Niagara Day 1- Kite-flying icons to abound

Niagara gets off to a good start.. we have some rain today but hopefully it will clear up for the weekend…

Buffalo News – Kite-flying icons to abound

2007 festival opens three-day stand in Niagara Falls today
By Pam Kowalik – NEWS NIAGARA BUREAU
Updated: 09/27/07 7:06 AM

NIAGARA FALLS — An 82-yearold man who holds multiple world records for kite flying — one for flying three kites while standing in the back of a moving convertible — will take part in the 2007 Niagara International Kite Festival this weekend.

And Ray Bethell, a kite flying icon who has won numerous awards all over the world as a master kite flier, is the person who will give the festival its international flavor as it takes off today for a four-day run along the Niagara Gorge.

The event starts today in Niagara Falls State Park and moves to Reservoir State Park in Lewiston.

Bethell, who lives in Vancouver, B.C., started sport kite flying in 1980. For many years he flew in team competitions with the Vancouver High Flyers, often placing first, second or third in North American competitions.

He is the holder of 11 world multiple kite records.

“One of the very special [efforts] to me was flying three full-size sport kites . . . simultaneously standing in the back of a red convertible down the main street of Long Beach, Wash., with a police escort with hundreds and hundreds of spectators that lined the sidewalks including the mayor, chief of police and the fire chief,” Bethell wrote in an e-mail.

Bethell was inducted into the World Kite Hall of Fame in Long Beach three years ago, and is among about 40 people who have been honored for kite building, promoting and flying.

“It pleases me that I have been given the opportunity to share my love of kite flying to the people of Niagara along with so many other kite fliers that have come from every part of this planet,” Bethell wrote The News.

The theme for this year’s Niagara International Kite Festival is “Con-

necting the Past, Present, and Future with a Kite String.”

Some of the festival’s highlights include a ceremony from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Friday. The event will take place somewhere along the gorge in Niagara Falls State Park and the exact location will be determined by the weather and the wind speed each day.

A kite made of organic materials will be “sacrificed” to the cascades in hopes of appeasing the wind and weather gods today and Friday. Actors also will display a Homan Walsh 1848 re-enactment contest, trying to connect a string of kites across the Niagara River between Prospect Point on the U.S. side and Victoria Park, in Niagara Falls, Ont. This is how construction started on the first suspension bridge across the river.

Ted Shaw, a director of the Great Lakes Kitefliers Society of Western New York, said he will be flying kites at the event.

“I just enjoy seeing all the color in the air, all the shapes,” Shaw said. “It’s amazing to me to be able to fly all the kites in the same area.”

Shaw spends a few hundred dollars a year on his kite passion.

Kate Scaglione, director of marketing and communications for the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., said people of all ages will have the opportunity to make kites in free workshops. She also said the festival will go on, even if it rains. “These kite fliers are so into what they’re doing that it doesn’t seem to bother them in the least.”

On Saturday and Sunday, the festival moves to Reservoir State Park. There will be kites of all descriptions — large inflatable show kites, artistic kites, sport kites, historical kites, indoor kites and fighter kites.

Activities run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. There will be kite making workshops from 1 to 3 p.m. both days.

Events include a discussion on kite history and exhibitions on kite aerial photography, miniature kites and kite stamps, and demonstrations of kite buggying and kite mountain boarding are scheduled for both days. For information on these activities and more, go to www.niagarakite.com.

pkowalik@buffnews.com

Niagara International Kite Festival – Sep 27th – 30th 2007

Great festival coming up this weekend with over 100 kite flyers coming from around the world. Check it out here… niagarakite.com

Join the worlds premier kite flyers as they bring the magical delights and awesome wonder of kiteflying to the Niagara region end of September.

The Homan Walsh 1848 kite contest re-enactment on Thursday and Friday which will be followed by an attempt to connect the USA and Canada with an arch of kites.

On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 & 30th, activities will be at Reservoir State Park in Lewiston. There will be of kites of all descriptions- large inflatable show kites, artistic kites, sport kites, historical kites, indoor kites, fighter kites, and more! A variety of exhibitions – kite history, kite aerial photography, miniature kites and kite stamps- and demonstrations of kite buggying and kite mountain boarding are scheduled for both days.

Because of both popular demand and the remarkable success of the last year’s Niagara International Kite Festival, we; the Niagara Tourism Convention Corporation and Sky’s the Limit; have come to the simple conclusion that we must do our best to make this festival an annual event.

We have no doubt the event holds enormous potential for both the kite world and the regional community. The annual theme for the Niagara International Kite Festival is “Connecting the Past, Present, and Future with a Kite String”. This year’s program highlights the Myths, the History, and the time-honored tradition of Daredevils lured to Niagara Falls.

