By Lee Toy
Vol. 7 No. 3- Mayr. -Jun. 1984

Get out your kitemaking supplies and clear off the dining room table. This years 12th Annual Father’s Day Kite Festival has some super contests and lots of nice prizes for the winners. Kitemakers of SF PIER 39 and KLOK Radio (103.7 FM) are co-sponsoring this event with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of SF.

The Festival will be held June 17, Sunday at the Marina Green from noon to 5 pm. Contests held will be: Largest, Smallest, Most Un-usual, Parent-Child entry, Stunt Flying, S.F. Theme and KLOK Radio Kite. There will be a small entry fee for all of the contests ex¬cept the SF Theme Kite contest which is being held in conjunction with the SF Fair over at Fort Mason. All fees will be donated to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of SF to help in funding their work.

The winning entry for the S.F. Theme kite will be awarded a trophy and a ribbon as well as be placed on display in the Kitemakers-of SF shop window for a week.
KLOK is giving away a trip for two to Hawaii for the best KLOK kite that flies. Time is a wasting, lets see some creative entries on June 17th. Good Luck to all.


The first BAKE Nite Fly will be held on July 14, 1984 at the Marina Green at 8pm. Hopefully the weatherman will be kind but if not dress accordingly. This type of fly was a great success at the last AKA convention with lots of kite people light¬ing up their crafts with all manner of wonderful devices. Electronic strobs, chemical light sticks, flashlights, and even some fireworks were some of the means of adding new stars to the night sky. Rumor has it that the famed Dr.
M. Doweling of San Diego will be on hand to point out the major constellations that will be visible that evening, don’t forget to bring your star charts.

Since the fly will begin at 8pm bring an after dinner pot-luck dish to share with your fellow flyers. This could be in-teresting. There will be some hot coffee and tea available.


In April the Associated Press gave great coverage of the Weifang, China International Kite Festival making Suzanne Sadow and the Great Winds Kite Store in Seattle household names read around the country. Evidently they didn’t have much wind but did attract an estimated 60,000 chinese peasants to the field the day of the Festival. For those foreigners attending, there were delegates from 9 countries and Hong Kong, it sounds as if they were shown a good time.

Local kite enthusists may be able to recipro-cate some of that good will at the end of JULY when six visitors from Weifang will be stopping in San Francisco on their way home from Seattle, WA. Dave Checkley has arranged to bring the visitors to Seattle and has asked that the local kite flyers of the Bay Area try to arrange some donations to help pay for some of the groups expenses ie: food and lodgings during their time here.

Currently some support from the Chinese Cultural Center has been promised but more volunteers are urgently needed to work on this project. If you can donate any time or energy to this please contact: Leland-Toy (415) 647-7774 as soon as possible.

Regardless of what happens, Kite Flyer will sponsor a Friendship Fly at the Marina Green July 29 in honor of our guests from across the pond. Let’s show ’em that we care.


Tony Cyphert invites us down to San Diego for the 10th Annual Kite Festival of the San Diego Kite Group. The fly will be held
at Ski Beach in the Mission Bay Park 10am-5pm on August 11, 1984. Contact: Carol. Hamilton at the Seaport Kite Shop for more information (619) 232-2268.
Tony is a kite enthusiast from San Diego and is currently the AKA’s Regional Director for Southern California. Tony has worked out
an excellent delta design that he has incor-porated into his stationery, which I have reproduced for our readers, hope you don’t mind Tony. Tony has won the Largest Kite Contest at several flys in the Bay Area with one of his kites that has been scaled up to a 30′ plus wing span. Tony’s kites are well behaved gentle giants in experienced hands. We may see one of Tony’s kites this Father’s day if enough bait is left out.


Andre Thiebault, translated by Louisa Bumagin Hellegers. Sterling Publishing Co. 1982, 96 pages. Originally published in 1978 under the title “Cerfs-volants” by Editions du Centurion, France.

I first stumbled across this book in its na¬tive tongue while visiting Ken and Suzanne Conrad (Sadow) in 1982. It was quite intrigu¬ing then and, even in English, is a nice ad¬dition to my kite library.

Although the majority of the kites presented are done so with erroneous information to the degree of having a Korean Fighter kite shown with the framing of the kite on the outside perimeter, Andre does a great job on the wind toys and what he calls “pilots” or line travelers. They are well worth the price of admission, if you can find a copy of the book. I found mine in a shop special-izing in yarns and dyestuff. Its cover jacket was well faded from the sun, I guess it didn’t sell too well there.


Kite Flyer’s kite of the month is an old American stand by that popped up sometime in the late 1800’s. This version of the Barn Door Kite was made by Tom Caldwell in the early 60’s when traditional materials were the de rigueur of kitemaking, namely pine sticks and brown wrapping paper. This is one of the earliest kites that Tom made and it has been well preserved for all these years, a testimonial to its builder and its unique design innovations that Tom used in its construction.

Execept for the addition of a water color portrait of a fine looking woman, done by his daughter at a tender age, the kite is pretty much intact as Tom built it. It has had a few broken spars but Tom has spliced in replacement parts with the skill of a trained surgeon.

The details of construction are well worth studying beginning with the frame. In order to eliminate any uneveness of the covering Tom eliminated the “bump” where all three of the spars must intersect by cutting one of the longerons where it crossed the other. He reinforced the joint with some marine plywood With the two longerons in the same plane the cross spar could be attached to the rear of them and the kite’s cover could lie flat.

