By Leland Toy
Vol.1 No. 5 March-April 1979
MARCH KITE FLY
WHEN March 18–St. Patrick’s Day
WHERE: Marina Green–San Francisco
AWARDS: GREEN “KITE FLYER” RIBBONS (to honor the occasion)
MOST BEAUTIFUL KITE (2 awards, 2 chances) SPIRIT AWARD (same goes)
MOST INNOVATIVE KITE (same goes again) WILBUR & ORVILLE WRIGHT AWARD
• (only one–for the best try)
BEST DECORATED IRISH KITE (2 awards–2 chances)
MOST ORIGINAL DECORATION (in kite or ?) (2 awards–2 chances for sub-teens) BEST DECORATED IRISH KITES
SUNSET MAGAZINE mentioned our Kite Fly as promised, so a crowd is anticipated. Bring your most outrageous kites for show & go!!!
The American Kitefliers Association is now a separate organization from the Kite Lines magazine. Its purpose is to bring kitefliers together for the mutual bene¬fit of all. It is currently in a stateof re-forming and is in need of your support. You can help the advancement of kiting by joining the A.K.A. Mem-bership dues are $5.00 per year. For further information or applying for membership write: Welca D. Braswell, Presi-dent, A.K.A., 10,000 Lomond Drive, Manassas, VA 22110.
MEET THE PRESIDENT OF A.K.A
Welca D. (Red) Braswell will be visiting California March 15-17. Kite Flyer invites you to an evening with Red to share your ideas and just to get to know Red better. We will see some slides of the activities back East as well as a Video Tape (if we can find a machine to handle 1/29 VHS cas-settes). If you have access to a video machine please contact Dan Prentis 552-4498. We would also like to show some of the kiting activities of the past, so bring along your slides or photos.
An evening with Red Braswell: March 16, 7:30 p.m., 861 Clara Drive, Palo Alto, home of the “Walker Family,” 856-6284.
KITE LINES MAGAZINE
Where’s my Kite Lines??? A familiar question has been on our minds for some time now and for those of you who are subscribers to the national publi¬cation you have by now gotten word from Valerie Govig of the reasons for the delay: Financial difficulities. Hopefully the problems can be solved soon and we will once again receive Kite Lines. We will try to let you know any further details when we get word.
THE LIFE & TIMES OF DOM JALBERT
It is said that a piece of art that can live with you from day to day like a companion, friend, lover or enemy, is something of great value. Efforts to ex-plain such value to another person are usually egocentric or nebulose at best. Should Dom Jalbert’s Parafoil kite find its way into your hands and you are taken in by its character, it’s likely that you will come to own not one but many. Always you will know where they are and often carry the image of its flight with you like money on loan.
Dom Jalbert, the creator of the Ram air-high glide concept, is a mild mannered, congenial gentleman who takes an intuitive and structured approach to leaping tall buildings, lifting locomotives, etc.
In the last issue of Kite Flyer I noted that the biography of Dom Jalbert was one that would serve as an inspiration to any kite maker or anyone who has found the road to creativity uneven. As I listened to Jalbert tell of his life in brief I found myself feeling like I was being ex¬posed not only to a little of aeronautical immortality, but to what was a part of the reason for our being able to fly kites today as adults and have no fear of being joked about for it.
Dom Jalbert was born in St. Michaels Des Saint, a province of Quebec. When Dom was four his family moved to Woonsocket, Rhode Island to work in the textile mills. He was later sent to a boarding school at the cost of $17.00/month. While in attendance he became adept at playing the valve trombone, proved to be a promising athlete as well as doing well in the academic program. On Armistice Day his school band was called upon to march and play on a frozen lake near the school. It was reported to be an added attraction when the young Jalbert fell down on his trombone, consequently bending the instrument severely. Proving his strong will to always keep going, he bent the trombone back with his knee and kept on playing.
At the age of fourteen he left school to return to Woonsocket, R.I. and the textile mills. He continued to work in the mills to support his family. Jalbert became well known in the area as a superb athlete on the track field having broken several records. A friend in the mills took pity on him when he was thoroughly trounced by a bimbo at the yearly boxing contest held at the YMCA. He studied boxing for a year and returned the next year to complete his revenge on the current champion. After that he spent a year getting $15 for going 3 rounds every Friday night against other boxers, while working in a restaurant.
