[Air Master Bad Boy]

I'm a kite flyer.

Since I was in high school, I've enjoyed flying kites. When I was a kid we had a few, but they never lasted long. What does one expect for $1.29? (Does anyone remember the inflatable "puffer" kites from the '70s? They were still around when I created this page in 1997, but have disappeared since then.)

Sometime in high school I started flying kites again. It was fun, though I didn't live in a town with many open spaces or much wind. The grade school field was the best flying, and I had fun. Since then, I've maintained my interest in kites, and my collection has grown.

Early Kites

A plastic diamond

My first serious kite. Bowing was fixed, with the side spars inserted into an angled plastic fitting on the main spar. Lost when its line snapped. It was 20# braided nylon with a fantastic ability to twist, and it broke unexpectedly in low wind - I didn't even feel a tug on the line. I never found the kite, even though I searched for a long time. From Go Fly a Kite.

A delta

A five-color Spectra Star delta. Nice, but tended to pull to one side.

3 diamond stunters in train

These three were my introduction to stunt flying. Stable and lots of fun. The 50' tails were really pretty when all three were in train. Red, orange and yellow. Yet more from Go Fly a Kite.

Note, spring 1998: I just tried flying these for the first time in years. The lines must have been 250'! No wonder control was so mushy.

Then it was off to college. My first dorm was right next to 300' diameter circular field, and the flying was sometimes good.

College Kites

[rainbow dragon]

A parafoil

A birthday present in 1984. It requires 50 pound line, although it's a small kite. Nonetheless, it's the source of one of my best kiting stories. It came from Go Fly a Kite.

A diamond

A Spectra Star rainbow diamond with a flexible rod for bowing.

A dragon

The first time I saw one of these, I fell in love. Dragons exemplify the carefree side of kite flying. A 30' nylon rainbow from Go Fly a Kite.

A roller

A bit of an oddity. Nice, but has a still-unsolved balance problem. Made by Greens Kites of England.

A Cody

A winged double box kite in red and blue nylon. A real challenge to fly: it's hard to get into the air since it's so heavy, but once it catches a steady wind it has a strong pull. Also from Greens Kites.

Between the end of college and moving across the country, I didn't fly much and only picked up one kite.

SOAR diamond

A hand-made diamond from Albany NY's Strengthening Our AIDS Response project. Every year they made and sold kites and then had a kite-fly at the Capitol. The wooden spine tends to snap often; I need to get something stronger for it.

At the end of 1995 I moved to Corvallis, Oregon. It's an hour away from the Pacific coast, and my dormant kite enthusiasm broke out all over again.

Oregon Kites

[tie-dye rokkaku]

Razorwing 74 stunter

A short-keeled delta stunter in black, blue, raspberry and purple from Skynasaur. My first kite in a long time, and just the thing for the Oregon coast. When I first flew it on the Oregon coast, I met some interesting people.

kaze diamond

Handmade by White Bird Kites of Ashland, Oregon, it has a bold Japanese ideogram in black on a white circle. This is on a red diamond. Striking. The ideogram is kaze, meaning wind.

Tie-dye rokkaku

It was so pretty I couldn't let it just sit there in the shop. Another challenge to fly. From High As a Kite, a California kite company created by Tye Billings and Jay Strite.

Bad Boy ultralight radical stunter

Wow. This Air Master stunter is more responsive than anything I've flown. A huge amount of fun. Just take a look at the pictures [pic 1, pic 2]. It's got a 7' span and can pull hard in a brisk wind. I'm about 110#, and it can drag me across the sand.

This is the first kite I've ever intentionally stalled. Fun!

Update, 2005-06-05. After a number of years, the Bad Boy's getting a little long in the tooth. Some of its rubber/plastic fittings are disintegrating, and a fix to a chronic problem has engendered another problem.


My first quad line kite. Yow. What a strange experience. The first time I flew it (1997-07-04), I was sore the next day. [The colors of mine are white, with blue/purple tips.]



[Minergy Deca]

Another quad-line kite, this little cutie sat on sale in a Portland kite store all summer. When I saw it again in September, I couldn't let it sit there any longer. The proprietor knocked another dozen bucks from the price, and it was mine. And what a kite! Tiny and so darn fast, even in the lightest wind. This one's a real challenge.

Chinese hawk

A hawk-shaped kite from China, complete with painted feather pattern, yellow styrofoam feet with black talons, wooden beak, and shiny button eyes. Primarily an objet d'art, but I will try to fly it at least once.

Flexifoil 6' Stacker

[Flexifoil in flight]

After lusting after one for a few years, I finally picked up a Flexifoil 6' Stacker in blue & green. My judgment: smooth. In a steady light wind, it flew very well in the sweet spot, and held on near the edge. Its handling at the edge wasn't as good as the Bad Boy, but its smooth flight across most of the wind made it a real pleasure to fly. I just wonder how hard it will be to control in a medium or hard breeze. The makers wouldn't recommend using 150 pound line if they didn't have a reason.


Spectra Star offers a very cheap rainbow snowflake. The quality isn't very good -- the stitching is inconsistent, for example -- but it's pretty. It flew for all of an hour before some of the stitching gave way. After repair, I discovered that the kite is so stable that it's a bit boring. Pretty, but no challenge to fly.


A simple box kite from New Tech. I've never flown one, and it looks like a challenge. (It wasn't.)

Angels Play

Another New Tech kite, Angels Play is Robert Brasington's unique single-bridle kite with a long spar across the leading edge and circular cutouts in the scalloped sail. While I loathe the name, it looks to be an interesting kite, as art if nothing else.

Thunderfoil 2, 1.2m “Fire”

Flexifoils and snowflakes and ultralight stunters are all well and good, but it's a pain to schlep them to the closest kiting field. I wanted a stunter I could stuff in a backpack, and the Thunderfoil 2 fit the bill. I've only had it in the wind twice, but it's been fun. I'm glad I chose the 1.2m size; anything else would probably lift me off the ground in a good wind. Yet another New Tech kite.

Thunderfoil 2, 1.7m “Velocity”

Kite lust isn’t pretty. The 1.2m Thunderfoil proved so popular that I upped the fun with the 1.7m. Another New Tech kite.

Ballistic Phoenix 2.2

When I went to buy the Velocity, the kite store’s owners alerted me to a sale they were having on the 2.2m quadline Phoenixes. A 2.2m quadline for less than a 1.7m 2-line? Sign me up! I’ve only flown it in a light wind, but I’m sure I’ll need the safety release in a stronger breeze. Still another New Tech kite. (You’d think that they’re the only kites I look at, but no, it just works out that way.)

The Kite Company

My favorite kite store is The Kite Company in Newport, Oregon. The folks there are really nice and have given me good advice. They also fly everything they sell. It also helps to be able to call them and find out how the wind is on the coast before I go out there.

[Half with Bad Boy]

Last updated 18 July 2009
All contents ©1997-2002 Mark L. Irons except Bad Boy & Rokaku kite photos ©1998 by Eric and Beth Zuckerman.