Issue 9: Kiting News

Spar Wars

It looks like the next generation of kite spars is on the way. Avia Sport Composites is hard at work developing a new line of extremely tough, inexpensive rods. The rods are normal pultruded carbon tubes, but rather than a hollow center, they are packed with hemp fibers. I took a 2300 rod, bent it in half, whacked it 50 times on a concrete curb, whacked it against another rod, and could not break it. The hemp core prevents the tube from kinking and breaking. The working title for the spar is “Noobie”.. nudge, wink. These should be available to the kite market in the near future.

New Kites at Ocean City

The “Prophecy” from Prism Designs received its baptism by fire at MASKC, in the hands of team Upgo. It performed splendidly, and we look for it to become one of the dominant competition machines in the near future. Also at Ocean City, the new “V Max” from Level One was on display. Featuring wild graphics, this should be another great team/precision kite.

Two Top Teams Just Say No

In light of the tardy schedule announcement from the American Kite Circuit, and the lack of any hard news regarding World Cup, two teams have announced their intentions for the season.

This is from Jim Barber, of team Visual Impact (the combined Don’t Panic and Bumperkites):

Neither Team Don’t Panic!, Team Bumper Kites, or Team Visual Impact will compete on the World Cup qualifying circuit this year. Due mainly to lack of planning and organization, we are not willing to spend the immense amount of time and money to travel and prepare for an event that “may or may not” be occurring. Also, the prospect that the World Cup may be held in Columbia, where major earthquakes and hurricanes have ravished the country, causing violent crime is to rise rapidly due to lack of food and shelter. In my opinion, the government of Columbia could better spend their money in aiding their own peoples than paying for kite fliers to come and put on a show. Team Visual Impact ( Don’t Panic! and Bumper Kites joined ) will compete on the AKA circuit this year. We will look at the World Cup circuit next year in hopes that it is better organized and with timely announcements.

And this, from Captain Eddie’s Flying Circus:

Due to the American Kite Circuit’s lack of direction, we have elected not to participate in the circuit this year. Also, should World Cup occur, we will not accept a nomination. We will be contesting a full slate of AKA events, and look forward to a showdown in Muncie at the AKA Nationals to determine the true champion team. We regret that this decline of the American Kite Circuit has occurred, and we hope that the AKA Sportkite Committee steps in and organizes a circuit for the nationally-competing sportkite fliers.

National Kite Month

The just-concluded NKM ranks as a large step forward for kiting. National press coverage was greater than previous years, and over 150 local events were registered. Many of these local events received press coverage, due to the efforts of Jim Miller. Jim contacted the local newspapers and TV stations for each “grass roots” event. Savvy fliers used the opportunity to boost membership in their kite clubs, and introduced many new folks to our sport.

Next year’s NKM should be huge. Start planning your event for next April!

Here is a report from David Gomberg:

I’m delighted to announce more good news resulting from our National Kite Month program.

Next Thursday, April 29, the Today show is scheduled to do an extended Kite Month live broadcast from the Capitol Mall in Washington D.C. That’s national coverage for kiting! In you live in the D.C. area, feel free to participate. And if not, set your VCR’s…

Here are a few other highlights as we go into our final week:

*Throughout all of 1998, the KTAI web page averaged 300 “hits” a month. In January when we initiated NKM, our hits doubled. In February, they doubled again. And in March, we exceeded 3000 hits. That’s a 1000% increase!! This is important since the KTAI site has links to all of our members in the USA and around the world. It is one of the primary tools we use to bring new enthusiasts to kiting and to support the industry.

*Jim Miller Ltd, the firm coordinating our grassroots NKM programs has registered 150 local kiteflys, workshops, and exhibitions. He reports that the great majority of these events were created specifically to participate in the Kite Month agenda. Each of these 150 events is a new opportunity to spread the good word about kiting.

*Every local NKM event received professional media and press support. As a result, we are receiving reports from around the country of newspaper and local television coverage that far exceeded what similar local events were able to generate in the past. Emails are flooding in with stories of “front page coverage”, “the largest turnout ever”, and “television for the very first time”.

*Drasnin Communication, our public relations firm, has tracked 96 television reports on Kite Month from markets that span the country. What is significant is that these are not simply news reports about “kiting” Tracking was based on use of the phrase “National Kite Month”. This means that the 96 stories were generated by KTAI and the Kite Month project.

