Authors: Lee (Leland) Toy
Date Submitted: November 1, 1981
Article Type: Lee Toy Newsletter

By Lee Toy
Vol. 4 No.4 – Jul. – Aug. 1981


The Green has been attracting a number of flyers from far away places. Last Sunday John Nicolaides, Ph.D. from the Aeronautical Engineering Department of Cal Poly was up flying a number of experimental parafoils that featured a high aspect wing ratio and a horizontally yoked bridle system. John has been involved with the “man carrier” which is a flying machine that incorporates a parafoil wing on a go kart like vehicle. We hope that some day he’ll bring one of the test models out to show us.

It seems that the working forces or abilities of the parafoil are limited only to the imagination.

From Modesto California comes George Taylor, with what must win the award for most patriotic kite. George and Bill Mueller (S.F.) fly a 10 foot tall Box ft.x 5ft. American flags. The frame is made from 1/2″ x 3/4 ” fir with nylon line for cross bracing. They fly it on 350# test line. George evidently likes big box kites since the last time I remember seeing one of his creat creations was at the Anchor Steam Beer Giant Kite Festival several years ago. At that time it looked like George had built a kite that almost 20 ft tall.

It incorporated similar detailings as the American Flag kite only in plastic sheeting instead offlags. We hope to contact George for more details in a later issue.

….keep those cards and letters coming in folks…

We have recently received a letter from Italy, a poster from Japan, a note from John Spendlove in England and a number of great local news clippings from various kiters thru out the U.S.

Although we don’t have the space to reproduce all the articles, we do thank all who have been so kind to send in material of this type. It’s always nice to know what is happening in other parts of the country!

One article that appeared in DESIGNER’S WEST Vol. 28 No.3 featured the work of Susan Singleton of Seattle, Washington. Susan creates banners , kites,-soft sculpture and silk screens. There are two color ful examples of her kite-like sculptures for architectural spaces.
One is an 8 ft. x 12 ft. ceiling kite with a phoenix painted on it. It hangs in a restaurant. The other kite is a box like kite that hangs in Gould Hall (College of Architecture and Urban Planning) of the University of Washington.

It seems as if people are beginning to take the artistic value of kites more seriously. Hopefully we will begin seeing more artists working with kites as a medium.


Many thank to the Auburn Elks Club, radio stations KHYL & KAHI and especially to Keith Orr of Mother Lode Realty for organizing and sponsoring the first annual Foothill Kite Festival.

The Bay Area Kitefliers were well represented thanks to some quick calls from Sacramento members, Sam and Nancy Urner who not only notified us about the kite fly but also invited us to a great chicken bar-b-que at their 61 st. street bar and grill.( Nancy and her father,Dick Wilson, were the chefs)

The Kite Festival was well organized and ran smoothly thru 5 events: Largest, Most Creative, Smallest, Best Homemade and Highest Flyer.

A $1.00 donation fee was charged for each catagory entered. The members of the Elks Club were surprized at the number of adults that were interested in the sport, evidently they had not heard of the Marina Green!

We hope to encourage the Elks to have some kite making workshops for the community before the next kite festival to give us a little competition next time we visit.

Mehr Kahn of Kite City in Old Sacramento was on hand to give several kite demonstrations and to explain the finer points of kite fighting which he and his cousin (?) demenostrated after the competitions.

There were several great prizes donated by local merchants and our vehicles were loaded with more stuff than we brought with us. We collected a Tent, a raft trip, several gift certificates and clmost a 10 speed bicycle. ( George had won it but re-donated it to the Elks for a future benefit) Thanks again to the Auburn Elks for a most enjoyable “Saturday In The Park”.

(We just received a phone call from Monte Gibson of Auburn, who has been bitten by the dreaded KITEMOSQUITO and has been itching to fly kites ever since. He’s working on some kites for the next Auburn kite festival and warns the Bay Area Kitefliers that there will be some stiff competition come next year!!)


Thanks to Carlos Marchiori we have a new letterhead. Carlos is a graphic artist-illustrator interested in trying his hand at kite making. We are anxious to see what his kites will look like after seeing the letterhead! What do you think?


That is what the Canadian Atmo-spheric Enviroment Service would like to know. Tim Burkhart of the late-Berkeley kite shop, Above and Beyond, received the following from the CAES:

Dear Sirs:

RE: Kites for Support of Meteor-logical Instruments

We have been involved with making meteorological measurements using tethered balloon sup-ported instruments for several years and have made some tests using parafoils. To date, how-ever, we have always had problems in hig wind speeds (above about 15 ms or 35 mph) and are looking for kites which would enable us to work in these conditions. Our payloads are usually quite light (0.5 lb.) and our main requirment is for a kite, para-foil or similar device capable of stable flight to heights of 100-300 meters (300 – 1000 ft or higher if possible) in wind speeds in the range of 10 – 25 ms (22 – 70 mph).

I would be most grateful if you could send details of any kites you market, manufacture or could suggest that would meet our requirments.

Thank you for your help.

Yours sincerely, Peter A. Taylor

Research Scientist, Boundary-Layer Research Division.
4905 Dufferin Street, City of North York, Downsview, Ontario, M3H 5T4
ed. Sounds like a good challenge if anyone is interested.


