Issue 36: Re-discovering Kite Flying by Jorge Arellano

It was just the end of holidays, June 2004 to be exact. It seemed that nothing could bring a good start for the year; naturally I’m speaking about hobbies. I didn’t want to go back to the old train layout planning that I had been postponing for a while. So I took a trip to the local Costco and found a great thing… An X-kite sport kite, ready to fly, and for only 20 USD. I bought it instantly. I suddenly remembered my youth days buying ready to fly kites, or building paper and bamboo kites with the help of my father. I also remembered a great lecture from my sister’s elementary school book:

(Spanish version)

Un papalote volaba al otro lado del mar,
el aguila al encontrarlo le pregunto: ¿a donde vas?
voy a dar la vuelta al mundo, ¿me quieres acompañar?
Buen viaje papalotito, no te puedo acompañar,
tengo tres hijos pequeños y no los puedo dejar.

(English version)

One kite flew to the other side of the sea,
the eagle found him, and ask him:
where are you going?
I’m flying around the world, would you like to join me?
Bon voyage, little kite, I can’t join you
I have three small child eagles, and can’t leave them alone.

It seemed that this kite passion from my childhood was just hidden inside, waiting to be rediscovered.

I waited for the February winds to fly my kite, when the wind came I was ready. I already had found web sites on the net, so I could get more familiarized with the handling of the sport kite. I found great pages, like Kitelife, Ray Bethell’s, and many more.

When the time was ready, I went to the gardens of the university I studied at, and had my first flight. The sensation of being hanged from the sky while the kite pulls you is just great. I’m attaching a picture of my first flight. I had problems rewinding the lines, because they became tangled. After more than 10 flights, I’ve taken experience to assemble the kite, deploy the lines and get airborne in less than 10 minutes. I’ve used a technique to keep the kite on the ground while I prepare the lines. I’ve used fish pond gravel to fill two red socks; I place them over the kite, in the extremes. When everything is ready, I just pull the kite up slowly, and the gravel bags go off, then I pull the lines and the kite takes to the skies and goes alive. I can now keep the kite in the air for more than 30 minutes on a great wind day (15-20mph).

I have found a place to fly which has better winds, is the parking lot of the soccer stadium, is only 5 minutes from my office, and is flat and on a hill. So the winds are continuous most of the time. I’ve a direct view of it from the window in my office. So when the work day ends, and the wind is right, I know my kite is waiting in the car’s trunk ready to become alive.

Now everyday is an opportunity for kite flying.

I pray for the winds to come.

Jorge Arellano