Kite Blog

27/12/2105 Blackheath  

There was a bit of drizzle in the air on the way to Blackheath but it stayed dry for a while on arrival.

C20 mph from the SW again with similar temperatures to last week. We started with full vented and race rods but switched to four wrap. This felt a bit rigid and on reflection I would have preferred Xtra Vents and race.

It is time to start making arrangements for the 2016 events. I will have to make some difficult decisions all too soon about the time I will be able to take away from work for Berck and Cervia...

Felix  

20/12/2015 Blackheath  

It was a showery SW airstream today with un-seasonally high temperature of c14 centigrade again.

Full vented 1.5s with a variety of race rods and 3 wrap felt comfortable.

Some called moves today along with plenty of close freeflying.

Lots of sky-scapes including the one I have attached to this message.

We'll probably fly next Sunday and then New Years Day just because...

Felix  

13/12/2015 Blackheath  

Very wet underfoot this morning under a low almost featureless cloud ceiling except for a slight brightening to the south early on. 3mph Easterly breeze so full 1.5 sails with diamond rods were mostly smooth and precise even with a bit of movement required on the ground.

The wet lines did occasionally 'lock up' but that was mostly transitional and there were only a couple of accidental landings.

No calls today but a lot of close interactive flying. As ever the potential 'figures' were quite remarkable. Changing pace was the one aspect that stood out particularly today.

Apparently it is ten years since, on Blackheath, I watched the approaching 'black cloud' from north of London and wondered why the sunlight was not turning it white...

Felix  

06/12/2015 Blackheath  

Arrived at about 11:00am. 14 degrees celcius, wind from the SW about 18mph gusting to 30. The lulls gradually stretched with 10mph or less occurring more frequently.

Xtra Vents with 4 wrap were fine to start. Close, slow, not called moves worked well with a few formal sequences.

Berck, Cervia, Portsmouth, Bristol, Exmouth and Dieppe are on the agenda for 2016. We will confirm events in due course.

Felix  

29/11/2015 Blackheath  

The forecast was not very optimistic but we did make the journey 'just in case'.

Arrived later than usual and the wind was much as predicted, mostly 25mph with gusts up to 38-40. Xtra Vents with 4wrap were OK most of the time and as at South Shields the other year we decked the kites during the stronger sustained gusts.

There were a few moments of 'brightness' and the contrast between buildings and sky to the south was somewhat remarkable. The occasional squally shower eventually sent us packing early but it was surprising how localized the rain was. North of the river, at least in Hackney, it had remained dry.

Felix  

22/11/2015 Blackheath  

While it was only about 3 degrees centigrade in the shade the light c3mph NW breeze and the clear sky meant that it did not feel too cold on the Heath today.

Full 1.5 sails with diamond rods were mostly fine for free flying. Holding the diagonals for team moves did occasionally prove difficult but we did persevere to some degree. I didn't actually wear gloves but that was probably because I had taken serious measures to avoid getting cold; lots of layers!

Conversationally we realized that in the past we would have been flying the Zens in today's conditions but our current preference was for the smaller kite which could move more quickly in light conditions, if needed.

Even so we will be pursuing our project to get some JMH sails made in the Zen format for the occasions when a 'big' presentation is needed. We will probably go back to using longer lines as well for the bigger sails. We took up the 120ft standard so as to be able to 'fit in' with the 1.5 Mega Fly project.

Felix  

15/11/2015 Blackheath  

11:00 am on the Heath with a strong SW breeze, Mostly cloudy with occasional breaks of sun or views of blue sky. Still unseasonably warm so no gloves yet!

Xtra Vented kites mostly with race rods only occasionally felt over stressed.

No calls again with only the occasional touch disturbing the sequences. Sometimes the kites overlap without touching...

Exmouth is now the last weekend of August in 2016 so we should be able to muster a full team. I'm still waiting to hear about work commitments for the last weekend in April 2016. Looks like I will not be able to do the full Cervia again!

Felix

 

08/11/2015 Blackheath  

A bit of a late start today. Local road closures in Hackney and post fireworks cleaning on Blackheath might have interfered with our plans but on the day were not an issue.

