Different shapes of kite:
Introducing my kites
For several hundred years kite makers have been building single-line steerable kites – fighter kites – for aerial combat. Using the traditional materials of paper and bamboo, master kite-makers have refined their art to produce precision flying machines that allow the practised kite-flyer to express their flying skills.
The apparent simplicity of the fighter kite, and the challenge of attaining total aerial control with only a single flying line, offers an exquisite challenge.
More than 10 years ago I was first diagnosed as addicted to flying fighter kites – but a reliable supply of quality kites to control my symptoms could only be found by building the kites myself. The absence of a reliable supply of quality bamboo – and the absence of sufficient skill to use it – launched me into a campaign to find fighter kite designs to take advantage of modern kite-building materials.
I learned to sew rip-stop fabric, and to make effective frames from carbon-fibre and fibreglass. Eventually I was able to make, and fly, some effective fighter kites – I reported the results of my apprenticeship in a small book called Not an Indian Fighter Kite.
Although a number of other fighter kite flyers have been generous enough to say they found the book useful, I have to confess that my kite designs, and my building techniques, have evolved since then. Now my kites almost never resemble the classic Indian fighter kites – but my debt to traditional Korean and Japanese designs is obvious. The shapes and construction are specifically suited to the use of modern materials that deliver a robust and flexible kite that will tolerate the stresses that allow the kite to be controlled through many of the aerobatic manouvres only expected of a high-performance 2-line sports kite.
I have given up sewing – I now use double-sided tape – and found that I enjoy designing appliqué kite sails. I now indulge myself with two kite pleasures – building and flying unique kites.