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Robert and Kathy holding a George Peters Skybird kite.
Kites. They've been around for thousands of years. The art of kite flying has become not only a hobby, but a challenging sport as well. A wide variety of kite kits and kite accessories are available at department, hobby, and toy stores. You can even design and build your own kites.

When I was a child, I used to love to fly kites. I made my own diamond kites with sticks of wood, string and newspaper. I would notch the ends of the sticks and run string around the kite, then cut a piece of newspaper to fit and glue the ends. For a tail, I would take several old rags and tie them together. My string was rolled up on a short piece of a tree limb.

Sport/Stunt/Dual-line Kites

Sport Kites present a whole range of different opportunities. By flying with two lines the 'pilot' can maneuver the kite left and right, up and down to perform however they please. The two flying lines are connected to handles or straps on one end and connected to the bridle of the kite on the opposite end of the line. The pilot controls the kite by pulling in one line to make it turn in that direction, if you pull the right hand line the kite will turn to the right. Sport kites are easy to learn how to fly but tough to master.

The Sport Kite was inspired by the very earliest of hang-glider designs. Just like the big man-carrying kite, a typical Delta stunt kite has a main spar and 2 leading edge spars with fabric stretched between them. One, two or even three horizontal spreaders are also

Robert flying his Skyburner Nik Nak with Gomberg skywriter tail.
used to keep the kite's shape. The shape is vaguely triangular, with some designs looking more bird-like with swept wings. The 2 lines allow the Delta to be steered left and right when up in the air. That means, with practice and a bit of skill, you can make the kite fly just about any pattern you like. The more serious fliers like to use Spectra line for controlling these kites, due to the material's low stretch and high strength. In precision flying contests, many of the 'figures' consist of straight lines joined by sharp turns at the corners.

I'm told that a general rule for lineset length is: 10 times the wingspan for trick flying, 15 times the wingspan for precision flying. 90# is a common weight for lines. Although anything up to 200# can be used easily. One of my favorite lines to use is a Shanti Skybond set 100'/100#.

Also known as dual-line or stunt kites, the sport kite is used in the following categories: Beginner Kites (Standard), Freestyle Kites, Ballet Kites, trick kites and Low Wind Kites which includes the Ultra Light kite (UL) and the Super Ultra Light kite (SUL).

When learning to fly, it's important that control of your kite becomes the priority. When starting out, it's inevitable that you'll crash your kite a number of times. However, after gaining some flying experience, controlling your kite in flight and in landings should be your primary focus. After that, it'll be up to you as to what type of flying you enjoy most... trick, precision, ballet or all of the above and even ones that haven't been mentioned. For me? I'm more of a precision, ballet flying kind of guy.


What's In The Bag?

Pictured below are the sport kites that I currently have in my kite bag. On my wish list for future purchase are the Mamba UL made by Ken McNeill, Prism Quantum Pro, Premier WidowNG and the Skydog Black Dog UL. These kites have proven to be an excellent addition to any kite bag.




Kestrel by Joel Scholz and Sky Delight Kites
(Dated 1/25/2000)

Specifications:
Skill Level - Beginner to Expert
Wind Range - 2 to 25 mph
Sail - .75 ounce Ripstop Nylon
Frame - AFC 2400 Graphite
Recommended line - 150# test
Dimensions - 90-3/4"W X 40-1/2"H
Weight - 11.6 ounces
Made in the USA

Ray Bethell's Review on the Kestrel
KiteLines, Summer 1994, Article on Kestrel
Kite Gallery

Joel Scholz Kestrel

In February of 2014, I watched a video on YouTube where a man was flying three sport kites simultaneously. That man was Ray Bethell, Multiple Kite World Champion. And the kite he was flying was the Kestrel, built by Joel Scholz.

The video entitled, "Romancing The Wind" (featured at the bottom of this page), gave me the inspiration to persue the art of sport kite flying. I immediately started looking to see if I could obtain a Kestrel. That proved to be somewhat difficult because Joel wasn't making the Kestrel anymore. However, much later, I found a Kestrel that had been in a gentleman's kite bag for a number of years and had never been flown!

The Kestrel kite was the first sport kite in a line of kites that Joel Scholz made from his own design. From this same design, Joel also made the Hummingbird, Neptune and the Jaws sport kite. This Kestrel is signed and dated by Joel Scholz and was finished on January 25, 2000.

Joel Scholtz has been described in American Kite Magazine as "One of America's best kite designers, and in Kitelines Magazine as "On the forefront of the next generation of kite makers".

Joel's kites have won many awards, set world records and hang in museums through out the world. The kites Joel made from 1984 until 2001 are somewhat rare and highly prized. I've become a fan of anything made by Joel Scholz.