The southerly breeze today was fairly consistent and not as strong as forecast so it was full vented with race rather than xtra vents.

Plenty of no call rolling moves today and some patterns are becoming evident. I'm particularly interested in a 'stalled' follow where the lead kite travels the full distance but the following kites take a shorter route while matching the figure.

The starlings were performing on the heath today with the gulls adding a less defined spectacle. The geese were evident underfoot and provided a fly past gaining altitude when crossing our grounded lines.

Felix  

01/11/2015 Blackheath  

The fog was even more dense on Blackheath than in Hackney or 'en route'. The grass was saturated again but 'new boots' were effective <grins>

There was a slight N or NNE breeze so setting up was not too difficult but the wet line magic was in place again.

Occasionally the disk of the sun was just about visible but the church spire was beyond the 'cotton wool' environment.

It was a fairly energetic fly today.

Getting home was a bit tedious as the tunnel was backed up to 'Sun in the Sands' for no apparent reason. The sun was breaking through on the final approach to the tunnel with Canary Wharf emerging into view.

Felix  

25/10/2015 Blackheath  

There was no discernable air movement when we arrived on Blackheath today. The grass was dew saturated and the boots that I thought were on their last legs almost a year ago finally leaked.

We set up with diamond rods in the assumed direction of the breeze with the usual magic wrapping of wet lines. I actually had to add more brake to get a comfortable grip on the little air movement that was occasionally evident. The 9 degrees Celcius did not feel 'cold' at all...

Ashley did call a few sequences but mostly we were working on keeping the kites in the air with no enthusiasm for 360s. That would have been too much like hard work. As the air was moving from the SW there was a limit to forward movement as well. Best not to overfly the road <grins>

Felix  

18/10/2015 Blackheath  

I was a bit late arriving on Blackheath today. Maybe it was in anticipation of the clocks changing next weekend. The daily homebound cycle ride commute is already almost completely dark...

The anticyclonic spell continues so there was a light NE breeze mostly good for full sails and Race frames.

Some good 'no call' interaction with the kites close in the sky and we had complimentary remarks from one of the Sunday footballers.

Talk was about impending change at the 'office' and the possibility of a 'meet' during the winter months. The gamble with the weather makes for a difficult call especially as we have been lucky in the past. Mostly it will depend on the enthusiasm of potential participants <grins>

Felix

 

11/10/2015 Blackheath  

Another sunny anticyclonic autumn day today as the remains of a hurricane dissipated over Portugal. The easterly breeze was less than forecast earlier in the week and was about 7-15 mph.

Full vented and race frames felt mostly relaxed except when attempting to stack the kites in the air when it was a bit light...

At least this year we did get to fly on the OSOW date. Jade had put up a selection of SLKs to mark the day before we arrived and they mostly stayed aloft with only the occasional tangle...

I was intent on investigating an un-equal line length and made and then un-made some adjustments realizing that the bridle of the kite that I was flying may actually be at fault. That is, of course, quite apart from any 'learned' ability to compensate most of the time. <grins>

Felix  

04/10/2015 Blackheath  

On arrival at 10:30am the sky was cloud free and there was a very light southerly breeze.

Conditions were just right to follow on from last weekend and to try and see if we could really feel the difference between the diamond and green race verticals. The simple answer is that we could but that once the windspeed was making the diamond frames 'feel' fragile there was no reason not to switch.

This obviously follows for stronger winds making the green race rods in vented sails 'feeling' fragile compared to the more relaxed feel on switching to the 4 wrap option.

Curiously, while on the field today I remembered an Autumn day last year when it was almost t-shirt weather like today. On checking I find that it was Sunday 5th October 2014. It seems that the weather was not so good on the following weekend last year. We did not fly...

I would expect to be on Blackheath next weekend for OSOW but that will, as ever, depend on the weather <grins>

Felix  

28/09/2015 After Vienna  

It was very wet in Vienna on Friday afternoon and there was the prospect of further rain on Saturday morning. A quick stroll to St. Stephens, and after that, a pause for coffee and cake set the tone very well indeed, especially for Saturday when the hospitality was almost overwhelming...

