Monthly Archives: October 2005

Flying Kites on Jamghat

The Navhind Times has an interesting article on ‘Jamghat’ a kite festival held in India.

Bracing for kite flying on ‘Jamghat’
UNI Lucknow Oct 29: The day after Diwali, the skyline of the Uttar Pradesh capital would be dotted with numerous ‘Chandtara’, ‘Sooraj’ and ‘Tiranga’ as people celebrate ‘Jamghat’, a traditional festival of kite flying.

Pareva’ — the day after Diwali is considered by many as the day of rest in UP. With festivities beginning well before ‘Navratra’, it is time to take a break after a hectic Dussehra and Diwali.

However, the break is short-lived as the festival of Id is to be celebrated just three days after the ‘Festival of Lights’. While people are busy preparing for the various festivities lined up, there is a hard-core group awaiting ‘Jamghat’ — not to rest but to reach out to the skies via colourful kites.

You can read the entire article on the Navhind Times website.

Pakistan bans kite flying

Kite flying and kite flying bans are hot topic in Pakistan these days. For the last few years there have been calls by activist groups to ban kite flying outright. The issue stems from injuries and deaths caused by the kite line used in the highly competitive passtime, particularly during the Basant festival. Usually the line is manjha or wire; manjha is glass coated line and can cause serious cuts to people as the kite line descends after a kite fight. The line drapes across streets and cars and since it’s so fine it can go unoticed until it’s too late. The wire line causes additional problems, flyers have been electrocuted as the line crosses power lines and even if the flyer is not electrocuted the wire line often results in power outages.

Geo Pakistan news reports

LAHORE: A four-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Tuesday imposed a one-month ban on kite-flying and manufacturing, buying and selling of kites.

A bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mr. Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry had taken suo moto notice of the losses by kite-flying.

The full story can be found on the Geo.tv website

Another article can be found on the ONLINE -International News Network.

A number of other articles have been published over the past few years regarding the Basant festival, which celebrates the begining of spring, and the tragedy that unfolds each year.

January 2005 – The News International – Basant: past and present

January 2005 – The Nation – The economics of Basant

January 2005 – Gaurdian Unlimited – Lahore buckles up for thrills and spills of kite carnival

August 2004 – Pakistani Times – Complete ban on Kite-flying Demanded in Punjab

June 2003 – Daily Times – Kite-Flying, Thread Works associations’ representatives to meet nazim today

Angelina!

“Angelina” is a kite I built after being inspired by the works of Olivier Reymond of Switzerland and “kelvin” from the kitebuilder.com forums. I have been looking for a way to transform photographs into easily appliqued images for sometime now and I think I have finally hit on a solution. I have often seen posterized photgraphs of faces and wondered how they were done (Andy Warhol’s work comes to mind). I stumbled across a few tutorials on how to create these images using photoshop and started playing around and coming up with my own method. Continue reading

Peter Lynn Kites – Red Letter Day

Just finished reading Peter Lynn’s latest installment of his new letter. He alludes to some exciting changes coming for traction kites of all styles. Something truly new perhaps? Something that will revolutionize traction kiting? Perhaps, but according to Peter’s letter it will be some time before we see all these new innovations hit the market.

And now to the main event: **

Here at the kite development front, we’re hyperactive; sleepless nights, no time for patience, pleasantries or distractions. Chris has even taken to staying over in boring Ashburton- something he probably swore he’d never do again after moving up to the beach place.

We’re testing out the relevance of the belatedly recognised new understanding (that I alluded to last month) on various styles of traction kite, a sort of scoping exercise.

It’s either a tool box of techniques or a set of underlying principles, or just stuff we already knew but hadn’t quite connected – depending on the point of view.

In it’s ultimate expression, it provides total luff and overflying resistance and near enough to 100% de-power.

You can read more on Peter Lynn’s site

Kite flying : day of the dead

In parts of South America and Mexico November 1st is celebrated as the Day of the Dead. This festival celebrates death by honoring the dead with flowers, food, and kites as well as celebrating life and vitality through children. The celebration originally took place at the beginning of the summer but with the arrival of Spanish Christian priests during the Spanish Conquest the holiday was moved to the fall and is now celebrated during the first two days of November.

In Santiago Sacatepequez, Guatemala they have a huge kite festival. This festival is part of the tradition of “Dia de los Muertos” and symbolizes the connection people still have with their past relatives and ancestors. Some say that it also helps the soul ascend to the after life. People fly their beautiful graceful kites from graveyards that have been decorated with flowers, food and other items. The kites used in the celebration are circular and are made from bamboo, colorful paper, string, and wire. These are not small kites; some of the biggest kites are up-wards of 30 feet across! Groups of men get together many weeks before the festival to start preparing their wonderful tethered creations. Continue reading

Kitebuilder.com forums Online kite project 3.0

I have been a member of the kitebuilder.com forums for almost 2 years and have met some great people and learned a lot. Over the last 2 years forum members have hosted a few on-line kite building workshops. The latest installment is the Lil’ Genki by Dave Ellis (kiteguy) from Kansas. The Lil’ Genki is Dave’s take on the migenk kite plan by Fred Broadhead. Dave has simplified the construction and has made it a real light wind performer.

