If you’ve ever been at the flying field and seen a tall lean guy walk onto the field with a few kites tucked under his arm it’s probably Stan.
He might be wearing a reddish or blueish ball cap and of late a new “Tilly” hat. Of the kites he brings out to fly be assured one of them will be homemade by him. And so goes this interview with this mild mannered friend and kite maker.
Stan was born in Philadelphia and moved to San Diego as a child in 1957, “and this is where I grew up.” Like many of us we start out with either no hobbies or we have many hobbies and by some intervention we come to kiting. Growing up Stan used to ride motorcycles for fun and at one point in his life he sold them to fund a real estate deal. Stan started his adventures with kiting about 6 years ago.
Like many of us Stan ended up under the infamous “KITE TREE” one day in a search to find a place to relax or just zone out. “There were 2 guys flying fighter kites. I didn’t talk to them but it was sure fun to watch them fly these little kites. I learned later it was Mitch Andersen and Charlie M’Clary. When I went home I went on line to learn more about the kites these guys were flying, I found more information then I thought would be there. I found plans on how to make one of these little gems. These plans included frame material to fabrics for the sails. My first kite I ever made was one of these fighters. I used recyled wood for the frame from a retired Tiki Torch (Bamboo) and tissue for the sail from tissue paper I found in a shoe box. Yes, these free plans and recycled materials were just up my alley…cheap, inexpensive, cost friendly, a bargain…you see ‘Im kind of a frugal guy.’”
“Discovering I had this hidden talent for building these kites I’ve also built 2 line stunt kites, 4 line performance kites, I’ve even made some power kites…4 meter in size to pull my homemade buggy. As I told you earlier I’m a frugal guy and learning to build these kites has saved me a lot of money. I’ve only purchased a half a dozen kites and some have been given to me.”
If you ever get a chance to take a close look at the kites Stan has made you will discover, as I did, that this guy knows how to sew. With regard to the homemade kite buggy he built these are his comments “I would suggest you buy one already made as to building it yourself. It’s a whole lot cheaper to buy one made rather then building it yourself, a lot of work!”
One of the things Stan finds most interesting about kite making is the exchange of information about kite building with other kite makers. “With the onset of the internet the world has gotten smaller with communication exchange with other kite makers and flyers. One person in particular is this fellow I met when I was posting plans on the internet of the kites I was making. He lives in Cape Town , South Africa . I used to post quite often when I maintained my own web site. Two years ago I met this fellow on line and we became friends. I used to send him parts and kites I’ve made because he couldn’t get kites or kite making parts at reasonable price down there. In exchange he would send me a few bucks for parts and unique T-
“The most unique kite I’ve ever made had 22 spars in it. It was a French design from a kite maker in Paris .” It’s interesting when you talk to Stan about his homemade kites. He’ll tell you, in the beginning, many of them were made from materials he got out of the dumpster behind a sail making shop in Point Loma. With this free material and the voluminous talent he has he makes some pretty neat kites. Many of you have seen one of his favorite kites to fly, that being a revolution 4 line kite. Stan has made some that are similar but in minature format and trully fun to fly. Of the half dozen kites Stan has bought 2 are Revolutions, a 1.5 and a SuperSonic.
At one time or another Stan has had up to 50 or 60 kites in his bag. I told you Stan is a quiet mild mannered fellow. Has a great sense of humor and is very generous when it come to sharing the efforts of his kite making talent. Stan has been a member of the club for about three years. I have approached him on many occasions on the field as he’s launching one of these homemade masterpieces. One day on the field I was watching him flying this 2 line stunt kite. I ask him if he made it or bought it? His reply was “it’s a French kite called a Mirage Two and I made it!” I was gifted this kite from Stan about a year ago. Not only does it look great but it flys great also. Trully a special kite in my own collection.
Talking with Stan I’ve discovered one of his other hobbies is hiking. He says its a great workout. “I hike the mountains in the summer and the dessert in the winter.” He says “if I can make kites I think I’ll give tent making a shot.” Huh….maybe it will be a tent that can fly!
I asked Stan how he stays so calm when he’s down on the field? How is it you’re not bothered by non kite activities like soccer players….his reply….”I’m calm when it comes to being outdoors. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy.” I don’t think so! The truth is Stan is a gentle spoken guy with an inherent quite nature. One of the things he likes about being in the kite club is the fellowship of the members and their diversification. Being a graphic artist himself he finds our membership most interesting.
One of the things Stan and I have in common is our passion for our dogs, his in the name of Sarah. If you ever get a chance to speak with Stan or get a close-
Article By Dave Harris