It was occasionally damp on Saturday morning but six fliers set up with the JMH re-made sails and stress tested the diamond rods again in the light but occasionally gusty NW breeze. After snapping one vertical we decided to swap them to green race leaving the Diamond leading edge. This felt like a much stronger option and we will have to compare the configurations closely in lighter conditions.

Sunday was brighter, occasionally full sunshine and after a 'fliers breakfast' on the site we set about further developing various flying sequences. There were more visitors to the site than on Saturday but most were actively flying kites rather than 'spectating'.

It was a late flight back to London but after the train from Gatwick, Blackfriars to home was relatively quick on the night bus...

Felix

   

20/09/2015 Blackheath  

A ridge of high pressure had arrived to provide a dry weekend just when we needed one. Bright sun and a light slightly variable breeze from the SW so full 1.5 sails with various flavors of race rods.

It seemed as if every time Ashley decided to call some moves the breeze dropped out or shifted but despite that we did run through some of the longer team sequences nominally in preparation for next weekend, of course!

We had to prepare the flight box for the Vienna event with a lower weight limit than we have managed previously. This turned out to be easier than anticipated as we are only going to be six fliers and apart from the Xtra Vents we will only be carrying JMH sails.

Just need to finalize the transport logistics now...

Felix

   

13/09/2015 Olympic Park  

Today was one of those where nothing quite works. Blackheath was off limits because of a music event. Our fall back site at the north end of the Olympic Park was, we found, all too late also unavailable due to an event yesterday. There was a slight breeze on the remaining 'lawn' but little room to manoeuver.

We could have gone to the east end of Victoria Park but somehow the prospect of finding a route home around Hackney Carnival put paid to that as well. Some times it's best just to 'go with the flow'.

We should be back on Blackheath next weekend and will have to prepare the kit for the Vienna event the following weekend...

Felix

   

06/09/2015 Blackheath  

We did a brief detour to Stratford station today so arrived on the heath just after 11:00am. No breeze at all to start with so we set up 1.5 sails with diamond rods assuming a SW wind direction.

On taking off I quickly found that there was air movement from the NW, that being the forecast direction, but it remained intermittent and light.

High cloud was moving from the NW and eventually cleared to blue sky but the cumulus clouds then established quickly.

There is a music event on Blackheath next weekend so we will probably try the QE park. We will also have to negotiate the Hackney carnival which takes place close to home on Sunday afternoon.

Felix  

30/08/2015 Blackheath  

We flew the new 1.5 JMH sails on 100ft lines for a short while on Saturday in a light southerly breeze at the Aquarius event. Jacob then had to go and play his set with Jonah's Raft. By the time he came back onto the flying field the rain had set in and wet lines and kites were not going to work.

Today on Blackheath there was a consistent Easterly breeze, about 6 – 7 mph under featureless grey cloud cover. After the disappointing conditions over the last few weeks it was a real pleasure to 'free fly' the kites without having to work too hard.

Some urgently needed 'kite drying' and a little further 'spar swapping' had the team kite sets arranged ready for Vienna at the end of September. We should get to Blackheath next weekend but the one after we will be elsewhere, maybe the Olympic Park.

Felix  

23/08/2015 After Bristol  

We arrived on Friday afternoon at the new site and set up the vented JMH 1.5 sails with 4 wrap as the wind was blustery. At ground level, though, there was often very little consistency and it was difficult to lift the sails. All rather frustrating!

Saturday was very warm and the southerly breeze was often very light. Our first team demo opened the event at 11:00am and this was flown with Rev 1s with our standard 4 and 3 wrap configuration to music selected by the 'event'.

We switched to 1.5 sails with diamond rods later and eventually attempted a mini mega fly with TFS but at the allotted time the breeze basically failed completely. Light wind flying often involves very little physical feedback down the lines and so 'crossed line' can prove to be 'fatal'.

