So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

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TheBigKiteGuy
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So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby TheBigKiteGuy » Thu, Dec 07 2006, 10:20 PM

I was asked what it is like flying show kites, so here goes:

So you have been invited to fly show kites at a festival, before the festival you need to figure out:

1) Is the field really big enough? Organizers tend to underestimate the amount of space needed. They also often tend to assume the
wind will blow in the direction that makes the best use of the field space. New organizers ignore small obstructions, assuming you can
fly over them. I subscribe to Google Earth Plus so I can see a satelite image of the field, draw a line and have the computer tell me
how long it is. I also check with other fliers if I have never been to a field.

2) Ask about underground irrigation systems, The anchor spikes I use could easily pierce a sprinkler system

3) Find out if I can drive out onto a field. I have a LOT OF GEAR.

4) Will the field be roped off, if there is no field security it is an accident waiting to happen.

5) Particularly if traveling by air, find out what kites the organizer is expecting. Is there a theme? Are they planning on doing an octopile?

6) Again if traveling by air, talk to the organizer about anchors. If you are flying on sand, I can use sand anchors, but if on grass I need
some big honking metal anchors.

7) If traveling by car, find out if there is space for the barrel, if the organizer can supply a heavy anchor vehicle for it and if they want it
at all

Traveling to the festival

By air

1) Pick two big kites, pack each in a compression sack, add flying rope, webbing, pilot kites, line for pilot kite and mid sized kites to
bring each compression sack to 48 or 49 pounds (50 is the limit) Pack a carry on bag with clothing.

By car

2) Pack the big and midsized kites in three compression sacks. Pack line, pilot kites etc in big duffel bag. Load anchor spikes in truck.
Barrel is in its own compression sack and rigging and 252 to lift the swivel in its own duffel. Add chairs, ice chest, sticked kites, etc
and hope you can still see out the back window of the SUV

Festival

1) Get all of the gear onto the field. If you can not drive onto the field, this can be a major hurdle. If you came by air, you only have 100
pounds of gear, if you drove between 300 and 500 depending on if the barrel is involved.

2) dig in the sand anchors or pound in the anchor spikes

3) depending on who you are flying with, go through some drama about how much space you are taking up

4) Launch the kites.

5) Stay with the kites ALL day. They are not safe to leave. If there is not another big kite flier there to watch the kites, you do not
get a break. You are generally segregated from the rest of the festival, this is the worst part.

6) if it is a low wind day or a turbulent wind day, keep relaunching all day. If you are a sponsored flier, you don't get to say enough
of this, you fly to the end of the day.

7) Deal with field penetration all day with members of the general public putting themselves in harms way all day.

8) If conditions are not safe or possible to fly in and the organizer is not knowledgeable, argue with the organizer.

9) About an hour before the end of the fling day, start pulling down and packing the smaller stuff, then mid size, then the big stuff,
even though you started early, you will likely be the last one off the field, Sometimes promised help does not show. Sometimes everyone else goes off to eat without you, these are the festials you do not go back to.

10) Pull the d*** anchors out you worked so hard putting in that morning, hopefully you did not have to move them during the day.

11) Lug everything off the field

12) Inspect, repair and repack

Admittedly this is a decidedly non glamorous look at flying show kites, this is the end of the season. It takes time to recover from all of the work. It does not mention the good parts such as being able to put on one heck of a show, of geting invited to festivals around the world, of meeting great people and making friends literally from around the world. I get to see friends from other parts of the Country and even from Austrailia more often than I see friends from Chicago. The good parts outweigh the bad, but it is definitely hard work.

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Babbman
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Babbman » Thu, Dec 07 2006, 11:22 PM

And I thought it was a pain to pull out a Rev and setup.

Thanks for that perspective Al. I have nothing to complain about...lol

On the safety aspect? What do you expect from people like us and the general public? I have not been to a real festival yet and I really don't want to do something that is unsafe around the big kites nor would I want to do something that makes you cringe...

Chris (aka Babbman)

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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Kite Slayer
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Kite Slayer » Thu, Dec 07 2006, 11:40 PM

Geez, that's all great info! Thanks.

