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Researcher in Anthropology


Rita
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Hello everyone, 

My name is Rita and I'm studying anthropology. I'm writing a paper on technics and I picked kiting.

I don't want to bother your community on this forum but would be extremely thankful if some of you could tell me why you started flying, how did you come to it at the first place and what does it mean to you now ? 

I find this utterly beautiful that humans persist kiting for centuries. 

Do you all link flying a kite with flying ?

Thank you for your time 

and good flights 

 

Rita

 

 

 

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My first memory of kite flying goes back to the fifties.  It was a spring time activity for all the children of the suburban neighborhood I was being raised in at the time.  I would say kite flying is one of my earlier memories.  I know how old I was at the time because we had just moved to our new home in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  That would put my age at five the following spring.  My brother is six years older than I am so he would lead me through all my young adventures.  So my first flights would be just to be one of the gang so to speak.  We had small kites from Hi-Flier that were traditional diamond kites made of paper, string & wooden framework.  Cotton string was used for kite lines.  We flew in the street in front of our home as we would not have thought to find a better place.  Of course our kites did not last too long as we were pretty rough on them.  Also we had the typical issues with phone lines & trees.  Kites were commonly seen hung up on the overhead lines throughout my youth.

In later years, the eighties, I was on a vacation in a coastal beach community & I saw a professional kite flier for the first time.  He owned a kite shop & was flying a set of five dual line diamond kites in the evening darkness from a boardwalk in front of his store.  I recently spoke with this man & he told me that they were Peter Powell kites.  I had never seen anything like that & was drawn back into the kite world of those days.  A short time later I bought my first sport kite.  Then there was a time my life was occupied with other pursuits & kite flying died off for me.  Three & a half years ago I saw a cool kite in a clearance store, bought it & have not stopped flying since then.

I don't know specifically why I fly kites.  It just speaks to my soul somehow.  It is not about wanting to fly like bird but perhaps to just join them in the sky with my sail.

SHBKF

image from an online seller

Hi Flier little boy.jpg

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Flew some as a kid, but kiting took hold as a young adult back in 1989. Bought a couple single line kites for the wife and I, but was easily bored. Then I saw someone flying a stunt kite (dual line) and was hooked for many years. Had a stroke and flying took a back burner to overcoming some of the obstacles that presented. Finally got it back together and started flying very seriously from 2009 til present. My preferred style of flying now is a 4 line kite, Ultimate control is where it's at for me! Even learned to fly indoors at 59! 

 

I call my flying "Wind Therapy"! I may have physical limitations, but my kite doesn't! It represents my soul and feeling out there, free to play in the wind!

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@SHBKF 

Thank you so much for your sweet reply.
I can see the 50's landscape of an american suburb with kites on roofs and phone lines :-)

I'm glad you found a cool kite in a clearance store.

You're both mentioning souls
I understand what you mean by joining the birds, one could go a step further and may be replace birds by the world. The few times I flied a kite, I felt a unity that I personally struggle finding in everyday life.

The playmate of the clouds looks amazing !


@Wayne Dowler

Wow ! I thank you too for sharing this with me.
Do you feel connected to the object when it flies ? Do you feel the movement ?
Does your wife still fly kites ?
I'm happy that you were flying kites before your stroke because it seems it gave you a good reason to challenge your physical limitations.
How does it feel to fly indoor ? Not being out there in the sky ?


///


Do you know that the talibans banned kiting in Afghanistan ?
In Afghanistan, they don't play football or any spot, they fly kites on the holy day of Friday and flying a kite became somehow political and dangerous. 

Do you all feel a sense of a community ?



Rita
 

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Connected - yes! Feel the movement - yes!! 

 

You see - quad line kites are driven by you! There is no random movement, rather a directed intent to go to there, and then there, etc. I do a lot of team flying - people lined up almost shoulder to shoulder, flying together in patterns and formations! A group working to be one! When it comes together, there is a generally good feeling for all of us!

 

Indoor is a little different - more an individual thing. Leaning how to mentally slow things down and become one with the kite. Satisfaction from both in or out - just in different ways!

 

YouTube available?? Lots of videos on both indoor and outdoor quad line kites, along with 2 line and glider videos! Time worth spending to see the evolution of what flying can be!!

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Hi, Rita.

I started flying kites with my father in the 50's as a child. We would build them together and then fly them. We even built a box kite fifteen feet tall that had a harness attached. It could lift a child or small adult 90 feet into the air. We built various designs including some original ones. They were all single line kites, and as often happens, I lost interest as I grew older.

In 2009, I saw dual-line and quad-line kites being flown at a festival near my home and was amazed at the control the pilots had over their kites. I purchased a dual-line to play with and soon progressed to the four line kites that I am very fond of flying now. I have always been fascinated with flying things and flew radio controlled airplanes for a few years. It does not compare to flying a kite. With a kite the pilot has a physical connection with it that creates a feeling of satisfaction and Zen that cannot be achieved with a radio. The kite and the person eventually fly as a unit, becoming extensions of each other. The pilot becomes one with the kite. The best way to explain this would be to fly one yourself, or watch the face of someone learning to, especially the first time they actually understand what the kite and the wind want to do, and that he or she is the one who can make it happen. Or watch a child fly a kite -- that is perhaps the best explanation. 