The weather forecast for Sunday was not promising and after raining all morning heavy showers followed close behind the 'front' that passed soon after 1:00pm. We noticed the temperature shift and the change in the wind direction as the 'front' passed over.

The public attendance on Saturday looked very good but obviously was minimal on Sunday. Hopefully the auction on Saturday night will help prospects for the event in 2016...

Felix

 

17/08/2015 After Portsmouth  

It was very wet on Friday afternoon when we arrived in Portsmouth but the weather on Saturday was good.

We had a film crew in tow on Saturday morning and our warm up session was interrupted by the researcher phoning wanting to know where we were! The preparation for our first demo went quite smoothly considering that we had the full crew trailing us onto the field and asking questions 'on camera'. We had to deal with an abrupt wind shift during the first track but the second one was better... flying both to music that was 'rights cleared' according to the production company.

We started on full sails with green race but switched to diamonds at the end of the afternoon.

Sunday started bright but the cloud gradually thickened. Breezes were light so arena presentations were challenging though we mostly succeeded.

The event seemed at least as busy as it had been on the August Bank Holiday weekends in the past with possibly more 'public' flying taking advantage of the extra space previously occupied by the circus and funfair.

Bristol next weekend and we are still hoping that the new 1.5 sails will arrive in time...

Felix  

09/08/2015 Blackheath  

Mostly clear blue sky on arrival c11:30am today.

Light SW breezes so full 1.5 sails with race rods. Typical summer breeze so no consistency in strength or direction. Making the best of it free flying was fine but putting the five kites into formal team figures was just tedious.

Cloud cover eventually arrived from the NW with some curious 'lenticular like' features.

No news on the sails but we are all set for the next few weekends away from Blackheath

Felix  

02/08/2015 Blackheath  

A bright start to the day but a sports event meant that the Blackwell tunnel was closed first thing in the morning so there were a few anxious moments looking for confirmation that the route was clear before setting off.

A light southerly breeze switched direction and strength periodically but 1.5 full sails on race and diamond were OK. I realized that one issue with the diamond frame is that it is possible to fly the kite 'out of the wind window' to the point that a reviving breeze will flip the sail. It really is unlikely that recovery will be possible in these circumstances...

We hope to have new 1.5 sails ready for next weekend and then we have Portsmouth, Bristol and a slightly formal event in London to see us through August.

Felix  

19/07/2015 Blackheath  

The overnight front that had shown thickening high cloud on Saturday evening was still just evident retreating to the SE as we arrived on Blackheath. We had a period of mostly clear sky before the cumulus set in but there were some curious lenticular clouds to the NE in the meantime.

The westerly breeze was variable, mostly towards 20mph but often dropping to 10mph or less so we were flying Xtra vents with race rods mostly.

Not really conditions suitable for team flying so we made no effort in that direction. We'll be at Portsmouth and then Bristol during August so plenty of team flying coming up soon.

Felix  

12/07/2015 Blackheath  

Morning rain interrupted our routine last week and threatened the same today. It did, apart from a few spots, hold off and so it was 1.5 vented sails with green race which were just occasionally a little over powered under a grey sky.

The heath was looking very brown apart from the plaintain plants but we avoided any significant snags during an informal flying session.

In the scheme of things the breeze which was around 15-17mph was just a bit too strong for the sail/spar configuration, we might have gone to four wrap but somehow that did not happen. I note that a few weeks ago we had opted for the Xtra vents in a very slightly higher wind speed. The incremental steps are the interesting ones...

Felix  

28/06/2015 Blackheath  

Driving towards Blackheath from Hackney it was apparent that the early morning sunshine was being overtaken by dense high cloud approaching from the north west.

The WSW breeze was fairly consistent under the scenic grey sky with only the occasional slow developing lulls. Standard vented 1.5 sails with race rods were just right with very slow 'pulls' taking the kite to its maximum forward speed. This may actually be my personal definition of ideal 'kite/wind speed' match.

Eventually the forecast rain did arrive, chilly drops from the high altitude source, so we wrapped early. Next week Blackheath has a 'Pink Ribbon' running event so we may just take a break and go to http://www.sydenhamarts.co.uk/event/festival-in-the-forest/ instead.

