Articles

  • Of the many kites and kite-hybrids used during World War II, one of the more novel was the rotary wing kite----the Bachstelze, or Sandpiper---used by the German submarine service. A free-turning three-blade rotor mounted on a vertical pylon attached to a simple framework, the kite was used as an observation post. The observer’s seat was unprotected. The 24-foot kite was carried aft on a tubular boom and consisted of a rudder and horizontal stabilizing surface. The observer had controls for operating the rudder and for tilting the rotor head.
  • Because he has photographed many disasters and sees the world imperiled by pollution, hatred and war, Hans Silvester has embarked on a major kite book project to convey the other side of the equation---hope, beauty, friendship, peace. Creator of more than 25 photographic volumes, including the best-selling Chats du Soleil (Cats of the Sun), which has sold a half-million copies worldwide, Silvester enrolled artist-kitemakers Philippe Cottenceau, Claudio Capelli, and Robert Trepanier to fly for him where kites could be shown as symbols of purity.
  • Big kite festivals draw a wide range of fliers, from professionals to skilled amateur enthusiasts----hobbyists, craftsmen, aerodynamicists, artists, poets, teachers, outdoors people. Following are biographical sketches of six of the kiters, selected rather randomly although all proved to be interesting subjects, who attended last spring’s international festival at Cervia, Italy. Iqbal Husain:
  • Cervia is a classy beach town on the Adriatic two hours south of Venice. Jammed in summer with vacationing Italians and other Europeans, it is tranquil and underpopulated in the spring, with a gentle breeze blowing in from offshore. Perfect for kiteflying, in short.
  • To the best of present knowledge, the word “kite” stems from the Old English “cyta,” meaning a bird of prey of the hawk family and distinguished by long pointed wings and a forked tail. The bird was also called a “glade” in England and was fairly common there during the Middle Ages.
  • More than might be imagined, it is a commonplace for there to be conflicting claims regarding the primacy of invention in the field of kites, flight...and all inventions. These contests of authorship tend to follow a pattern and reflect attitudes reminiscent of the information recently presented by Istvan Bodoczky, who has raised a question concerning the origin of the Sled kite. The l904 Hungarian ethnographic journal he enters into evidence includes a description, accompanied by a drawing, of a “Buda Jewish kite” remarkably similar in its appearance to William A.
  • It is very remarkable how people pass by good inventions and good ideas and won’t take to them. Kites, for instance, have been known for hundreds of years. Everyone knows of them the world over, yet till a few years ago no one thought of putting them to any use. When I say no one, I do not mean that exactly, for Franklin and others, of course, used kites for meteorological experiments; Pocock drew a little carriage along with them, and several others suggested their use for life-saving at sea.
  • Samuel F. Cody’s kites and other artifacts of Farnborough England’s 100-year-history as the birthplace of British aviation are expected to find an exhibition home when a huge airship hangar is rebuilt at Farnborough, west of London. Farnborough was the home of the famous old balloon factory of l905 where the British developed their wide-ranging aviation establishment prior to World War 1.
  • When Christophe Cheret and associate Richard Poisson, both Burgundians from France, went to Hebron in Palestine last summer to teach kitemaking and flying to Arab children, they found that kiting was one of the few play activities there. The reasons have to do with the special circumstances of life in one of the most highly disputed cities in the world. Hebron has 500 Jewish settlers living, for religious reasons, in the midst of 120,000 Moslem Palestinians. Only Israeli army protection permits this to continue.
  • "“Among (Mr. Wilson’s) more advanced students...was Thomas Melville, so well known by his mathematical talents, and by those fine specimens of genius which are to be found in his posthumous papers....With this young person, Mr. Wilson lived with the greatest intimacy. Of several philosophical schemes which occurred to them in their social hours, Mr. Wilson proposed one, which was to explore the temperature of the atmosphere in the higher regions, by raising a number of paper kites, one above another, upon the same line with thermometers appended to those that were to be most elevated.