditions but as the wind direction slowly changed from west to north it eased somewhat and certainly became more consistent and without the wild changes in direction. RSS sails were again all that we were able to fly but as there was little else in the air that was not a problem really.

Travel to and from the event was not too difficult for a Bank Holiday weekend with a total mileage of just over 500 miles.


19/05/2019 Blackheath

Cloudy today with occasional brightness and the threat of a shower. Light NE breeze which was mostly steady.

Zens and CR sails mostly with green race were comfortable but I did feel somewhat constrained having woken today with an aching left leg.

Despite the discomfort I did put together the Della Porta: Nine squares 1993. All seemed ok but there were some questionable knots on the bridle ring and an odd overlay of a couple of the individual bridle lines. As the last time that this kite had been flown five spars had been damaged I was not overly hopeful. The first launch was too short but the kite was certainly tracking to the centre of the wind window. The second launch was longer and appeared to be going well until the top edge of the kite dipped and caught the wind on the back of the kite. The kite was grounded and nothing actually got broken on this occasion but obviously something is not right.

A light shower meant a quick pack away of this kite and then a further short Zen session.

I may stick to the other two Della Porta kites for Scarborough!


12/05/2019 Blackheath

A quiet day on Blackheath, light NE breeze and a first sighting of swifts against the blue sky and bubbling cumulus.

Took the Della Porta: Eight rhomboids 1993 today but didn't check to see if the tails were in the bag. As with the other two kites from this period the tails are actually bagged separately...

Still, no broken spars in this one and there is a chance to try it next weekend ahead of the Scarborough event the following weekend. I'll try to sort the broken 5 spars for the bigger Della Porta: Nine squares 1993 in the meantime.

Some of the team will be attending the Shropshire Kite Festival 20th - 21st July. We will take JMH kites on that occasion, for sure, looking for advice on re-sparing some of them.


05/05/2019 Blackheath

We took all the team kit to Blackheath today for de-sanding. Many hands made relatively light work of this necessary process.

Some of the sand dust is well and truly ingrained in the mesh and fabric of the full vent sails. Only a thorough soaking will remove that!

It has been an energetic month with 21 flying days since 5th April. I did not get to fly a kite today and have been reviewing images from Cervia this afternoon. Many of them have been posted on Facebook already!


02/05/2019 After Cervia

I had decided not to make notes during the event and do find myself somewhat at a loss to find the words and details to summarise Cervia. It was a very good event, needless to say!

Caterina made it known that she wanted to talk about our 'location' for the event and had planned to reduce the size of the single line art kite area where we have been for quite a few years now and add a new area to the south of the main arena for the displaced art kites with us as a buffer before the large 'inflatable' kites.

On the first morning of the event we set up immediately out side Bagno 111, Adriasol, our lunch venue from previous years. That was to remain our location for the entire event, setting up the 'tent' and newly acquired JMH banners depending on the weather prospects.

Apart from Robert Brassington and Joel Schultz the single line fliers did not take the opportunity to migrate and so we utilised the area along with Team 4 Fun.

We did fly some of the JMH collection kites as requested as and when the conditions were favourable. We also set up the 2007 JMH Rev 1 and Rev 1.5 stacks with special help from David Hathaway on the Rev 1 bridles.

The team did a very effective relay effort in flying the stacks especially when the conditions were not good for normal team flying.

The final day of the event included our participation in the 'Black Sail' project with Ashley looking after the music selection and calling the routine. This was deemed a success and the response outside the immediate Rev community was very positive.


15/04/2019 After Berck

It was my 25th visit to Berck according to the records that we have. Conditions were not forecast to be good but we survived the only one really wet day and mostly coped with the offshore wind spells. The NE winds were often pushed round to a northerly flow by the sea-land tendency.

Conditions were not good for flying the JMH collection kites much of the time and there were space constraints. It is not good manners to occupy temporarily vacant space where tethered kites have landed... The large Delta kite was the one that proved very stable and with a small launch window so the obvious choice for the night fly on the final Saturday evening.

Travel to and from Berck was straightforwards and the grid lock on the final Sunday afternoon did not materialise but we found that we had to queue in a holding process before being able to check in at Eurotunnel for the return crossing.

Just a couple of repairs/finishing need to be done before repacking for Cervia. Re-bridling the Rev1 four stacks may have to wait until we are on site. I need to locate the rest of the spares.


31/03/2019 Blackheath

Preparations rather than the clock change meant I did not get to Blackheath until 11:15am. Quite a steady ENE breeze so we did put up full vented 1.5s with green race. All very straightforwards so far!

