Issue 9: Reader Feedback

Letter of the Month

Hi my name is Jenny. I’m 16 and I was assigned to do an essay in physics about color.(that’s what we are studying about now) So I decided to go on the web and that’s when I found your web page. It was the first thing I found. And it gave me a topic to write about and information for it too. I just wanted to say thanks for helping me out on my homework. Now I wont have to waste more time trying to think of a topic. And I don’t think anyone else is going to think of such a unique and different topic either. Mine will be one of a kind.

Thanks again-
Sincerely, Jenny

Glad to help, Jenny!

Satisfied Customer

Mikie & Co.,
Just thought I’d toss out another letter of appreciation to you and the folks who have worked hard to churn out another excellent edition of KiteLife (March/April edition)!!!! Besides your own “Kites…Life” column, my two favorites are still Mike Reagan’s “Doin’ It Indoors” and Mike Woeller’s “Visual Eyes”. (This has nothing to do with the fact that you’re all named Mike either!!) I’ve gained a lot of insight on indoor flying and photography from these two guys!!

I would also like to commend you for the KiteLife layouts. Each month sports a different but familiar look. You excel at keeping the page looking fresh without impacting the reader’s ability to navigate!!

I’m off to finish reading the KTAI report. Please pass word on to all KiteLife contributors that they’re doing an excellent job!!

Regards, John

Well John, what can we say but “glad you enjoy it!”

Re: Junkie Confessions

Enjoyed meeting Matt McGee and Chris Matheson on the kite hill at Magnusson Park in Seattle this past season, and taking a few flying lessons from them both. And, did in fact enjoy Matt’s article which he has asked me on more than one occasion if I have read.

Also, quite enjoyed my brief look around your site, and will definitely be back. I must confess to being a Prism hanger-on as well, thanks to Mark Reed for the demo Vapor, and have doomed quite a few spars to the fate Matt depicted in his article. Looking forward to parts four through six, I am.

I did try to log onto your listserve, but am unable to join, something about “cannot find your e-mail address” yet I can’t find any other place to join. Perhaps you could help me out here.

Jeremy Wilson

Sounds like a great time at MagPark. Sorry for the goofup with the listserv, got it fixed. Stop back and join the list.

Future Tech… Present Error


Good article! What an awesome project! We were thinking of taking smaller steps similar to this one.

I was not aware of the following: “An autoclave combines high heat with pressure to drive the resin into the carbon cloth on a molecular level, creating the incredible strength to weight ratio. Similar technology is used to produce “G-Force” spars.” Are “G-Force” spars made in an autoclave?

Looking forward to your response,
Erez Borowsky, Skyshark

Glad you liked the article. “G-Force” rods are not manufactured in an autoclave. An editing error led to this misstatement, and we regret the error.


Your article about the effect of color on kiteflying was an eye opener for me. I am red green color blind. I now understand why many of the kites I built just limped in the sky. I think I have found a solution- rose colored sunglasses. I’ll inform you about the results of my
experiments. Joe

Sounds like a great solution!

Cheating for Fun and Profit

Good stuff.

As a former field director. Your comments are great.
4 the competer and help the F.D. to there job as best they can.
As a potential competater the details are very useful.

The examples tintalatig.

All in all a yery well done report.


Glad you found it tintalatig.

Help Needed

When I was a kid, I had a parachute launcher on my kites that I purchased from a department store. It was a simple design, it basically was a piece of sheet metal that was bent at 90 degree angles on each end. There was a hole on each end of it that the flying line threaded through. There was a wire that also went through each end. On the bottom of it was a slot cut out for inserting a paper clip or whatever other clip the parachute was attached to. The paper clip was pushed into the slot on the bottom of the carrier and the wire was slid into the clip.

Near the kite there was a large cork attached to the flying line. Once the parachute was attached to the carrier the wind would pull it up the line to the kite. Once the assembly climbed the line it would strike the cork which would push the wire out of the paperclip that was attached to the parachute. The parachute would then drop to earth and the carrier assembly would slide back down the line for reloading.

Are you aware of anything like this being manufactured today? if so, do you know where and how to get one?
I’m sure I could make something like this but would be of better quality being professionally made.