As an event organizer, thanks also for asking about where you can stake. That was one of the concerns for us last year. The first big kiters there were great. They staked out so no one else would be in the risk zones. It was a good thing too, cause I under estimated how much field activety I would see. Others who arrived later with large kites had them up in the air before I'd noticed their arrival. :oops:


Edit: (Darn, that's me Draftnik, not Kite Slayer.)
Last edited by Kite Slayer on Fri, Dec 08 2006, 08:06 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Frodos Majik
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Frodos Majik » Thu, Dec 07 2006, 11:53 PM

Thanks Al for sharing your world with us!!! :shock: Alot of work is an understatement, but I am just one of many, many people who are VERY HAPPY that you go through it all!!!! Those GIANTS color the skies so BEAUTIFULLY!! Thats a GREAT BIG :thanks:
May Ol Ma Nature never hold her
breath on you.
-------
Ken

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TheBigKiteGuy
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby TheBigKiteGuy » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 09:47 AM

In response to what I need other fliers to do.

1) Don't encourage bad behaviour in others by example. By this I mean that you may be in 100% control of your kite and think that it is neat to fly in and around the big kites and their bridles. Unfortunately, the child who has just made a sled kite sees this and wants to do the same. This was the cause of an accident at Wildwood where a kid's kite cut a giant PL fish free. People just don't believe that the cheap nasty line for the small kites will cut 1800# line, it will. I also had to reattach one of the small feelers on the Trilobite where dacron line from an art kite wrapped around it. When the owner tried to pull it free, it sliced the feeler off. So give the show kite a little space. I know they are space hogs, but if there is a space problem, let the organizer make the call where people should fly. Which brings me to

2) I like to get together with the people I am sharing a field with and try to position the larger kites so everyone has space to fly. This can be a major sticking point when there are one or more sponsored fliers who have been asked to put up specific kites and someone else gets there very early and sets up dead center in the field. Often if I have flown into a city, I have no control when my ride gets me to a festival and so end up in the middle of an unpleasant situation. If this is a freebie where there is little or no sponsorship involved, then I can just put up less or smaller stuff. However, if there is major sponsorship involved and specific requirements from the sponsor, then it often gets unpleasant. So if you are putting up kites that are hard to move, think about what else has to fit in the field and what can be done so everyone has space. Please don't set up a single lifter mid field when you know others are coming. Also, realize that if I am asking an organizer to ask you to move, it is because I am being pressured to get the show kites in the air. If you are an organizer, please let the early birds know that they will need to share the field with the show kites and that by their very size, show kites can be a pain to work around. The bottom line comes down to that organizers want the most show kites in the least amount of space to bring the public in, but often underestimate the amount of space needed, Then when the fliers who want to fly their big foils with laundry or mid sized pieces show up and are told to fly in the same space, something has to give. If everyone is willing to work to fit as much as can into the field, it helps.

Oh, h***, I have to get to work.

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Chris
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Chris » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 10:49 AM

Wow, thanks for the insight, Al. Even us quadheads can learn a thing or two :rotfl
It's a great satisfaction knowing that for a brief point in time you made a difference.

-unknown

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BANSHEE
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby BANSHEE » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 10:53 AM

I for one agree whole heartedly with Al. As kiters and not just kids or other folks just out there flying because they had the opportunity to make a kite each of us KITERS should know it's common courtesy and also safety we're dealing with here.

We also know how much our kites are worth to us, imagine paying $800.00 for a kite and some jimjam fly's a kite into the vent on your monster kite. It would P#$@ me off. As Al said we have to set an an example. Newbie stunt flyers are the worst. It's up to real flyers to help them understand the danger of their kite flying @ 50 mph+ at the backs of some SLK or spectators. And for us sometimes it's necesarry to fly on kevlar.

It is all Kiters responsiblity to watch and warn people about kite safety and courtesy.


Banshee

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Babbman
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Babbman » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 11:29 AM

and you were worried about what you were going to say?


Chris (aka Babbman)



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


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Hector Herrera
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Hector Herrera » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 05:25 PM

Very good information!!!
THEBIGKITEGUY is right on the spot. Hummm... I have long wanted to say the following...
I think it is of outmost importance to EDUCATE not only the kite fliers, but also the expectators.
Many times has been that I am flying my kite and people just run across, with children, who want to touch the kite, and so on, not long ago I was at the beach almost all alone, all the sudden a bunch of guys came over and started playing ball right where I was, going under and above my lines??? :x
I had to pack up and leave??? :(
I asked the police about, what to do in such a case, and he didn't know the exact answer.
Anyway I think is about educating the people, and how, are we, kite fliers are going to do IT ?.
I guess forums like this will have a tremendous impact in, stating, showing, educating and telling the world, about our concerns in the safety of Not only the kitefliers but everybody else.
Thanks guys.
"I can see the club is growing. SALUD from California."
****Héctor Herrera****
*El Artesano Del Viento*

http://www.geocities.com/don.hector0606 ... KITES.html

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Draftnik
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Draftnik » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 06:54 PM