In 1927, Jalbert learned to fly a biplane in Marshall, Missouri, and became a barnstormer for the “Gates Flying Circus.” There he flew alongside the infamous Barney Zimmerman.
At the age of 25 Jalbert met and married his first wife, Betty, and returned to Woonsocket, R.I., to live. During this time his career in kites began to blossom. He constructed many different types of kites and flew banners for advertisers. Jalbert noted that factory workers and cops used to joke about him sitting on the curb flying his kites. The harrass-ment was eased by the fact that he was making $74 a week flying his kites in comparison to their earnings of $17 a week walking a beat or slaving in the mill.
A daughter to be named Dorothy was born into the Dom Jalbert family about a year and a half later, and sad to note, his wife died of an illness several months after Dorothy’s birth. The next few years were severe for Jalbert. He left his daughter in the care of his parents and went on the road as a salesman in the Midwest–Yankton, South Dakota. The 30’s were tough years to be anywhere in the U.S., especially the Midwest, so in 1935 he returned to his family and the mills in Rhode Island.
The second world war was getting underway in Europe when Jalbert landed a job as a Barrage Balloon riger with United Engineers. He was later to work with M.I.T. developing the famous Gibson Girl survival box kite. While testing this kite in the Atlantic, Jalbert came very close to being drowned.
In his work at home he created the Kytoon, a balloon with stabilizing fins that would stay aloft in winds that normally blew a regular balloon to the ground. Dewey Almey Chemical accepted the Kytoon and he .spent the remainder of the war applying the Kytoon to hundreds of uses, including nuclear testing and malaria research for the Rockefeller Foundation.
After World War II Jalbert remarried and a second child to be named Paul was born. At the end of the war the demand for bal¬loons fell off drastically and Jalbert started his own aerological laboratory in Bedford, Mass. His move to Boca Raton, Florida, the present location of Jalbert labs was made in 1950. Working pri¬marily with parachutes he patented the Jalbert multicellular parachute in ’56.
His research continued and in 1964 the first version of the Jalbert was created along with the patenting of the Ram Air-High Glide concept. Jalbert refers to the parafoil as the first deccelerating device since de Vinci’s square parachute experi¬ments in 1545. Since 1964 over 200 para¬foil configurations have been made by Jalbert and the best of them have been patented. The parafoil is sold as a kite as well as a parachute. The 7.5 square foot version is considered the toy version and is the most popular because of the price price, which is low considering the quality of the product. The Para-Foil parachute is now the mark of the parachuting elite and everyone in that business is attempting to copy it. A new papent has just been released to Jalbert for a new type of Para-Foil which inflates vertically as well as horizontally.
We have had the good fortune of seeing several of the different configurations Jalbert has developed but many of the originals, over a hundred, were burned in a fire which destroyed the Jalbert laboratory in the late sixties. The lab has since been rebuilt and today is headed by Paul Jalbert, who has added a sail loft to the inventory.
The Jalbert parafoil kite has been copied by many people and Dom and Paul have spent .a great deal of time in court defending the the parafoil. Thanks to their perseverance the parafoil is still a mark of excellence and the kite is a guaranteed flier when it bears the name Jalbert. Most kite shops will carry a few parafoils on hand, usually J-7.5 and J-15’s. Larger models may be special ordered. The Jalbert parafoil is a totally soft kite made of low porosity spinaker cloth. Since it has no spars, using the ram air principle for shape it may be rolled up and put into your pocket. The kite flys on the lowest of wind and has a high flight angle.
That’s all the information you get because I hate a person who tells the whole story. I will admit it does have a happy ending. Paul Jalbert now runs the show in Boca Raton, leaving Dom with well de¬served time to sit on the curb and fly a kite.
SMITHSONIAN KITE DISPLAY
Thanks to The Maryland Kite Society’s “The Windy Notice” for the following article taken from their January 1979 issue.