Keep in mind that both the event and web site are current works in progress. Details will be posted as promptly as they are available.

Here is a huge list of the kiters that will be there..

Over 107 Confirmed Flyers from 10 Countries will be in Attendance

Canada
Vania Beaubien
Robert Trepanier
Bob White
Vaino Raun
Gary Mark
Michelle Welsford
Don Brownridge
Carlos Simoe
George Paisiovich
Ray Bethell ( Watch Master Kite Flyer and World Record Holder Ray Bethell Fly )
Dolores Taylor Bethell
Doug Isherwood
Ziggy Racek
Pete Rich
Mary & Paul Kort
Bill Wilson
Anne Sloboda
Eric Curtis
Royal City Fun Flyers , Guelph, Ont.
Bill Peart
Kerry St Dennis
Kathy Holt
Lucy Jonkman
Jessica St Dennis-Jonkman

Niagara Windrider Kitefliers Association – Port Colborne
Toronto Kitefliers Association – Toronto
Wind Climbers Kite Club – Cambridge

England
Martin Lester
Dave Mitchell
Sheila Mitchell
Michael Howard
Linda Howard
Kelvin Woods (flying 20 of his beautiful hand made Butterflies. Each one of the butterflies represents an actual species)
Malcolm Goodman
Jeanette Goodman

Germany
Team No limit
Kisa

Israel
Eli & Shula Shavit

Japan
Makoto Ohye

Mexico
Jose Sainz

New Zealand
Jenny Cook

Switzerland
Iqbal Husain (Making the arch to connect the US & Canada this year)

Tasmania
Robert Brassington

United States of America
Berkeley Kite Wranglers (California)
Thomas McAlister
David Hoggan
Shaun Hoggan
John Kahn Jr
Michael North
Team Sky Burner (Michigan)
Wayne Brunjes
Jon Trennepohl
Michael VanCleve
Dan Welbaum
Aaron Fegley
Scot Skinner (Colorado)
Kathy Goodwind (Washington)
Bill Albers (New York)
Jim Day (Washington)
Steve & Sue Santos (Rhode Island)
Laurie & Richard Dutton (New York)
Charles Stewart (New York)
Dorothy Stewart (New York)
Cheryl & John Hall w/MAX (Michigan)
Ted Shaw (New York)
Meg

Albers (New York)
Russ & Pat Mozier (Florida)
Chris Schultz (Texas)
Glenn Davison (Massachusetts)
Charles “AJ” Jackson (Texas)
Tim & Sue Boyle (Massachusetts)
Sue Edwards (Michigan)
Nancy Swift (Michigan)
Kathy Virgilio (Michigan)
Windjammers (Michigan)
Gary Maynard
Nate Williams
James Kinsey
Mike Carisle
George Wright
Team I-Quad (USA & Canada)
John Barresi (Oregon)
Steve de Rooy (British Columbia)
JD Fabich (Oregon)
David Hathaway (British Columbia)
Glenn Pedro (New Jersey)
Dooley (California)
David Gomberg (Oregon)
John Martin (Maine)
Ralph Reed (Massachusetts)
Jackie & Dick Maciel (Massachusetts)
Arnold Family; John, Suzette, John, Jace (Michigan)
Kaluzny Family; Walt, Sabrina, Alex, Nick (New York)
Team Skyjesters (Ohio)
Dean Proudfoot
Vickie Proudfoot
Don Tuff (Massachusetts)
Kim Linehan (Massachusetts)
Kyle Lemieux (Rhode Island)
Kyle Alves (Rhode Island)
Mark & Brenda Williams (New Hampshire)

Great Lakes Kitefliers Society (Buffalo, New York)

Kite Aerial Photography of India…

The BBC has provided some excellent KAP photos of India. The photos were taken by Nicolas Chorier, details of his rig and photos are below.

Nicolas Chorier is a Frenchman who specialises in “kite photography”. This image of the Jama Masjid in Delhi appears in a new book, Kite’s Eye View: India Between Earth and Sky, published by Roli Books.

Chorier makes 40-sq-foot kites from siliconised nylon and carbon or fibreglass rods. The camera sits in a cradle on a line beneath the kite, and can be raised to 1,000ft (300m). Chorier says lower altitudes are “more interesting”.

Chorier uses a Canon 5D camera and the whole rig can weigh about 2kg, with lens and extra battery. The camera cradle operates by remote control and can achieve a 360-degree rotation and 90-degree tilt.

Chorier uses an air-to-ground video link to provide real-time monitoring on a portable TV for accurate framing. “Once I feel my kite flying nicely, I rig up my camera on the line about 100 feet below the kite.”