The best understanding you will have is to do it yourself. Once you feel it you will understand but you will find it just as difficult to describe as we do. It's like explaining love.

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Rita,

I thought I'd chime in to show that not all kite fliers are men.  My husband and I became interested in kiting after attending the local kite festival a couple of times.  We decided it looked like fun and wanted to join in.  Both of us had flown the classic paper diamond kite as kids but it didn't get much further as we grew older.  That is until our daughter left for college.  We started with a nice single line kite by White Bird kites.  We were lucky enough to have a kite shop nearby and so met other kiters and became involved with the local kite club.  

While we both still fly single line kites, I became fascinated with vintage dual line stunt kites.  Especially those made in the 1990s.  I love the slow graceful movements of those large kites.  I found myself becoming a collector of kites from such makers as Sky Delight and Top of the LIne.  At the same time, I began collecting the dragon kites made by White Bird.  My husband preferred the single line kites, particularly cellular kites, rokkakus and flowforms.  We have lost count of the number of kites we have when it went over 200.  And, believe it or not, they all get taken out of the bag and flown one time.  

After retirement, we began traveling to nearby kite festivals as well as becoming more involved in our local kite festival.  At these smaller festivals, we have met some good kiting friends.  Some we don't see often but that doesn't seem to matter.  There is a camaraderie among kite fliers that transcends time and place.   

 Over the past couple of years, I've become more interested in flying kite stacks and quad-line kites.  I have a nine-stack and a six-stack of Hyperkites, a five-stack of Goblins, and several stacks of Trlbys.  I'm still learning how to fly my quad-line kites and have not reached the point where I'm comfortable flying closely with others.  

For us, kite flying is stress relieving and relaxing.  And it gets us out of the house and into the fresh air and sunshine.  It keeps us active and moving.  We have a group of close friends that we fly with every week, weather permitting.  And when the weather does not cooperate, we "hang out" at the local kite shop.

Beyond the flying, I also make kites and have a blog about our flying and the kites we own.

Sorry if I've gotten long-winded.  Hope some of this helps your research. 

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I flew my first kite at the age of 15 in 1990, right away I loved being able to steer, zip and spin this thing through the sky, and I also quickly found a common bond and natural ease with folks who share the same passon... I entered my first competition few months later and since then, I've accumulated a lot of accolades and flown in 16 countries, I met my wife at a kite event in Japan in 2007 (we toured together as kite performers from 2008-2014) and I've been able to make kiting my full time vocation, now we're expecting our first child in June and I cannot wait to introduce him to the kiting community. :) 

The kiting community practically raised me, definitely got me through my teenage years, 20s and 30s with a lot of light in my life, I couldn't ask for a better extended family - they've taught me more than I can ever say about life... We all look up, something lifting, rising, in a sky that everyone shares, all of us have made internal adjustments and observations in order to find better and better flights, and while some of us may share extremely different political, religious or social leanings, kitefliers focus on the positive and generally act from a point of mutual growth (share and share alike).

I'll probably never have a BMW in the driveway, and maybe not even a driveway, but I've found happiness and a worldwide network of family and friends. :) 

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Hello everyone,

Your community is one of the kindest...
I was today at the closed airport of Berlin where I live.
The airport was used by the nazis. Then closed in 2008 and reopened in 2010 on the day of the 60th anniversary of the capitulation of the 3rd Reich.
It's now a beautiful odd looking park aka closed airports.
(+ a refugee camp is in 3 hangars since a few months)
Still some pieces of airplanes hanging here and there

you can all imagine that it's a heaven for kites appreciators.
it's in the city center, it's wide and flat.

As makatakam advised me I tried to fly a kite
I was like the refugees kids with their diamond kites : not really good at flying but still having a hell of a good time. 
 

Nice that a lady chimed in.
I was thinking of making a kite. might check your blog. Link ?
I like knowing that every week a kite related gang is hanging out.
never apologise for being long-winded ! 

@John Barresi I checked your website ! First of all congratulations on your first child ! 
and congratulations on making your passion your full-time vocation.
I realised through this thread, through the forum in general and through my today's experience that this community has a true sense of community.  
Today lots of smiles, applauses and thumbs up were exchanged.

Now i understand that it has nothing to do with this human will of flying.
It has to do with feeling united somehow. lots of you talk about their loved ones or the community, encounters. and this idea that the kites speak to your souls.
Today I saw a bird flying on the same spot (they do this rarely). The bird was staring at the kites. He was flying in between them and starting flying WITH them.
the flyer started laughing because I was laughing. There was a sense of unity.
 

 

About the BMW.
I live in BMW-country and one day at the lunch break I saw a man eating a sandwich in his bmw and crying alone.
BMW doesn't do it all
You seem on the right path.


Thank you once again all for your replies and your honesty.
It was great to research your community and your passion.
Wish you the best.


Rita

 

IMG_5005.jpg

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Thank you Rita, for asking such lovely questions. :)

There are semi-connected kite festivals all over the world (Germany too), come fly somewhere, sometime... Kites of all kinds with 1, 2, 4 strings, even oddities with 3 or 12!  Sporty or relaxed, slow ones, fast ones, some that go all over the place and some that just hang out and sit very efficiently, flying outside, inside or in urban environments, by yourself or with others (interchangeably), and a quick family, kiting is one of those very rare pastimes that I believe truly offers something for anyone.

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