One of the most dedicated groups of kiting enthusiasts is interested in the kite's use throughout history as a tool in collecting data for weather prediction and military strategizing. The Foundation shares its interest and has actively supported research about, and archival documentation of, these "historical" kites and their uses.
To this end the Foundation recently joined in the celebration of the Lindenberg Meteorological Observatory's one-hundredth anniversary. Lindenberg is one of the oldest of the historic observatories throughout the western world (Massachusetts' Blue Hill is an example in the United States). It has gathered meteorological data using kites and balloons to lift instruments, reportedly without having missed a single day of data collection in a hundred years. Lindenberg is also interesting because employees both worked and lived for their entire lives at the facility-an incubator for complex social interactions. The resident kite maker was Rudolf Grund, who from his graduation at age eighteen until his death, designed and engineered many structurally sound high-flying lifters.
Star of the anniversary was Werner Schmidt, who, fifteen years ago, secured the observatory's confidence in his expertise as a restorer of historical kites. Schmidt was allowed to take the original Grund kites from the site to study and restore them. This October celebration marked not only Lindenberg's hundredth anniversary but also the restored kites' grand unveiling (one with a sail area as large as 32 square meters).
Please look for a full account (with many more photos) of this important event in the upcoming Drachen Foundation Kite Journal, to be released in spring 2006.
To learn more about historical kites and their restorers, plan to visit Dieppe International Kite Festival, France, in September 2006, where the Drachen Foundation will sponsor an exhibit about these European kite makers, with a demonstration of historical kites in flight.