KITE RECORDS & TRIVIA
- The smallest kite in the world that actually flies is 5mm high.
- The largest number of kites flown on a single line is 11,284, this record is held by a Japanese kite maker.
- The longest kite in the world is 1034 metres (3394 ft).
- The largest kite in the world is Peter Lynn’s Flag kite, measuring 42m by 25m (1050 sq m)!
- The fastest recorded speed of a kite is over 120 mph. (193 km/h).
- The record for the highest single kite flown is 13,600 feet above sea level, for a train of kites it's 9740 metres (31,955 ft).
- The world record for the longest 'kite fly' is 180 hours.
- The fastest crossing of the English Channel towed by kites was 2hrs 30min by a team from Flexifoil International in 1999. They would have done it in 2hrs if the French Coastguard had not stopped them 1/2 a mile from the French coast.
- Some Japanese kites weigh over 2 tons.
- Kites have been used for thousands of years to lift offerings and give thanks to the Gods for good harvests, fertility, weather and prosperity.
- The British scholar Joseph Needham said in his book "Science & Civilisation in China", that the kite was the most important scientific device to have come to Europe from China.
- The Chinese believe that looking at kites high in the sky maintains good eyesight and that when you tilt your head back to look at a kite in the sky your mouth opens slightly, which gets rid of excess body heat - giving you a healthy yin-yang balance.
- The Chinese name for a kite is Fen Zheng, which means wind harp. The name is derived from early Chinese kites, which used to carry wind musical instruments.
- The Maori tribes from New Zealand made beautiful birdman kites made from bark cloth and leaves.
HISTORY AND ENGINEERING
- It is now thought that the first kites flown over 3000 years ago were made from leaves.
- Kites have been used for centuries for fishing, bird scaring, forecasting the weather and frightening evil spirits away.
- In Indonesia leaf kites are still used for fishing.
- People were flying kites 1,000 years before paper was invented.
- Alexander Bell, the inventor of the telephone also developed the tetrahedral kite, which was very successfully used for man carrying.
- In the Orient, kites are given to someone to bring them happiness, good luck, prosperity and cure illness.
- The modern ram air parachute and paragliders were developed from a parafoil kite invented by the American kite maker Domina Jalbert in 1963.
- Baden-Powell (the brother of the founder of the scout movement) did lots of successful experiment with man lifting kites.
- Samuel Franklin Cody, who invented the Cody man lifting kite system, was the first man to cross the English Channel towed by kites in 1903 and was the first man in England to build and fly a powered aircraft (a large box kite fitted with a small engine) in 1908.
- Samuel Franklin Cody was the first man in England to be killed in a powered aircraft accident - 1913.
- In 1901 Marconi used a Hexagon kite to transmit the first radio signals across the Atlantic, the kite line was used as the aerial.
- Benjamin Franklin used a kite to prove that lightning was electricity.
- In 1847, a young boy won a competition to fly and land a kite on the other side of the Niagara River. They then used the kite line to pull larger cables over the river, enabling them to start work on building the first railway bridge between Canada and the USA.
- Kites have been used in many sea rescues.
- The paragliders that brought back the first space capsules to earth were a development of the Rogallo Kite invented by Francis Rogallo in 1948, which was also themodel for the first hanglider.
RULES AND WARFARE
- Kite flying was banned in China during the Cultural Revolution, anyone found flying a kite was sent to jail for up to three years and their kites destroyed.
- There are 78 rules in kite fighting in Thailand.
- Kite flying was banned in Japan in 1760 because too many people preferred to fly kites than work.
- Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.
- Large kites were banned in East Germany because of the possibility of man lifting over the Berlin Wall.
- When the Japanese were building some of the early temples & shrines they used large kites to lift tiles and other materials to the workmen on the roofs.
- The Russians used kites to tow torpedoes in 1855 with great accuracy.
- Ancient stories of fire breathing dragons were probably a windsock type of kite flown by soldiers in the Middle Ages, which had burning tar in the mouth opening to frighten the enemy in battle.
- In the Second World War the RAF issued pilots with a 'rescue kit' comprising a dingy and a folding box kite called a Gibson Girl which enabled them to send an SOS message from a portable transmitter with the kite line acting as the aerial.
KITE FLYING TODAY
- There is at least one Kite Festival every weekend of the year in some part of the world.
- Kite flying is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
- Kite flying is popular in most countries except for one or two (for example, Iceland and Russia), but we are trying to remedy that!
- Each year on the second Sunday of October kite flyers in nearly every country of the World unite and fly a kite to celebrate "ONE SKY ONE WORLD".