It has been about 6 months since I last managed to get out and fly some kites. October 2020, it was and a couple of days later, Kent went into level 4 restrictions, effectively lockdown, and has been there ever since. But restrictions are starting to ease, so I decided to try to get out and fly on a chilly but sunny Sunday afternoon. My chosen location was at Ditton Recreation Ground, about a 10 minute drive from home, so certainly complying with the "stay local" guidance currently in place.

When I got there, there was what seemed to be a good breeze, but as I was setting up, it became clear that first impressions could be deceptive, the breeze was coming and going and sweeping around through about 90 degrees. But I'd come out with a purpose, having a couple of dragons in need of some fresh air. First up, get a pilot into the sky. This was when I discovered the swing in the wind, but eventually we managed to get an 8 metre black Peter Lynn pilot into the sky. Was it going to be enough?

I decided to start with my new acquisition from China. A dragon in my own colour scheme that was ordered in December, just before Christmas, and arrived in February, custom builds take a bit longer. There followed about an hour of getting the tangles out of the bridle. Not a huge problem, but the head had gone through the bridles for one wing, and there were a couple of other bits that needed unwinding. There is a fireball in front of the nose, and this really does add to the tangle problem, especially if the kite is rolling across the grass! But eventually we got everything sorted and ready to go. Unfortunately, by now, the pilot was lying in a heap on the ground. After a relaunch, the dragon slowly rose to a sitting position, whilst the pilot drifted, overflew, luffed and did all those things that you really don't want a pilot to do. Unfortunately, it was at the end of its line, as I had only bought a short line with me. One of the problems with Kent is the density of population, which means that low level turbulence and sometimes the complete absence of ground breeze can make life challenging. I was pleased with the speed with which the dragon inflated. It filled through vents in the head, neck and wing leading edges. But it just wasn't going to be my day. The kite did lift a couple of times, but would not stay aloft for any length of time and spent most of its time sitting on its haunches.

But it was really good to be out in the fresh air, chatting to members of the public again and trying to put some colour into the sky.

News reaches us that Berck Kite Festival will not be happening in 2021. It is unfortunate, but totally understandable in the current circumstances. Obviously organising a festival that lasts 10 days, when France, along with most of Europe is still reeling from coronavirus is a thankless task. People are currently unable to make travel arrangements, travel into Europe from outside (including the UK) is currently heavily restricted. France is operating a curfew. All in all, it doesn't bode well. But we hope that 2022 can go ahead.

As a result of a state requirement, the CAA has introduced a complex of danger areas over the English Channel. These danger areas are in place from 31st August to 30th September, but will only be active when required. The danger areas are in force whilst remotely flown aircraft (drones) are operated out of Lydd Airport to monitor the English Channel. One area covers a circle two nautical miles diameter centred on Lydd Airport, whilst another includes the coast at Folkestone and Hythe.

The CAA will try to provide 24 hour notice of the activation of these areas via the notam system, and various aviation radio frequencies (including Lydd Traffic Control) will carry details. Full details of the areas affected are found on the National Air Traffic System website's Temporary Danger Areas page. The document includes a map of the various areas.

One Sky One World is a day set aside for kite flyers across the world to fly kites to promote peace, understanding and friendship. It all started way back in 1985. Here is a proclamation from the official One Sky One World website

 It is clear that life on the planet earth is at a crossroads. The choice to turn from the path of self destruction from war, and environmental abuse; to love of self, others, and the world is before us. Increasing global awareness will lead to a widespread belief that anything other than peace and mutual concern is insensible, and will move us away from planetary cataclysm toward a better future. One Sky One World festivals will be held annually around the world to promote protection of the planet, peace, friendship and understanding between all people. Beyond this, One Sky One World does not endorse any ideology or political agenda.

Sunday 2nd August saw us flying once again at the Lade, Lydd-on-Sea. Since our last visit, about a month ago, the council have added double yellow lines near the car park, so we parked about 200 metres towards Dungeness and flew our kites on the beach there.