Felix  

21/06/2015 Blackheath  

A late start for me today, I arrived on the heath at about 11:30 am.

The breeze was basically from the west and some of the time it was about 17mph. Xtra Vents were the kite of choice and by default 4 wrap spars. It soon became evident that these were too heavy during the persistent lulls so we switched to Race Rods. Temperatures were sometimes summerlike but the thick broken cloud kept everything variable, including the wind direction in a typical summer Blackheath manner.

The swifts were performing low down today sometimes circling our position with dizzying speed, other times high aloft in their more familiar location.

Felix

 

14/06/2015 Blackheath  

While other sites might have been in the low clouds today the drizzle mostly held off on Blackheath but the temperature was not summerlike. The mown grass reflected a normal season, as in somewhat brown, but the low grey clouds suggested an entirely different time of year!

The northerly breeze mostly held up the 1.5 vented sails with green race and was good for 'low wind' flying in that respect.

Last year we travelled north in mid August and the conditions were Xtra vent windy. We may plan another such trip this year but maybe a couple of weekends earlier as the Portsmouth and Bristol events have shifted to earlier dates. Watch this space!

Felix  

07/06/2015 Basingstoke  

Etienne and Veronique Veyres put a small bamboo and paper kite into the Cervia auction which I bought. Pauline and Frances very kindly agreed to transport it back to the UK and Basingstoke was the earliest venue where we could meet so today we didn't fly on Blackheath but arrived at the Basingstoke event just before midday.

There was a light variable breeze and as there was no designated space apart from the demonstration arena we limited our flying efforts to a short session with CR sails with race spars. I immediately recognized the need for longer handles, if not longer lines, there was not 'enough' reverse for 'gliding downwind'. We were flying our standard 120ft lines with the usual handles for 1.5 sails.

The next two weekends are short ones for me, Saturday working, but I am sure that we will get to Blackheath as usual...

Felix

 

31/05/2015 After Exmoth  

Driving west out of London on a sunny late May evening can be a bit dazzling. Turning left at Bristol was a relief!

The slightly re-modelled Exmouth site was the venue for a complete presentation of the team kit, from 1.5 diamond framed to xtra vents with 4 wrap spars.

Along the way we did fly the JMH vented kites with diamond frames which were really OK at about 17mph but we lost a vertical at about 24mph. <grins>

We were mostly six fliers. The northern contingent had to catch a train soon after 3:00pm on Sunday so the final presentation was four fliers with the xtra vents. It was a neat conclusion to an instructive weekend's flying...

Felix  

24/05/2015 Blackheath  

A lighter westerly breeze today and given a level of variability it was difficult to choose the most appropriate sail. Mid vent was about right and race rods made sense but full sail and full vented were also in the mix.

Rowan was back on the line today after the conclusion of the university examination season. We did a couple of runs through Plan B – A as a five person team.

Next weekend is Exmouth so logistics were part of the discussion today as well as shuffled line sets.

Felix  

17/05/2015 Blackheath  

Another somewhat blustery WSW airstream today and although it was mostly sunny there was a chill to the air which felt a bit unusual for the middle of May.

Vented 1.5s with green race today. The closest that I got to re-visiting the longer lines was to locate them in the kite bags. We were still shuffling old line sets after the Cervia event and it was good to find another set of 'close knotted' leaders that I had forgotten about. Although it is fairly trivial to prepare a set I have not got a 'tying jig' set up so every pair is 'unique'.

We had some discussion today about the 'fast forward' set-up of the kites as configured by Revolution. I am always bemused by the need to add brake for high wind and also for low wind conditions ;-) I must get some more time with the longer handles on the Rev 1 just to square the circle...

Felix

 

10/05/2015 Blackheath  

The Hackney ½ Marathon meant that there was only one route out this morning which happens to coincide with the way to Blackheath more or less.

A bright morning with a southerly breeze that was mostly just enough for 1.5 vented kites with race rods. A brief team demo for an 'interested' passer by was all the formal flying that we did today.