The format of the workshops is usually about 4-5 weeks with the next stage being posted each Friday. There is a discussion thread set up for each stage to give people the opportunity to share their designs, ask questions and have a bit of fun. I have been truly impressed with how many people sign up for these classes and the wonderful kites that are produced at the end. I find I always learn something and really enjoy the staged progress. It holds you back, sometimes you can’t help it and you have to surge ahead and keep going with or with out instruction. But it doesn’t matter as you can always make another one :D (or two.. or three) Continue reading

Kite flyer who cheated death

Littlehampton Today has an article about a 14 year old boy who suffered serious injury while flying his 2.5 m traction kite. The boy was dragged from the beach across the road and into a wall resulting in a 7 day stay in the Hospital. This one was too close for comfort; and of course he wasn’t wearing safety gear. He admits the wind was blowing quite hard but still chose to fly. A 2.5 meter kite isn’t that big, however a 120 lb teenager and a few 25mph gusts and you are in for some trouble.

Littlehampton Today writes

RUSTINGTON mum Christine Elson was stunned to see a teenager flying a kite lifted off the ground by a freak gust, and hurled against a stone wall.

But her shock turned to horror when she realised the crumpled figure lying injured in the road was her 14-year-old son.

Mrs Elson just happened to be passing Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre in a car when Aaron Chappell was swept off the beach, narrowly missing a moving car, before hitting a parked van and then crashing into the flint wall next to the road, sustaining a serious head injury.

You can read the rest of the article on the Littlehampton Today website

Another World Record Attempt

A group of school children will attempt to break the Guinness record for the most kites flown simultaneously. I am not sure what the current record stands at but according to news reports they must fly at least 675 kites for a minimum of 30 seconds. I first heard this story from Robert van Weers of New Zealand on the kitebuilder.com forums. It was pointed out by a few people that 675 kites doesn’t seem like a big deal. Many festivals can have more than that many kites flying at once, and there are reports of thousands of kites flying at once in India.

Guinness has dropped the ball on a number of kite record attempts and this has spurred the American Kitefliers Association (AKA) to start tracking records. In the past Valerie Govig of Kite Lines magazine validated kite records. Since Kite Lines ceased publication no one has been officially validating records. You can find out more about the AKA Kite Records Committee here.

The Manawatu Standard writes

Children at College Street Normal School were hard at work yesterday making kites.

The 200 children, aged seven to nine, will join hundreds of others flying kites at Coronation Park on Saturday afternoon in an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the most kites flown simultaneously.

you can read the rest of the story on the Manawatu Standard website.

NIKF Update – The Homan Walsh Challenge

Bob White of the Niagara Windriders sent this excellent report on the 2005 Homan Walsh challenge . Thanks Bob!

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Homan Walsh Challenge – Attempting a Kite Crossing
of the Niagara Gorge at the Niagara International
Kite Festival – Friday, October 7, 2005

Anyone who has visited Niagara Falls can attest to the majesty, grandeur and sheer awe that is inspired by the Niagara River’s gorge and the water that plunges over the cataract in two main falls: the Horseshoe and the American Falls. On average, every second 2,800 cubic metres (100,000 cubic feet) of water drops over the 176 foot precipice. It is a truly awesome display of the force of water and gravity as the outflow from Lake Erie rushes toward Lake Ontario, dropping an astounding total of 99 meters (326 feet).

Niagara River’s gorge is a total of 24 km (15 miles) long. Over the past 10,000+ years the force of this water has moved the falls upstream and created a deep river canyon. The river rushes with dangerous currents, eddies and whirlpools so fierce that bridging the mighty river was a task that slowed development of the Niagara Region until 1850. Charles Ellet Jr., an American engineer, constructed a suspension bridge to span the gorge and link the two cities of Niagara Falls Ontario and New York for commerce.

The story of young Homan Walsh, an American lad, who flew a kite across the gorge in 1848 is well researched and documented in an historical article by good friends Meg and Bill Albers of Buffalo, NY. Continue reading

Kite Surfer Airlifted to Hospital

The BBC news is reporting another serious kite surfing accident. I think kite flying and kite surfing is getting a bad reputation everytime one of these stories shows up. Yes there are certainly accidents even for experienced fliers, but it’s those people that are using the wrong kite for the wind, or those who are so new at the sport that they don’t understand the dangers that tarnishes the image of the sport everywhere.

The BBC Writes

A kite surfer is recovering in hospital after crashing on a south Wales beach popular with enthusiasts of the sport.

The man, 35, from the Bristol area, was airlifted to hospital in Swansea after the accident at Aberavon on Sunday.

At the same spot last year a teenager sustained critical injuries in a kite surfing accident.

Coastguards, who helped with Sunday’s rescue, said the man was about 20ft in the air when a loss of wind in his sail caused him to fall badly.

You can read the full story at the BBC.