Issue 40: AKA Corner

Who has the biggest? The fastest? The longest tail?

Kitefliers, like most other people, seem drawn to making comparisons and making claims. Sure, lots of people are in it for the fun and could care less. But others want to know what the record is. And now we have the means to tell them.

AKA has just announced that they will begin to record and catalog kiting records in a variety of categories. Fliers can also propose new classes. The results will be published in Kiting and posted to the AKA web page.

Since the demise of Kite Lines magazine, world records in kite flying have been relegated to the Guinness Book. And I give them credit for trying in a subject they seem to know little about. Last year, for example, they announced as the largest, a Chinese kite which was demonstrably smaller than the Peter Lynn entry it supplanted. At issue was whether the tail was part of the kite.* That’s something that kiters understand but others do not.

Of course, technicalities were not the major problem with Guinness. The problem was that most of us wanted more categories and information than Guinness was able to provide. So AKA will start by tracking records in 17 subject areas, including most consecutive days flown, longest duration of indoor flight, most nations flown in, first to fly at specific locations (North Pole, etc.), and most kites on a line or on two lines. We’ll start with the Kite Lines list and add on from there.

I’ve asked Al Hargus to coordinate the Record Committee’s efforts as we start this ambitious project. Documents are detailed below.

I should also stress that it is not AKA’s role to be the kite spokesman for the entire world. There are plenty of other kite associations and resources around the planet. We will simply post records submitted by our members. And of course, we will explain that to anyone who will ask. These are AKA records, not world records. We hope that in most cases, the results are the same.

Kiting is about having fun. You don’t have to compete to have fun, but you can have fun competing. And AKA’s role is not just to recognize the deserving, but to add to the thrill, the enjoyment, and the knowledge.

*Note: Guinness quickly corrected their “largest” listing when provided with more documentation.

Note: As mentioned  we are not “reinventing the wheel” with the AKA Kite Records committee. There are currently records and record holders in nearly all the categories listed above. Those standing records will be honored. A current list of those existing record holders will be available soon!

AMERICAN KITEFLIERS ASSOCIATION
KITE RECORD COMMITTEE

Overview

The AKA Kite Record Committee will document and authenticate kite records submitted to the committee by AKA members. Our goal is twofold: to give the kiting community a easily accessible list of current kite records and to act as an information group that can assist kitefliers who plan to attempt a kite record. The Committee will give fliers accurate, sensible and safe criteria for kite record attempts, and a clear, simple and fair method to document record attempts.

Records will be documented in the categories listed on the following pages and according to the criteria determined by the committee. The initial record categories are not the only ones the committee will consider. The Committee will consider new categories and accomplishments as they are presented. The AKA acknowledges kite activities around the world may exceed the records listed. We will begin with the documented efforts reported to us by our members and those which satisfy the criteria identified by the committee.
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History and Background

Since the demise of the publication, Kite Lines, the kiting community has been without an organization that tracks kite world record attempts, sets criteria, verifies and lists kite record attempts. The Guinness Book of World Records currently recognizes four categories of kiteflying records. The Guinness people expand and reduce the amount of printed kite records according to public interest and space available in their book.

For example, Football is listed on twelve pages of the current Guinness Record Book. Football fans can access other books and publications that contain literally thousands of pages of statistics and records. Obviously, the interest in football records far exceed the information in the Guinness Book, just as the interest in kite world records will also exceed the four categories of kite records listed in the Book. The kite community, as a sport, needs its’ own list of records and statistics, and therefore, a committee to track and record. AKA is the organization that will accept that responsibility.

The AKA Kite Record Committee will not be reinventing the wheel. Many current kite records were verified by earlier criteria and documented with a system that was fair and accurate. It would be unfair to current record holders and to the fliers who are in the process of setting records to alter previously established criteria. The AKA kite record committee will honor the past records, and also identify the current and future records and record holders. The kite world records committee will expand the criteria and refine the verification process, while authenticating and verifying the current records. The verification process will need to evolve, just as the hobby and sport of kiteflying has grown and evolved. The committee will include new categories for records as new and different types of kites emerge. The committee will strive to update criteria and verification methods as science evolves and provides advanced technology to verify and document kite records more accurately.
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DEFINITIONS & GENERAL RULES FOR A KITE RECORD ATTEMPT

Basic definitions:

  1. A kite is defined as a tethered aerodyne deriving all its lift from ambient winds and unassisted by any “booster” such as a rocket, balloon, gas, motor, electricity, explosives or other applied devices.
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  2. All kites used in any claim for a record must fly. Flight is defined as being airborne at an angle of at least 15 degrees above the horizontal to an altitude above the ground for at least the length of the kite and for a time period of at least two minutes. These factors interrelate and a kite achieving only minimum in each factor puts the claim at risk of being denied.
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  3. All kites used in a claim for a record must be retrieved.
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  4. All kite records must be set either within the limitations of any applicable prevailing laws or with permission of the authorities to perform outside such limitations.
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  5. All kite record efforts must be made in conformance with recognized safe flying practices as appropriate to the effort.
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  6. For most categories, for a record to be considered as an increase over past records, the increase must be in significant increments (suggested 5% increase). There should be no doubt that a new record surpasses a previous record.
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CURRENT RECOGNIZED KITE RECORD CATEGORIES

  1. Altitude by a Single Kite
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  2. Altitude by a Train of Kites
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  3. Duration of Flight (Outdoors)
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  4. Duration of Flight (Indoors)
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  5. Most Kites Flown on One Line
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  6. Largest Kite Flown
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  7. Smallest Kite Flown
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  8. Greatest Weight Lifted by a Kite
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  9. Longest Kite and/or Longest Tail
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  10. First Kite Flown in a specific location
    (i.e., North Pole, Mt. Everest, etc.)
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  11. Most Participants at a Kite Event and
    or Most Kites Flown at a Kite Event.
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  12. Most Expensive Kite Sold.
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  13. Kite Flown in Most Extreme Weather
    (i.e., Hottest, Coldest, Strongest winds, etc.)
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  14. Most Consecutive Days of Individual Flight.
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  15. Most Nations in Which Kites Have Been Flown.
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  16. Most Dual Line/Quad Line Sport Kites Flown by Hand.
    (Specific brands of kites will not be considered)
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  17. Largest Total Lift Surface of a Dual Line/Quad Line Kite Train Flown by Hand (or with a mechanical anchor)

NOTE: Original references – Kite Lines Vol. 3 No. 3 © 1980

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