Articles

  • On September 23rd, 2014, four Australian kite enthusiasts flew a kite to a claimed 16,038 feet above the launch point at an airfield on a 50,000-acre sheep farm called Cable Downs, in Western NSW, Australia. This was the venue for all our record attempts over the last ten years. It is a site remote from our homes in Sydney, 750 kilometers (466 miles) to the east of this dry and dusty place.
  • Flying to very high altitudes may be the most visceral of emotions for the new kite flier. It’s so easy to just continue to let out line until your kite is out of sight – only you know that the line you’re holding is connected to a flying object far out of sight. After this first experience, most of us move on, saying, “Been there, done that,” and really never test the upper limits of our personal flying spaces. But some continue to find ways to go higher and higher.
  • Tony Rice of Brisbane, Australia, has for years been able to live and thrive largely by giving kite workshops. Teaching all ages, he spreads joy wherever he goes. His secret is his outgoing nature.  An artist at the age of 16, he studied painting and pottery, and in that quirky but wonderful moment of life, he discovered kites. Read more in this 2005 article from the Drachen Foundation Kite Journal.
  • THE EARLY DAYS Since the invention of the box kite by Lawrence Hargrave and the bowed kite by William Eddy, there has been only one man who created a major innovat ion i n unmotor ized flight . Of cour se ever y enthusiastic aviation specialist and kite-fanatic knows more people who were inventive: Otto Lilliënthal, Alexander Graham Bell, and Samuel F. Cody. From the perspective of innovation, though, the invention of Francis M. Rogallo was a real breakthrough.
  • “The eye sees what it has been given to see by concrete circumstances, and the imagination reproduces what, by some related gift, it is able to make live.” – Flannery O’Connor
  • Samoans and other island sailors of Polynesia used kites to propel their canoes throughout the vast Pacific. (Although I have it on good authority that using kites in this manner by Polynesian sailors is a fact, I haven't seen the documentation. Grist for one's own mill and, perhaps, another article.) Because he wrote about it (we'll take him at his word), we do know that in the early 1700's, a young Benjamin Franklin, while floating on his back, employed a kite to pull himself across a pond.
  • The inimitable Shakib Gunn is a fixture in the kite community. His famous kitefliers passports are found throughout the worlds, and the large festivals he organized in Singapore in the 1980's were the beginning of the international kite scene in Southeast Asia. In a series of talks with Shakib in Singapore, where we both live, he explained his philosophy toward kites, festivals and life in general.
  • A student of American kite patents, Ed Grauel of Rochester,N.Y., has expanded his research into kite creativity elsewhere in the Western world. On behalf of the Drachen Foundation, he has now: -prepared a definitive listing of all Australian kite patents from the first one issued in 1900 through 1997; -read and summarized the 59 English kite patents issued from 1911 through 1965 (it would be very difficult to check the 800,000 patents issued prior to 1911 to determine which, if any, covered kites);
  • A lawyer by training, Dr.Paul Eubel changed his career in mid-stream from being Germany's leading contemporary expert on the Japanese legal system to a cultural affairs officer representing his country in Japan. He got himself posted to Osaka to head the Goethe Institute there, Germany's equivalent of the United States Information Agency.
  • Tony Rice, of Brisbane, Australia, has for years been pulling off a feat. He has been able to live, and evidently thrive, largely by giving kite workshops. He teaches all ages and spreads joy wherever he goes. “Kids----and adults----make something with their hands, decorate it, successfully fly it,” he says. “It’s tangible, fulfilling, fun. They can’t get it out of a computer. They’re enthusiastic.”