Any info on this subject would be appreciated.

My email address is as follows:

Can anyone help Marvin out?

Airing his Dirty Laundry

There are a lot of us who like to put up a large single line and hang a lot of laundry from it. These are often the first kites people see from the street and are their first attraction to the sport. I have yet to find a magazine that devotes any articles to these flyers. How about a section for us where you could interview some of the people who make this stuff and perhaps talk to some of the strange people who are willing to spend big bucks to fly this stuff.

Thanks for your time and consideration,

Matt Dill

AKA Member and LINE LAUNDRY flyer from RI

Sounds great, you are elected! Next deadline is June 10. 😉 Seriously, the surest way to see your particular interest covered, is to read the “Join The Team” page, and submit a piece. Our small army of volunteers can not possibly give justice to the many facets of the sport, we rely on your help.

Junior Acheivement

Hey, my friend and I are really into things that fly. Paper airplanes, rockets, and especially kites. I’m 15, my friend is 12.

Although we’re considered “kids”, I think we can be respected for what we make, right? Anyway, we set up a small shop (or rather ‘stand’ in my friend’s front yard) in the summer (Norwood Flight Shop) and sell paper airplanes, rockets, and starting this summer, KITES.

We make advanced paper airplanes, well worth buying, and we sell them for .25 – .75, depending on how advanced they are. Right now the only kites we can make and SUCCESSFULLY fly are sleds, we’re going to sell 8″, 16″, 24″, and 36″ kites. We’re making them out of simple plastic and drinking straws, BUT THEY FLY BEAUTIFULLY! We color them and design them, making them look great. The first one I made I took down to the local park and flew that thing HIGH, I was extremely impressed.

I know that these kites, despite the materials they are made from, are worth purchasing for a small amount.

Anyway, I was wondering if you could give us some advise in the production and sale of these simple yet reliable kites. ALSO, COULD YOU PLEASE GIVE US SOME IDEAS FOR NEW DESIGNS BESIDE SLEDS??

My friend and I use two fairly long plastic tails on our kites, but have just recently discovered the high performance of DROGUES. The hardest part in making a kite and flying it is STABILITY, and I’ve found that drogues really do the job. However, aren’t drogues better for heavy-wind conditions? PLEASE WRITE BACK WITH SOME INFO!!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read this. I respect people who respect what a “kid” can do, I don’t care how old I am.

Once again, PLEASE respond with anything you might want to say to us, give us kite plans, advice, helpful hints (into the building and construction of the kites themselves). THANKS A LOT!!

Chris & Jonathan
Get Your Private, Free Email at

We forwarded this letter to some leading kite builders, feel free to also send them some info.

Toot Toot

Thanks for the story about Kite trains in the Feb/Mar issue of Kitelife. I am a member of the Hoosier Kiteflier’s Society, and my brother and I put up an arch or two at the Dave Debolt memorial kitefly. I have always wanted to make a train for the event, and now know how to make one. I have a bunch of mylar and 1/8 ” dowels, so I will get started.

Jim Teeter

Kite trains are cool. Al Hargus got me going with trains a long time ago, they sure draw a crowd.

Wise Man, Smart Kids in Galilee

I have had several experiences with children of different cultures that
relate to my interest in kites. I live in a development town, population of 10,000. I live in quasi-public housing, which means that most of the residents are either low income, newly married or new immigrants. I was trying to adjust the bridle of a spinning fighter kite that I had just made.

An 8 year old Russian immigrant girl walked up to me and said something to me in Russian. I told her that I did not understand. She pointed to the bottom of the kite and indicated with her hands that the kite needed a tail. I said to her, “Niet” and gave her the Hebrew word for tail, “zanav”.

I also knew the Russian word for kite. So in my best Russian Hebrew, I said, ” Niet,zanav,zmea”. Her reply was, a nodding of her head, “ken [yes] zanav”. I said emphatically, “Niet” and she replied just as emphatically “Ken”. We nieted and kened each other a few more times. She turned and walked few steps away, turned to me and in a determined voice said, “ken, zanav” and continued on her way. The kite flew without a tail, but I learned that female expertise starts at age 8.