*Of the nationally ranked events we incorporated into our media plan (Smithsonian, Phoenix, Miami and Maryland), several were covered by international media teams. This means that the news impact far exceeded the geographical boundaries of the USA.

So that’s where we stand with another full week to go. When Kite Month has concluded and all the loose string has been wound up, we’ll give you a final report.

New and Noteworthy

There are a large contingent of kiters who participate in live IRC chat, on their own dedicated kite channel. Learn about it at

Prism Designs continues to set the pace for effective use of the Internet by a kite company. They recently added some great animations to the site, showing how to fly a sportkite. See them at

Sounds Fun

NAGS HEAD, NORTH CAROLINA- The 27th Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular and Kitty Hawk Air Games is set for May 7-10, 1999 along North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

WHO & WHAT: Kitty Hawk Kites once again presents the world’s oldest continuous hang gliding competition. The Air Games features demonstrations of virtually every possible form of slow flight aircraft. Included will be hang gliders, ultralights, paragliders, powered paragliders, parachutes, kite buggies, kite surfing, and more. Some of the world’s most accomplished and most exciting hang glider pilots and recreational flyers will be among those soaring above the Outer Banks in four days of competition and demonstrations. In addition, a number of seminars will be presented with topics from sport safety to innovation. Premier sponsor Kitty Hawk Kites, the world’s oldest and largest hang gliding school, has been teaching the world to fly since 1974.

WHEN: Mother’s Day Weekend, Friday, May 7, through, May 10, 1999.

WHERE: Foot launch events: Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the East Coast’s tallest sand dune – located at mile post 13 on Route 158 in Nags Head. The park is across the road from Kitty Hawk Kites. High altitude events & Seminars: Currituck County Airport in Maple – located approximately two miles west of the junction of routes 158 and 168 – 50 minutes North of Nags Head. (only an hour south of the Tidewater, Virginia Beach area).

WHY: With every year, this event gains popularity and stature among serious hang glider pilots. Last year’s participants included the world record-holder for distance in a hang glider, Larry Tudor of Flagstaff, AZ. This will be an opportunity for hang glider pilots and flyers of other recreational craft, including ultra lights, to experience the thrill of soaring above one of America’s most scenic and historic regions, and an opportunity for your news organization to capture those thrills in words and pictures.

HOW: Media, pilots and other visitors may contact Kitty Hawk Kites at 1-800-334-4777 for information and event registration. To assure access, media should contact Ann Thompson at 1-800-334-4777 ext. 11 or


Contact: Ann Thompson / 1-800-334-4777 ext. 11 / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 20, 1999


Nags Head, N.C. — Kitty Hawk Kites presents the 27th Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular and Kitty Hawk Air Games. The games return to the Outer Banks the weekend of May 7-10, 1999. Look to the sky at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head and the Currituck County airport in Maple, located halfway between Virginia Beach and Kitty Hawk.

Touted as the world’s oldest continuous hang gliding competition, the annual Hang Gliding Spectacular is attended by the most accomplished and exciting pilots in the world. The sheer joy of flying at Jockey’s Ridge, just down the road from where the Wright Brothers first flew almost 100 years ago brings them here. The challenging and unique competition on the largest sand dune on the East Coast keeps them coming back. Kitty Hawk Kites, which has been teaching people to fly for 25 years is home to much nostalgia for these pilots, many of which learned to fly on the Nags Head training dunes.

The Kitty Hawk Air Games, a recent addition to the Spectacular features demonstrations of virtually every possible form of slow flight aircraft. Included along with hang gliders will be ultra lights, paragliders, powered paragliders, parachutes, kite buggies, kite surfing demos, and more. Hang glider pilots and recreational flyers alike will be soaring above the Outer Banks for four days of competition and demonstrations. In addition, free seminars will be presented with topics from sport safety to flight innovation.

There will be something for everyone to enjoy, from the beach, to the dunes, to the airstrip. All spectators are admitted free. And if hang gliding is something you’d like to try, there will be lessons running throughout the competition. Reservations can be made through Kitty Hawk Kites at 1-800-334-4777. Competitors can register for the events by phone or on-line at All event information, schedules, speakers and lodging information can be found on the website, or by calling Kitty Hawk Kites at the above listed number.