Monday 24 June 2019

Powerhouse Blades

About six years ago, Neil, one of the members of our L-katz team brought one of his older kites to team practice. It was a Powerhouse Blade, which he had dubbed "The Black Bastard" as it had seriously pulled him of his socks in a stiff breeze once.

Of course we flew the kite: strong pull, and excellent tracking were the key characteristics.

Three years later, I saw a Powerhouse Blade on eBay. Remembering how "The Black Bastard" flew, I put a bid in and won! This Blade came with long whiskers, going from stand-off to upper spreader connector. For some reason, these long whiskers weren't present on the 'Black Blade'; possibly lost over time?

Anyway, we now had our own Blade to fly, which showed the same flight characteristics: excellent tracking and strong pull.

Few weeks after we got our Blade, Neil brought another Blade he still had, which was missing some spars and other bits and bobs (as well as the long whiskers), to our flying field. Between us, we had the right spares to get that Blade at least flying again (even without the whiskers; still not sure what they really do).

So now we had the opportunity to fly a trio of Blades! Wind was quite strong that day; the kites flew fast and pulled considerably, but we had a hoot flying them together.

Since that day about three years ago, I had been keeping my eyes open for a second Blade for Flying Fish, given that they are fun kites to fly together in a good breeze. No luck, until a fellow kite flyer recently offered one for sale on Facebook, in a colour that would match our earlier Blade pretty well. Needless to say I pounced!

So here is our Blue Blade on the ground (with long whiskers) ...

... and in the air (following a small tweak in bridle setting). 

As the whole point of this was to have a pair of Blades to fly together, 'Blue Blade' was duly partnered with 'Teal Blade'.

The colours really do match nicely, and they flew together as I remembered: good tracking, and developing strong pull when the wind picked up. Not kites that we will ever use for competition, but kites that are simply fun to fly and put a smile to your face!

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Basingstoke Kite Festival

A few months after we bought our first kite we attended Basingstoke Kite Festival. That was ten years ago; we've been back every year, and since 2013 as invited flyers.

On Saturday, the weather was gorgeous, but the winds were very light (and occasionally almost absent). Sunday saw a bit more clouds and stronger, but also more erratic, winds.

We flew as Flying Fish and as part of L-katz (together with our friends from Twisted Bridle) in two slots on both days. On Saturday we flew our Airdynamics T5 Cubans, whereas on Sunday we flew our new KiteTec Impulses. The Impulses dealt very well with the highly variable wind on the day; more on these new team kites in a future blog post.

For our routines on Sunday, we tried out new music for our 'make it up as we go along' routine: 'Rise like a Phoenix', by Conchita Wurst. This includes a new move we have called, quite appropriately, 'Phoenix'. I think it worked quite well, so we're definitely going to keep that music as an option for future festivals this year.

With L-katz, we flew our standard Gloria Estefan routine.

I already mentioned Twisted Bridle, our sister pair. They flew their Aerosmith routine on both days.

Of course, Team Spectrum was present again, flying their usual set of three routines.

The final pair, though not flying under an official pair name, consisted of Josh Mitcheson and Jeremy Wharton, flying quad-line routines.

L-katz also joined in an 8-strong mega-team (together with Keith, Vee, Josh and Cam).

More pictures of the festival are here (for Saturday) and here (for Sunday). I do want to highlight one flyer, though: Jaiden, aged 8, flying in the Mystery Ballet on Sunday. His very first public performance; well done, Jai!

Picture credit of Flying Fish and L-katz: Carl Wright; of the mega-team: Patrice Peigné