ScienceUncategorized

Flashback: Let’s Go Fly a Kite

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Testing the butterfly kite first. I like the perspective on this; Briar looks like she’s chasing the kite, but it’s behind her. She was really just running towards Rob.

We haven’t had internet access at our house for the last four days. One of the pitfalls of living out in the country: wireless internet companies that tend to have a laid back approach when it comes to customer service (at least the company we’re dealing with). Since I was restricted in my internet research flexibility I decided I would phone it in this week (via tethered iPhone) and share a few old kite-flying pictures from September 2010.

On the other hand, one of the benefits of living in the country: having an acre of treeless land on which to fly a kite. We had gotten a couple of kites as gifts and decided to try them out. They were sort of heavy for kites, and really showy, so we weren’t quite sure they’d work well. We were right, they didn’t.

When wind hits a kite, it doesn’t just bounce off of the kite. Since the upper part of the kite leans forward, the kite will rise when wind blows against it. Air is passing above and below the kite’s body, allowing it to be “held” up in the wind, assuming you have a strong enough breeze.

Created in China, kites were originally made of silk and bamboo. Abundant and durable, these materials made for perfect kites.

Kites have a varied history over the years, past jobs include:

  • Measuring distance
  • Testing wind
  • Religious ceremonies
  • Sending messages
  • Experiments about electricity (See Benjamin Franklin and/or Thomas-Francois Dalibard)
  • Used as research tools by the Wright Brothers
  • Carrying people, AKA, hang gliders (these are technically kites)

 

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The kite fell many times, but the girls were ready to prepare it for take-off again and again.

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This kite has since been retired and has a place of honor in our home: on the wall in Zoë’s bedroom

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Up next: The Majestic, Floppy Pegasus.

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Admittedly, the kite freaked us out a bit; it looks like someone skinned a Pegasus and turned it into a kite. Floppy and terrible, but funny.

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The kite ended up being pretty much worthless and would not fly for more than two seconds at a time, so it was retired to the nearest trash can. This one was too freaky to hang on the wall.

Once we got sick of fighting the heavy, floppy failures of the butterfly and Pegasus we took Rob’s kite out. He has a “sport” kite; one of those fancy nylon ones with fiberglass supports and two strings so it can do tricks. He has had it for years – actually as much as sixteen years ago; when Rob and I started dating, we’d go to the park and fly his kite. He’ll fly it in a dive towards the ground, turn 90 degrees to shoot horizontally across the field, and then send it soaring back up to the sky. Sometimes when cords get all wound up he unwinds them by pulling just one handle back, sending the kite into a tight corkscrew. Oh, and it’s kind of loud too. It makes a sort of humming, buzzing, motorbike-like noise as it zooms around, its tight fabric cutting through the wind.

The pull of Rob’s sport kite is incredible! Sometimes I would try to fly it and in a strong wind it felt like I would be lifted off the ground. It was kind of scary, so I would rather just let him do it. When he lets the kids fly it they never really do it on their own, it takes too much strength and control, but he will let them hold and pull the handles while he is also holding them so that he can keep it in control and prevent nose-dives.

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Make room for the “real” kite

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Rob’s kite as it blazed its way across the sky.

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Zoë “flying” the kite with daddy’s help

I miss those days of flying the old kite. It looks like we have something to do this weekend.

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Gigi Chickee

Gigi Chickee

All photos are taken by me, Gigi Chickee, unless otherwise noted.

Photography Correspondent here at Mad Art Lab. Wife to my gorgeous husband, Rob. Mother to my four girls. Proud Secular Homeschooler. Photographer when the occasion arises. Seamstress in training. Skeptic always.

Follow me and my musings on Twitter: @gigichickee

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