World Kite Museum and Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach wa

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The Kite Bird says, "Did you Know...?"

  • kite birdDuring the Civil War, the Union Army used kites to drop leaflets behind the front lines, urging the Confederate Army troops to surrender.

  • The ancient Chinese used kites to ward off evil spirits. Kites were often used to carry messages into the heavens for the Gods.  Even today the Chinese regard kites as symbols of good fortune.

  • In 1848, one of the first suspension bridges in the United States was erected over the Niagara River.  The problem of establishing the first line across the raging river was solved by a young boy who flew a kite across the chasm.  Read the whole story in "The Kite That Built A Bridge", by Marjorie Cochrane, on sale in the Kite Museum Gift Shop.

Kite Bird image courtesy of Annie Unwin

Held the 3rd Full Week of August Each Year:
August 17-23, 2009

August 16-22, 2010
August 15-21, 2011
August 20-26, 2012
August 19-25, 2013

"Kite" in Other Languages


  • Highest Altitude Achieved by a Kite - The classic record is 31,955 feet by a train of 8 kites over Lindenburg, Germany, on August 1, 1919.  Single kite altitude record has been satisfactorily established by Richard Synergy, who flew a large delta to 13,609 ft above ground level near Ontario, Canada in August 2000.

  • The smallest kite in the world which actually flies is 5mm high.

  • The largest number of kites flown on a single line is 11,284, this record is held by a class of Japanese school children.

  • The longest kite in the world is 1034 metres (3394 ft).

  • The largest kite in the world is the Megabite 55 x 22 metres (630sq metres).

  • The fastest recorded speed of a kite is over 120 mph. (193 km/h).

    The record for the highest single kite flown is 3801 metres (12,471ft).
  • The record for a train of kites 9740 metres (31,955 ft).

  • The world record for the longest 'kite fly' is 180 hours.

  • 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 78 rules in kite fighting in Thailand.

  • Kite flying was banned in Japan in 1760 because too many people preferred to fly kites than work.

  • The aeroplane is a development of the kite.

  • For centuries kites have been used in wars and battles, for signalling, lifting observers, target practice, as barrage kites, dropping propaganda leaflets etc.

  • The Chinese believe that looking at kites high in the sky maintains good eyesight.

  • The Chinese believe that when you tilt your head back to look at a kite in the sky your mouth opens slightly, which gets rid of excess body heat giving you a healthy yin-yang balance.

  • The Chinese name for a kite is Fen Zheng, which means wind harp. The name is derived from early Chinese kites which used to carry wind musical instruments.

  • Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.

  • The hang glider was a development of flexiwing kite created by Francis Rogallo. He developed it for NASA as a possible means to bring things from outer space.

  • The first powered aircraft were an arrangement of large box kites with motors fitted to them.

  • The world-renowned father of aeronautical theory was Sir George Caley (1721 to 1790) who lived near Scarborough in Yorkshire. He discovered the difference between lift & thrust and invented the steerable tail and rudder. He also discovered the importance of the dihedral angle for stability of flight and knew the importance of a curved wing.

  • If a lightweight engine had been invented in Sir George Caleys time he would have beaten the Wright brothers flight by over 150 years.

  • Large kites were banned in East Germany because of the possibility of man lifting over the Berlin Wall.

  • The fastest crossing of the English Channel towed by kites was 2hrs 30min by a team from Flexifoil International in 1999. They would have done it in 2hrs if the French Coastguards had not stopped them 1/2 a mile from the French coast.

  • The British scholar Joseph Needham said in his book "Science & Civilisation in China", that the kite was the most important scientific device to have come to Europe from China.

  • When the Japanese were building some of the early temples & shrines they used large kites to lift tiles and other materials to the workmen on the roofs.

  • The Russians used kites to tow torpedoes in 1855 with great accuracy.

  • Ancient stories of fire breathing Dragons were probably a windsock type of kite flown by soldiers in the middle ages which had burning tar in the mouth opening to frighten the enemy in battle.

  • World Kite Museum and Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach waThe flexiwing kite that brought back the first space capsules to earth were are development of the Rogallo Kite invented by Francis Rogallo in 1948.

  • The Rogallo kite was the model for the first hang gliders.

  • More adults in the world fly kites than children.

  • In 1826 there used to be a stage coach service between London and Bristol using kites instead of horses.

  • There is at least one Kite Festival every weekend of the year in some part of the world.

  • There are many indoor Kite Festivals.

  • Kites have been used for centuries for fishing.

