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  • FAST Museum trip

    Sunday 22nd February, and whilst most of our active membership headed off to Sellinge to brave whatever the weather threw at them, a couple of us headed down to Farnborough for a tour of the Air Sciences Trust museum, arranged by Roy Martin of the Kite Weekenders.

    We met at 10am on a cold but dry morning and started with coffee in the trusts tea rooms. Tea and coffee are free, but they welcome donations! Warmed up a bit, we were then given a very interesting talk on the trust's history and aims. The trust was originally created in order to rescue buildings that were scheduled for sale by the site's then military owners, and they were fortunate to be able to obtain listed status for three wind tunnels, some balloon sheds and of course the main museum building.

    Founded in 1993, the trust is housed in Trenchard House, the original Royal Flying Corps headquarters, and our talk was given in Trenchard's original office. After the talk we were taken to the Cody Pavillion, a structure built to house a replica of Cody's flyer, and were given a brief talk on Cody's history. Following that, we were taken round some of the static aircraft on display, stopping off to see the hydrogen and atom bombs resting in their racks. All aircraft on site were experimental, hence their presence here, as the museum is a monument to Farnborough's part in aeronautical development.  Then it was into the relative warmth of Trenchard House again to look at the internal exhibits, including an original Whittle jet engine and lots of wind tunnel models. The museum exhibit is fairly small, however, FAST have maintained the whole of the documented engineering reports and images from all tests carried out at Farnborough, all of which are available to the public. Again, entry to the museum is free of charge, though they do ask for donations in order to pay for the upkeep, as they receive no public funds.

    To close our visit, we headed to the Gloster pub for a very welcome lunch.

  • Old Skool Sport Kite Afternoon

    On Sunday, most people decided to head to Woodchurch village green to fly. This is a very pretty location, but unfortunately it does suffer from a certain amount of turbulence and no wind at ground level. I felt I needed a sports kite fix so I decided to head off to Camber to take advantage of some clean wind.

    So arriving at Camber in reasonable sun, the wind was light and offshore and the tide was in, which limits the available space, so off to the KitKat cafe for a lunch of ham, egg and chips to come out to see the tide beginning to ebb. I decided I would go "old skool" so out came a Prism Fanatic. If my memory serves me correctly, this was the first Prism kite I ever bought, and it has had a few moments as a lawn dart before now, so the sail is showing some wear and tear, more tear than wear in a couple of places at the nose. Also, one of the bottom spreaders was showing signs of a small crack appearing. Fortunately it is at the centre end, and as they fit into an external joiner, I decided to risk it, and it held up quite well. Must break out the superglue and fix both the sail and the spreader.

    I spent a couple of hours re-acquainting myself with this fabulous little kite. I could have done with a little more breeze just to drive it forwards a little better. I had the kite rigged for its lightest wind setting - bridle right up and standoffs right in, but it was still struggling. And the wind was horribly lumpy coming off the dunes. Skimming the surf was something I've not done for years, and you could tell as the kite took a couple of baths. The kite is pretty unforgiving when tricking. There are a lot of bits on the trailing edge to trap sagging lines. You have to give just enough slack to allow the kite to roate fully, but too much and a wrap is almost inevitable. But the afternoon was bright and great fun, and its been a long time since we visited Camber as a club. Must go back again soon. Maybe I'll have a Prism afternoon - Eclipse, E2, I2K, Quantum Pro, Elixir, Vapor, Ozone and Zephyr are all hiding in my bag somewhere, along with a stack of Nexuses (Nexi?).

  • Saying goodbye to a friend

    Today was in some ways a sad day, but in other ways a happy day.

    Today we said goodbye to our dear friend, and mentor to many kite flyers, Ron Dell. Whilst the occasion is sad, we were able to celebrate his life, humour, love and passion for kites, with a group of friends. There were many reminiscences of the happy days spent with Ron and Pat on kite fields in many different parts of the county. Ron was responsible for much of the kiting activity in Kent, having organised Teston Kite Festival twice a year, Kites over Capstone, Kites over Kent, etc., etc. So it was fitting that Kent Kite Flyers had a superb turnout to celebrate our friendship with a wonderful man.

