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Author Topic: History of the "modern" Stunt Kite  (Read 5791 times)
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SKITCH
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« on: May 13, 2009, 06:47 PM »

OK all you kiteheads, kitenuts, kite geeks and truly addicted fliers, I thought it would be interesting to attempt to log the history of the modern stunt kite.  Where it started...the first really significant kites; those that really made their mark through time and up 'til now!  Pretty tough....maybe but I would imagine there are enough folks here that have been in it long enough to put a dent in it.  If you want to put up a link to other similar articles that would be great as well.  Pictures would be cool!

So, if we wanna talk about modern kites.....what was the first really successful stunt kite that actually got out there and got people flying and broke away from the SLK?  What was the next?  What was your experience with them and do you like to fly those old kites today?

Huh?

P
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Patrick

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Charlie Dunton
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 07:43 PM »

The Chinese invented the kite around 2800 years ago ....
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Allen Carter
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 09:48 PM »

The Chinese invented the kite around 2800 years ago ....

Just fill in between then and the Nirvana and you're done.  Grin
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Allen, AKA kitehead
SKITCH
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 10:13 PM »

The Chinese invented the kite around 2800 years ago ....
Really, you think it was the Chinese?

Guess you missed the modern part.
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Patrick

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Charlie Dunton
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2009, 10:13 PM »

Ok I'll start with some more modern but still ancient history

Some of the earliest controllable kites with undeniable documentation would start with George Pocock's kites used to draw a carriage on the streets of England in 1826, although these were actually quad line kites rather than dual line. Followed by the Wright Brothers in 1899, they tested their control theories and wing-warping design by flying models as kites, again quad line. They later even flew their man lifting gliders as kites before free flying in the interest of safety, but by that time control was in the pilots’ hands. Then in 1945 Dr. Paul Garber developed a dual line target kite for use by the navy which was actually controlled by a rudder. Francis Rogallo was experimenting with controllable kites using his flexible wing design in the early 1950’s and this is probably the first documented use of controlling a tethered kite using just roll to provide manuverability as we do today.

The first production "Stunt" kite originated in Bend, Oregon in the late 60's called the “'Glite” (?), it could be flown as a single or dual line kite.

Don Dunford of England had also started work on a controlable kite in the early 1960's and it was brought it to market by Cochranes of Oxford in the early 1970's. Although Cochranes advertised that they had marketed the worlds first "Stunt Kite" Mr Dunford has stated that his kite was not a "Stunt" kite or designed to be one.

During the same period, late 1960’s, Peter Powell of England was also developing a dual line kite which came onto the marketplace in the early 1970's. It became the “Model” for most controllable kites developed through the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Of the Glite, Dunford Flying Machine & Peter Powell the Peter Powell eventually became the most widely distributed and popular although the Dunford Flying Machine outlived the other two.



I’ll have to find my history of the Flexifoil, Action Kites and Top of the Line to go into the next era and the development of the “Modern” Framed Delta Sport Kite.

Here's an interesting 3-line kite by Remco from 1969


[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 10:28 PM by mikenchico » Logged

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SKITCH
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2009, 10:23 PM »

Thanks Mike, that's where I was trying to go! Smiley

Having heard of the Glite, and of course the Peter Powell I wondered if this was actually the beginning of the modern stunter as we know them today.  Kites built more for fun, sport and eventually competition.  If someone wanted to walk out onto the beach and "experience" modern stunt kites from the beginning (Peter Powell, Glite..etc.)  and progress through the years as they developed..what kites would be the key kites to fly that would correspond to the upgrades and developments as they came about? 

1. Peter Powell
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Huh
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Patrick

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Charlie Dunton
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2009, 10:41 PM »

  • 2. Action Kites - Action 20, Avenger and Hawaiian
  • 3. Top of the Line - Dan Tabor split with John Perusue of Action and took his designs with him - Team Chevron, Spin Off, North Shore

things get a little muddier after here with so many people designing kites trying to break into the growing market it's hard to say just who developed what but these were some of the widely popular kites that helped spread innovations. I have dates but would have to research them.

