Kite Tales for Reel
by Gary Crenshaw
(Hampton, GA, USA)
Like most dedicated adult kite fliers I spent a reasonable amount of time as a young person with the old paper kites from the hardware store. But for right now that's enough about that because I have a whole lot of brain spilling to do on that subject just a little later.
Strange things sometime happen while kite flying like one day I had a delta kite up at about eight hundred feet when a flock of black birds landed about half way up the kite line. The added weight caused the kite to lose a couple of hundred feet. They sat there for a minute or two and they were gone all at once. Not a big deal but how often does it happen? You can read high-tech articles all day but birds on a kite line is the kind of stuff I like to read about.
On cool fall nights when the wind is right and the moon is full and bright you can position a kite in the night sky just right to get a good photograph with the moon as your backdrop. Maybe there should be a contest for best 'Moon/Kite Shot'! (noted - T.P.)
Up until the mid-eighties I always kept some kind of a kite laying around to fly or to use as a wall decoration. However it was the late eighties when I first saw a stunt kite in action. Nothing would do until I was able to get one and learn the secrets of handling that two-line monster. I had to have the biggest, loudest and hardest pulling kite at the time and that was the Hawaiian Team Kite. I taught myself to fly it and discovered where the term 'face plant' came from. In a good wind it takes a lot to man-handle that kite and after twenty years the kite is still in great shape and was well worth the money.
Getting heavy into the single line stuff is very addicting, the parafoils, flow forms, sled kites, delta wing giants and other heavy lifters are superior today compared to only a few years ago. I guess the fun of lifting lights up into the night sky is just something you never get enough of, at least I don't think I ever will.
The nineties came around with even more fun with stunt kites and the pleasure of teaching newcomers the fun of handling controllable kites. I keep a small stunt kite in my vehicle that is covered with crash dirt and duct tape just to let newcomers have a hands on experience with out the worry of kite destruction. It still flies good and will stay in my fleet until it crumbles to unrecognizable shapes.
What I refer to as high altitude single line kite flying is somewhere around fifteen hundred to two thousand feet. Higher kites than that gets more into research and record attempts. Average size kites become just a dark spot in the sky after a few hundred feet anyway so most of my kite flying is around three or four hundred feet, that suits me.