    Whilst we may be poorer as a result of Ron's passing, Heaven is probably a happier place today. 

  • Flying at last

    It seems to have been months. Well in fact, for some of us, our last outing was on 29th December, so about 6 weeks ago. But after hurricane force winds caused havoc and lots of damage on Friday night and Saturday morning, Sunday 16th February turned out to be a gloriously sunny day with very light breeze. So after the bloke had come out to inspect the damage to my car, I arranged to meet Chairman Bill in Mote Park for a couple of hours.

    I've got several kites made during the winter that needed testing, Bill had got the club's new mega delta from Skybums an several kites from Matt's sewing machine all of which needed their first fly.

    So we spent a couple of hours in a very muddy park testing out new toys. The mega flew very nicely, lots of pull in even the lightest breezes. should perform well for teddy parachuting. My high sapect delta had a second outing and performed well in the conditions. I might need to shorten the spreeader maybe a fraction. My new hexagon performed well in the conditions, though we could have done with a few miles per hour more wind for it. My suruga needs reframing, I think the cross spars are too stiff, which prevents the kite from flexing and spilling wind. Meanwhile two of the kites from Matts stable flew well, the other we didn't test.

    So a successful afternoon all in all. I also hear that a pod of dolphins was seen flying over Palm Bay. The photo on facebook looked very impressive. Well done Peter and Jacqui. 

  • A sad day for the kite world

    Many of you in kite land will know of Ron Dell. Many of you will be aware that he has been fighting cancer for some time, and that his condition deteriorated significantly over the last year or so. sadly, I have to report that Ron finally lost his battle this evening. A true gent who will be missed by all who met him. The kite world is a much poorer place this evening.

    Ron was at the heart of kiting in the south east of the UK, if not right across the country. For many years, he and his wife Pat ran the kite shop "Kiteability". Pat's hexagon kites are prized possessions for many. Pat and Ron introduced many to kiting, and encouraged everyone to have a go. He was also a driving force behind many UK kite clubs and festivals. He was responsible for the organisation of the Teston family kite weekends for many years, until he decided to "retire" a couple of years ago. He was also partly responsible for the formation of the Kent Kite Klub and was supportive of many other clubs. He was an honorary life member of the South Eastern Kite Society, which became Kent Kite Flyers.

    Ron always seemed to bear a smile, even during times of adversity, and had a keen sense of humour. No doubt his sense of mischief has contributed to many of the "Grumpy Old Gits" antics.

    Ron, we at KKF salute you.

    ron2012

    Picture of Ron relaxing at Teston in 2012, courtesy of Richard Nourse

  • 17th Feb at Rough Common

    Whilst your regular correspondent hid under the sheets and nursed a runny nose, others went out to play in the sunshine at Rough Common. Being the third Sunday of the month, the regular club meeting was scheduled to take place at the playing fields of the Kent College on Moat Lane.

    Micro Codys 17.2.2013 at Canterbury 015One of the benefits of this site is that the lack of public gives an opportunity to test out new kites without risk to public. Sure enough, the opportunity was taken by various people to fly new kites, or kites that haven't seen the light of day for some time. Len had been working on some "one piece Cody" kites and took the opportunity to tweak the bridle and play with the set up. It certainly looks like they flew fine, but apparently stacking them doesn't work too well. Don't think you'll be doing any KAP from these either Len!

    Apparently, whilst sunny it was still chailly and there was very little wind. Ideal conditions for flying these light weight kites, and it looks like rollers, ghenkis and zero-gs were the order of the day. The ghenki is an interesting kite. A very japanese name disguises the fact that the kite is actually a dutch design!

    Of course in conditions like this there is nothing us KKF troops like more than sitting in chairs, chatting and drinking coffee, and I understand some of that happened too. Well done to all who turned up and put some colour in the sky. I hope to be able to get out myself next weekend.

  • Sunday 10th February

    Well, it looks like the weather has got the better of us yet again. We were due to fly in Mote Park in Maidstone, but there was a fair amount of rain overnight, then the drizzle in the morning turned to more persistent rain and as I write this, having just come in from dog walking duties at about 5:30pm, the temperature has plummeted, the wind picked up and there is sleet in the air. So with that in mind I think most of us decided to abandon any idea of outdoor activity and hibernate by the fire.

