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

By Lee Toy
Vol. 4 No.4 – Sep. – Oct. 1981

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The 10th Annual Family Day Kite Festival will be held at the Marina Green, October 3 1981. 12 noon till 4pm. For more information call:
COME FLY A KITE (415) 441-2965 KITEMAKERS (415) 421-6222

It seems as if there has been a change of plans in the Family day Kite Festival. Dinesh Bahadur has informed us that the date of the festival has been changed from the 4th of October to the 3rd of Octo¬ber , so make sure you mark your calenders (the AKA News had the date for the 4th which may have come from an earlier notice). Evidently the San Francisco Bridge to Bridge Run will be held on Sunday so they decided to try the festival on a Saturday instead of waiting for the next Sunday.

This year’s program will include a celeberity kite fight, a kids’ kite catch (8-12) and the 1981 international kite fighting championship besides the following competition and awards:
Stunt kite flying $200
Kite fighting champ $200
Largest kite $500
Most beautiful $200
Smallest kite $100

With luck and the correct postage you will have enclosed in this issue a printed flyer for the festival.

There will also be 1000 fighter kites to be given away. For those of you who are unfamiliar with kite fighting this my be an oppur¬tunity to observe some of the best kitefighting in the United States. (not to mention some of the largest tangles by some of the beginners).

Although generally misunderstood as an aggressive tendency in latent kitefliers it is actually a sport of great concentration and skill of the flyer as he relates to his kite and the wind. In foreign countries the skills are hightly praised and coveted. The basics of kite fight¬ing are taught at a young age as baseball is taught in America.

Dinesh Bahadur , Vic Heredia, Mehr Kahn, Tom and Randy Joe and et al are promoters of kite fighting in one form or another. Although Indian kite fighting is the most popular with the majority of kite fighters , Tom Henry (S.F.) is known to make “killer” parafoils and highly manuverable delta kites. Tom Joe is an expert at Korean kite fighting which involves using a multi-leg spool from which the kite is flown from. Jose Frias is our resident expert on the Brazilian fighter kite and in San Pablo

Jerome Prager is an excellent maker of the Phillipino fighter kite.

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There are a variety of kite fighting techniques. The most commonly accepted method is with the use of glassed cutting line, which is simply regular cotton flying line which has been coated with a mixture glue and finely ground glass. In the “Create a Kite” book, they mention razor blades which is rid¬iculously dangerous to all concerned and should NOT be used. Jerome Prager fights with the actual kite like two airplanes having a dog¬fight. Vic Heredia encourages the use of crepe paper streamer tails to be cut off rather than cutting line as a means of practicing ones’ fighting skills.

What we’ll be seeing October 3 will be Indian kite fighting with cutting line attached to the fighter kites. The two most popular types of “Fighters” are the tissue paper kites from India and the Mylar kites which are mostly made in America with some being made in India. Of the Mylar fighters the Vic’s fighter kite is quite popular as being a sturdy kite capable of taking the wear and tear of the learning curve as well as being collapsable. The tissue paper kites tend to be a bit more fragile and a bit harder to store and carry around. But each kite is unique in the way in which it flies and in it’s response to it’s flyer. The “GRAND MASTER” fighter kite is a kite made in the Pacific North¬west and now in China, it’s larger surface area makes it ideal for very light winds but not as well suited to the Bay winds as smaller tissue Indians or Vic’s fighters.

The “MANIA” or cutting line is the second main ingredient to kite fighting. In India where there are many kite makers, one’s livelihood could depend upon how well you made your cutting line. If the local maker’s line was not up to par you could and most Ilkley would make your own line. Although time consuming you would be assured of having excellent line. (We will describe one method of coating line in a later issue of Kite Flyer)

The third basic ingredient to kitefighting is the flyer’s skills. This is learned by practice in flying and fighting. It is an art to know how a kite will react to the pull on the line the difference in knowing will determine whether or not the kite will make a very close swoop to the ground and return to the zenith or crash unceremoniously into the earth sending dogs and kids running for safety. It should be a treat to watch the experts on Saturday, you may even want to give it a try yourself.


