Kites: Site Blog

Welcome to this fun and educational Site Blog page on kites. Appearing here...

  • Our latest Flight Report posts and local kite club activities.
  • Interesting kite-related news stories from around the world.
  • Occasional contributions from visitors, which often includes photos or links to videos.
  • Just once a week, a good quality older page will pop up here too, so it doesn't stay buried forever. Always a good read!

My own Flight Report videos pop up on the MBK Facebook page nearly every week.

So, how do you subscribe to this blog page? Running your cursor over the orange RSS square down there on the right will bring up several ways to subscribe. Click/tap on whatever option is most familiar to you and you'll never miss a post!

May 23, 2019

Global News Report:
Family Kite-Flying Tradition

Swinging back to the USA. The 7 images (captions collated below) point out distinct aspects of kite-flying recreation. This day out was almost a kite festival within a family...

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CiCi Koschnick loves celebrating her birthday every year by flying kites with her family. She turns 80 this year.

Cici Koschnick's family pauses for a group photo at the lakefront during kite flying in 2017. It's an annual tradition on Koschnick's birthday.

Sometimes the kite strings get tangled, but it's all part of the fun. From left are Amanda Hafeman and her grandparents, Al and CiCi Koschnick.

Running with kites can make anyone feel young, which is why CiCi Koschnick assembles her family every year on her birthday to fly kites. She turns 80 on Monday.

CiCi Koschnick's daughter-in-law Lori flies her fancy dragon kite at Milwaukee's lakefront.

Kim Hafeman celebrates birthday kite day at Milwaukee's lakefront with her mother, CiCi Koschnick.

Luke Koschnick, Cici's youngest grandchild, flies a kite to celebrate her birthday.

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SOURCE: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.jsonline.com/picture-gallery/news/columnists/jim-stingl/2019/05/16/see-cici-koschnicks-birthday-tradition-flying-kites-her-family/3694329002/

May 22, 2019

RC Kites

This previously published page was written up after we visited Singapore. I had the opportunity to speak to the inventor himself and observe a spectacular night flying demo!

Continue reading "RC Kites"

May 20, 2019

Indian Kites Promote Voting

In 2019, kite shows were used by the Indian kiting organization FLY360 to encourage Indians to participate in their democratic elections.

Continue reading "Indian Kites Promote Voting"

May 17, 2019

Global News Report:
Maltese Festival, Chinese Themes

A festival with traditional Chinese kiting themes and featuring an acclaimed expert in the field...

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The Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, in collaboration with the China Cultural Centre in Malta and MUŻA, is to organise the second edition of the Kite Festival at Triton Square, Valletta on Friday 17th May between 10.30 am and 12.00 pm.

The festival will feature a dragon kite-flying demo, as well as other traditional Chinese kites, a creative kite-clothing display and a display of kites at MUŻA in Merchant`s Street, Valletta.

After last year’s successful festival, the event will once again welcome Guo Hong Li – an expert in research and production of kite handicrafts from China`s Shandong Province prefecture-level city of Weifang, which enjoys an unparalleled reputation as ‘the cradle of kites’ and ‘Kite capital of the world’.

Guo Hongli is an acclaimed National Level Representative Inheritor of China`s Kite Art National Intangible Cultural Heritage. He is also a member of Shandong Arts and Crafts Association and the Shandong Intangible Cultural Heritage Association. He has been an avid lover of kite making since childhood, growing up to become engaged in traditional Chinese kite art production, preservation and perpetuation.

After many years of research, Guo specialised in the creation of Weifang’s traditional kites, winning the gold medal of the first China Intangible Cultural Heritage Fair. Mr Guo participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2011 Shanghai World Expo cultural exhibition. He has also participated in Kite art overseas projects held in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Mauritius, South Korea, Thailand, Laos, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Polynesia.

Guo`s demonstrations and workshops have enriched understanding of traditional Chinese kite culture and enhanced bilateral artistic exchanges in many corners of the world. His visit to Malta brings us his expert knowledge and skills, as well as his great love of kites, spreading the joy and fun they inspire.

Guo Hong Li`s team will visit a number of local schools between the 20th and 23rd May 2019 to share their knowledge with students and educators.

{continues with details of early kite history in China}

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SOURCE: Newsbook

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.newsbook.com.mt/artikli/2019/05/13/dragon-kite-flying-demonstration-at-the-2nd-edition-of-the-kite-festival/?lang=en

May 16, 2019

Flight Report:
Indoor Diamond Outdoors

Barely a leaf was moving out in the yard, just after sunset yesterday...

So why not try the Indoor Diamond on about 3 meters (10 feet) of thread? It soon proved possible to loft the kite at one end of the back lawn and tow it all the way around to the side lawn. I haven't done that before with any kite, although it certainly would be possible with the better light-wind designs.

