watervole: (Default)
I've just been out flying my Revolution kite.  I did some flying with Rockwell666 on Saturday, but the wind was very light.  I was also crash-landing the kite for a large portion of the time...

Today, I thought I'd better reinforce what I'd managed to learn by getting out again quickly before my muscle memory forgot it all.  There was a light breeze, which strengthened until the kite was almost pulling me across the field!

I can get the kite to do spins now, and I'm getting much better at large sweeps from right to left.  In fact, I'm getting better at all the showy stuff.  However, the real test of skill with a Revolution kite is to see if you can keep it stationary in the sky.  At this, I failed dismally.   I tried to line it up with one particular cloud and ended up dipping and diving and swooping all directions in and out of it.

Why do you want to keep it still?  Well, if you've ever seen Revolution kite flying teams, you'll understand.  Kite ballet is a skilled art, and I'm only just starting to realise just how much skill is involved.  When you've half a dozen or more kites flying in tight formation (often wing tip to wing tip), then being able to hold a precise position is very important indeed.

Just try and figure how many strings are crossed over in the clip below!  Talk about precision - I've seen morris teams with worse lines than that (and they don't have to deal with the wind fluctuating).

Rockwell 666 and I hope to be able to perform a two person kite ballet some day.  I think we've both got some way to go...

REvolution kites have several advantages apart from manoeuvrability. Once you work out how to launch them properly (some clever tricks involving the strings and a tent peg), you don't need anyone else to launch them for you.  I've finally got this worked out now, and am even remembering to keep the tent peg in my pocket so that I'm ready if the kite crashes.

Mind you, a lot of the time, you can do a controlled landing - the kite sits upright on the ground, and you can launch again as soon as you want to, just by pulling the strings correctly.  It's a wonderful system.
watervole: (Default)
After having a great time at Portsmouth kite festival (and field-testing a kite I bought for my nephew) I came home determined to get my own kites out.

So, today being a sunny Bank Holiday (Hurrah!), [livejournal.com profile] waveney and I sallied forth to Badbury Rings (our local hill fort) and flew:

A delta-wing stunt kite I got from a charity shop last year - gave a lot of trouble initially, but finally I adjusted the angle of the bridle by taking in two of the strings a little and it was far more willing to go upwards after that.  A little trouble with one of the struts, but moving that around eventually improved things - flew well when we finally got it into the air and proved to be fantastic at power dives and large circles.

My old Firefly stunt kite (specially made for me many years ago as a present after a folk festival).  It's always flown fantistically and today was no exception.  It can turn on a sixpence.  Not so good at the power dives, but will do four tight turns in succession and still pull out successfully.  Works well both with and without a tail.  With the tail, you can play at letting it chase the end of its own tail.

Snowflake.  A sort of hexagonal box kite.  Needs a decent wind to get it airborne, but is very stable once aloft.

A pocket sled kite.  Can work fine, but I think the wind was too strong for it today as it zipped and dived all over the place and refused to get more than six feet off the ground before going into a total spin.

In short, I had a fantastic time and we laughed a lot, flew kites a lot and walked around the rings for a bonus.

watervole: (Default)
I went to Portsmouth Kite Festival this weekend with[profile] rockwell_666   Had a fabulous time. I love kites and here there were hundreds.  Everything from box kites flying high, supporting  giant inflatable teddy bears lower down, to tiers of kites flying in line.

Lots of single kites and inflatables and wind socks on kite lines and twirling wind socks, and flying octupusses and fish and birds and kites of every colour, shape and size.

However, my favourite was the kite ballet.  I'd never seen kite ballet before, never even knew it existed.  The clip below isn't from Portsmouth, but gives you a pretty good idea of what the display was like.

I want a revolution kite!  (That's the kind they use for the ballet)  They have four strings and a control handle for each hand.  They can fly up, down, upside-down and sideways with an amazing degree of control.  The only snag is that they cost around £200 new.

I rather fancy this one  - I wonder if I could get my relatives to club together for my next birthday?  (I did take a quick peek on ebay, but there's nothing second-hand there right now)


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Judith Proctor


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