Category Archives: Cool projects

Flight of the Silver Dart Centennial – Rokkaku Workshop

In celebration of Canada’s centennial of flight, this once in 100 years 2 day kite-making workshop is being offered to a limited number of participants on a first come, first served basis. Kite-maker Bill Wilson and fabric artist Anne Morrell will guide this workshop providing the inspiration and expertise required for each participant to design and construct a Rokkaku kite. Rokkaku kites originated in Japan. These 6-sided kites are taller than they are wide and known for their flying ability.

Kite kit included but participants must bring their own basic sewing supplies and sewing machine capable of doing zigzag. Registration Fee: $75.00 A cheque in the amount of $75.00 must accompany your completed registration form (form on opposite side). Supply list to accompany registration confirmation.

Download the brochure and registration form here:
Silver Dart – Rokkaku Workshop registration form

Custom Ozone Kite Build

KiteFenzy.com pic of a custom kite for Dwarf8

KiteFenzy.com pic of a custom kite for Dwarf8

This is a really cool series of photos showing what it takes to build a custom kite-surfing kite.

Here is an example from a fantastic natural refresher drink called Dwarf8, http://www.dwarf8.com/ from Switzerland but based in the kite mecca of Europe, Tarifa, where best to have a custom kite? They ordered an 11m Sport 2

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in all white sail with the logo sewn on.

Bell Cygnet Kite Centennial 2007

On August 21st 2007 a group of about 40 kite flyers from around Canada and the world gathered in Baddeck, Nova Scotia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s Cygnet kite. This event picked up steam with the media and it was broadcast nationally on the CBC morning news and was on a number of local broadcasts as well. I will have more of a write up in the next few days…

CBC morning news…

CTV Live at 5 Broadcast…

Long flight for Birdwoman kite

Stuff.co.nz (The Dominion Post) has a quick article on Suzanne Tamaki’s kite “Manu Wahine” which means “Bird Woman”. The kite will be displayed in the British museum together with the oldest known traditional Maori kite, which is the male counter part to Tamaki’s kite. You can read the complete article here..Long flight for Birdwoman kite – Stuff.co.nz


Photo Source : PHIL REID/The Dominion Post

Valerie and I were in New Zealand in 2004, I was in to kites then but I didn’t have a clue about Maori kites. Since then I have received a bit of an education with the help of some kite flying friends from NZ and from a great book titled “Te Manu Tukutuku – The Maori Kite” by Bob Maysmor.

To give you an idea of what’s in the book here is the table of contents

  • Origins of the Maori Kite
  • Materials used for kite-making
  • Surviving examples of Maori Kites
  • Other types of Maori kite
  • Decorations and accessories
  • Flying lines and bridles
  • How kites were flown
  • Tutu Manu – chants and charms
  • Traditional histories
  • Contemporary Maori kites

There is also a great appendix with listings of Maori kites in museums and other collections, how to make a manu taratahi and Drawings of surviving kites inlcuding the bird man kite that is in the British Museum.

So if you get a chance pick up the book.. you can get it from the kite lines bookstore

Synergetic Kites – An Interview With Thomas K. Horvath



Photo source: www.horvath.ch

Hello all,

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.

The Urban Ninja – a Synergetic Kite by Thomas K. Horvath

Thomas K. Horvath stumbled across my site the other day and sent me a link to his website and to a cool project that he has been working on. The Urban Ninja is a synergetic kite that has been developed for confined flying areas like parks and parking lots. The kite is designed using the finest kite materials for low wind; Icarex, light weight carbon tubes, kevlar, etc. The plan has wonderful detail and is very well documented. I know I have certainly added this kite to my “build” list :)

What is a synergetic kite you ask… well I rightly don’t really know. However Horvath.ch/YouTube.com has a great video of one of their other models in some wonderful gliding and axel type maneuvers.

I have asked Thomas a bunch of questions about www.horvath.ch and his project. Hopefully I will have an update to this article with his answers. For now go off and enjoy the website and plan. Please keep in mind that this kite is for non commercial use only.


non commercial use only
photo source: Thomas K. Horvath – www.horvath.ch

KiteGen Project

Found an interesting article on iafrica.com today about another project aimed at using kites to generate electricity. This concept is more of a merry-go-round with large kites tethered to spokes. Some prelminary trials have been done and a small test showed that it was possible to produce energy using this design. A team has been assembled and they will begin work on larger prototypes.

You can find more information here…
KWG Project

A cool flash simulation showing how the kites would fly can be found here.Kite power – Flash Demo

Kite power
Popular Mechanics, December 2006 issue.
Thu, 28 Dec 2006
By Alan Duggan

LET’S not beat about the bush here: unless we do something pretty damn dramatic to slow the pollution of our atmosphere, the world as we know it is going to change — and not for the better.

In fact, some scientists believe it’s already too late to halt the progress of global warming, citing the relentless consumption of fossil fuels, the melting of the ice caps and many other portents of disaster (for the sake of brevity and everyone’s mental equilibrium, we won’t go into the cavalier dismissal of the Kyoto Accord and other initiatives aimed at curbing the dreaded greenhouse effect).

Against that, we should be encouraged by the fact that scientists, engineers and assorted futurists are trying to avert the looming crisis with a host of strategies, including the development of safer and more affordable nuclear power (see “A new atomic age”, November issue) and proposals for the safe storage of nuclear waste — if there is such a thing.

Some of their ideas are workable only on the basis of hugely optimistic assumptions — for example, a sizeable proportion of the world’s motorists deciding to swop their muscular gas-guzzlers for wimpy fuel cell-powered vehicles costing three times as much — while others are characterised more by gee-whiz ingenuity than practicality.

Some of the more provocative ideas exist only in the form of outrageous concept drawings and small prototypes with cute names.

We’ve heard about wave power (actually, this is one of the few concepts with serious potential), geothermal power (again, quite effective, but not suitable for rolling out on a large scale), wind power (experimental wind-powered turbines are already doing their bit in South Africa), and many other strategies — including (as we recall from our recent Great South African Inventors Competition) at least three utterly foolproof designs for “free energy”.

Now meet a concept that must rank among the most original yet — kite power.

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