    Was there anything to be salvaged from the weekend. Well of course. If we can't get out to play, there are always those winter projects to keep us occupied. First off on Saturday I finished off the roller I was making for Mike G. It just needed framing and bridling, so only took an hour or so of my time. The frame can be a bit fiddly. It needs to be tight enough to hold the shape of the kite, but not so tight as to distort the sail. But, of course, after a couple of flights it has to be expected that the sail will stretch a little, so it is worth making an allowance for that.

    Second up, last week in a moment of madness, I volunteered to make up the KKF line marker flags. Saturday afternoon was spent cutting out the flags themselves. they come on a single sheet of 13 rows of 4 flags per row, sow it is quite a lot of material to manage. By the time the France v Wales rugby started I had 16 flags left to cut, and very sore knees. Time to settle down and watch an interesting if rather gritty encounter. Sunday afternoon saw the rest of the flags cut and all 52 tags also cut out ready to be sewn on. That's a job for next weekend, as it was time to settle down to another grinding rugby encounter in awful conditions as Ireland took on England.

    And what else has been going on? Well I've noticed a dark mark on images from my faithful Canon G9 camera I use for KAP. I've tried cleaning the lens, but to absolutely no avail, and I can't see any mark on the lens. So I wonder if there is an issue with the sensor. Any of you photographers out there got any bright ideas? If so, please get in touch by email. Maybe it is time to replace it. I do like the camera, although it is a little on the heavy side, it takes stunning images. So a look on eBay shows they are currently selling in the region of £100. Hmm, wonder how my bank balance is looking.

    Well, our much travelled members returned safe but tired from India. I think the trip sounds exhausting. The schedule calls for being bussed around from location to loaction in exhausting heat, and doesn't sound a particularly pleasant experience. I'm sure in hindsight there are many wonderful moments, but for my part, it doesn't sound a relaxing and fun experience which is what kite flying should be. I think I'll stick to the near European festivals.

    It looks very much as if there will be a KAP symposium in South West France some time in October. I was planning to go to the last one KAPiNed in Holland, but my plans were thwarted when one of my dogs was taken seriously ill. Hopefully I'll be able to attend KAPiFrance 2013. Final details are being worked out by Cerf-Volant Club Francais.

    Time to close I think. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us next weekend and we can meet p at our home site in Rough Common near Canterbury. Hope to see you there.

  • Windy Walmer

    3rd February saw us KKF types heading for the beaches at Walmer. As seems to be the case whenever we head down there these days, the wind was blowing over the houses, so to describe it as tricky is not going to do it justice. In fact, when I arrived Peter was busy trying to tame a parafoil which was flying horizontaly at ground level describing a wonderful 180 degree arc. Anyone in the way was going to get wiped out.

    Peter and JackiePeter had suggested we fly at Walmer so he could introduce us to his friend Jackie from South Africa. Sure enough there was a nice lady busy trying to get a powersled aloft in the tricky conditions. Eventually the powersled took to the sky and was to carry a number of ducks and other items throughout the afternoon. Not to be outdone, Bill attempted to launch a large (6m) pilot. Fortunately it didn't really get airborne, or we would have been collecting Bill from Dunkirk!

    In true KKf style we stood around (emphasis on stood, no chairs in sight) chatting. But fortunately Janet had been home and returned with supplies of hot food: sausage rolls and cheese and onion rolls together with cold fare: welsh cakes; hot crossed buns; etc. All of which was very welcome.

    KKF gasbagsWhilst most of us KKF types stood around nattering, Matt tried to fly a variety of kites with limited success. Similarly I flew a Jilly Pelham box briefly before it decided to hit the pebble beach rather hard resulting in some tears in the material. Some sewing repairs to be undertaken then. Meanwhile Jackie and Peter busied themselves putting us all to shame attempting to fly a variety of kites. As the afternoon drew on, the wind dropped making launching impossible and the kites that were in the sky started to sag, so it was time to pack up and head for home. It looks like we'll be heading back to Mote Park in Maidstone next week as it is one of the few places not under water. Hope to meet you there.