Issue 44: AKA Corner

By the time you read this, AKA will have announced election results.

Mail ballots are sent to our 4500 members and usually, about a quarter of the membership votes.

Each year we select a President, an Executive Committee of 7 members, and one-third of our 13 Regional Directors. RD elections are staggered three-year terms to provide some Board continuity. The President serves a one-year term. The Executive Committee is nominated by the president and approved by our members at the Annual Business Meeting.

One of the most important duties of a president is appointing Committee Chairs. These are large, time consuming job that often involve delicate issues. Kite fliers are a passionate bunch and feel strongly about issues that efect their sport, hobby, or in some cases, their livelihood.

By the time you read this, AKA will have announced election results.

Here’s a look at some of our primary committees and the people who will be leading them next year.

National Kite Month – organizes and promotes our annual celebration of kiting. Goals include encouraging fliers to present festival, workshops, or exhibits which can then be registered on the NKM web page. We also hope to reach out to schools, parks, and recreation districts encouraging them to create kite events as well. provides registration information, festival organizing tools, and a plethora of other kite resources. For 2006, NKM will be chaired by Mike Dallmer of Pennsylvania.

Promotion and Membership – AKA strives to be a meaningful resource to the kite community. And we encourage fliers who want to support kiting to join us. But that requires we find a way to reach potential members on flying fields, in stores, through kite manufacturers, or on the internet. Our best recruiting tool is other members. For 2006, Rob Cembalest of Texas will be leading the effort.

Safety and Ethics – which for all practical purposes means “insurance’. AKA provides $1 million of liability coverage to the organizers of sanctioned events, and to members participating in those events. Our cost is over $30,000 each year. But without the AKA policy, most smaller flying events could not afford the insurance parks and schools require to secure permits.

In the past, AKA has also offered coverage to members anytime they fly. But that option has been cancelled by our insurer and we can’t find a similar policy to offer members.  Doug Charleville of Virginia and his committee of insurance experts continue to search for better coverage for members.

Annual Meeting – The Committee that manages our National Convention is chaired by Susan Skinner of California. Committee members include the chairs of each major convention program, including competitions, workshops, hospitality, the auction, and field organization. The Committee also works closely with our paid Convention Manager.

Sport Kites – Of all the competition committees, Sport Kites has the largest mandate and set of tasks. Working in cooperation with the International Rule Book Committee (AKA in North America, STACK in Europe, and AJSKA in Asia) they administer the rules used internationally for sport kite competition. Working with a second international committee, they seek sponsors, sites , and organizers for the annual World Sport Kite Championship. The Committee administers rules for indoor sport kite competition. The Committee ranks competitions based on the results of local events, issues top fliers  invitations to the Grand National Competition at our annual convention, and manages that competition. And the Committee strives to support promotion of local events, local fliers, and local sport kite education. For 2006, the Committee will be chaired by John Barresi of Oregon.

Kitemaking – Barbara Meyer of Minnesota heads the committee that administers rules for kitemaking competition. The rules are used at the Grand National Competition – which is run by the Committee. The rules are also used by the larger and more influential local competitions. Kites are evaluated for craftsmanship, artistry, flight, and appearance in the sky.

Fighter Kites – The Fighter Kite Committee oversees rules for fighter kite and rokkaku competition. The Committee manages the Grand National Competitions. The Committee maintains rankings of fliers from regional events. And the Committee works to promote awareness and interest in single line maneuverable kites.

Traction – Traction Kiting is defined as intentional kite-generated movement over land, water, ice or snow. This includes kite buggies, kite surfing, kite skiing, and kite surfing. The traction committee works to promote safety in those different disciplines, organizes to protect flying areas threatened by closure, and publishes rules for competitions. However, because the AKA insurance policy does not cover traction. Fewer traction events have been scheduled at AKA sanctioned festivals. We have, however, offered to purchase additional coverage to allow traction at the Grand Nationals. The Committee is chaired by Jon Ellis of Washington.

Kite Art – The Kite Art Committee was established to promote kites as a serious artistic form. The Committee organizes a gallery each year for the Annual Convention and issues an annual Lee Toy Circle Award to someone who’s body of work promotes artistry in the sky. The committee is chaired by Ron Gibian of California.

Aerial Photography – David Hunt of Tennessee chairs the committee tasked with promoting kite-based photography and supporting enthusiasts of this unique kiting segment. They publish quarterly photo-essays in kiting and coordinate a show and competition of “KAP” at the annual Convention.

Kite Records – Members who claim an accomplishment that establishes a record may submit their application to the Kite Records Committee and invite AKA to confirm their accomplishment. Fifteen different categories are currently listed. The Committee is chaired by Al Hargus of Ohio.

Internet Presence – The AKA web page is one of the most valuable and heavily used resources for kiters in cyberspace. Contents include a kite event calendar, membership registrations forms, a directory of members, the KiteTalk Forum, competition rankings, publications for free download, the AKA Store, recommendations for local flying area, sanctioning and insurance information, and all AKA competition rules. Chuck Sigal of California is our volunteer webmaster.

Contract Services – AKA has no employees, but contracts with four different service providers to (A) manage association business as Executive Director; (B) administer the annual convention as Convention Manager; (C) prepare and publish the quarterly magazine as Kiting Editor; and (D) distribute Association products as Manager of the AKA Store. The Contract Services Committee, chaired by Gayle Woodul, conducts an annual evaluation of each contractor, manages contract changes, and when necessary, issues requests for proposals to select new contractors.

A full list of these and other AKA committees are listed on the AKA site along with contact details.

AKA members are eligible to serve on AKA Committees, although most groups are limited to a workable size. Appointments are made by the president, with the recommendations of the Chair and the approval of the AKA Board.

David Gomberg