The North Africans who live in my neighborhood are very warm people. They extend themselves in their hospitality. Their children don’t hestitate to ask for things. When I fly in the neighborhood it never fails that one or two will come up to me and in a whining voice say, “Give me a kite”. One day I decided to run a workshop in the bomb shelter in my building. All buildings have built in shelters or nearby shelters because of the potential of a rocket attack from Lebanon, or war. Six children, aged 8 to 14 participated. We built sleds as a group project, so that 6 sleds were quickly completed. I told children about not running because there was enough wind, and if there was not enough wind the kites would quickly fall.

They understood my instructions. As a group we went out to a nearby empty field, some boulders and stones, but no thorns or stickers, a major hazard in this area. There was a good wind but after a couple of minutes I found all the kids running. I caught up with a couple of them and asked them why they were running. They both replied,”from enthusiasm”, a big word in English but also a very mature word in Hebrew for two 10 year olds. So if you see kids running with their kites despite a good wind, just think to yourselves, “b’hitlahavut”, and enjoy the sight.

I enjoy traveling, and usually have a couple of sleds or simple kites with me. I also have a stunter, fly it for a few minutes till a group of kids arrive, and then take out a sled. I went to Jordan. We visited Wadi Ram of Laurence of Arabia fame (the movie), a Martian landscape with large desert plains. The group I was with went on a jeep tour into the desert but I stayed at the desert outpost (just like the wild west, except for a camel or two, and lots of 4 wheeled drive vehicles). There was a big field, so I took out my stunter. Sure enough from out of nowhere appeared 4 or 5 bedouin children, aged 3 to 10. They eagerly helped me when my stunter crashed. They sat behind me quietly enjoying the show. I packed my stunter and took out a sled. After I managed to get it airborn, I allowed each child to have a turn. The 3 year old seemed too small so after all of the other children had a turn, I started to reel in the kite. Though we had no common language except hand gestures and facial expressions, two of the children let me know in no uncertain terms that the 3 year old had to have a turn as well. They took the line from me and helped him to fly the kite. If you are ever in Wadi Ram and see a sled made from an Amsterdam Airport shopping bag in the air, that’s my

I ran a workshop for several groups of newly arrived Ethiopian children at a nearby immigration reception center. I mobilized several of the Israeli staff and taught each person to do one task in the building of the small tyvek deltas. One helped the children to paste the spine, another attached the bridle etc. The children went with their precut sails, and dowels from station to station until they had a completed kite. At one station the person in charge had a large ball of string and a six to 8 inch piece of bamboo. The string was tied to the bamboo and the child was told to run until he was called to stop. Each child then wind his string on the bamboo. Observing all of this was an old man, in a white gown and white turban on his head, the kind of character one sees portrayed in the movies as the wise man or elder of the tribe. He sat on a small stool about 15 feet from all the activities. The counselor running the activity had to go to the bathroom, so he asked all the children to sit until he returned. I
passed the group several minutes later. There was the wise man, sitting in the staff person’s chair in charge of string distribution. The counselor was told not to return. I had a much better volunteer. Language, dress, customs so often create biases and difficulties for me to communicate when the activity is primary and time is a factor. Too bad that I could not discover my “wise” man earlier.

Joseph Samuels

What a great story! Can any other readers send in stories in the same vein? If so, we will start a new feature section for them. Send to

I just received the update e-mail and wanted to let you know that I look forward to each issue of Kitelife. Sometimes I wish that it would come out more often, I read the entire thing at once and then have to wait two months until the next one. However, I completely understand the effort that goes into something like this and realize that it would be extremely difficult to do on a monthly basis and still maintain quality. I think the e-mail updates are a good idea to be able to send out late breaking news or info. Keep up the good work, and I’m looking forward to the next issue. (unfortunately I will be out of town at Huntington Beach Nationals when it comes out. But I will be flyin, so it could be worse!) Ken Imoehl Tucson, AZ.

Thanks, Ken. Monthly publication would be great, but getting material stands in the way. Who knows what the future may hold, though…