I hoped to test fly some of the JMH kites today and started with the Della Porta: Four rhomboids 1993. Not knowing this format of kite (same as Della Porta: 4 squares) I was anxious to find a way to manage the bridle initially and then move the kite to a safe launch point. The kite is 4 metres tall, (measurements still to be amended on the collection site) so I positioned the kite at right angles to the flying line stake point and sorted the bridle with the 'comb' that Jørgen had fitted. Then with a 'helper' on the line I gradually walked the kite into the wind window turning it upright up to the point that it was ready to launch. The frame of the kite which is somewhat flexible was supported by the bridle at all times. The kite launched and flew very well! (grins)

Next up was a more complicated affair, the Double Malay stack 1994. As with the Double/Single Eddy stack 1989, the flying line was staked and the kites set up nose to the ground starting from the front of the stack. We encountered some difficulty with the tails during set-up as well as a final 3 sail 'loop through'. Once set the whole stack was rolled to the ready position and as soon as the breeze was right the stack launched successfully. The stack was flown from the 'control bar' initially but we found that it was stable enough to stake the bar. To land and pack the stack was flown towards the edge of the window and pulled down by the flying line leaving all the tails to the downwind side. Spars were removed starting at the back of the stack and the kites progressively bundled together with the tails free. The tails were then looped together and bagged with the kites.

We then flew the Revs for a quick called session to wrap up the days flying.

I have to juggle kites and bags for transport to Berck but I think that we have test flown enough kites for that event and will have others to show at the Cervia event which follows very soon afterwards.


24/03/2019 Blackheath

The forecast indicated light NW breeze and some broken cloud.

The breeze was just a bit too light for the Double/Single Eddy stack 1989. I had replaced the spreaders and found today that the main spars are very brittle which given that they are 30 years old is hardly surprising!

Did some more bridle adjustments on the Della Porta: 4 squares but something is not quite right. Probably need to start from the beginning again!

I did remember to take Rev handles today but didn't get a chance to use them.

We need to 'cadge a lift' for one person travelling back from Berck on the evening of Sunday 14th April. We are two fliers down for Berck, one of them being a driver with vehicle!


17/03/2019 Blackheath

Fortunately this was the one Sunday in March that Jacob was in London so we could start assessing the JMH kites.

Ironically having been concentrating on selecting kites to try and additional equipment I had left my Rev handles at home. Spares were offered but I did not get to fly a Rev today! For those that did it was RSS sails which gives an indication of the wind speed, probably about 15mph I would guess.

First up was a set of 6 banners. Now we remember why we don't do banners at close quarters. Very noisy indeed, partly, I expect because the fabric is like new.!

The late delta seemed to be a reasonably safe choice and was made with different line attachment points. The front most point seemed to work fine but the kite did need a reasonable length of line for it to be stable.

Jacob flew the orange/purple Rokkaku from the bridle. Far too much wind really!

Finally we set up the late Della Porta: 4 squares with two tails. We do not think that this kite was 'finished' and it currently has a bias to the right. I was surprised that it could be flown at all given the wind speed.

We did have a celebratory Gammel Dansk at the start of proceedings today!


10/03/2019 Blackheath

It was windy as forecast so I did not expect to be on site for long today. Soon after arriving there were relatively long spell where the RSS kites were quite comfortable.

Gradually the length of the calmer spells shortened and so kites on the ground time increased. It did not feel as if anything was going to break but it was sufficiently uncomfortable flying so we called it a day at about midday.

The Aarhus trip was straightforward but I have to go back to collect four more kites weighing in at just under 20kg/44lb in the skiboard bag.

Might have to have a celebratory Gammel Dansk on Blackheath next Sunday, weather permitting!



The weather for the 10th March still does not look promising. We didn't even try today given the rain and wind!

All set for Aarhus, Wednesday. The prospect of so many unique kites to fly is a bit exciting. A whole new chapter, even.


24/02/2019 Blackheath

Blue sky and sunshine in Hackney but heading towards the Blackwall Tunnel there was fog closer to the Thames with the tops of the Canary Wharf buildings appearing above it. Emerging from the tunnel south of the river it was fairly dense fog but at the top of the Sun in the Sands hill the sun was shining again in a blue sky.

A light east north easterly breeze was only just perceptible when we arrived but it did strengthen gradually and switch to more easterly before the thermal activity really set in. Zens and CR sails with mostly green race worked most of the time. Some extended free flying with a musical accompaniment was interspersed with called sequences. Some of the free flying was very effectively using the full window as well as close interaction with some clear interpretation of the musical 'mood'.

I am booked to fly to Aarhus on Wednesday 6th March, returning on Friday 8th March so I will be watching the weather forecast for Sunday 10th March with particular interest.