  • 4. Tim Benson - Phantom, defined the shape of modern sport kites
  • 5. Skynasaur - Tracer, opened up a new era of trick ability
  • 6. Flexifoil - Stranger & Psycho, expanded trick ability even further then the Tracer into the radical zone
  • 7. Dodd Gross - Jam Session, widely distributed, vastly popular, very capable trick kite and a bit more civilized then the Stranger/Psycho

Have to get the MEFM into there - first active bridle
and a dozen others I'm sure others will point out  Smiley
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 10:48 PM by mikenchico » Logged

"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see" John W Lennon

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2009, 06:25 AM »

The Glite was made from paper and balsa -- like a HiFlier with two lines.

After Peter Powell, I would add the Rainbow Stunt Kite.

At 9 and 10, I'd note the Neos Omega/Revolution, and the Quadrifoil by Ted Dourghtey.


dg
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Allen Carter
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 07:50 AM »


Here's an interesting 3-line kite by Remco from 1969


Now we know the origins of slack line flying.   Smiley

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Allen, AKA kitehead
DaveH
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 08:12 AM »

I had one of those Sky Command things  as a kid. Actually flew pretty well.  The one handed controller could be tilted forward to pull the tail line and back the kite down. It had a crank on it to wind all three lines up at the same time which were stored in the handle.  That was the undoing for me.  Way to easy to get the lines tangled in the thing.  I think it lasted about a week before I buggered it up beyond repair.  As a pre teen I lost interest at that point, but I've thought about it many times since.  Thanks for the pic.  Good memories.  Oh yeah, I had a Glite, too. Flew it on a single line.  As I remember, its claim to fame was that if the wind died it would glide down toward you.  Actually worked!
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Gardner
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2009, 08:26 AM »

Mike, someone has got to toss a monkey wrench into this discussion of the history of stunt kitiing.  Apparently I'm elected but I'd rather not be in this position. The Jam Session is originally an HQ kite, developed by Tony Folkken.

Also, in the early- to mid-1990s, Mark Reed came on the scene with his Radian design and later the Eclipses and Illusions.

Any history of stunt kiting, also, would be incomplete without mention of Andy Wardley and his work in bridle development.  Most, if not all, of the top end stunt kites of today are flown with some version of his dynamic bridle.

I'm sure there are other designer-builders-manufacturers -- Jon Tennephol and Ken McNeill come to mind -- who have had a great influence on the design of stunt kites.  However, I'm not familiar with them, and especially the Europeans, since I didn't become interested in stunt kites until after 1995.

Also, don't forget about the kite merchants, who came on the scene.  The one
 I know best, besides Steve, is Dan Whitney.  There were two others, one on the East Coast and another on the West, whose names I don't remember.

These are just a few odds and ends that come to mind and should be researched.


Gardner
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zippy8
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 08:53 AM »

The Jam Session is originally an HQ kite, developed by Tony Folkken.
Any relation to Christoph Fokken ?

Oh look everyone ! A minefield. Let's frolic, shall we ?  Shocked

Mike.
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Virtual Freestyle - ǝlʎʇsǝǝɹɟ lɐnʇɹıʌ
SKITCH
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 09:22 AM »

Good stuff Gardner...thanks for adding that.  The active bridle would definitely be one of the big innovations in the kite.

When did Prism come on to the scene and was the Radian their first kite???
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Patrick

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Gardner
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2009, 09:38 AM »

Zippy,

Thanks for pointing out my mistake Embarrassed Cry.  I was Christoph Fokken.  I should have gone out to the garage and looked at the kite bag Cry.

Gardner
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chilese
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 09:50 AM »

Definition: zippy8

An intelligent creature with a very long memory. It's ability to make sly references to past events can often cause like minded animals to titter in amusement.

zipster, You're the best.  Grin

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