The trickiest part of this backyard towing was making it through the gap between Hills Hoist clothes-line and the house corner. And that was just before guiding the feather-light kite over the top of the gutters at that corner!

The 2-lawn tow was done several more times. It was kind of addictive in fact :-) Later, I managed to do a 180 on the side lawn and come back round the house corner again while keeping the kite off the grass.

Meanwhile, the moon gleamed ever brighter in the darkening and almost featureless sky.

Coming back onto the rear lawn and climbing to maximum height, the kite encountered a ferocious headwind. OK, perhaps all of 2kph ;-) On another pass, an accidental jerk on the thread line caused a horizontal spar to fail. Down spun the kite in a hurry like a wounded bird. However, a pinch of the folded paper spar soon had the craft airworthy again.

If a spar had failed like that on a Paper Series kite, it would likely be the end. But these indoor designs seem much more tolerant of such damage. You can pinch-and-fly many times over.

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

May 15, 2019

Zilker Kite Festival

This previously published page gives background info on this major US event on the kiting calendar. It's claimed to be the oldest such festival in the country.

Continue reading "Zilker Kite Festival"

May 13, 2019

Flight Report:
Club Kite Fly - May 2019

It was just as well that we came prepared with some reasonably low-wind kites yesterday...

Mike had the club red parafoil up, which was suspending his Hammerhead Shark semi-flying inflatable. A Ball inflatable also dangled close to the footpath (sidewalk) which provided entertainment for small kids walking past. One child even managed to catch it, much to the consternation of the parents who didn't want any damage done. Sewn rip-stop is reasonably tough though, as most readers of this post would know.

Later, the Ball was swapped for a Fish non-flying inflatable, suspended from 2 points along the line. With the breeze somewhat marginal, the white windsock off the fish's fin drooped almost straight down to towards the grass.

Meanwhile, I had rigged the big Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite. Once up, it seemed uncharacteristically unstable, swooping left and right. After bringing it down I noticed that there didn't seem to be as much bow in the horizontal spar as in previous years. Things stretch over time and perhaps this problem had snuck up on me :-) In any case, a tiny loop knot in one of the bow lines shortened it enough to fully stabilize the kite.

By now Mike had moved along the grass a bit and was entertaining people walking by with a small power kite, trailing a couple of tubular tails. Mind you, the soft 4-liner was barely able to get up to much of an angle in the slow air. Launching off the ground required a few quick backward steps.

Since the big barn-door was looking after itself well, it was decided to put up the 2m (7ft) tall Carbon Diamond as well. Although heavier than an equivalent rip-stop sailed kite, it has slots and very little billow which make it very efficient in the air. The sail was made from Tyvek housewrap. The stuff is so strong you can't tear it or puncture it easily. The big diamond flew side-by-side with the barn-door for perhaps an hour in the very smooth on-shore breeze. Both kites were on less than 30 meters (100 feet) of line to avoid potential problems in the car park :-|

Eventually, when the breeze strength dropped to just 7.5kph, only the Multi-Dowel Barn Door remained in the air. Things just got even lighter from there, which inevitably brought down the barn-door too. After that, even my Multi-Dowel Sled failed to launch. Let alone stay up.

So it wasn't the greatest show - but at one point there were 4 kites up at once plus the 'laundry', which was something!

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

May 09, 2019

Global News Report:
Shimmering Kites Carpet Shandong

The work of a 'social video producer' at the South China Morning Post...

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People’s imagination seemed to be the only limit as hundreds of weird and wonderful kites filled the skies in eastern China’s Shandong province at an annual kite festival. {caption to the video}

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SOURCE: Inkstone

URL (full story and/or photos, video): https://www.inkstonenews.com/china/last-wonton-weird-and-wonderful-kites-fill-skies-china/article/3008968

May 09, 2019

Flight Report:
Indoor Diamond Mk2

Now we're gettin' close...

It was a productive couple of hours, making up a second plastic-and-paper diamond kite. Without giving away too many details, dimensions were shaved, stretched and shifted to produce a kite that flies slower. The new design brushed the ceiling while being pulled at 3.1kph! That's more like it :-)

The vertical spar, which is now just a V-bend instead of a tube, might be able to stand another mm off it's width. I dare go no further!

And of course, by going with a single piece sail, the sticky tape right down the center can be eliminated as well. That kind of weight does matter, when flying small kites indoors!

While being a truly fiddly build, the reward is an almost magical ability to float from room to room on 2 meters (7 feet) of polyester thread. In larger areas, walking a touch more briskly floats the kite right up to the ceiling.