17/02/2019 Blackheath

Our arrival today coincided with the southerly breeze freshening somewhat so we eventually decided on full vented 1.5s with mostly race frames after having tried full sail and mid vents as well. The breeze was mostly c11mph but often more and with just the occasional lull.

Full sunshine as well to the point that I was feeling that I had too many layers!

Six up so mostly called and accompanied flying today. Steve Reich, Pat Metheny: Electric Counterpoint had an airing as well as some of the team pieces from recent years.

We ended up with Steve Reich: Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards which at 21:42 was a bit long, but none the less, an interesting experiment.

Looks like I will be the one doing the Aarhus trip to collect the JMH kites. I am hoping that this can be arranged soon!


10/02/2019 Blackheath

A brief visit today as the weather forecast was not really very helpful. In the event a 15mph westerly breeze occasionally dropped off but there was a considerable wind chill, feeling as if it was only just above freezing point.

Occasional raindrops for most of the time until a settled band of rain arrived a bit before 1:00pm.

RSS kites again and it was noted how much 'lighter' these are compared to other high wind formats. The lack of gauze is a definite benefit especially in damp/wet conditions! There was some neat close uncalled flying with just the occasional kite contact.

The trailing edge of the band of rain abruptly gave way to sunny conditions back in Hackney.


03/02/2019 Blackheath

A light WSW breeze and mostly sunny session today.

Zens with green race and a couple of CR sails were eventually a bit overpowered but to start it must have been 4mph, if that, ending with 7 or 8mph, I guess!

Some excellent silent and close flying today along with relaxed called sequences and musical accompaniment.

It might have been good for the stacks but I was intent on checking out the 100m of 2.5mm diameter red sleeved spectra with the large JMH Rokakku and especially the line grips that arrived during the week. It may take a bit of practical experience to figure out the best way to get the grips to engage but they certainly take line handling to a different level.

It was a 'from the hand' launch of the 3m kite which is always amusing and while it might have been a bit risky the kite did handle the full line length and a walk down was required.


27/01/2019 Blackheath

Blustery, chilly NW breeze, probably 15 gusting 30mph. Mostly cloudy, just the occasional burst of sunshine.

RSS kites handled well, not too much of a struggle and of course dealt with the lulls. We noticed some pinching of the sails around the vertical spars which may have been due to the 'springs' being set on the inner of the spar rather than the outer side. Probably not of any importance but worth remembering if we decide not to use the springs...

Further work on the web site this last week as I found the coding for handling an image library. Pleased to be able to get a scaleable group of images all together with the option to isolate images in a 'new tab'.

Interesting to go back to some of the older images and find that the source prints really were not very good. Re-scanning is not an option so we'll just have to accept them as they are. A work in progress:-


20/01/2019 Blackheath

A hazy blue sky today, a light NNE breeze so dark glasses all round.

Zens with Green Race and a CR were not overpowered, 2-5mph probably!

I had wondered about putting up both JMH 8 stacks for a ‘photo-op’ but in the event we opted to spend time familiarising ourselves with the line settings for the 1.5 stack. Ideally I would want to have much finer steps than those on the provided leaders but today we started with the settings I had made in 9-10mph, put on much more brake and then stepped back to the starting position. Different fliers hold handles ‘differently’! Gripping the handles tightly, especially if they are held vertically, has a considerable impact, not that I actually spotted that particular aspect on the field today…

It ended up feeling quite warm even if the actual temperature was only 6-7C.


13/01/2019 Blackheath

A bit of a contrast to last Sunday, the wind still from the west but 15+ gusting 30+mph.

Very bright, almost sunny with a mix of thin high and lower cloud.

Full vent 1.5s were clearly overpowered so it was the RSS kites again. Even they felt like a bit of a handful in the higher gusts.

Still suffering from a lingering 'cold' which has the rest of my household in their beds today!

Portsmouth and Scarborough events are going ahead in 2019 and we have fliers lined up but not finalised.


06/01/2019 Blackheath

A bit of a struggle to get out today due to a lingering 'cold' that stopped me in my tracks on New Years Eve.

A light westerly breeze so Zens with green race, a great configuration. Landfall by Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet was a bit 'moody' but interesting to 'fly with'.

There was variable high cloud but that was doing nothing to stop the UV getting through. A very dark sunglass day.

We should be confirming Berck arrangements in the next day or so.

We will then be making arrangements for the JMH kites in Aarhus to be packed and road transported back to the UK. I am hoping to set up a weekend on Blackheath in March devoted to checking and test flying the kites, some of which are illustrated here:- on the linked pdf.


December 2023
Felix Mottram