Kite And Kayak Festival 2007

Hello all,

The 2nd Annual Kite And Kayak festival has a new website. Tons of pictures from last years fesitval and information on the upcoming festival for 2007. A lot of the photos were shot by Linda Lücker. lot’s of pics of the lobster, Scott and I holding on for dear life, some great aerial shots by Yvon Hache, check it out…

Looks like the dates have been set for July 20-22, 2007. Just enough breather room between K&K and the Dieppe International :) Check out the site at www.kiteandkayak.ca and don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list to get information as soon as it’s available.

Cheers,
Bill

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.

Flickr albums added

Found this great plugin called “Flickr Photo Album for WordPress” from Silas Partners and written by Joe Tan (joetan54@gmail.com). It’s fantastic! It allows me to embed my flickr sets, photos, flickr groups, etc on my site with the same look and feel of the rest of steadywinds.com. This is what I was hunting for when I first started this blog and ended up using Menalto Gallery 1.x. While Menalto does the job, I like using flickr much more and the fragmentation of two photo albums was bothering me.

you can check out my flickr photos here. www.steadywinds.com/flickr/

and embedding a photo from the post creation page is a snap…

Santa Cruz Boardwalk - Kap 3
Merry Christmas!

Cheers,
Bill

Cool Kite Flying How-To Videos

I was reading the “coreylama’s kite chi” blog the other day and came across an interesting post. Corey Jensen, owner of Wind Power Sports in Las Vegas, has put together some kite flying how-to videos. The videos are hosted on Expert Village and cover flying dual line, quad line power and preceision, as well as single line and a some video about Kite buggying as well.

Here is a sample…

Check them out…

Dual line kites
Kite Chi
Kite turns
Delta kites
How to attach lines
how to fly a delta dual line

Flying an ozone quad
Power kite tips
Flying power kites
Kite buggies
Revolution quad kites

Single line kite knot
flying dragon kites
Kite string winder
Winding kite line

Brazil : Kite Fighting

Back in October of this year I came across an article from Gringoes.com talking about kite fighting. In the article the author, Laurie, stated the following.

“As I have never seen kite fighting in the United States, I am wondering if this is a phenomenon unique to Brazil? Perhaps a “Gringoes” reader will know the answer to this!”

Of course after reading this I quickly fired up my email client and sent off an email with some information about the North American Fighter Kite Association (NAFKA) and some of the differences between North American kite fighting and those used in the Gringoes.com article. Here is the short note I sent off…

Hello there,

Kite fighting does happen in the US and Canada. The North American Kite Fighting style uses smaller kites (usually) and without the glass coated line. It’s “touch” kite fighting. i.e. you have to try and attack your opponent either from below or above (decided at the beginning of the fight). Once you make contact with the line or kite from the prescribed direction you receive a point. A match consists of 3 fights.
….

One thing that is truly great about the way we publish information on the internet is that people are usually only too glad to hear from readers, it’s much more personal which is more or less the opposite of what a lot of people thought would happen. This kind of communication is great for me since one of the goals of this website is to help spread the word about all things related to kites. Continue reading →

U2 kite fetches high price on TradeMe

Really cool story from the New Zealand Herald about two U2 fans that raised twelve hundred and thirty dollars for OxFam by auctioning off a kite that Bono had released over the crowd at a concert.

New Zealand Herald Wrote

6.00pm Tuesday December 5, 2006

A kite released by U2′s lead singer Bono during one of the band’s Auckland concerts last week has fetched $1230 on Trade Me, with proceeds being donated to development agency Oxfam New Zealand.

Two of the 40,000 U2 fans, Claire and Hayden Keam, caught the kite as it floated above them during the last song and promptly put it on the online auction site in a bid to raise money for Oxfam.

The auction closed at 2.20pm today and a bidder by the name of “paitid” will hand over their cash in a three-way exchange with Oxfam and the Keams.

“I’m stoked that we’ve been able to raise some money for Oxfam,” Mrs Keam said.

“I’ll miss having the kite on our wall, but knowing that the sale of it will mean that the money will be used to help people that are so much less fortunate than us is brilliant.”

Mrs Keam said the Tauranga couple had decided to sell the kite on Trade Me and in honour of Bono’s own campaign to end world poverty, they decided to give the proceeds to charity.

“We talked around and looked on the internet and we did our own research and Oxfam is one of the organisations he supports,” Mrs Keam said.

Executive director of Oxfam New Zealand Barry Coates said he was looking forward to showing the Keams how the funds they raised will make a huge difference to people living in poverty.

Mr Coates said a large portion of Oxfam New Zealand’s income came from members of the public and all of them had their own story of commitment to poverty reduction.

“This is a particularly delightful story of how an individual can seize an opportunity to fight for better lives for the world’s poor,” he said.

“We want to thank not only Claire and Hayden, but the thousands of New Zealanders who support our work,” he added.

“The change we see throughout the world because of the commitment of individual Kiwis is inspiring.”

However, Bono’s kite fell short of the $22,800 one Trade Me buyer spent on the handbag former All Black captain Tana Umaga walloped a team mate with to calm him down during a night on the town in Christchurch last year.

Kites towing cargo ships – Kite Sails and Kite Ship

There have been a few stories popping up about Kite Sails lately. Kite Sails is a German company that hopes to be the first to use a kite as an engine assist device for large cargo ships. My good friend Bob White of the Niagara Wind Riders has a great article talking about Kite Sails and Kite Ship on his blog Best Breezes. Have a read you won’t be disappointed

Here are some of the stories that have come up over the last couple of days.