Next when he outlined the kite to accept the covering,he drilled holes in the ends of the spars to allow the outline string to be run with out notching the spars in any way. Tom reasoned that the ends of the spars were less susceptible to structural damage if they were left as solid as possible. In theory this is probably correct, however he did have a bit of difficultity when he did break a spar in re-connecting the outline string to the cover.
Be that as it may, the “internalized” outline seems to be a good idea.

The bridling is quite unique, rather than attaching the bridle legs to the extremities of the spars, Tom brings them in closer to the center of pressure where they work most efficiently. In most kite plans, the bridles have always been located at the extremities which has never made any sense, Tom’s place-ment is a natural.

Lastly is Tom’s method of attaching the kite’s tail. (No he hasn’t quite eliminated the need of this kite’s tail for flight, but I am sure he’s thought about it.)
Tom has attached the tail, bed sheets that are torn in strips and tied together – what else?, by the usual method- which is a loop tied to the ends of the two longerons.

To this he adds one more line tied in the center of the loop and attaches it to the center of the kite cover outline string, thereby reducing the tendency of the longerons to be pulled together, and possibly deform the kite cover.

The results of this exploration into the re-finement of what is basically a simple kite is just one example of how Tom enjoys his kitemaking skills. Thanks for showing us a new way to look at an old favorite.

Dave Staska demonstrating the correct method for flying a stack of 18 Rain¬bow Stunt kites in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1983. Dave is using the kites to pull him while he’s on a pair of rollerskates, sorry the photo doesn’t show this unique method of locomotion. Just after this photo was taken Dave was ticketed for going 35 mph in a 25 mph speed zone, ha.. the risks of flying.


The use of fiberglass rods in kitemaking has been on the rise not only for the manufac-turer but the hobbiest as well. Fiberglass has excellent flexiability characteristics but are also twice as heavy as its hardwood dowel counterpart. Virtually indestructible they are ideal for use in framing dragon heads, as the cross spar for fighter kites and in some instances as the leading edge spar for some delta configurations.

Some of the draw backs of fiberglass rods are as mentioned above, their weight is twice as much as wood. Fiberglass also has a poten-tial hazard to the flyer in the form of small slivers that come from handling, usually if one’s fingers are slid along the spar.

There is one manufacturer or perhaps two or three that insist on using some of the larger diameter fiberglass rods on large deltas. This is, in our opinion, a grave mistake.

The mis-use comes in when using the rods in the leading edge spars where they are flexed by the wind causing the kite to loose shape and efficiency. Many of the kites made this way look like limp dishrags as opposed to the sleek wind wizzards they are designed to be. Almost as bad is when it is used for the longeron or spreader bar with similar results.

Each material used in kite making has its best uses, the better we know them the better our kites will perform.

Rods usually run about 20(P/ft. end caps are about 10(P each. If you do order some rods sometimes it helps to get your friends to¬gether and order the material together as the postage charges will add to the costs of any rods you buy.

One alternative to buying the end caps is to get some of the liquid rubber compound that is sold in some hardware stores. This coat¬ing can be used on a variety of materials and does a decent job of protecting the ends of the rods. It is relatively expensive, so if you don’t plan on using a lot of rods, you will be better off buying the end caps.

Great Winds Kites has some super thin rods from Japan that are approximately 1 mm in diameter and are excellent for making centi¬pede kites or minature fighters. Most rods available come in 3-4 ft. lengths, 1/8″, 3/32″ 3/16″ and 1/4″ being the most popular diame¬ters. The super thin rod from GWK comes on a continuous roll and will be cut to length.

Sources: GLASFORMS INC. 271 Barnard Ave., San Jose, CA. 95125 (408) 297-9300 they have a $50 minimum order. WINDPLAY, 232 S.W.
Ankeny, Portland, OR. 97204 (503) 223-1760 This is a kite shop run by Grant Raddon a kite enthusist. THE KITE SITE, 3101 M St., N.W. Washington, DC 20007 (202) 965-4230 HIGH FLY KITE CO. 33 Evergreen Lane, Haddon-field, NJ 08033 and GREAT WINDS KITES,
402 Occidental Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98104


There’s a new market opening up for kite retailers in a variety of unusual locations around the globe – Iraq, Iran, El Salvador and Libya to name a few. I doubt if the flyers will heed the safety precautions that are supplied with kites, especially the one about flying them near airports.

Evidently kites pose a real threat to the safety of a multi-million dollar fighter jet called the A-I0 Thunderbolt II. The jet is designed for low level attacks, flying at about 700 feet in altitude to avoid ground-fire. Unfortunately while on a training mission over Missouri one of the jets had to take evasive action to avoid a potentially dangerous collision with a black and orange kite being flown above the city of Belton, MO. The jets fly at about 170 mph and the impact of a kite on the aircraft could possibly cause structural damage or perhaps startle the pilot into causing an accident.

Defense Departments are already putting in orders for White Bird’s newest line of camou-flaged “Jet Fighter Abatement Kites” known affectionately as DAVID KITES. Usually they come in only one color, Sky Blue but new colors to be added in the near future are: Midnight Darkness, and Sunrise Orange for the true Defense Kite Collector.


‘TIS TIME THAT STAYS, – YOU GO!” en passant, Hugh H.

Talk about envy, I got a note from Hugh and Marge Harrison who had just returned from several weeks in China and Japan on the Checkley kite tour and are now off again but in the other direction. They are headed for Europe to attend kite festivals in: Rome, England, Brussels, France and Scheveningen ….then up the Rhine to Basle and by car to Venice, Florence and back to Rome to fly home.

Hugh has an elegant delta train that he lofts the flags of all of the Canadian Provinces. We wish you happy skys where ever you are.