Kite Blog


There is a possibility that meeting a small group for outside sports activity will be allowed again soon. The announcement may occur on Monday evening; tomorrow!

The Peter Malinski Hexagonal Train replacement sail is almost complete. Just the centre fitting to cut and drill and the main flying line attachments sewn. I'll then have to fit the split rings on this set of 24 sails. It will be a fiddly task but, I think, worth the effort long term for ease of attaching/detaching the tails on the field.

I am hoping to be able to get the 1992 Rev1/Zen project properly under way in the next week or so. Then we can wonder some more about the merits of using longer handles for the larger sails. I have always had to fly with more brake than many but can remember looping top lines around forefingers in order to maintain a required hover on occasions. Not a great place to be! The advantage of more brake for low wind flying did usually make up for it before longer handles were widely available.

Looking forwards to actual kite flying again soon!



An icy week was somewhat lifted by the invitation I received on the Monday morning to arrange an appointment for my first vaccine injection. Duly arranged for Friday morning a 10 minutes walk from home across London Fields and dispensed within a matter of minutes by one of about a dozen medics assisted by many others.

No cycling this week because of the ice...

The second set of the Peter Malinski Hexagonal Train are in better condition and only two pockets needed attention. There were, however, no split rings on the tail attachment loops. I have ordered more as I think that attaching/detaching the tails on the field will be very much easier if split rings are in place. I was interested to see the second signature sail at the back of the stack and also the single pilot kite attachment point. The connector rings to join the two stacks are quite substantial. I have drawn out the replacement sail fabric ready for the first cut-out and sewing steps. It is useful to have notes on hand from making the pilot sail.

I finished colouring up a full set of the Jørgen Møller Hansen 1992 Rev/Zen revised graphics to send to the team and have had some responses. I'll have to wait a few more days before re-contacting Revolution regarding this project. The full sized print has been dispatched to Martin Lester so that he can check it against the official profile.

While it may be many months before these projects are fully realised it is great to be steadily progressing from one detail to the next!



I took deliver of a 1992 Rev 2 sail on Monday 1st February after a search for a Rev 1 sail that has been progressing slowly since last May. The project was to get a set of the Jørgen Møller Hansen 1992 design re-made in the Zen format. I had not remembered that there might be a problem in re-creating the graphic as it had been somewhat compromised in the manufacturing process. Jacob duly advised that this was the case.

So with reference to the Rev 2 sail, the images that we have of the Rev 1 sail and a measured representation of the Zen profile I set about adapting the graphic to the revised format. It was slightly strange to be working with this design again as back in 1992 I had incorporated this kite into a design for the Decorators Pin.

On this occasion I started with vector graphic CAD software so that I could get the overall dimensions set. Using software as a complete beginner can be frustrating but I did eventually find how to draw an arc through three points! This was needed for the Zen leading edge. I switched to more familiar software to do the fill adjustments and sent a proof to Jacob to get his thoughts. I then did further adjustments, freehand, rather than measured.

I am arranging to get a full size print made to send to Martin Lester. There will probably be some further adjustment in respect of the Zen profile. I am very happy to deal with any final adjustments and then we will have a good proof image/pattern for the final manufacture.

It is now three years since the last group of sails were acquired. I hope that this project can be completed in time for team flying this year, (whenever that might be possible), alongside the Rokkaku sails that Jørgen made in 1992 for the Rok and Rev tour!

I did manage to fix the last two pockets on the 23 sails of the Malinski Hexagonal train during the week but also found that there was a sail missing. I will probably make a facsimile replacement as with the pilot kite.

The bicycle feels like new but today, Sunday, it has been snowing and the weather is due to stay wintery for much of the week. So no loss for kite flying today but the cycling will probably be on hold until next Saturday!



Another lockdown week has passed quite quickly as I did succeed in re-arranging the kite room and work on the first set of the Peter Malinski Hexagonal Train proceeded smoothly. There are just two more spar pockets to fix and two flying line attachments on one sail. Then I can move on to the second set.

