Observed annually on February 8th, National Kite Flying Day is marked by kite flying enthusiasts across the country.
- The kite is designated as a heavier-than-air craft that is tethered with wing surfaces that react as the air drags and lifts around them. Kite Flying Day was created to remind us of the feeling of freedom that one feels when guiding a kite through the currents of air.
- Kites date back to China in 470 B.C. China is full of lore and histories of the origins of the kite. Many are related to the way wind affects the leaves on the trees, the shelters they lived in, blowing away the sails on their ships and the hats they wore upon their heads. The stories also tell of kites being invented to spy on their enemies or to send messages.
- There is also evidence that the people of South Sea Islands were using kites for fishing around the same time as the people of China.
- Early kites were constructed from bamboo or sturdy reeds for framing. Leaves, silk or paper made ideal sails. Vines or braided fibers completed the line or tether. While kites were initially used as tools, they were also ceremonial as well. Used to send messages into the heavens or to lift offerings up to the gods, kites had a symbolic place in the culture.
- Today kites are popular both as hobbies and for outdoor fun. They range from a simple diamond kite to more complicated box kites and giant sled kites. Stunt kites, also known as sport kites, are designed so the operator can maneuver the kite into dips, twists, and dives with dramatic effect.
- The world record for the longest kite fly is 180 hours.
- Large kites were banned in East Germany because of the possibility of lifting people over the Berlin Wall.
- Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.
- Kite fighting has been a recreational pastime in Thailand for centuries, played with “male” and “female” kites on vast open fields where each side competes to capture the other’s kites.
- The smallest kite in the world which actually flies is 5mm high.
- The largest kite in the world is called the Megabite, which is 55 x 22 metres (630sq metres).
- The longest kite in the world is 1034 metres which is 3394 ft.
- The fastest recorded speed of a kite is over 120 mph which is 193 km/h.
- The highest altitude by a single kite is 4,879.54 m (16,009 ft) and was achieved by Robert Moore (Australia) in Cobar, New South Wales, Australia on 23 September 2014
- The largest number of kites flown on a single line is 11,284.
- 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.
- There are over 50 million kites sold in the USA every year.
- When the Japanese were building some of the early temples and shrines they used large kites to lift tiles and other materials to the workmen on the roof.
- Kite flying was banned in Japan in 1760 because too many people preferred to fly kites than work.
- More adults in the world fly kites than children.
- Benjamin Franklin used a kite to prove that lightning was electricity.
- 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.