Hoosier Kitefliers Society

Newsletter

One of the benefits of HKS membership is our quarterly newsletter, "Ride the Wind." If you're not a member yet, let us show you what you're missing! Below are some sample articles from past issues.

Soar into the Sky

     The first Soar into the Sky event at George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes was deemed a success in spite of the kite-eating trees (see carnage photos below) and the gusty winds.  The weather forecast called for a partly cloudy day with temperatures in the 50s-60s range, which felt quite nice after the iffy start of spring the Midwest has had.  The setting was kind of tranquil with the Wabash River running beside the park grounds.  The main drawbacks were the winds that averaged 25mph and the gusts topping out at 45-50mph!  Needless to say, lines broke, bridles broke, and kites flew into trees.  However, the park rangers were prepared with a ladder and reaching “gizmo” standing by at the ready.  Ultimately, they were able to retrieve all but one kite from the branches that held them in a rather tight grip.

    The kite making workshop was split into two separate areas: one for decorating and one for assembling.  When the assembly tent first opened for business, the lines were a bit long at first but they slowly began to move along as the novice volunteers got the hang of how to put the sleds together.  Since the event happened on April 2, it was nice to have a chance to be outside in non-freezing fresh air, to let our hands and faces soak up some sunny vitamin D after a long winter hibernation, and to see families romping around with the kites they made as well as a few store-bought ones.  Clark and Angie had the opportunity to help a few flyers untangle lines, straighten out bridles, speak briefly to a newspaper reporter, help a newbie learn to fly a dual-line, and generally spread some kiting good cheer.

     In a follow-up email, one of the park rangers commented that the event drew an estimated 200 people, received many positive comments from the public, and the “superintendent was very pleased with the event and has already started talking about doing the event next year.”  While the flying area limited where people could fly safely, there’s a chance another location might be considered for any future event.  

From the Midwest to Sub-Sahara

(This article originally appeared in the July, 2011 issue of "Ride the Wind.")

It all started some nine years ago on a hopelessly overcast and rainy afternoon in Clifty State Park when Mom and I wandered over to a “kite workshop” that we were sure would be closed down due to the weather. At that point we weren’t familiar with the perky resilience of the Hoosier Kite Society. We arrived at the North Field and were immediately welcomed like family by the Claycombs--little did we know that they would soon become family. Even though the wind was near non- existent, Dick got out his bright blue Superlite and started explaining the wide world of kites that I had only dreamt of but never knew existed. I was amazed by the stunt kites, descriptions of flying works of art, stories of kites so large they had to be anchored by small buildings, and vicious glass-lined battles. But I was even more impressed and inspired by the boundless kindness and generosity we met on that afternoon--and ever after. We left with a warm invitation to the Ansel Tony fly—rain or shine.

I suppose the rest is history. Mom and I went to the Ansel Tony fly and I remember the wind was so strong that day that Glen had to help me hold on to the kite he was teaching me how to fly. Mom and I were definitely hooked to both the kites and the people. When we arrived at the next fly, Summer Heat, Dick gave me my very first treasured kite and stake that I velcroed through a belt loop immediately and wore until I got home to Madison.

We got more than a Hoosier Kite Society, we got a family. I think some of the best testaments are that the Claycombs have been to BOTH my high school and college graduations, Angie and Clark visited me during college and also returned for graduation, and the Lewandowskis send cards annually. That’s all in addition to the loving kindness from anyone we’ve ever met at a fly. I must admit that venturing out on that gloomy afternoon nine years ago was one of the best decisions we ever made.

Read more: From the Midwest to Sub-Sahara

Shipshe-WOW-na!

(This article originally appeared in the July, 2011 issue of "Ride the Wind.")

Perfomer Dave Bush talks to spectators at Kite Komotion 2010If you build it, they will come. And, oh, boy, did they! The first annual Kite Komotion in the northern Indiana tourist destination of Shipshewana was huge! We built over 200 sled kites in just under 2 hours and the demo fliers had all the wind they could handle. The Amish community came out in buggies, surreys, and on bicycles. Their obvious infatuation with what they were watching was very evident. The candy drops were an exteme hit with the kids and the parents seemed to enjoy watching the mad scramble for the sweets falling from the sky.

Demo fliers Dave Bush, Kathy Brinnehl and Paul Koepke (Fire and Ice), The Windjammers, and Elizabeth Gordon, just to name a few, were watched in awe all day. They did great jobs in winds that were way too strong for enjoyable flying but the show must go on.

After seeing Dave (Mr. Incredible) sitting in the grass talking to an obviously curious Amish family, I believe the professionals enjoyed it as much as the spectators. A gentleman I talked with at the end of the day had his bike packed for the ride home with a new Nexus sport kite and a couple of ground display whirly-gigs. He was amazed after watching the five-man Windjammer sport kite team flying their stacks in 20-plus mph winds. He asked me, "How do they do that?" I told him, "I don't know. Magic, I guess."

Read more: Shipshe-WOW-na!