Re-organising line sets, handles and de-sanding kites was a priority as we get set for the UK based events during the summer. Exmouth is next followed by Portsmouth and Bristol.

Having put some time in on the 100ft lines at Cervia it may be interesting to re-visit the 150ft lines with the Zens in the next couple of weekends, paired of course, with the 'even longer handles'. <grins>

Felix  

04/05/2015 After Cervia  

I travelled to Cervia on Wednesday 29th April arriving in time for some late afternoon flying. Four full days followed with varying conditions, the highlight day being Saturday 2nd May when the onshore breeze started early and firmed up sufficiently for a very well received arena performance towards the end of the afternoon.

Along the way we entertained the local audience and ourselves at the north end of the festival site.

The invited fliers from 'up north' contributed to this event as well as an Italian 'ringer' and there were plenty of other fliers who were keen to join the line. Team 4 Fun were also in attendance and so a 16 flier grid was flown on Thursday 30th April.

A great event all in all and we hope to be back next year with a full team line-up, the same for Berck...

Felix  

26/04/2015 Olympic Park/QE Park  

Blackheath was unavailable today because of the London Marathon so we met at the north end of the park just to the west end of the cycle circuit. There is a small area of 'lawn grass' rather than the plantain infested area that we had used previously and as line preparation was on the agenda this was the better site.

It just happened that the NE breeze meant that the limited space between the rows of saplings was just viable.

I ran out a new set of lines and topped them with a new set of leaders with ¼ inch steps.

I am looking forward to joining the rest of the team in Cervia on Wednesday afternoon. We will be eight fliers for the final weekend of the event which we have not managed for a number of years now. After last weekend in Berck this will be a very good start to the year!

Felix  

23/04/2015 After Berck Plage  

We had a slightly scrambled departure from London on Friday 17th but convened at 'Mister Bed' in Rang de Fliers for a late evening 'picnic'.

We were on the beach well ahead of 'opening time' at the tent on Saturday 18th but did take a break to register and pick up the 'tickets'...

The first two days we were concentrating on the eight person team with two 'ringers' from up north. They fitted in really well and we had some great flying in the slightly tricky 'off the town' breezes.

We had a reduced line-up for the last two days but were focused on re-configuring a four person routine into a five person variation which eventually resolved really well even if we did not manage to fly it in a final arena presentation due to a dramatic wind shift.

We also took time in the last two days to work with the 'Berck Mega Team process' and although conditions did not allow any spectacular arena presentations it is evident that the fliers are capable, in the main, of adapting to fairly extreme demands in terms of position and orientation provided there is a clear structural objective!

Four days of sunny Berck <grins>

Felix  

12/04/2015 Blackheath  

By contrast to last weekend it was a strong south westerly airstream today, mostly 18-20 mph with occasional lulls. Xtra vents with four wrap just occasionally felt a bit heavy but a little bit of ground work and some long arm transitions kept the kite in place for me. Once again, the avoidance of obstruction to free movement was apparent...

Mostly free flying today with a few 'not so neat' encounters. All down to the temperament of the flier on the day!

We are off to Berck next weekend and then the lucky 'forward group' get to travel to Italy on Thursday 23rd for the Cervia event. We will eventually be an eight person team for the final Cervia weekend, all being well.

Felix  

05/04/2015 Blackheath  

Light easterly breeze, occasionally fading to nothing, so 1.5 sails and diamond rods were appropriate today.

As checking kites was on the agenda today we used the downtime productively. Most of the 2008 JMH sails need a bit of sewing attention at the leading edge fold line but nothing too dramatic. We reshuffled spars as well and find that we have just what we need in the diamond and green race options for the team kites!

As the Easter Circus had occupied the northern part of our usual flying area we had set up on the opposite side of the road to the east which is lower than the road and changes the sound of the traffic which is never far away on Blackheath.