A kite to pull a cargo ship – CNET News.com

German high-tech sky sail may cut costs, emissions – Reuters via Yahoo! News

High-tech sail may cut cargo ship costs – Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Buffalo News – Kiting the Mega Moon

LEWISTON – An enormous scuba diver in a black wet suit filled the sky above Reservoir State Park on Saturday to the delight of more than 5,000 visitors at the second annual Niagara International Kite Festival.
Then the wind finally picked up, and the 400-pound Mega Moon, the largest kite in the world, slowly lifted into the cloudless blue sky.

It took a team of eight to get Mega Moon to rise Saturday, and once it was skyward, it took a lot to keep it from drifting away. The kite was held down by several struggling enthusiasts gripping ropes and a 20-ton braided line attached to a dump truck filled with two tons of bricks.

read more here…Buffalo News – Kiting the Mega Moon (FIXED THE LINK)

Milliken man hopes to set new kite-flying world record

Correction I would like to point out that there are some errors in the report below.

1) Richard Synergy’s broke the altitude record in 2000 not in 1995.
2) Robert Moore did not plan on or make a record attempt on the same day. Mr. Moore’s attempt is scheduled for April of 2007 and not April 2006.

I would like to thank Robert Moore for bringing this to my attention.

Good article in the North Platte Telegraph about a new kite altitude world record.

You can find out more information about the current record holder, Canadian Richard Synergy at the Toronto Kite Fliers site.

Australian Robert Moore will be attempting to break the record at the same time on the other side of the world. Here is a post I made about his last attempt Kite Altitude Record Still in Tact

NPTelegraph.com wrote

MILLIKEN, Colo. – The world record for kite flying height is 13,509 feet, but on Labor Day weekend, it may be broken. Milliken, Colo., resident Richard Crawford plans to set a new record of 15,000 feet at the Callaway Kite Flight.
“It’s all up to God and mother nature,” he said. “I’ve got the tools, the gizmos. All I need is the wind. It’s kind of a crap shoot.”
The current world record is held by 1995 by Canadian Richard Synergy.
The 43-year-old Crawford is a production chemist at a Boulder, Colo.,-based custom chemical manufacturing company. He’s been flying kites for 18 years and custom builds kites in a hobby he calls “Stitched by Rich.”
When asked why he decided to go for the record, Crawford said, “I wish I knew.”
After studying the world record numbers, he said to himself, “Wow, that looks pretty doable.”
“I thought, ‘It’s kind of high, but it’s not that high,’” Crawford said.
Callaway Kite Flight has been a destination spot the last three years for Crawford. He’s been practicing getting his kite up to extreme heights.
Last year he made it to a little more than 5,000 feet.
“The winds (at Callaway) have always been dynamite,” he said. “Getting to 5,000 feet was very easy.”
The perfect day for achieving his goal would include ground-level winds at 15 mph, gradually increasing to 35 mph at 15,000 feet.
“If I’ve got that, I’m there. It’s a done deal,” he said. “Something close to (those conditions) might get the job done, but either way I’m going to have a lot of fun.”
“That’s another reason I go to Callaway,” Crawford said. “These people are a blast.”
He plans to be in Callaway by Friday noon when he will scout out the kite flight area and set up his equipment at Foster Smith Field, four and a half miles southeast of Callaway.
He’s bringing an eight-person support team with him to help. There will be dangers associated with attempt, so Crawford and his team will launch from way in the back of the field. He said his group would bring their own sound system, video cameras to record the history-setting event and walkie-talkies to provide updates to the announcer near the spectators.
Before he was able to plan his adventure, Crawford was required to get proper authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“You let the FAA know what you’re doing, where you’re doing it and how high you’re doing it,” Crawford said. He was given an FAA-cleared notice to airmen that warn pilots the fly space is being used and he was given a waiver for marking his kite string.
Instead of the general requirement that places a marker every 50 feet on his kite line, Crawford will only have to mark his line every 1,000 feet. He will need about 30,000 feet of line, he said and marking it every 50 feet would have been quite an obstacle.
The kite string Crawford will be flying is a very fine line called aramid fiber. He said the high tensile line is about four times the tensile strength of steel.
He will have a global positioning system on board his kite along with wireless telemetry that will be wire flight information down to his laptop computer on the ground.
His kite is a self-designed 26-foot wingspan Delta. Since he’s the designer, Crawford believes he has eliminated any failure points that would keep him from reaching his goal and causing the kite to rip apart.
Crawford is lucky enough to have found sponsorship for his world-record attempt. Twin Line, a company in Boulder, will be supplying the line and MaxStream, a wireless company is providing the communications to his computer.
It would have cost Crawford more than $2,000 just for the kite line.
“I was ready to pay that if I had to, but had been putting feelers out and was lucky to find a sponsor,” he said.
A winch with a 6.5 horsepower engine will be used to reel the kite back to the ground.
Although Saturday morning is Crawford’s target launch time, he is prepared to try again on Sunday if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
To verify that Crawford does set a new world record, he is required to have three signatures from witnesses to the event. One of those will be Don Murphy, the regional director for the American Kite Association.
On the same weekend, a fellow kite-flyer in Australia plans to attempt the world record as well. He and Crawford have been in contact by email.