Kite Flying Information


Insider Info

dotKite flying is a relaxing outdoor hobby that involves, well, flying kites.

dotIt's actually not as simple a hobby as it sounds. For many people, kiting borders on an art form. For others, it's simply a way to enjoy a breezy spring afternoon. Others take it seriously and enter kite-flying competitions.

"Kiting can involve a lot of things," says Kai Grebono. He is a kiter who makes his own flying masterpieces. "For some people it is a creative process, an art form, where making the kite is the most important part. For others, especially the people who fly stunt kites, it is more for the sport."

Flying kites doesn't have to be a lonely pastime. Here's an example of "follow the leader," where one kite follows directly behind the leader kite.
Courtesy of: Anthony Thyssen and Anthony's Kite Workshop

dotYou don't need a lot of things to start kiting. All you need is an open field, a kite, and a good stiff breeze to get going.

"What's required," says Peter Dregon, "is a good attitude, love for the outdoors, and an interest in kites. Oh, don't forget, things go a lot smoother when there's wind."

dotSince you require a kite, you'll probably have to spend some money on one. But you don't have to break your bank account to get set to fly. "It's only as expensive as you want it to be, from your $2 kite...to a $2,000 kite by Martin Lester," says Dregon. Either way, the idea is to have fun watching your kite fly."

dotIf you start kiting in a serious way, check around for any kite festivals that might be happening in your area. It's a good way to meet other kiters, ask questions and just have a good time.

dotFestivals are one place to observe the really neat side to kite flying -- it's best done as a social activity. Most kite flyers really enjoy talking about their kites with other enthusiasts or just curious bystanders. If you're into social hobbies, kite flying could be just the thing for you.

"One of my joys is to involve total strangers in my flying, to let them experience the feel of the kite," says Andrew Beattie. "Sometimes they get involved, sometimes not. This does not bother me. I feel that someone's life is incomplete unless they have gained some understanding of what kite flying is about, and you can't get that without holding the line for yourself."

dotKite flying is quite an ancient form of recreation -- and it hasn't always been just for laughs. It's likely that the Chinese were flying kites 2,000 years ago, and there are several Japanese legends and festivals that involve kites. One in particular involves a hero chasing the sun back into its proper orbit using a kite. In Bali and Malaysia, kite flying is a traditional part of their religion.

dotIn more modern times, kites have been used during war to allow observers to keep tabs on enemy positions. These guys were probably the forerunners of the paratroopers. "Man-lifting" is still practiced by some kiters today, although it's considered to be a little geeky amongst serious kite flyers.

dotAbout the only people who have careers related to kiting are meteorologists! They send up balloons into the sky to get readings on wind and humidity and related factors.

Still, if you really love kiting, you might get into building kites or get work with a kiting association.

Getting Started

dotTo get started in kite flying you might want to visit your local kite or hobby shop and check out the options available. Most kiters also recommend you see if there are any kite clubs in your area that you could go to for help. Another option is to find out if there will be any festivals happening in your area and go check things out.

dotRemember: Kite flyers love to talk about their hobby. So don't be shy!

Associations

The American Kitefliers Association
352 Hungerford Dr.
Rockville , MD   20850-4117
USA
Internethttp://www.aka.kite.org/

ConnectiKITERS
P.O. Box 270
Ansonia , CT   06401
USA
Internethttp://www.connectikiters.org/

Links

Kite Flier's Site
Links to groups, festivals, and more around the world

Kite Terminology
A handy glossary from "aspectratio" to "wing tips"

Anthony's Kite Workshop
Kite plans and information on kite flying activities