National Kite Month April 1, 2000

A Bunch of WACKOS April-fooling around with kites

The WACKOS had their second National Kite Month fun fly on April 1st. And what could be more appropriate than a bunch of  WACKOS  fooling around with kites. The timing was too good to resist as  it was also oour first fun fly of the month. We enjoyed great support from the folks at Frank Liske Park in letting us rope off some of the field for demos and mass ascensions and provided some extension cords and power for our sound system. As this was the first time we had music for a fun fly, everyone really enjoyed it very much. But we need to keep the back street boys and other bubble gum music farther away from the CD player.

Our complete lack of organization worked very well. Our mass ascensions consisted of whatever happened to be in the air at any one time.  The bear drops and okra drop went off without a hitch. But a loud whistle and a booming "Bear in the air!" easily overpowered the "He's not fryin, he's FLYIN!" call of the okra drop. Our candy drop was also a big success with the kids; next year we'll plan a little better for that. Ken McNeill brought his new "Ichiban" fresh from the winners circle at the Smithsonian festival (see the picture below).  The rok battle was close for about 2 minutes until 3 of the 5 "fighters" got 'killed' then stretched out as the two remaining combatants were both very experienced. Ray Riley won the battle but was as pooped as his final foe, Mike McMullen.

All in all, the day ended up almost perfect: decent breezes in the afternoon, bright sunshine and warm temperatures. We had plenty of visitors from the park come down to see what was going on and to enjoy the show. I think we recruited a few more potential flyers for future fun flys. A great way to kick off April!
We actually got some press coverage. Click the links below to go to copies of the articles.
Charlotte Observer , April 2nd
Concord Independent Tribune

Check out the pictures below. Click on a thumbnail to see the full image.
Early in the day the wind was very light and spirits were low.
These got into the air but it was touch and go for awhile.
Even Keith's MR2 didn't fare very well.
One of many tries to get the 252 in the air.
Not much going on at 10:30 am. Even Grumpy had time to make a phone call while Mike waited for something to happen. The genki and delta box flew for awhile but had to be tended to since the wind was so light. After a bit, the only kite flying was the delta box. Light wind kites were necessary in the morning and still had trouble. Mike and the 252 were ready to fly but never stayed up for long most of the day.
The Smith family came out in force.
Froggy and six of his 'Bud'dies
Jim added the Big Pink to the wind farm.
The Smith family came from all over to join our fun fly. The kids had a great time and were all over the field. Reid finished his banner with appliquéd doves - looks very nice! Michael came and brought the S & P banners and was the "store away from the store" for the afternoon. If this is how he works, I NEED a job like that. Froggy brought his own refreshments, against the park rules. But since he never opened one, he didn't get in any trouble. Michael is "working" at watching his delta box kite that's still flying. It flew almost all day.
It's never good to see a kite in a tree.
Ken McNeill's Ichiban
Coming up - one candy drop
Jim launches the bio arch.
I don't know whose kite is in the tree but it was rescued with little damage. The tail, however, was pretty messed up. Looks like other folks had similar problems. Ken McNeill brought his new "Ichiban" fresh from the Smithsonian Festival. The S.F. Cody & Peter Lynn influenced kite won in the cellular category. Lester's Top Half watches while Mike launches the big delta for the candy and bear drops.  Once the winds picked up a little in the afternoon, Jim puts out his bio arch, with some help from his dad. One section of this arch is the "WACKOS" section from the great arch at AKA nationals in Muncie, Ind.
Ray can make the Eddettes really dance
Once again, Jumbo is a kid magnet.
The 252 goes up with a cow in tow
Mike heads home while Marty and Jeff wait in line.
Ray Riley put 4 eddy kites on a common spreader and flies them on a quad line rig. They're always a crowd pleaser and look great in the sky, too, don't you think?  These kids came by and had a great time teasing the elephant. Hearing their squeals of delight when he descended and landed on them made the day worthwhile. Finally, the 252 got enough altitude to life the cow off the ground and keep it there for awhile.  The end part of the day begins as people start packing their cars for the trip home. 
Sandra reluctantly leaves the park.
A perfect end to a perfect day.
Sandra stops to say good-bye, reluctantly. The last thing many people saw as they left the park was the fading light of the setting sun silhouetting the arch. A beautiful end to our April-fooling around with kites!

Return to Home