Now that George has officially retired he has been keeping an eye on the Green. One day he happened to spy a parafoil (which is like a bee finding a jar of honey) whose design he noted was particular to a kite maker from Salt Lake City. Following the line down to the flyer he casually mentioned “Now that’s a nice parafoil from Salt Lake City” to the astonished sister of the maker. It just goes to warn you that if you wish to meet the “Lord of the Green” just carry a parafoil under your arm.


While in Hawaii I was most fortunate to meet George Peters. who combines the talents of a creative artist with the know-ledge of areodynamics and comes up with some beautiful works of flying art.

George, originally from Calif. moved to Hawaii in ’76 with fellow artist Clare Foster who aids and abets Georges’ fantasies.

They recently worked together on a piece called ‘AIR MAIL’ which was included in a show called “Collabrations”. George’s first serious work with kites was a conceptual idea rather than an actual kite in a show in 1977 called “Kites, Clouds and Curtains” which was an environment of strings, material, paper and clear plastic sheets with clouds painted on them. It was after this show that had no real kites that George became involved with the craft of kitemaking and flying.

Since that time George’s kites have evolved from the most traditional designs to a collection of outstanding custom designed kites available.

Currently some of his kites can be seen at the “Following Sea” a Crafts Gallery in Waikiki, Hawaii.

While I was in Hawaii I had the oppurtunity to help out on the AIR MAIL project, as the documenting photographer. Clare had written the series of ‘messages’ to be stuffed into bottles which were then sent to sea under kite power. It was George’s job to find a suitable kite and launch site for the ‘mailing’. He settled on a garbage bag sled kite with bamboo stiffeners.

They seemed to be just the right size to keep a standard wine bottle headed with the wind. The technique of launch var-ied as to whether or not the kite flew or sunk, whether or not the wind switched directions and whether or not the knot was tied onto the bottle before the light twine tether would break. When we did get one launched it was like watching a miniature jet boat skimming over the waves, with a minature rooster tail following.

We sent off about 15 bottles and watched as the last one faded on the horizon before breaking camp and heading home.

I left before the show was hung but from clippings T received, it seemed as if AIR MAIL was a success. It was great to be a participant in it.

In a recent letter from George he talks about several ‘kite’ projects he is currently involved with. One was a workshop on the HE3i31 Island in which long (2.00-300-FT black and white garbage bag dragon kites were made and then flown over the crater. It was reported that only one of the kites was swallowed by the hungry volcano.

He is also working on some traditional ‘Hawaiian’ kite designs for a film being made on Kauai about Hawaiian culture and crafts. The Hawaiian kites are made of traditional materials such as Tapa, a cloth and Sennit a braided cord which is made from coconut fibers. George says that he will try the Hawaiian fighter kite out in Spinnaker to see how it adapts to modern materials.

George’s local “Green” is Queen Kapiolani Park near the polo field. On any given day you may find George testing out his latest creation or airing out one to be sent off to here or there.

Many of George’s kite feature bamboo and dowel framing with intricate piece worked Spinnaker cloth covers. Both of the kites I purchased from George are excellent flyers and stunning in the air. One is a kite of a bird design that is similar to a delta design with a swallow
tail. The other is a twin-tailed dragon with outrageous eyes.

I have always thought of kites as being useful in the art world and with people out there like Clare and George, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more artists involved with kites as art.

George’s kites are for sale, but not in your local kite shop. Each kite is individually constructed and designed by George. For further information contact: George Peters, 3238 Wauke st. Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815.


Kite Flyer’s kite of the month is a kite flown in Shirone, Japan. Tal Streeter mentions the Shirone kite in his book: THE ART OF THE JAPANESE KITE, pp.15-20 and pictured on plate 11. It is some­times called O’dako which is translated into “Big Kite”.

Kite Lines Fall ’79 featured a bedsheet O’dako and Pelham’s book has a design for one on page 163, but both of these designs feature diagonal members which the Shirone kite does not have. There are some good photos of the Shirone kite and team in Seattle in Kite Lines Spring

With the elimination of the diagonal members the kites become quite flexiable and more easily transported, they just roll them up and put them on the back of a truck,

The Shirone Kite in this issue of Kite Flyer is a minature version of it’s big brother who is 22 ft. tall and 16-1/2 ft. wide.

Although the kites flown in Japan had two short tails the minature version needs none. The design is taken from a kite given to members of Dave Checkley’s 1980 kite tour of Japan while visiting Shirone’s Mayor.

A unique feature of the miniature as well as full sized kite is it flexiability. The bowing and the bridling are what gives the kite it’s form.

Traditionally the multiple bridle of the Japanese kite is woven in a way to make storage easy without tangling the lines. One method for doing this is a ‘chain stitch.  You start the chain by gathering all the bridle legs as close to the kite cover as possible and making a loose knot which you start chaining the remaining length  of the bridle until you get to the end.

The diagram in Pelham is on p.123 but it is incorrectly illustrated and should be as follows:

By way of standard reference–KITE FLYER NEWS is available six times a year (weather permitting) at the minimal cost of a trip to Doggie Diner–$5.00 a shot. Send all money, trading stamps or gold bars to: KITE FLYER, 861 Clara Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94303.