Archive for the ‘Kites’ Category

Flash, HTML5 and Kite Flying

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

dt04 - team hairpinA long time ago I animated all of the International Sport Kite compulsory figures using Flash. These animations became the de facto standard for competition kite flying – in fact some of the judges wanted them to be the official standard instead of the static diagrams. When Jobs and Apple decided to drop support for Flash on the iPhone and iPad it meant that people using those platforms couldn’t view the animations when they were in the field.

Well, it’s taken some time, but I’ve now added HTML5 versions of the animations to all 123 pages (there are only 99 figures, but some the dual-line team figures are shown for 3, 4 and 5 kite teams). The conversions were done using Google’s Swiffy. It’s not a perfect conversion as for some reason the buttons to turn the grid and figure lines on and off didn’t work (so I’ve dropped them on the HTML5 versions), but at least all the fanboys will now be able to see how the figures are meant to be flown.

I case you want to look, you’ll only see the HTML5 versions of the animations if your browser isn’t Flash enabled.

Edit 12/04/2013: I’ve added HTML5 functionality to my Kite Trick animations as well.

Streatham Kite Day

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Sled KiteWe’ve just held the 13th annual Streatham Kite Day. This was probably the best one ever. We had wonderful weather, the wind was good (enough) and we had very large crowds – maybe as many as 5,000 people over the course of the day. Sky Symphony put on three great shows, Carl Robertshaw flew some amazing solo routines, the trick flyers were great to watch and Andrew Beattie flew a large Manta, Tiger, Teddy…and Bob Colover flew for the first time in the arena. On the Saturday before the kite festival I helped out at a kite making workshop at the local school where children as young as five made kites from the plans on this website (the one in the photo was made by a six year old girl).

Rock Oyster Festival

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Had a great day at the Rock Oyster Festival today. Loads of good food and drink – including Stingers a very pleasant cordial made from nettles and a great mackerel burger from Nathan Outlaw.

I flew my Crane Rokkaku with the Carp streamers and was surprised to see a large white inflatable angel kite appear from behind me and even more surprised to see it being flown by Martin Lester – I’d forgotten that he’d moved to Cornwall from Bristol some years ago.

Blackheath Kite Festival

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Benson Deep Space kitesI had two great days at the Blackheath Kite (and Bike) Festival last weekend. It’s always good to meet up with old friends and get to know new ones and there were plenty there, especially from Fractured Axel.

On Saturday I commentated on a trick flying display in the arena with Chris Goff and Piero Serra performing the tricks I called out to order.

On the Sunday there were a lot of people flying Benson Deep Space kites so we decided to do a group photo – 16 in all, although I think there were still one or two flying on the far side of the field.

The Scratch Bunnies (the current world champion kite team, on the day comprising Carl and James Robertshaw, Chris Goff and Sasha Reading) put on a great impromptu display. I think it was the only event in the arena to get a spontaneous round of applause from the crowd during their routine. Precision flying at its best.

Streatham Kite Day

Monday, April 12th, 2010

The 12th Streatham Common Kite Day was a great success. The weather was good, although the wind could have been better – being from the north-east it came over the crest of the hill which made it very gusty and turbulent.

We had hundreds of visitors to the festival, due partly I’m sure to the live interviews with Bob Colover and myself on Radio London’s Lesley Joseph show on Sunday morning.

Chula KiteWe’ve had people travel from as far as Devon to come to the kite day in past years, but this year we had a group of fliers who’d come from Thailand to show off their beautiful Chula and Pakpao kites. The Chula is the male kite. It has three bamboo barbs attached to its line for snagging the Pakpao female kite. The Pakpao is quite small and fragile. It is highly manoeuvrable and flown with a long tail with which it attempts to snare and tangle its male opponent.

Some of the invited guest fliers had pulled out at the last minute, so we were a bit worried that we might not have enough going on to fill the arena, but in the end everyone mucked in and there weren’t too many dead spots.

It was nice to meet Mike Slocombe of Urban75 after having been an admirer for several years.

You can see more photos of the day at the Streatham Kite Day Gallery or my Flickr account.

New Kite Trick Animations Added

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

I’ve added three new animations to the kite tricks section of the website. These are:

The animations are made in Swift 3D and exported and tweaked in Flash using a model of a Benson Phantom Elite originally made with (the no longer available) Amapi.

Yet another f**king dog attack!

Monday, April 13th, 2009

This used to be a £265 custom made Blue Moon Exile UL.

Exile UL

Exile UL

Two blokes the size of houses with two boxer/bull terrier crosses one on a harness, one not. I was trying to keep the UL in the air in about 1mph wind with the dog chasing it. I shouted to the bloke ‘if I land it will the dog attack it’. He says ‘no’. I land and you’ve seen the results. The bloke refused to pay, in fact I thought he was going to start a fight – and he really was big, think nightclub bouncer on steroids. This happened less than 20 minutes ago and I’m still shaking!

Anyone who cares about such things might like to sign the ‘Keep Dogs on Leads in Public Places’ petition.

Exile on Clapham Common

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Blue Moon Exile

I met a guy on Clapham Common yesterday who I noticed taking some photos of my Blue Moon Exile. He sent me a few and I thought they looked very pretty and he said it was OK to share. Turns out he’s a film/video director, so no wonder he has a good eye. His company’s got a great name, too – Rubberductions.

Virtual Freestyle – Round 10

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Round 10 of the Virtual Freestyle kite flying competition is now under way with the largest ever field of entries (28) from nine different countries. You can see my entry for this round in the kites section of this site. It was filmed by Dave (popeye) Hearn – another entrant – at Epsom Downs Race Course a couple of weeks ago when we had a rare bit of good weather.

Streatham Common Kite Day

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Despite the weather which gave us three heavy and prolonged showers, the 11th Streatham Common Kite Day was a great success.

Giant Octopus Kite

It is always invidious to try and single out particular people for thanks over and above others but on the kite flying front Carl from Team Spectrum and the Brighton Kite Flyers deserve special thanks for their presence and perseverance in the face of the inclement weather.

Tom Apurba and his team put on a great display of kite fighting and we had the added bonus of Keith and Vee Griffiths of the STACK pair Ex Grads. Team Adrenalyze took the honours in the power kite field.

As most of the top freestyle flyers were at a competition in France I put on a display in the arena flying to two of my favourite tracks: Let’s Dance by Chris Montez and Putting on the Ritz by Ella Fitzgerald.

The Mothers’ Bridge of Love gave some added colour to the day with Chinese kites and two dancers dressed in Lion and Panda costume.

Many thanks to Gavin Love who not only did all the organisational work on the refreshment front but also did a very full day on the Common as traffic meister amongst other duties.

Gordon Richardson was as ever supportive and we welcome all the help we get from the Friends of Streatham Common.

On the food front welcome too to Ishmael’s Mother for what was the best curry on the Common; the hog roast and bar provided more traditional fare and Posh Pancakes did the business.

The Highwaymen did good business selling both clothes and kites, as did Ramnath Pupkin of Hanuman Kites who sells ‘the smallest kites in the world that actually fly’ – they’re not (not even close) but I don’t think anyone’s had the heart to tell him.

So all in all a great day and thanks to everyone who came.