Several months ago we recieved an Italian magazine, ECCOS which is produced by a mining company. One of the main articles was flpout the kites and kite book by Oliviero Olivieri. The book mentioned was called, GLI AQUILONI come costruirli come farli volare, Sansonl , enciclopedie pratiche. (It’s almost greek to me, at least just as con¬fusing) The sender of the magazine was none other than good’ o_

Oliviero himself, how he got our address I’ll never know. The article covered several pages with color photos of a number of kites, that I assume are of the collection or handiwork of Oliviero. The photo-grapher must have been enamored by the Early Cody Compound Kite since there are a number of shots of it.

Since Kite Flyer has a multi-ethnic readership I was able to find some¬one with relatives in the old country and was able to secure a copy of GLI AQUILONI. It was sent in a mailing envelope made of fabric with a lot of great looking Italian stamps. The book is a paperback (190 pgs.) Since I can’t read Italian and the friend who sent away for it is now in Japan

I could only thumb thru the book looking at the pictures and diagrams of various kite designs. It seems as if he has compiled quite a few kite designs from various sources and translated the instructions into Italian. One of the kites is a Profesor Waldof Box Kite.

For the collector of kite books of foreign print, this is the first Italian book I’ve seen. If anyone know of any others please let us know.


We are always happy to add new mem-bers to our subscription list and were especially happy when my sister Sunny and husband Rick added Jamie to their family as well as brother David with the help of Linda added my nephew, Jamie’s cousin Zack to their family. CONGRATUALTIONS to
the both of you….


One of our first subscribers that happened to encourage and abeit “KITE FLYER’s” existance was and still is Sacramento’s SAM URNER and his ever-present side kick and spouse – NANCY.

Sam’s early forte has been the use of plastic sheeting materials used for kite coverings. Sam says: Plastics is easy to get, easy to work with and CHEEEEEP!!
Over the years we have known Sam he has always managed to bring out a newly constructed kite to the Green on his frequent visits to the City by the Bay. Most of Sam’s designs have been kites seen in Pelham’s kite book, one of the best sources around for a variety of good kites. One of Sam’s early criteria for kite design was collasability. It had to fit into his trunk of his car and be compact. His earliest kites were made from a variety of shopping bags as well as plastic drop cloths from the local Sears store (they have a variety of good colors). Because the taping tech-niques were relatively quick, Sam could experiment with several cover designs and construction techniques on the same kite design once he had developed the first one. Although plastic kites tend to deteriorate with age Sam has had a kite last about two years with proper care and handling, which sometimes in-clude some fancy manuvering when flying over the Bay waters to avoid a dunking.
One of the most fascinating kites that Sam has produced over the years has been the “SINGLE SAIL ROLLER” which is KITE FLYER’s Kite of the Month thanks to Sam and David Pelham’s Book of Kites. Sam has flown this particular kite out on several hundred feet of line out over the Bay will no mishaps. It is a very well behaved kite. Sam’s original Roller has since been retired but Sam has been working on making one in Nylon so hopefully it will be as successful as his early plastic model.



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DRAW A FULL SIZE PATTERN use heavy lines to outline shapes. Tape the pattern down on a cutting surface. If you have access to a light table that can accept the full sized pattern this may be help¬ful when using opaque plastic.

Tape the plastic over the pattern keeping the surface taught and free of wrinkles. With the plastic taped to the pattern or the cutting surface outline the inside edges of the pattern with mylar tape (scotch tape is fine) This will reinforce the edges. With a good pair of sissors or an X-acto knife cut out the plastic using the edge of the tape as a guide. In using the sissors just open them up a bit and run the open points along the taped edge. With the X-acto knife  you may want to remove the pattern from underneath before cutting the plastic to avoid cutting up the pattern. Strapping tape reinforcing at the dowel attachment points is similar to that of the industry.