Dodgeville WI one year, did an outstanding job of feeding the crowd little bits of triva and kite safety info all day. They interviewed kiters, and made rounds of intro's of all the fliers off and on during the day also. Denny Roe heads that fly up and I was really impressed with how well it ran. Having someone at the mic able to do that makes a huge difference in how well everyone is kept informed of the fun and important stuff.
TTFN,
Draftnik

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TheBigKiteGuy
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby TheBigKiteGuy » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 07:11 PM

[quote="BANSHEE"]
We also know how much our kites are worth to us, imagine paying $800.00 for a kite and some jimjam fly's a kite into the vent on your monster kite. It would P#$@ me off. As Al said we have to set an an example. Newbie stunt flyers are the worst. It's up to real flyers to help them understand the danger of their kite flying @ 50 mph+ at the backs of some SLK or spectators. And for us sometimes it's necesarry to fly on kevlar.


Or $4,900 + shipping from NZ for a Gecko. I carry a knife to cut the kite free if the situation gets out of control. It would really hurt to cut five grand worth of kite free, but you have to be ready to do t. I don't go back to festivals that place me and my kites in extremely difficult situations. Pete Dolphin, former AKA president, East Coast kitemaker and big kite flier, brings enough money to pay an event organizer for all of the costs associated with sponsoring him, so he can easily walk away from an event. I have ended up bringing my kites down a couple of times where field security was so bad that it became too dangerous to fly. I have s spreadsheet that has all of the events I have ever attended and one column is weither I am willing to go back or not. There are a fair number of nos in that column.
Alan Sparling

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Babbman
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Babbman » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 08:08 PM

This is all very excellent information and insight... please feel free to LITTER this section with more information....


Chris (aka Babbman)



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


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Draftnik
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Draftnik » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 08:41 PM

How do you feel about being able to drive on a field to drop gear, but parking in the parking lot?
TTFN,

Draftnik

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Draftnik
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Draftnik » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 08:44 PM

How does Mr. Dolphin bring in money to kite festival?
TTFN,

Draftnik

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TheBigKiteGuy
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby TheBigKiteGuy » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 09:09 PM

Dopping gear off is not as easy as working out of a vehicle, but is much better than carrying the gear out. The biggest advantage to a vehicle being close is if it rains. Wet kites is a show kite fliers nightmare. If you flew to an event, you now owe big money in overweight charges and you still have the same problem as if you drove, where to find enough space to get the kites dry. Several hundred square yards of dripping wet fabric plus no basement equals one big mess.

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TheBigKiteGuy
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby TheBigKiteGuy » Fri, Dec 08 2006, 09:11 PM

Pete used to bring a big roll of cash, now he would just go to a local ATM and get the money to pay for the hotel, etc

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denverberry
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby denverberry » Sat, Dec 09 2006, 02:45 AM

And to think I worry about getting a little 3.6M dry in a big rig.

If I've got a kite I don't want wet/sandy... I don't take it out at all, I don't think I'd care much for having that option taken by a sponsor. :wallb:
Denver Berry
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Grant L
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Re: So Whats It Like Fying Big Kites

Postby Grant L » Fri, Dec 15 2006, 06:53 AM

I thought it would be fun to have a giant. I have just a medium gecko and now have LOTS of respect for the giants and whats involved. I always thought it would be fun to be a sponsored flyer until I went to visit with Rick Agar and Jerry McGuire while they were flying at Kites On Ice in 2005. It was about 45 degrees out and there was at least an inch and a haslf of water on the ice and there were Jerry and Rick, sponsored flyers, out there flying there big kites :? I had just had my gecko for a few months and hadn't flown it yet. It stayed in the bag all weekend. :( My hats off to the sponsored flyers and all their hard work. I try to stop by and chat with them when I can since they are stuck. And offer help when they need it. I always ask if they would like help, tell them what experiance you have and ask what they would like you to do. Just running in and starting to grab stuff can be more worry for them. But if they know that you respect the kite and are willing to do what you are told, they might appreciate the help. :-)


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