Happy International Kite Day! And some fun facts about kites.

They’re pretty, they’re colorful, and they flutter and float in the air….Kites, of course! And today, we celebrate them! The 14th of January is the International Kite Day. And if you’re a fan of such happy, vibrant holidays, International Kite Day is not a holiday you’d like to miss. We’re certainly celebrating it :-)

International Kite Day originated in India, in the state of Gujarat, which is famous for the amount of festivals taking place there every year. The inhabitants of Gujarat begin manufacturing the kites months in advance so they can be sure to have enough, as millions of people visit Gujarat during it. The kite festival, called Uttarayan in Hindi, celebrates the day that winter ends and summer begins, as well as the upcoming harvest season, and the kites symbolize the spirits of the gods that are awaking from their deep winter sleep. Originally, kite-flying was a sport practiced by royalty and the very wealthy, but in the recent years it has become an activity for anyone and everyone.

So, would you like to fly a Kite? Buy one or make one and let’s get started! Here are three easy ways in which you can build you own kite, at home. And here’s one of the most popular explainer videos on Youtube, telling you more about “how to fly a kite”. A Delta kite, to be more specific:

Fun facts

Kites have been with us for many years now, and are one of the stepping stones in the science of human flight and aircrafts. Here a few interesting facts about kites, gathered from around the world:

  1. The aeroplane is a development of a… kite :-)
  2. 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.
  3. The smallest kite in the world which actually flies is 5mm high.
  4. The largest number of kites flown on a single line is 11,284, this record is held by a Japanese kite maker.
  5. The longest kite in the world is 1034 metres (3394 ft).
  6. The largest kite in the world is the Megabite 55 x 22 metres (630sq metres).
  7. The fastest recorded speed of a kite is over 120 mph. (193 km/h).
  8. The record for the highest single kite flown is 3801 metres (12,471ft).
  9. The world record for the longest ‘kite fly’ is 180 hours.
  10. 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.
  11. There are 78 rules in kite fighting in Thailand.
  12. Kite flying was banned in Japan in 1760 because too many people preferred to fly kites than work.
  13. For centuries kites have been used in wars and battles, for signalling, lifting observers, target practice, as barrage kites, dropping propaganda leaflets etc.
  14. The Chinese believe that looking at kites high in the sky maintains good eyesight.
  15. The Chinese believe 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.
  18. The delta hang glider was a development of flexiwing kite called a Rogallo.
  19. The first powered aircraft were large box kites with motors fitted to them.
  20. The world-renowned father of aeronautical theory was Sir George Caley (1721 to 1790) who lived near Scarborough in Yorkshire. He discovered the difference between lift & thrust and invented the steerable tail and rudder. He also discovered the importance of the dihedral angle for stability of flight and knew the importance of a curved wing.
  21. If a lightweight engine had been invented in Sir George Caleys time he would have beaten the Wright brothers flight by over 150 years.
  22. Large kites were banned in East Germany because of the possibility of man lifting over the Berlin Wall.
  23. 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 Coastguards had not stopped them 1/2 a mile from the French coast.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. The para-gliders that brought back the first space capsules to earth were are development of the Rogallo Kite invented by Francis Rogallo in 1948.
  27. More adults in the world fly kites than children.
  28. In 1826 there used to be a stage coach service between London and Bristol using kites instead of horses.
  29. Kites have been used for fishing, bird scaring, forecasting the weather and frightening evil spirits away.
  30. In Indonesia leaf kites are still used for fishing.
  31. Kite flying is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
  32. The Maori tribes from New Zealand made beautiful birdman kites made from bark cloth and leaves.
  33. Kite flying is popular in most countries except for one or two for example, Iceland and Russia, but we are trying to remedy that.
  34. You do not need wind to fly a kite.
  35. 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”.
  36. People were flying kites 1,000 years before paper was invented.
  37. Kites have been used for thousands of years to lift offerings and give thanks to the Gods for good harvests, fertility, weather and prosperity.
  38. There are over 50 million kites sold in the USA every year.
  39. Alexander Bell, the inventor of the telephone also developed the tetrahedral kite, which was very successfully used for man carrying.
  40. In the Orient, kites are given to someone to bring them happiness, good luck, prosperity and cure illness.
  41. The modern ram air parachute and para-gliders were developed from a parafoil kite invented by the American kite maker Domina Jalbert in 1963.
  42. Samuel Franklin Cody who invented the Cody manlifting kite system was the first man to cross the English Channel towed by kites in 1903.
  43. In 1908 Samuel Franklin Cody was the first man in England to build and fly a powered aircraft – a large box kite fitted with a small engine.
  44. In 1901 Marconi used a Hexagon kite to transmit the first radio signals across the Atlantic, the kite line was used as the aeriel.
  45. Benjamin Franklin used a kite to prove that lightning was electricity.
  46. Lawrence Hargrave was an English man who emmigrated to Australia where he invented the box kite in 1893.
  47. 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.
  48. Some Japanese kites weigh over 2 tons. And some of the longest Chinese Dragon kites are over 600 metres long.