The keel portions of the kite are attached with a piece of strapping tape attached to each side of the keel material. The keel stiffeners are simply attached with a covering of strapping tape. Sam’s eye for detail dictates that the strapping tape be colored to match the color of the plastic and uses magic mark¬ers to do it.

Because the kite is flown bowed Sam has borrowed a technique from the Japanese to set his top and bottom cross spars.

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Jack Van Gilder of the Washington Kitefliers fame recently asked if we might trade newspaper articles gathered from our various subscrib¬ers. Since most of the newsletters available don’t have space to re-produce full length articles this seems like a good way to distribute information on various kite related
items. If you have any kite article written in your local paper or see any articles on kites in any publication, record the date and source of article and clip it out. If you send it to us, we can make a list of article and distribute by individual request by xeroxing.

Although some articles are just too long to reprint, I think this was one worthwhile from the Ketchikan Daily News 6-13-81.

For The Daily News

Jack Van Gilder and his wife Viola recently visited their son-in-law and daughter, Robert and Kristenza Keirsey and the couple’s 16-month-old daughter, Kristenza Alaska in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Robert is an Episcopal priest.

Because his hobby is kite flying, Jak took his train of 108 delta kites along on the trip. They made banners with the names of Father Robert’s two polishes on them to hoist with the kites at the picnic on the grounds of Iowa State Univer¬sity. The event followed a Eucharist service with the Arch¬bishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie of London, who was on a short tour of the United States. Some 8-9,000 parishioners were there from all over the state.

Although he wind was too strong in Jack’s judgment to fly the train, he decided to anyway. When 20 kites were out, he had to call for help. Another fellow put on leather gloves, also, and they continued letting kites out. At the 60-kite level, the line (the size of draw-drapery cord) broke and the 60 kites sailed off into the wild blue yonder!

Jack followed for quite a distance, accompanied by a horde of children but turned back when the kites flew over a freeway, a fence and into trees.
An hour and a half later while Jack was surveying the remaining 48 kites, four happy boys returned with their arms full of 59 kites! Jack gave them each one of the unbroken kites, and one of the lads astonished him by saying, “I’d rather you showed us the secret of how you made those kites.” This request astonished Jack as he had been turned down many times by boys when he had offered to share his kite-making secrets. So naturally he complied with the boys req.iest.
Jack is a member of the Washington Kitefliers Association and makes his home in Seattle, where his mother, Margaret lives. Mrs. Van Gilder’s late husband, J.F. Van Gilder, was Ketchikan city clerk in 1933-1940. Jack is a Kayhi graduate of the class of 1940, and lived here for many years. He lives at 1925 Walnut St. S.W.
ed. What I was particularly fond of was the sharing of the kite knowledge by Jack to the boys who had returned the kites, it rep¬resented the life-long sharing that is associated with the kites as a hobby….but you better watch the wind next time Jack! you can show them how to make them with out losing them….


I haven’t heard back from Guy Adlett as to who the winner of his “name that loon” contest that was enclosed in the last issue of
Kite Flyer. If anyone did enter we will just have to let you know if you have won as soon as we have word from Guy. Since the deadline was September 1 for entries, all we can say for now is… “no more cards or letters folks….we may or may not have a winner

OCT 15-18 1981
AKA 4th Annual Convention, October 15-18, 1981. Well, You All, saddle up your horse and head on down to Houston for what just might be the largest and best AKA Convention to date. Don Hering has promised a reeeeellly BIG show. If you have not yet registered, please send $45.00 to Don at: 9850 Meadowglen Ln., Suite 115, Houston, TX 77042. (registration before Sept. 10 would have been only $40)

If you are not planning on being there but would like to help out the AKA you can still donate KITE things for the auction that will be held during the convention. Last years auction raised over $3000.00 for the AKA. You can send donations to Don at the address above.

For further information about the Convention call Don at: (713) 974-6144.

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