Articles

  • Joseph Louis LeCornu was born in Caen, Normandy, on March 13, 1864, the seventh of eight children. His father was a lacemaker by trade. Following the father's death in 1878 when LeCornu was 14, he and his seven siblings were raised by their mother. An early achiever, LeCornu received a prize in philosophy from his lycee in Caen at age 9 and four years later was included in a delegation from his school sent to Paris to attend the burial of writer Victor Hugo. The following year he was admitted to L'Ecole Centrales des Arts and Manufactures.
  • Between the years 1882 and 1994, a total of 100 patents were issued by the German Patent Office for kites and kite accessories. This averages about one patent per year, approximately the same number of patents issued by the British Patent Office for English patents over a period of years. In contrast, the U.S. Patent Office issued an average of six to seven patents per year from 1886 to 1998, indicating a much greater interest in kiting in America than in those two European countries.
  • Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters are back in vogue and the Amateur Yacht Research Society enters into the spirit of the 19th century by this appreciation of a book published in 1827, The Aeropleustic Art, by a Bristol schoolmaster who built, patented and drove a kite buggy at 20 miles per hour almost two centuries ago. The volume is virtually unobtainable, as is a second edition published in 1851 retitled A Treatise of the Aeropleustic Art or Buoyant Sails, With a Description of the Charvolent or Kite Carriage.
  • If you love kites and are skilled at photography, how do you put the two together to make a vocation? Nicolas Chorier, 37, of Montpellier, France, faced this question a few years ago. His answer was: aerial kite photography.
  • After the plane he was flying came apart in midair and he fell 500 feet to his death on Aug.7, 1913, Samuel Franklin Cody was accorded a hero's funeral at Aldershot, England. A procession viewed by fifty thousand people delivered his body to the military cemetery there and Cody was interred with Great Britain's heroes, the first civilian and the only American cowboy ever to be accorded such an honor.
  • Because of Indonesia's current problems, the decision to hold the festival in the beautiful town of Sanur, Bali could not be made until two weeks before the starting date. At such short notice, less than a dozen international participants were able to join in the mid-year event. Guests came from Brunei, Singapore, Japan, France, Austria, Holland, and the U.S. Bali itself was more than well represented.
  • Fano 1999 had the best weather in the 15 year history of the kitefliers' meeting. Only one day was washed out by the showers, so typical on this small Danish island, and what a pleasant coincidence that it was the same afternoon that the scheduled Alexander Graham Bell Symposium was to be held. Over 65 enthusiasts sought shelter and information in Fano's elementary school, and, as showers pelted the island, were treated to lectures by Ralf Schroder and Achim Kinter. (For a sample of Ralf Schroder's design work, see "Drachen Sport und Design" May 1999.)
  • The names of the places where Wilbur and Orville Wright made history are familiar to people everywhere who know and cherish the story of the invention of the airplane. The brothers tested their first kite/glider at Kitty Hawk. North Carolina in 1900, then shifted their seasonal camp four miles south to the Kill Devil Hills, where they flew from 1901 to 1903. They perfected their invention at Huffman Prairie, eight miles east of Dayton, in 1904 and 1905, and opened their flying field there in 1910.
  • 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.
  • Because the Alexander Graham Bell tetrahedral kite is completely modular, you can change the shape every time you put one together. That's what makes it such a fascinating kite.