Article by Prez Dave Corning
(most photos are clickable for a larger version)
The annual fighter kite competition is a method to introduce club members to different styles of fighter kites, American Kite Flyer Association rules of competition, and the experience of competition. Held on the last day of each year, we’ve flown Indian fighters, Fusion fighters, Afghan fighters, Rokkaku fighters (made by our own Rick S.), and GrandMaster fighters To name just a few. This year we flew Korean Shield Fighters. But, since mulberry paper kites and rain don’t mix, this year’s competition was postponed to February 14th. Valentine’s Day was intense with fights and fighters!
We fly two classes of competition. Club Class is open to club members; all flyers use the same type of kite. A common kite for all encourages the skills of the pilot and their ability to fine tune to the winds of that moment. The prize is a paper dragon trophy, holding a fighter kite with flying line tangled over his scaly spine.
The other class of competition is Open Class. Anyone can fly any fighter kite they choose. A GrandMaster may not be as responsive as a Vic’s Fighter, but the skill of the competitor may control the slower kite to a quick victory! The ‘perpetual trophy’ is the winner’s name on a brass tag added to the plaque. The winner then has the honor to hang this trophy on his own wall for the whole year.
We follow the rules, as best we can, of the AKA Fighter Kite rule book. The referee assures that each pair of competitors are “ready on the left!” and “ready on the right!”, then announces “over” or “under”. The flyers then try to outmaneuver their opponent to touch their line over or under the other line for the point. Flying a round robin eventually leads to the Annual Champions!
The Korean fighters were a brand new experience in the hands of these competitors. The heavier kites and lighter winds made the event an extreme challenge. Unintentional grounding (crashes) were mixed with words of frustration but the opposing flyer was pleased to earn the point. There were memorable bouts when flyers fought hard to chase down the other and gain the point. The under points seemed so much more difficult than the over points in the light winds! The Club Class competition ended with handshakes and smiles. And Roger C. won the Championship. Actually, everyone won because they kept the fighter they flew with!
The Open Class was as much a challenge with light winds. There was quite the collection of individual fighters. GrandMaster, Vic’s, Meyer Israeli fighter, Mylar Fusion Fighter, and several unidentified handmade creations. This event was won with a Dave Young fighter handmade at the 2012 Enid Oklahoma AKA Convention flown in the hands of Roger C. He swept both events!
Thanks go to Walt for scorekeeping the event, to the club Prez for officiating the annual fighter kite challenge, and to Iris for running around with camera in hand to capture the moment. And to each individuals that joined the competition. Smiles all around!