  • Kites are used for bird scaring, forecasting the weather and frightening evil spirits away.

    Approximately 12 people are killed each year in kiting accidents throughout the world.
  • It is now thought that the first kites flown over 3000 years ago, were made from leaves.

  • In Indonesia leaf kites are still used for fishing.

    Kite flying is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
  • The Maori tribes from New Zealand made beautiful birdman kites from bark cloth and leaves.

  • Kite flying is popular in most countries except for one or two for example, Iceland and Russia, but we are trying to remedy that.

  • You do not need wind to fly a kite.

  • Each year on the second Sunday of October kite flyers in nearly every country of the World unite and fly a kite to celebrate "ONE SKY ONE WORLD".

  • People were flying kites 1,000 years before paper was invented.

  • Kites have been used for thousands of years to lift offerings and give thanks to the Gods for good harvests, fertility, weather and prosperity.

  • There are over 50 million kites sold in the USA every year.

  • Alexander Bell, the inventor of the telephone also developed the tetrahedral kite, which was successfully used for man carrying.

  • In the Orient, kites are given to someone to bring them happiness, good luck, prosperity and cure illness.

  • The modern ram air parachute and para-gliders were developed from a parafoil kite invented by the American kite maker Domina Jalbert in 1963.

  • Baden-Powell (the brother of the founder of the scout movement) did lots of successful experiments with man lifting kites.

  • Samuel Franklin Cody who invented the Cody manlifting kite system was the first man to cross the English Channel towed by kites in 1903.

  • In 1908 Samuel Franklin Cody was the first man in England to build and fly a powered aircraft, (a large box kite fitted with a small engine).

  • Samuel Franklin Cody was the first man in England to be killed in a powered aircraft accident - 1913.

  • In 1901 Marconi used a Hexagon kite to transmit the first radio signals across the Atlantic, the kite line was used as the aeriel. The kite was made by Badden-Powell.

  • Benjamin Franklin used a kite to prove that lightning was electricity.

  • Lawrence Hargrave was an English man who emmigrated to Australia where he invented the box kite in 1893.

  • In 1847, a young boy won a competition to fly and land a kite on the other side of the Niagara River. They then used the kite line to pull larger cables over the river, enabling them to start work on building the first railway bridge between Canada and the USA.

  • Some Japanese kites weigh over 2 tons.

  • One of the longest Chinese Dragons flying was over 600 metres long.

  • Kites have been used in many sea rescues.

  • 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.

  • Pocock was the first to pull a coach with a kite.

  • The fastest kite speed was 120 mph in 1989 by Pete Di Giacomo.

  • The longest kite flown was 3,394 feet.

  • The smallest kite flown was 0.39 X 0.31 inches.

  • In 169 BC Han Hsin used a kite to measure the distance of a tunnel into an enemy camp.

  • The Chinese use bamboo to construct kites because it keeps its shape.

  • A crane on a Chinese kite signifies longevity.

  • A cicada on a Chinese kite signifies good weather for harvest.

  • A fish on a Chinese kite signifies future fortune.

  • Two ducks or swallows on a Chinese kite signify harmony and love.

  • A dragon on a Chinese kite signifies honor.

  • A deer on a Chinese kite signifies riches.

  • A butterfly like thing that carries lights or messages up a kite line is called a "Harriers."

  • One Sky, One World is a day of flying kites for world peace.

  • The earliest kite is thought to be a farmer's hat on a string.

  • You fly a special kite on your first baby's seventh birthday to get rid of bad luck.

  • Washi paper is used to make kites in Japan.

  • The "bones" of a kite are the sticks.

  • Kintaro is a Japanese boy hero painted on many kites. Parents want their children to grow up like Kintaro.

  • The carp is used on a Japanese kite to signify strength.

  • The most kites flown in the sky at one time is 4,663 at Long Beach, Washington.

  • Ben Franklin used a kite to pull himself across a lake.

  • The kite was used to get a cable across Niagara River so they could build a bridge.

  • The Wright Brothers used kites to determine pitch and yaw.

  • The Wright Brothers started experimenting with kites as gliders in 1899.

  • The first pilot of a glider was Otto Lilenthal.

  • Truman Capote's "A Christmas Story" mentions a kite.

  • The only museum in the United States that is devoted to kites is in Long Beach, Washington.

Submit a kite fact!

World Kite Museum 360-642-4020
303 Sid Snyder Drive • PO Box 964 • Long Beach, WA 98631
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