We have always wanted it, well-now we’ve got it! The Smithsonian’s marvellous Air and Space museum has set up a Kite exhibit.
Kites have truly played an important part in the history of aviation, and it is thrill¬ing to see them honored by such an exhibit.
The display contains several fascinating kites. For instance, a magnificent dragon kite that was a gift form the Chinese Im-perial Centennial Commision in 1876. It was the Smithsonian’s first aeronautical object and actually started the kite col¬lection. Also featured is a pear-shaped
kite built by Mr. Paul Garber and was painted by his wife “Buttons.” The design was taken from a child’s book illustration from 1837.
Also included in this display is a diamond cell box kite. It was constructed by Samuel Potter of the agricultural department of the weather bureau. This kite was flown on Potter’s farm–where the Pentagon now resides!
Noteworthy of mention is a kite that was crafted by one of our own! Bevan Brown’s 3-dimensional sculptured eagle kite is now in the museum’s permanent collection. It won the Highest Overall Score in the Smithsonian contest in 1972.
We all remember the Eddy kite–well the Smithsonian collection contains an origi-nal Eddy kite which is mounted on one of the exhibit walls. If you take a moment to glance up, you will see a portion of Alexander Graham Bell’s famed Tetrahedron, suspended in the air. Neighboring it is Paul Garber’s dual controlled target kite (used in WW II for sea gunnery practice) a design which some of you may have seen in several kite battles in contests.
Those of you who have not made the pil¬gramage to see this marvellous display are urged to make the trip. It gives any kite enthusiast a real “high!”
THE ART OF THE JAPANESE KITE, Tal Streeter, 181 pages, hardcover–$20.00.
A beautifully written book plus an out-standing collection of photos of kites and kitemakers of Japan. Mr. Streeter concen¬trates on traditional Japanese kites and kite festivals he attended. This book is a must for the collector of fine books as well as those interested in traditional kite designs.
There are no specific kite plans but you do journey through six workshops and ex¬plore the traditional process of kite-making, from the preparation of bamboo and paper to the drawing of the picture whose design has not changed for over 400 years.
Recommendation: Great book for the col-lector or anyone interested in the traditional methods and kites of Japan.
BLOWN SKY HIGH, Margaret Greger, il-lustrated by Joan Slattery, Newcomb,81 pages, paperback, $4.50 (when ordered from author).
A delightful little book by a wonderful kitemaker and teacher who lives in Rich-land, Washington. The book is an intro-duction to kitemaking and to working with kites in the classroom. Emphasis is on simple, inexpensive, class tested kites. The instructions are step by step and easy to follow for eight kite designs in a variety of materials…great for the summer months ahead.
Recommendation: A good buy for novice or beginner kitefliers as well as those interested in teaching kite making in the classroom. (Margaret is teaching an extension course in Kite Making at Chico State March 10 and 11. The course will include construction of 6-10 kites; sources and cost of materials; history and basic aerodynamics, and flying. For more info contact Chico State, Chico, CA 95926.)
OUR FEBRUARY (ALMOST MARCH) “FLY”
The faithful came and the rain didn’t and that about wraps up our February “It’s Almost March Kite Fly.” We had gale force winds and complete calm–all in one after¬noon. Lots and lots of clouds and lots and lots of fun. George Ham had his latest parafoil face there to show us all a real “patriotic high” or it will be when completed. Dale Van Derhoof from Sacramento was present with-his GIANT Cody kite.
Tom Henry had his beautiful white French Military kite up in the air, this is one he built from plans supplied by Bob Ingraham. San Jose’s own Vic Landry flew his Neil Thornberg creations. My attention was mo-mentarily possessed by Sam Urner’s Roller Kite–the first I have ever seen and it flew FANTASTIC! I sort of moved around from kite to kite pausing to enjoy Tom Henry’s own design, a Heart Kite, just magical to fly–until it attacks another kite ‘(heart attack). We can’t mention names, but we seem to remember something about a delta being carried off on the mast of a large sail boat–an unfair match.
Lots of great kites make for a great day –and that’s just what we experienced.
