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Kite Competitions. Part 1

These are divided into two classes: constructional and operational. Both provide fine opportunities for demonstrating skill in the making and flying of kites. The first class is similar in many respects to the exhibition previously described, the difference being that the competitive element is now more in evidence. The entries are divided into groups, and awards are made for the following kites: the most original; the best-made; the most artistic; and the best kite in the show. The rule governing this competition is that all kites on show must have been flown satisfactorily. The second class provides an opportunity for considering many interesting ideas and suggestions. The following are examples.

(a) Height and Speed Event
It should be said at the outset that kites can attain to great heights in the hands of experienced operators. But certain considerations have to be borne in mind. As a kite climbs higher it develops a stronger pull, and the pull of a large kite can be very strong indeed. Therefore, in a contest of this kind, the young beginner should not be tempted to fly too large a kite at too great a height.

Because height is one of the governing factors in this event, the competitors' kite lines must be of equal length. The lines also incorporate a simple device for measuring heights. Small bands of coloured thread are tied to them at fixed distances, say 5 ft. or 10 ft. As a line is being wound in, it is a simple matter to count the bands and to multiply their number by the distance each represents. Speed is the other factor, and so a time-limit is laid down. This could be decided in a preliminary practice. Independent timekeepers and line checkers are needed. At the signal to start the competitors launch their kites. The winner is the one who succeeds in flying his to the limit of its line in the shortest time. If no one manages to do this in the time which is set, then the one who comes nearest to it gains the first place. This entails measuring the kite lines, and this is done by the checkers, who are then able to declared the winner. The rule governing the event is that the kites must be brought as far as possible to an overhead position. Any kite moving off downwind no matter how much line has been paid out is disqualified.

(b) Formation Event
For this, members make up small teams, each under a leader. At the signal to start they launch their kites and after climbing for a while endeavour to move in formation. Any team whose kites touch one another, or stray too obviously out of line, receive a point against, and not merely once, but every time such an incident occurs. The aim is to keep the kites in each team from start to finish as close as possible to one another without actually touching. At the end of a given time points against are added up, and the winning team declared. This event calls for combined skill, and much also depends upon the leader. A checker is needed for each team. He records any points made against his team. These are examined and compared by a referee, who has also been keeping a close watch on the proceedings, and he announces the winning team.

(c) Landing in a Target Area
The target area is a marked-out square which is plainly seen by the competitors, but is some distance away from them. Every competitor in turn brings his kite to an overhead position and then, not moving past a touch line, tries to land his kite in the target area. If no kite is brought down in the area, then the one nearest to it is awarded first place. If more than one kite lands in the area, then the one nearest to the centre is the winner.

A referee is needed to measure where the kites land in relation to the target area. In addition, a checker stands by the touch line to see that no competitor goes past it. If he does, then he is disqualified. Like the previous event, this is suitable for team entries. But whether the kites are flown by members on their own or in teams they have to be handled with some skill and judgement.

(d)Parachute Recovery
The method of making and releasing parachutes is described in Chapter 7. Each competitor receives an equal number of parachutes, say six. Each competitor's parachutes are a different colour from the others, so that they can be easily identified. At the signal to start, the parachutes are sent up, released and recovered as quickly as possible. One assistant works with each competitor. If no one succeeds in finding all his parachutes in a fixed time, then the one who comes next best is the winner. In the case of a tie, the procedure is repeated by the two competitors to find the winning one.

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