I have to take the bicycle in for annual service this week. I have already discussed the work needed and I will have a complete new drive train in place by Wednesday all being well. As I cycle 5 or 6 days a week things do wear out so this is not a complete surprise.

I realised that I should update the kite events page and subject to the resolution of pandemic issues we might get to fly some kites 'in team' at formal events in 2021. I would certainly expect to do some more work with the JMH kites on Blackheath at some point. I also have a couple of volunteers to assist with the Peter Malinski Hexagonal Train in addition to the usual crew. We will have to get the initial flight done before making further plans for this kite!



Another lockdown Sunday and today the weather prevented a bicycle circuit. In younger days a sprinkling of snow would not be a deterrent but more recently slippery conditions are simply too difficult to handle.

I have sewn 50 'spar boot' pockets for the Peter Malinski Hexagonal Train and hope to start fitting them in the coming week. This will require some re-arrangement of the kite room and setting up a work surface with additional support for the bulk of the sails.

I had hoped to place a new order for spars and fittings with Metropolis Drachen but they are having to adjust their sales process due to Brexit. I hope that will be resolved soon and expect to have to pay tax on arrival in the UK.

Having re-configured part of the web site I have been working through images of trips to Japan in 2004 and 2007 which feature a couple of kite events. I'll hope to get pages up and running in some form soon.



Second Sunday in the lockdown and I did get out in the sunny conditions to do a near normal bicycle circuit. The parks were very busy so it was on the roads around Victoria Park. QE Park was busier than normal and the River Lea was fast moving although not as high as I have seen it.

The package of kite components arrived from Denmark during the week and the presence of two 1cm D-rings led to some speculation regarding the JMH 120 cell Expansible Box Kite from 1996. The D-rings in it are rusty but I had cleaned and waxed them hoping to keep them stable. The PVC tubing has not started to disintegrate yet but that is probably just a matter of time. Replacing 960 spar end fittings will be quite a challenge but it might be possible to replace the metal components with 'string' and save quite a bit of weight!

It is looking as if it will be another wet week so I may have extra time again for kite work or web site work in the coming days. I do have some trips to Japan to document but that may have to wait for 'retirement'!



Today was the first Sunday in the new lockdown and I did not get out on the cycle route as we had a Broadband and landline outage. An engineer called first thing this morning to check that access to the termination point was available!

During the week I received images of the Peter Malinski Hexagonal Train and we can now date it as 1987 or earlier. The images were from Sylt, Germany in spring 1987. I had started to look at the restoration issues and have purchased 10mm split rings in stainless steel for the tail fixing points and checked the tail configuration. More split rings and spring clips as used on early Revolution line sets and without swivels.

I have decided to make dacron 'spar boots' for repairing the spar pockets that have worn through. I'll sew a prototype soon and make a pattern for going into production. The boot will sit inside the spar pocket and be fixed at the front edge to the existing pocket fabric.

I finally got around to putting together the modern version of the Modell Deutsche Seewarte 1904. I don't know exactly why there was a problem when I last attempted this on Blackheath but I have now tape marked the main cross spar to avoid confusion.

The vertical sail tensioning lines seem to work very well and the whole construction is tight and light. I am puzzled by the spar fixing points as they seem very shallow. I will investigate further in due course.


03/01/2021 Blackheath

There was a bit of rain in the air on my way up to the Sun in the Sands junction but it had passed by the time I arrived on Blackheath.

The NNE breeze was light but steady 6 rather than 8mph but I didn't measure it. Full sail 1.5s with race rods were just right and we flew for an hour or so before the cold crept in to Martin's finger tips. He was more than ready to stop but was determined that it should not be his call.

I had taken the Hex Pilot kite that I made in 2019 and flew successfully last spring but was not inclined to get it any more 'muddy' than it is already. It was one of those days underfoot!

Berck will not be going ahead and I'm thinking that Cervia must be unlikely given the current state of the Pandemic. I would expect to hear about Dieppe sometime in March if not before so there should not be any great urgency to get a new passport now. My current one expires in August.


December 2020
Felix Mottram