The light wind meant that for me it was finger tips on the handles, no grip, and very long arms with a mental note about avoiding any obstruction to free movement. <grins>

Felix  

29/03/2015  

Heavy rain this morning with 24/48 mph was not conducive to flying so we'll have to make up next weekend with a possible extra day for checking kites ahead of the Berck, Cervia and Exmouth events.

The last two days when Sunday flying was not sensible were in November so it has been a 'good' winter by all accounts!

Felix  

22/03/2015 Blackheath  

It was a sunny start to the day but the cloud had very few breaks from c11:00am on the heath.

The NE breeze was consistently variable settling for minutes on end at anything from 7 to 15 mph. Given that the temperature was only about 8C moving around to cope with the lighter wind moments seemed the best option so it was 1.5 Vented sails with green race today.

Flying slow demands even more flier input, some of it very energetic, compared to the slow movement of the kite. Long arms with handles horizontal certainly worked for me today especially with horizontal passes and 'thrown' stops which are a bit similar to the two line practice and certainly familiar to the single line flier.

Felix  

15/03/2015 Blackheath  

Anticyclonic murk again today with Blackheath having it's own cap of low cloud that threatened rain.

The east/north easterly breeze was lighter than forecast, about 7mph gusting up to about 12mph occasionally. Standard 1.5 sails with mostly green race rods were only occasionally overpowered.

Some neat free flying today, plenty of varied pace and related large and small moves which make the standard 'team' flying moves look a bit bland by comparison. The challenge is going to be finding a way to formalize the moves that are happening spontaneously...

The good thing about 'team' flying as opposed to 'free' flying is that it is a bit more demanding on the ground so good for keeping warm. Today we ended in the inevitable shower with the prospects looking a bit grim to the north east, very grey.

Felix  

08/03/2015 Blackheath  

It was a clear blue sky except for a bank of cloud out to the west just after 10:00am on Blackheath today. The temperature was well into double figures Centigrade and the wind c10mph from the SW.

Initially I set up a full sail 1.5 with the white race rods but eventually decided that it was a bit too much like hard work and so switched to a full vented with green race. Along the way I noticed that for holding the full sail left or right facing the difference in 'hand position' pulling the top of the sail 'closer' was about six inches. By comparison the much more comfortable configuration in the same wind speed with the full vented the displacement was about twelve inches.

In both instances I was holding the handles horizontally at thigh level (arms straight down) in order to maximize flexibility on the ground and provide positive or negative input to the effective wind speed as required. The transition here does not need to be abrupt, just moving forwards as the opportunity arises as if flying in very low wind conditions.

Felix  

01/03/2015 Blackheath  

Mostly sunny but with broken clouds driven by a close to westerly breeze that was mostly fluctuating in the mid 20s but with occasional long gusts at or above 30mph so did not exactly make for comfortable flying today.

Xtra Vents with 4 wrap were the only option. We decided against setting up the new lines to 'stretch them in'! Interesting to note that the last time we had to take breaks when flying this set-up was back in August at Southshields. It has been a quiet winter and we have not had snow on Blackheath yet, either...

Only free flying today but given the conditions there was plenty of close flying. We stopped early today, not so much because of the weather but just because we were 'ahead' and there was no damage <grins>

Felix  

22/02/2015 Blackheath  

The very thin high cloud was only just obscuring the sun but was effectively filtering any perceived warming effect. As the weather front was approaching the high cloud thickened and eventually a band of lower cloud rolled in.

The forecast c18mph breeze from the SW was reasonably consistent so Xtra Vents with race were only occasionally underpowered.

I really enjoy applying 'low wind' techniques in high wind conditions without getting 'arm ache' from struggling to hold on to the kite so conditions were good today for some occasional slo-mo flying especially slow, on the spot, rotations.

Mostly free flying today but we ended with another organized session picking up on some Cervia moves including a 'rotation transition' and some neat 'arc' flying in pairs and as four. (Xtra Vents in Cervia does of course sound a bit unlikely!)

Felix  

15/02/2105 Blackheath  

Anticyclonic murk gradually gave way to brighter moments with a light and then lighter variable easterly breeze. We started with full 1.5 sails and race rods but as the airflow slowed we had to switch to the diamond rods.

