A handy tip from Colin for those beach flyers who have problems with grit in their
When I started flying Rev's I generally flew on a sandy beach, the idea being I was
less likely to break something, however I did find that the fine grain's of sand
managed to work their way into the gap between the end cap and the spar, this locks
the spar into the cap with a vice like grip.
As long as I could get one cap off I could slide a smaller rod into the spar to tap
off the other end cap, this works fine for the upright spars but not the leading
edge as there is a ferrule in the way and I could see a time when I would not be
able to get any of the end caps off, so I needed a solution.
I tried wrapping insulation tape around the caps but found this fiddly and time consuming
on the beach and O ring's that I tried had the habit of moving along the spar, so
this is what I came up with and it has worked successfully for the last few years.
I found a soft length of thin wall plastic tubing, what I use is the radiator overflow
pipe from an original Mini ( car ) the inside diameter is the same as the external
diameter of a spar.
I heat the tubing up in some hot water to make the internal diameter expand slightly,
then force about 5mm of tubing onto the spar and use the end of the spar to cut it
square, then while it is still warm I push the spar into and end cap this forces
the piece of tubing along the spar so that it makes a seal between the cap and spar.
The plastic seal if needed can just about be pushed along the spar when it cools,
this is handy if I have a cap that is slightly deeper or shallower that another one,
importantly they do not move of their own accord during flight, unlike the o ring's
that I had tried before, and the weight added to the kite is negligible.
No doubt there are other ways to overcome the problem but I have found this works
for me and it is inexpensive, easy and quick to do.
A mistake made fairly often by new flyers is to assemble a kite with the uprights
on the front of the sail as is demonstrated in this picture.
Both the sticks and the sail are reversed in this shot relative to the bridle and
The kite will fly quite poorly when assembled incorrectly.
The Quechua Shelter.
Those that have been reading the blog's would have seen mention of a shelter being
regularly erected when we go flying, I thought it was time to give it it's own write
up as it is very much part of the Group and quite possibly the best £50 I have ever
An inner sleeping compartment can also be added, ( this has toggle / loop fixings
) each side of the shelter has zipped vent's that can be opened revealing mesh windows
that can also be fully un-zipped, the over door canopy's are very useful when joining
two shelter's together side by side, with the adjoining door's open kites can easily
be erected out of the wind, and more shelter's can be added, they are easy to take
down and stow into the bag once you have the knack, time spent watching the video
tutorial or seeing it done in person is a must, the whole operation takes about 5
- 10 minutes.
The shelter in question is a Quechua 2 Second's, Base Seconds, as far as I know they
can only be brought from the Decathlon Sports chain of shop's, for some reason they
do not feature on their website but are still available in store, or from Ebay outlet's
The shelters come in either green or grey and would be best described as a pop up
shelter / tent, when in the bag they are a circle shape approx 3ft in diameter by
6 inches deep, the bag has a pocket for the peg's and has two straps to make carrying
the shelter in it's bag on the your back very easy.
I think the 2 second's comes from the fact that that is the time it takes to get
it erected by undoing the securing strap, followed by a further couple of minutes
to peg down the corners and guy ropes.
When erect the shelter is big enough for someone of 6ft to stand upright in the middle
and would be able to sleep 4 people (they would need to be good friends though),
it has two zip open doors each with a fold out canopy that help's to stop rain being
blown in, it also has stowage pockets in the corner's and a vent in the top, a ground
sheet can be purchased as an extra this is secured using velcro in the corners (
well worth the money ).
So why do we like it so much ? well it scores on all point's, we use the groundsheet
every time as the grass is often damp so all our gear is kept dry, it is also used
to store our lunch bag's , flasks and coat's etc, when we have a passing shower it
can accommodate 6 people relatively comfortably, and act's as a windbreak for when
you want to sit outside, added benefit's are that it stops us spreading our bag's
of gear all over the place so that they are not a nuisance to the public and our
bag's are out of the way of passing dog's that were often tempted to cock a leg!