Another entertaining exercise is walking in a small circle with flying hand outstretched to the outside of the turn. This way, the kite is flying a circular route at about 1.5 meters (5 feet) radius. The trick is to start on just a few cm of line length and then let it slip out to a meter (3 feet) or so. Most of the time the kite was managing almost 45 degrees of line angle while doing this. Doing much larger circles would be a very easy way to get longer flights in, say, an almost empty shopping center or indoor mall.

Next stop - a bigger 'flying field'. I think I'm gonna faint with excitement and anticipation ;-)

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

May 08, 2019

Flight Report:
MBK Indoor Diamond Debuts

Well, I got a prototype to fly, but there will be changes...

The initial idea was to create a series of very slow-flying kites where the sail outline would fit inside 4 sheets of A4 or Letter size paper. This would enable a bit of fun in quite small spaces. And even more fun in large indoor spaces!

In true MBK style, no space-age materials will be required. Just the thinnest possible plastic sheet, copier paper and sticky tape. Does that sound familiar? Apart from the sails, these kites will have some similarities to the Paper Series kites. But of course the total weight will be much less.

So, yesterday I made up a 44cm x 40cm diamond shape sail from medium-sized freezer bags. It might have been possible to get the entire sail done from a single large-sized bag, but that will have to wait until the next shopping trip.

The vertical spar was a triangular tube folded from paper which had sticky tape on both sides. Lamination! Boeing likes the idea and so do I, although with much cheaper materials than carbon-fiber ;-)

The horizontal spars were V-sectioned strips with tape on just 1 side for now. Finally, a cross-member held in the dihedral angle. An initial pull-up in the living-room promptly caused a failure right next to the end of the cross-member. Solution? Just make it longer! The kite flew OK after that, even remaining airborne as I walked it around a 1.5m (5ft) radius circle. But...

There's a problem. By indoor standards this design is still way too heavy, requiring about 4.8kph to rise past a 30 degree line angle. Tut tut tut, tsk tsk tsk :-) The aim is for more like 3kph or a little less. It's going to be a challenge, with a number of sneaky tweaks required. Back to the drawing board as they say...

(It's handy how a good wind meter can record your walking speed! The 'gust strength' is the relevant number, indoors.)

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.

May 08, 2019

Adelaide Kite Festival 2011

This previously published page documents our trip to the kite festival in 2011. Plenty of photos and commentary - a real smorgasbord of kite designs!

Continue reading "Adelaide Kite Festival 2011"

May 05, 2019

Flight Report:
Fat Sled On Thin Line

But it was OK. Yesterday the big wide Multi-Dowel Sled was flying in Light conditions, though gusts were well into the Gentle range...

Being in a bit of a hurry, the 200 pound line on its garden hose reel was left behind. The big blue monster would have to heave away on a 100 pound line instead! But on parking the car at the reserve, the tree tops were hardly moving. Perhaps the wind had lightened right off, as is common in the late afternoon.

However, while walking to a suitable launch spot, there were promising signs of breeze. The Multi-Dowel Sled doesn't need much wind speed so it was clear the kite would fly after all.

It turned out to be a matter of waiting for a gust before the sail would even stay open. But after a few attempts, the long bridle lines were out and the large 3-sticker rose slowly as line was let out equally slowly...

There was quite some flopping about and the 2 leading edges would alternately fold over before flipping open again. But this kite is wonderfully reliable when left to it's own devices. It wasn't long before the kite had clawed up to a steep angle on just under 15 meters (50 feet) of braided Dacron line. A short length of edge tape was separated from the sail, near one of the towing points but the kite seemed unaffected. There's a small repair job for later.

Four white corellas flew past in formation. The birds would beat their wings several times before holding them steady, the cycle starting and stopping in unison as they cruised downwind.

Even in the light conditions, the big kite would pile on line tension very suddenly as gusts came through. This was not hard to notice with a couple of wraps of lighter-than-usual line wrapped around my hand! And then, while taking some video, it was convenient to take a single wrap around my shoe. That was enough for today but in slightly higher winds the big sled would probably need 2 wraps at least! I sometimes refer to this kite as 'The Horse' ;-)

After several minutes of surging around and near-collapses during almost-calm periods, it started to become difficult to keep the kite up there. It would have been much easier on say 200 feet of line. A small grove of trees right in the middle of the field had me playing safe on just 30 meters (100 feet).

Not long before leaving, I tested the breeze with my hand-held meter. 9kph gusting to 15kph was the reading after a couple of minutes at shoulder height.

So it was a somewhat nostalgic short outing with the hard-pulling Multi-Dowel Sled kite. The beast hadn't been flown for many months.

Read more flying stories...

- Tim P.


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