What is a Kite?

up Back to Anthony's Kite Workshop

The following are various definitions on what a kite is...

A Kite is a device which attains position in the relative flow of a fluid medium by being connected nonrigidly to a relative anchor(s) and by constantly presenting an upwind face(s) which deflects the mediums flow. The device must be capable of attaining a postion which is off gravity's ground.

Definition published in Kite Lines Summer/Fall 1995.
A new definition of kites which to me seems totally crazy.
-- Charlie Charlton <charlie@akg.u-net.com>, Oct 1995.

A kite is a thing at the end of a string !

-- Charlie Charlton <charlie@akg.u-net.com>, Oct 1995.
Yours certainly captures the spirit, but as a definition it lacks something. You could be describing a dog on a leash.
-- Tom Duff <td@research.att.com>

Cool, Go fly a dog!
-- Charlie Charlton <charlie@akg.u-net.com>, Oct 1995.

A kite is a wind-lifted, tethered flyer.

-- Tom Duff <td@research.att.com>, Oct 1995.

A kite is a tethered object that flies solely because the relative motion of a fluid impinging on it.

-- Adrian Pierorazio <adrian@conn.me.queensu.ca>, Oct 1995.
Yes, this definition *does* include water, lava, ion streams, etc to allow for the NASA space kite and similar truly strange devices to be included. The relative flow of a fluid includes running, jumping, wind, etc but excludes non-fluids such as tennis balls, wood supports, etc. The keys I think to the definition are that kites are a) tethered and b) flying *only* because of the fluid flowing over it (this excludes control line airplanes, balloons, dogs, and gliders).
-- Adrian Pierorazio <adrian@conn.me.queensu.ca>, Oct 1995.

A kite is an offering to the wind gods proffered on a line that they find sufficiently attractive to accept when it is dangled in front of them.

Offered with complete seriousness by -- Anne Sloboda, c/o <ecurtis@icis.on.ca>, Oct 1995.

A kite is a thing that, when you show it to the wind, it dances and makes you smile.
-- Chuck Henderson <coh@i-2000.com>, Oct 1995.

A kite is an aerodynamically stable platform flying in a stalled state.

-- Ron Pennybacker <pnybkrs@wesnet.com>, 4 May 1997.

Now for something serious...
The Origin of the Word "Kite"
From the 1993 Farmers' Almanac...

"A rare sight for the past few generations, the kite was once Britain's most common bird of prey. Sailing along, looking for a small bird or rodent, the kite would spread wide its wings and gracefully glide on the currents of the wind. Almost any day of the year, a person could look up and see one of these predators drifting overhead.

"About the beginning of the 17th century, English lads learned to make a wooden frame over which they carefully stretched paper. When pulled by a string, the contraption would rise against the wind. After the toy gained altitude and began to sail in the sky, it looked very much like the gliding bird of prey. So it was natural that it should come to be called a kite."

-- Marvin Vanoni

Created: 25 October 1995
Updated: 5 May 1997
Author: Anthony Thyssen, <Anthony.Thyssen@gmail.com>