The shelter basically turn's day's when we may have packed up and gone home due to
the weather into full flying day's as weather system's where we fly often blow through
fairly quickly, it also means we get to fly all through the winter as it gives respite
from the the cold wind to have a warming drink, and in the summer it give's a nice
bit of shade to keep our food cool.
We have had the shelter for nearly two years now, it has been erected pretty much
every weekend and other days during the week, it has kept us dry through snow and
very heavy rain, we did find that in very strong wind's it did have a tendency to
partially collapse and bend in on itself although it would always pop back into shape
again, this was however inconvenient so extra guy ropes were added to the framing
rod's and the shelter now keep's it shape even when the wind is in the high 30 mph
I did re-waterproof it (only because I had the stuff in the shed) and the water just
run's off it meaning that if we have have had a heavy shower it is often dry by the
time we want to pack up, it is showing sign's of wear and tear but we have used it
a lot and in some pretty tough condition's but it is still going strong and serving
us very well.
Here is a link to the Quechua web site where video clips show it being put up, joined
together with another shelter and taken down.
Additional guy rope attachment point also a little flaking of the waterproof coating.
The Useful Stuff Page.
Having a line break is an occupational hazard of kite flying and always seem's to
happen at the worst time, the main reason's for having a line break is I think either
having another kite or it's lines cut ( burn ) through your lines or misjudging a
landing on something rough like a concrete wall that weakens the line or they could
just be getting old.
We had a few line's break in a short period of time with our quads when group flying
and it was noticed by Bruce that the break was always within a foot or two of the
end where the line attached to the kite, we came up with a few solution's to this
problem, the idea that Bruce came up with was simple, inexpensive and above all has
over the past year or so solved the problem, I do not think we have had a single
line break when flying, apart from when the lines were old and coming to the end
of their life, we call them line extenders.
The line extenders are four pieces of flying line of equal length with a loop at
each end, with a small loop or pig tail then tied close to the end of the loop to
help detach them from the kite bridle, the length of the extender is a personal choice
as is the breaking strain, mine are 30" long and are made from 100lb protech flying
line, one extender is attached to each flying line, how you attach the extenders
is again a personal choice, I just loop mine through the flying line loop's, a couple
of spares are then made up to keep in the kite bag, when flying they do not affect
how the kite handles or get snagged when doing spin's or when flying with others.
Using these extenders has a few benefit's, it saves having to replace a complete
single line or set of expensive lines, they are quick and easy to replace if or when
one does break or needs to be replaced, if you find yourself flying with others they
can quickly be removed so that your lines are nearer to the same length as the other
flyers, if one of your main flying line stretches the adjustment can easily be made
by shortening the extender, all four main flying lines can then be equalised at a
Line breaks are pretty much a thing of the past.
The picture shows an extender before and after being attached to a flying line
Small loops or pigtails.
Flying line sleeve.
30in flying line extensions
As the Haven Flyers like to fly all year round we can be out flying in some very
cold weather which has been giving me a cold back so I had been looking for something
to keep my back warm and came across this after seeing the company's heated gloves
on the television and looking them up on the Internet.
The company is called Blazewear and this is their heated back belt.
It has two heated panels one for each side of the back with each having its own battery
allowing you to heat the panels individually or both at the same time.
It comes with two battery boxes which each take 3 x AA or rechargeable AA batteries
which give you 2 to 3 hours of heat with only one heat setting.
Lithium-polymer batteries are also available which have two heat settings and give
you 3 to 5 hours of continuous heat (these are the heating times stated on the box)
the lithium batteries come with a charger that will charge them both at the same
time, and the charging time is about 7 hours.
The belt also has a small pocket on each side to put the battery boxes in.
I decided to go for the lithium polymer batteries and use the AA as backup.
So how well does it work?
Having now used it a few times I have to say that it works very well and I am very
pleased with it, I have only needed to use it on the lower heat setting and it has
kept me nice and warm.
Using the lithium batteries means that the heat stays the same until the batteries
switch themselves off and I am getting more than 5 hours of heat.