Photo source: www.horvath.ch
Over the past couple of days I have had some great correspondence with the Synergetic kite creator Thomas K. Horvath. Thomas graciously agreed to answer some of questions about his inspiration and motivation to build these very cool kites.
Steadywinds: Who is Thomas K. Horvath?
Thomas:My parents came to Switzerland as refugees in the Hungarian revolution in 1956. Born in Switzerland, I now live and work in Zürich, which is a fast and dense city, a nice home for the Urban Ninja too.
I studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zürich. Then I worked a couple of years with renowned architects, before I started my own small studio for architecture and industrial design. I have now reduced the architectural activities to invest in kite development and business.
My passion: Soaring in the wide sky with a prototype, that’s not good enough yet.
Steadywinds: How did you get started in kiting?
Thomas: While studying architecture, I was interested in light, collapsible structures, often designed for temporary purposes. In this context tetrahedral principals and fuller’s tensegrity structures are investigated. In those years I knew, that someday I will be constructing kites. Years later I started kiting with the first Benson and Wolfe kites, but due to no wind in the swiss evenings I soon switched to light-wind kites like the most beautiful white Isis by Pierre Marzin. Even these hi-tech floaters need a little wind to hang loose with them.
Steadywinds: What is a synergetic kite?
Thomas: I think of synergy in three aspects:
• Structural: The dynamic interaction of the frame with the membrane, intensified by air pressure and input of the flyer provides a strong, but flexible arrangement. The whole structure is a moderate, pragmatic tensegrity approach.
• The synergy in flight: While gliding, my flyers benefit of their nature of a kite, like the low wing loading of around 85g per sq. m. While stalling, they don’t fall down, and those neutral moments of zero energy are the decisive points of piloting them. In kite mode, while pulling them up into the sky, their profiled wings develop much more lift than their weight is, so they climb very fast with minimal loss of line length.
• air, the bird and me: my most quiet and beautiful moments . . .
Steadywinds: It seems to be part glider, trick kite, single line.. how did you get inspired to design these kites?
Thomas: I wanted kites to play around with in calm evenings. To fly without wind, there must be motion, and it’s essential, that I can influence the motion. I learned, that such a flying machine would have to glide away over longer distances and had to be steerable. I began to reduce stability down to the minimum to make the designs slower, but more agile in order to get a direct response. This enabled the kites to do tight flat-spins, resulting in longer air time on a narrow spot.
Steadywinds: What is the Urban Ninja project?
Thomas: The Urban Ninja is an attpemt to provide an easy to fly gadget for everyone including kids, not only for kiting people. It can be flown anywhere and anytime. It’s called a project, because I plan to publish variants: A tiny indoor variant (which I flew in the studio a few minutes ago), an even more aggressive highly unstable one et cetera.
Don’t expect these within the next month’s. It turned out, that people like to fly the Ninja in the crowded sky at a festival and when the winds die in the evening and there’s plenty of space in the sky, they are soaring around with their “Long Way Homes” and the other wings. It would be nice to see a growing community of ninja fliers. With a number on the sail, you invite others to fly around with you, even on a narrow spot …
Steadywinds: Why did you decide to create the Urban Ninja and offer the plans online?
Thomas: To share something with the community, to promote active single line kiting and to reach people like you . . .
Since this interview Thomas has added another section to his site describing how his kites fit within the kite world. you can find this information here. our kites in kite space
Also it looks like there will be a write up on www.kite-tests.de about The Long Way home. The Long Way home is the kite being flown in the YouTube video in my previous post. I am not 100% sure when the information will be posted but it should be soon.