NEWS FROM THE SOUTH
Vic Heredia of the International Kite Co. and the San Diego Kite club had their maneuverable kite contest November 11th at Ski Beach. Heavy showers and cold winds were somewhat of a deterrent to the contest, but with the use of a Point System of scoring the contestant’s abilities, the contests ran smoothly and winners were easy to determine.
The Champion kite controllers–
Scott Hetzel, Redondo Beach
Second Place–Doug Ramsey, Los Angeles, Junior Champion–Tony Tamayo, San Diego
A note to you kite fighters: if you are the winner of the contest you get your picture on the instruction sheet of Vic’s Fighter kite until the next winner is chosen…it’s kind of like being on a baseball trading card, only you don’t get the chewing gum…next time you see Scott Hetzel ask him what his batting average is.
For those of you who are interested in what type of maneuvers are involved here is a list:
a. Launching without grounding
b. Dives against a pre-marked pole
c. Spins clock-wise and counter-clock-wise
d. Horizontal left and right to pre staked angles
e. Climbs past overhead, or as high (angle) as possible
f. Knocking objects off poles
g. Tunnelling through a big loop
h. Precision landing
Each stunt is worth 10 points with time limits (15 seconds) on stunts f. and g. You loose 5 points for each grounding.
If you are interested, the next contest is on May 12 at Ski Beach (Mission Bay), call– Vic (714-239-1992) for a set of rules and further information. Note–there is a small entry fee.
THANKS FOR KEEPING US INFORMED, VIC!
Japanese Kite Tour
Reservations are now being taken for the 1979 KITE TOUR OF JAPAN. Dave Checkley of the Kite Factory will be your guide for 15 days leaving Seattle April 27 and returning May 12. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit places many tourists never heard of–Hamamatsu, Mori, Iwata, Yokosuka, Sagara, Sagamihara and Shirone. For air transportation from Seattle and hotel accommodations the cost is US$1,475.
The Hamamatsu Kite Festival is one of the oldest, largest and most spectacular sporting events, with 60 neighborhood teams of 50 to 150 men each competing to cut down the opposing teams’ kites.
You will not only attend Kite Festivals but will also glimpse master craftsmen (and women) at work.
Recommended readings include the following: The Art of the Japanese Kite, Tal Streeter, National Geographic Magazine, April 1977. For further information please contact Dave Checkley, at The Kite Factory, Box 9081, Seattle, WA 98109, (206-284-5350).
Kite Flyer subscriber Sam Urner is looking for someone else to join the tour to avoid a single room supplement. If you are con-sidering going on the tour alone give Sam a call or write: Sam Urner, 4826-61st Street, Sacramento, CA 95820, (916-455-6226).
ONCE AGAIN–Bob Ingraham’s 10th Anniversary Delta is available at a cost of $30.00 via Kite Flyer News. An addition¬al $3.00 brings along a carrying bag.
SOMETHING NEW–STRATOSCOOP 2
This article and picture have been “lifted” from one of our exchange newsletters, the 5/20 Kite Group from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. Thank you 5/20 Kite Group and editor Hank Szerlag.
The English certainly have a way with kites. Dave Green, of Green’s Kites, has developed a new type of non-rigid kite called the STRATOSCOOP. It’s a modified Parafoil having the leading edge completely enclosed. How is it inflated you ask? Simple, they attached scoops underneath the kite that also perform double duty as ventrals.
What this means is that now we have a self inflating airfoil wing that sports a clean leading edge. How it affects the perfor-mance is unknown until we actually test one but it has created a lot of interest on the other side of the “pond.” For additional information write to: Green’s Kites, 336 Colne Rd., Burnley, Lancashire, England, BB10-1ED.
KITE FLYER NEWS offers your choice of color in spinaker cloth $2.15/yd. plus postage for delivery. Order now
APRIL KITE FLY
Because of the outstanding weather prospects, the traditional time of the year and a chance that the noted Ed Grauel can join us to fly kites–Kite Flyer News presents yet another spectacular event in the world of Bay Area Kite Flys.
Date: Sunday–April 22
Place: Marina Green–San Francisco Time: As you like it
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 861 Clara Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94303.