Richard Dermer is the President of the American Kitefliers Association.
What’s Up with the American Kiteflier’s Association
Welcome to the AKA Corner! As the American Kitefliers Association President, I want to apologize for missing this column last issue. I got home from the annual convention in late October with so many things to do that my November column just didn’t get written. I’m sorry. On the other hand, I’m delighted with the coverage given the convention in the last issue of KiteLife. Mike Gillard and David Gomberg’s timely reporting, along with the wonderful galleries of photos by a lot of wonderful people, tell it all. We had a great time!
What an Arch!
One of the many convention highlights for me was the success of the “Arch Project”. Readers may remember that I discussed this in progress in early summer. Texas AKA member Terry Sansom came up with the idea, on the Internet, of forming a group called rec.kitemakers to make a co-operative “arch” of Eddy kites.Over the summer, 38 individual kitemakers contributed sails they had sewn–a total of 235 kites. Tom Arbster of Kinetic Kites donated the spars; Terry sewed the sails to the arch line. The resulting arch was 800′ long, flew beautifully, dominating the sky, and won the Cooperative Division at the AKA Kitemakers Grand Nationals. It was then donated to the Great Kite Auction, where it brought in $1,175 in five sections. (I bought two, and have offered to share my sections back and forth with the other three purchasers, so you may this arch anywhere in the country in 1999.)
Think about it! That’s 38 people sharing a National Championship and simultaneously contributing to the organization! Is that a highpoint of cooperation? Only for the time being. Terry has announced plans to repeat the project in l999, and is hoping for hundreds more sails. (You can sew three from a single yard of fabric.) This could be your chance. A new, larger arch could win again, and YOU could share a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. Terry will be posting and publishing details this spring–polish up your sewing skills.
What I’m really hoping is that this will become an annual effort, with each year’s arch growing in size. If most of the previous arches were combined with the new one each year at the convention for a once-a-year fly-together, in a few years we might have thousands of arched kites! They would have to be flown in multiple arches, due to space and line strength constraints, but they would be spectacular!
If you’ve already read Al Hargus’ Tangents and Trivia in this issue, you may have already been infected with the urge to build a train. (Great column, Al.) He’s right–nothing beats them for spectacle. And he’s talking, for the most part, about piddly little trains of 50, 100, or a few more. Think about the Great Spectacle of thousands! And you could help create it, without spending a huge amount of time doing it!
Projects like this epitomize what’s good about the AKA. Kitelovers from all across the US and the world banding together for the fun of it.
Sharing a common love of kites.
The AKA is not perfect. We encompass, as an organization, many different types of kiters–builders, competitors, buggiers, artists, kite professionals, festival organizers, and just plain recreational fliers. We rely largely on volunteer effort, and need more members to order to spread the load over a larger base. We already do a lot to promote kiting, but could do much more with your help. Join us! Benefits to you include a subscription to Kiting, a 10% discount at AKA Member Merchants, a membership directory, (coming soon in 1999), the annual convention, liability insurance, and the knowlege that you belong to the largest kite club in the world. It’s comforting, when explaining your passion to a non-kiter, to explain that you have 4,000+ fellow club members devoted to promoting kiteflying.
Check out our website, for more information or membership application, at http://www.aka.kite.org
Muncie 1999 AKA Convention
For those of you considering attending the l999 AKA Convention, I have a few bits of new information.
The convention will be held at Muncie, Indiana, October 5-9, at the national headquarters of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the national model airplane club. The flying field is huge, and will have space for RV’s and primitive camping on-site. Those staying in the host hotel by the convention center, six miles away, and another hotel in between, will be provided free shuttle service to and from the flying fields. The location is perhaps as ideally suited, in terms of proximity to the largest number of members, as we have had in years. In general, conventions get better each year. 1999 may be the best one yet–plan on joining us!
I hope you have a happy new year. Perhaps our lines will cross sometime soon.