Skyburner Nik Nak Blue & Plum

Specifications:
Skill Level - Intermediate to Expert
Sail - Polycarbonate
Frame - 1570 Pultruded
Wing Span - 78"
Height - 36"
Weight - 4.4 oz
Wind Range - 0 to 10 mph
Bridle - Spectra 3 point
Made in the USA

Kite Gallery

Skyburner Nik Nak

An outdoor, no-wind Sport Kite, the Nik Nak is considered to be one of those staple kites in every pilot's kite bag. It's tough enough to take a little abuse and is designed to do all the latest tricks. It's easy to fly, from novice to expert. It has an extended wind window that gives you more room in less space. It has a lightweight performance design with the durability to last with molded connectors, kevlar reinforced nose, molded center T and aluminum ferrules.

The Nik Nak is designed by Jon Trennepohl and Wayne Brunjes. Sails sewn by Heads Up Kites, Pam Kirk and Mike Dennis. Color choices vary. The one I have is blue and plum.

My experience with the Nik Nak is positive all the way around. This kite is one of my go-to kites everytime I go somewhere to fly. The flying characteristics of this kite are excellent. I love flying this kite in winds of about 8-10 mph with a 100 ft. Gomberg tail. It's fast and responsive yet has very little pull. One note about the Nik Nak. There are two small, thin battens that go in the back of the sail, and need to be removed when storing the kite in a bag. What you have to avoid is losing them. I carry a small plastic bag and when finished flying I take the battens out and put them in the bag. The Skyburner website is excellent featuring all of their products with excellent customer service.





Jaws by Joel Scholz and Sky Delight Kites
(Dated 12/1/1999)

Specifications:
Skill Level - Beginner to Expert
Wind Range - 2 to 25 mph
Sail - .75 ounce Ripstop Nylon
Frame - 2400 Graphite or P2 SkyShark
Recommended line - 150# test
Dimensions - 90-3/4"W X 40-1/2"H
Weight - 11.6 ounces
Made in the USA

Kite Gallery

Joel Scholz Jaws

About a year ago, I started flying single line kites. I quickly gravitated to dual line or sport kites earlier this year. As I started delving into the world of sport kites, I always found one constant... a good pilot always had a Joel Scholz kite in his bag.

Joel has been described in American Kite Magazine as "One of America's best kite designers, and in Kitelines Magazine as "On the forefront of the next generation of kite makers". Joel's kites have won many awards, set world records and hang in museums through out the world. I fell in love with a video by Ray Bethell entitled, "Romancing The Wind" and I definately became hooked on sport kite flying.

Joel Scholz doesn't make kites anymore and his company, Sky Delight Kites has gone out of business. In 2001, Joel licensed his kite creations to a company called Go Fly A Kite, (GFAK). Now, GFAK is no longer in business also. In further researching "old school" kites, I find that the kites Joel Scholz made from 1984 until his merger with GFAK are rare and highly prized so I've become a definate fan of anything made by Joel prior to 2001. The Jaws kite is a variation from the Kestrel kite. Joel also made the Neptune and Hummingbird kites from that same design. My Jaws kite is signed and dated by Joel Scholz, but it's not numbered so I don't know how many were made.




Prism 4-D Cobalt

Specifications:
Skill Level - Beginner to Expert
Wing Span - 58" (147 cm)
Wind Range - 0 to 15 mph (0 - 24 kmh)
Speed - Fast
Pull - Light
Frame - .098 high modulus Microcarbon
Sail - Icarex Polyester, Mylar Laminate
Flying Lines - 50' x 50 lbs Spectra (15.2 m x 22.7 kg)
Made in China

4-D Manual
Kite Gallery

Prism 4-D

Just about anywhere... just about any time, the Prism 4-D makes stunt kiting a blast when nothing else will fly. Its 58" wingspan makes small spaces big so you can fly in tight quarters with ease. At barely 2-1/2 ounces, its super-light weight gives it the buoyancy to stay aloft in swirling breezes and even indoors, where walking backwards with short lines provides enough lift for a huge range of graceful aerobatics.

Prism made it a cinch to put together. They designed a little wingtip fitting that instantly tensions and de-tensions the leading edge with no knots to fumble with. The bridle is clean and simple with limit knots so you're always within the adjustment range. And the included 50-foot Spectra flying lines are the perfect length for smaller spaces while still allowing a generous wind window.