Kite and camera can then be flown up to the required height. Chorier carries the remote control on his shoulder and the video monitor around his neck. He walks and raises and lowers the kite for shooting angles.

“Sometimes the kite comes down, but as the sail of the kite is big, it parachutes or glides down slowly. I have lost one camera, dropping it in the Yamuna river behind the Taj Mahal,” says Chorier.

“I have shot thousands of pictures above India. I love India, its sounds, smells, colours, people. Shooting India is so rewarding to my senses,” Chorier says.

Buteo Huang – Kite designs convey aspirations


Photo source:
Ahlerts.de

Here is an interesting article about Buteo Huang, his love of kites and his passion for designing them.

I had heard of Buteo Huang a few years ago when he competed at the AKA convention, If I recall correctly he took home a few trophies :). His kites were definitely beautiful and very unique. One of Buteo’s kites, “Starbird”, was featured in the “Stranger in a Strange Land” episode of the TV show LOST. I hadn’t really heard of him again until recently when I purchased a Buteo Huang Chinese Opera mask kite that is being produced by New Tech Kites. It’s a wonderful piece and it’s one of six in the series of Opera masks. He produces some wonderful kites, if you can you should try and pick one up for your collection.. worth every penny.

more information about Buteo Huang can be found here…
Buteo Hang’s Blog
For master kitemaker Buteo Huang, the sky’s the limit
New Tech Kites Buteo Huang site
Buddy TV – LOST

An interesting video posted on Buteo’s website is here

Article from the Taiwan Journal

Publication Date:09/21/2007 Section:Arts and Culture
By Sandra Shih

Entering the front gate to the artist’s studio, the first thing that came into sight was the pieces of an oval kite hanging above a small pond. The kite was decorated with brown and black circles, similar to the rings on the trunks of old trees. Together with the green plants and sound from the waterfall, the setting was like a hidden forest. This was the studio of Buteo Huang, a kite designer. He had turned his home into a studio to pursue his childhood dream.

Huang called the kite “Disappearing Forest,” which was one of the many that he designed and added to his collection. He said that many people looked at his works in museums or indoor displays, commenting that they were not extraordinary and regarding them as installation art. “Everything you see here can actually fly. That’s why it is a kite, not an installation,” Huang said Sept. 7. Seeing a kite flying in the air was normal, but making a flat piece of paper ascend to the sky could take him months at a time. “Flying is the fundamental desire of human beings,” he claimed. “What I do satisfies this innate need.”
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Philippine officials: Muslim militants may resort to kites to attack military choppers

I find this disturbing, however I shouldn’t be surprised. Kites, perhaps from the very early beginnings, have been used as weapons, decoys, and as military tools. Saul’s Barrage kite, for example, (which was test flown here in Halifax, Nova Scotia) was used as an anti-aircraft weapon. It would bring down enemy air craft by “clipping” their wings, so to speak. More information on the barrage kite can be found here: Harry C Sauls Barrage Kite and here: Saul’s Barrage Kite

fast forward to 2007…it appears that it’s still happening with militants using them to deter night time air raids by helicopters by flying kites near their camps.

Here is an excerpt from the Associated Press article carried by the international tribune

MANILA, Philippines: Al-Qaida-linked militants and their sympathizers may be using an unlikely weapon to strike at attack helicopters and cut the risk of aerial raids on their jungle strongholds: kites.

A Huey helicopter encountered difficulty while flying back at night from a recent combat mission on the southern island of Jolo after a kite’s thick nylon cord became dangerously entwined in its rotor, Philippine air force chief Lt. Gen. Horacio Tolentino said Monday.

The pilots had noticed unusual vibrations, and managed to land safely in a Jolo military camp, he said.

An air force officer familiar with the incident told The Associated Press that the kite’s cord most probably struck the Vietnam War-era Huey over a sparsely populated mountainous region, from which the aircraft evacuated soldiers wounded during a clash with suspected Abu Sayyaf militants.

It was unlikely the kite had been flown by ordinary civilians, the officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Several kites may have been flown, then tied to trees surrounding a rebel encampment as an extra buffer against nighttime air attacks, the officer said.

“They really have an intention to bring down our helicopters,” Tolentino told the AP.

After the incident, Tolentino said he instructed air force pilots to undertake “evasive maneuvers” aimed to protect choppers from kites during landing and takeoff in Jolo, especially at night. Inspectors were deployed to ensure no kites were being flown near air force areas, he said.

Kite-flying is a popular pastime on Jolo, a predominantly Muslim island where U.S. forces have been providing non-combat assistance to Filipino troops to wipe out Abu Sayyaf militants and a handful of Indonesian militants.

But residents rarely fly kites at night.

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