Visiting Portsmouth International Kite Festival for the first time this year, I was impressed at the sheer variety of kites on display. So I decided to investigate further, beginning with the Kite Society of Great Britain, which has over 3,500 members and organises a number of kite festivals in addition to the Portsmouth one. That site does seem to assume a degree of knowledge, however, and what I really wanted to know about was very basic information regarding the huge (and stunning) inflatables in the shapes of animals, cartoon characters and people.
These, apparently, are quite a recent innovation in terms of the long history of kite flying, and are generally known as inflatable single-line kites. The inspiration seems to come partly from the design ideas applied to hot air balloons, but the kite makers are able to go to much greater extremes with their inventions, Peter Lynn being one of the most famous exponents of the craft, as well as designing and exhibiting kites of most other types too.
Talking of other types of kite, the stunt kites are also well worth a look, both in the kite racing competitions and in the various multi-kite displays put on by various groups at kite festivals and elsewhere. Before trying out any of their impressive feats, however, I need to refamiliarise myself with the techniques involved in flying a standard flat kite.