I haven't tried it indoors yet but if you like to fly indoors, there's room in the case for a second, shorter lineset so you can hone your skills on those cold, dark winter days. In the air, the 4-D has the precision and presence of a much larger kite. The line feel is balanced and responsive without being twitchy like most small kites. Its light weight and buoyancy makes it forgiving in turbulence and gives you time to recover as the gust passes. For freestyle fanatics, it'll do a huge range of tricks without the heavy feel of many trick kites. I purchased this kite used and I'm very impressed with its performance. I've flown this kite numerous times and find it fun and responsive outdoors. It flies so lightly that I have to switch from straps to finger straps just to feel how it's doing.




Prism 3-D Orange
(#1488)

Specifications:
Skill Level - Beginner to Expert
Wingspan - 48"
Wind Range - Indoors to 12 mph
Weight - 1.9 oz.
Frame - .098" MicroCarbon
Lines - 50# x 15-40'
Made in the USA

3-D Field Card
Kite Gallery

Prism 3-D

Ounce for ounce, the Prism 3-D is the most versatile little kite that was ever made. Small enough to fly almost anywhere, and light enough to fly easily indoors, it'll get you flying in places you never before thought possible.

Prism designed and implemented the 3-D in 1996. In 2003, it went through a number of changes and upgrades. In 2013, there were a couple upgrades/changes that Prism wanted to incorporate into the 3-D to improve the overall design and to make it more appealing to the end users. One of those things was a collapsible leading edge and spreaders. The 3D used single length leading edge and lower spreader rods which made it quite cumbersome to carry around. They went to a two piece leading edge and two separate lower spreaders to allow for the kite to fold down to a very nice compact size. Prism originally was going to continue calling the kite the 3-D but the changes were so profound that it warranted it's own new name. So the 3-D was replaced with the 4-D.

This helped not only Prism but retail shops and end users as well by associating replacement parts for this new kite separate from the older two designs of the 3D. There is very little similarity from the 3-D to the 4-D other than they are both Prism's answer to indoor or ultra light wind flying kites. The 3-D was manufactured by Prism in the USA until 2003. It reportedly set the world endurance record for indoor flying. This particular 3-D is numbered 1488.





Diving Lady by Crystal Kite Company
(#25 - Dated 10/1992)

Specifications:
Skill Level - Beginner to Expert
Size - 96" Wide x 42" Tall
Weight - 19 ounces
Wind Range - 5 to 25 mph
AFC Carbon Frame, 0.2300"
Signed / Dated 10/1992 / Numbered #25
Made in the USA

Kite Gallery

Crystal Kites Diving Lady

The Diving Lady is a sport kite that was made by the Crystal Kite Company located out of Lahabra, CA. and Cancun, Mexico. Crystal Kite Company reportedly went out of business in 1998, but their kites become available from time to time on Ebay and other outlets for sale.

All of their designs were applique or made with multiple panels. There are at least 25 or more Diving Lady's that are signed and dated. This Diving Lady is dated 10/1992. Their top end kites were framed in 5-6mm carbon tube and were made very well.

I consider the kite "vintage" since it's not made anymore and dated 1992. After an extensive search, I can't find anymore data on this kite other than locating another flyer that owns a Diving Lady numbered 10 dated 12/1991. So, if we figure off of a production rate of 1.5 a month, that puts the approximate start date for the Diving Lady at about 10/1/1990. When production ended and how many were made, I don't know.

After purchasing this kite and taking it out of the bag, I can say that I'm impressed with the design and color of the kite. If you have any factual information about the Diving Lady sport kite or Crystal Kite Company, feel free to contact me by email.






Prism Quantum Fire

Specifications:
Skill Level - Beginner to Intermediate
Wing Span - 84" (213 cm)
Weight - 21 ounces
Wind Range - 3 to 25 mph (5 - 40 kmh)
Speed - Moderate to Fast
Pull - Medium to Strong
Frame - Pultruded Carbon
Sail - Ripstop Nylon, Mylar Laminate
Flying Lines - 85' x 150 lbs Spectra (26 m x 68 kg)
Made in China

Kite Gallery

Prism Quantum

The Quantum is manufactured by Prism in China and has been a good choice for beginner pilots for a number of years. The Quantum's 7-foot wingspan is full-sized for serious pull and excitement in a wide wind range. Engineered to make learning a snap, the Quantum's wide wind range, adjustable bridle, and light but tough carbon frame make it the kite you can learn on easily but never outgrow. The shock absorber in the tail and Kevlar-reinforced nose are designed to protect the kite from those unplanned landings. Once you've mastered the basics, a bridle adjustment will tune the kite for tighter turns, stronger pull, and sporty control response.

The Quantum is built with the same precision and attention to detail as other kites by Prism. The Quantum has been an excellent kite to learn on. It flies very well and is tough as nails. However, it is a standard kite and with the toughness comes a little more weight. I have found that the Quantum flies best in winds at 8 mph or above.