Nothing too elaborate on the flying front today but some interesting 'counter point' flying and some reasonably tight low wind following made for a sense of achievement anyway.

A couple of 'passers by' introduced themselves as 'representatives' of The Blackheath Society and said that they had noted our regular presence on the heath and were appreciative of our use of the site. It is interesting to make this connection after so many years.

New 120ft line sets are now ordered for the 2015 events. We just need to finalise arrangements for the UK events, Exmouth, Portsmouth and Bristol.

Felix

   

08/02/2015 Blackheath  

A mostly smooth c7mph NW breeze and limited convection/relief cloud had us somewhat dazzled but at least slightly warmed today with full 1.5 sails and standard race rods.

The consistency of wind speed really does have a major impact and today, I would say, that there was a gradual increase through the session which meant that the sails were slightly over powered at the end. Along the way though we saw some spontaneous in line stops and inverse pendulums. That's always a good indicator of 'treacle' flying... Likewise, the rolling ball when it really works!

A run through of Plan B and one of the Cervia 'Dosy – Linear Rotation' sequences also featured today with occasional passing but minimal audiences.

The 14>th March is a fallback weekend but we may have to resort to Easter for the warm-up event. That is when we will be doing the full kit inspection anyway...

Felix  

01/02/2015 Blackheath  

A blustery NW airstream kept a cloud cap on the heath today with tantalizing glimpses of clear blue sky to the NW. The sun almost broke through on a couple of occasions, not that it would have made much difference to the wind chill.

Xtra vents with 4 wrap mostly were a bit of a handful in the lulls but the long arm horizontal handles of light wind technique filled the gaps for me and the physical activity helped in keeping warm...

As Berck and Cervia are organized we need to arrange a March event to get the fliers 'up-to-speed' so I am looking at the weekends of 21st or 28th March and searching for a suitable venue. Hopefully suggestions will now come rolling in. <grins>

Felix  

25/01/2015 Blackheath  

Broken cloud, light SW breeze 5-6mph so full 1.5 sails with diamond rods worked OK until the breeze firmed up and we decided that changing spars would be too much effort <grins>

Discussion today was about 'precise' stops assisted by vigorous throwing forwards of the handles rather than applying brake through 'wrist' adjustments. All good in my view and precisely in line with the 'fighter kite' sensibility! There is plenty of room for adjustment as well given the 'full arm' possibilities for the next step. I'm thinking that 'throwing away' the sail pressure will actually reduce the turbulence that may affect following kites...

We need to resolve issues regarding Berck but hope to have a full 8 team in place for the first weekend with a team presence for the Monday and Tuesday as well.

Felix  

18/01/2015 Blackheath  

The cloud was breaking as we left Hackney this morning and for a brief spell on Blackheath there was 'full on' sunshine. As the light wind was from the North it was a bit bright!

Full 1.5 sails with mostly diamond rods, the green race were occasionally just a bit heavy apparently.

Some impressive free flying today with the occasional called sequences for the amusement of passers by.

With a little help from our friends Cervia is set and flights mostly booked. Berck logistics are in hand and will be finalised soon. We hope to arrange a 'warm up' event in the UK ahead of these two events. Maybe the Easter weekend if not before. <grins>

Felix  

11/01/2015 Blackheath  

Bright and breezy from the SW at about 20mph most of the time so Xtra Vents and 4 wrap mostly only occasionally let down by lulls.

Mostly called today including a run through Plan A or was it B?

I hope to finalise arrangements for Berck and Cervia in the next few days. It is always an anxious moment waiting to hear back from all the fliers in order to be able to put proposals to the event organisers!

Felix  

04/01/2015 Blackheath  

It was very murky on the heath today, wet underfoot and in the air but no actual precipitation. 3C and a light SW breeze so it was 1.5 sails with mostly diamond rods.

Five fliers so there were some called moves but nothing too energetic. <grins>

We are getting the 2015 event schedule arranged and note the changed Portsmouth dates announced today, 15th and 16th August.

Felix  

November 2018
Felix Mottram