The Quantum is not to be confused with the Quantum Pro. The Quantum Pro is a sport kite developed by Prism for competition teams and is lighter, stiffer and more responsive. From last check, there's not a field card or manual for the Quantum, however, the Prism website is a great website to gain flying knowledge and information.




Additional Sport Kites (In my bag)



Stingray by Premier Kites
P-66445 - Made in China




Firebird
Made in China



Blaster by Go Fly A Kite (GFAK)
Budweiser "Get Wet" - Made in China



Festival Pictures/Links/Videos

Below are some kite festival links and pictures that we've attended as well as numerous links I have found to be helpful.

Also there are various videos including a video illustrating the multi-kite flying talent of Ray Bethell. Ray's an award-winning multi-kite champion. His video "Romancing The Wind" inspired me to start flying sport kites.

Kitefest Pictures
Arlington Kitefest - Arlington, Texas - April 5, 2014
Edmond Kitefest - Edmond, Oklahoma - June 28, 2014
Bonham Kitefest - Bonham, Texas - July 12, 2014











Kite Search/Association/Historical/Misc Links

American Kitefliers Association (AKA) - World's biggest kite organization
Kite Event Calendar - American KiteFliers Association Calendar
KiteLife Magazine - Publication devoted to the sport of kite flying
National Kite Month - History of the kite and annual celebration
World Kite Museum - Also Washington State Kite Festivals

Kite Organization/Forum/Informative Links and Documents

AKA Kite Event Organizer Manual - AKA version on PDF
AKA Region 8 Kite Events Calendar 2014 - For Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas
DAKO - Dallas Area Kitefliers Organization
GWTW Forum - Gone With The Wind Kite Forum
Ian Newham's Sport Kite/Kite Design Website - Everything you'd ever want to know about Sport Kites
John Chilese Website - Ace Kite Photographer
Ray Bethell Website - Multiple Kite World Champion
TKO Professional Sport Kite Team - Texas Kansas Oklahoma Professional Sport Kite Team - Facebook page
TKO Professional Sport Kite Team - Texas Kansas Oklahoma Professional Sport Kite Team - Website
International Sport Kite Compulsories Book - AKA Compulsories Book v2.2.1 All Teams from AKA Website
International Sport Kite Compulsories Book - All Teams on Reed Design Website
International Sport Kite Compulsories Book - Condensed for Single Dual-Line
Sport Kite Magic - Sport Kite Flying and Advanced Techniques by David Gomberg

Kite Online Retailer Links

Above It All Kites - Kite retailer - Long Beach, Washington
A Wind Of Change - Kite retailer and accessories - Salt Lake City, Utah
Big Mike's Kites - Kite retailer - Dallas, Texas
Chicago Kite - Kite retailer - Chicago, Illinois
Fun With Wind - Kite retailer - North Reading, Massachusetts
Gomberg Kite Productions - Show kites, inflatables, tails, line laundry, and banners - Neotsu, Oregon
Goodwinds - Kite accessories, rods and parts retailer - Mt. Vernon, Washington
Into The Wind - Kite retailer - Boulder, Colorado
Kites.com - Kite retailer - Edmond, Oklahoma
Kites and Fun Things - Kite retailer - Plymouth, Michigan
Kite Loft - Kite retailer - Ocean City, Maryland
Kite Stop - Kite retailer - Titusville, Florida
Kitty Hawk Kites - Kite retailer - Nags Head, North Carolina
Wind Dance Kites - Kite retailer - Charleston, South Carolina
World Wind Kites - Kite retailer - Austin, Texas

Kite Manufacturer Links

AirDynamics - Custom Kite manufacturer and retailer - Hereford, United Kingdom
Benson Kites - Kite manufacturer - Bradford, United Kingdom
HQ Kites and Designs USA - Kite manufacturer - Powells Point, North Carolina
New Tech Kites - Kite manufacturer - Austin, Texas
Premier Kites - Kite manufacturer - Hyattsville, Maryland
Prism Kites - Kite manufacturer - Seattle, Washington
SkyDog Kites - Kite manufacturer - Colchester, Connecticut
Sky Burner Kites and Sky Shark Competition Air Frames - Kite manufacturer - Plymouth, Michigan


Videos


Video of me flying a Skyburner NikNak. I love the response and feel of this kite.
June, 2014



Video of me flying a Prism Quantum dual-line in wind that's non-existent.
March, 2014



An excellent video entitled, "Romancing The Wind" by Ray Bethell. Ray flies three Kestrel sport kites at one time.



Ray Bethell flying his three Kestrels on a typical day in Vanier Park, Vancouver, B.C.




Sport Kite flying with a GoPro at the Oregon Coast.




Good video of the legendary Top Of The Line Kite Team in 1990 from San Diego, CA.