(Check out these winter kite festivals in 2022.)
In late 2017 I came away with a 30ft X 88ft maxi gecko kite from an online auction held by the Ohio Society for the Elevation of Kites. Next stop, the Color the Wind Kite Festival in Clear Lake, Iowa at the invitation of founder, Larry Day.
I’d already had one year of large kite flying experience since acquiring a Premier Kites Rieleit Foil 20 (more on that spectacular kite at another time). In addition to the straps, carabiners and anchors needed to fly the gecko safely, I bought some 4,600lb line from Tug.com and the last HQ Power Sled XXXL 15.0 available on Amazon. The Power Sled would serve as a reliable pilot needed to help keep the gecko airborne.
In mid-February, I made my way from Columbus, Ohio, with plans to meet up a day early and fly with Wisconsin Kiters Club members, Tim Feld and Bob Turicik. What a day it was… We’re talking blue sky, 10 mph winds – freezing for sure – but more than tolerable with the right gear, a rush of adrenaline, and a warm welcome.
Bob hauled out my gear with his ATV and augured a couple of anchor points. With the Rieleit Foil flying high over the lakebed, we got to work unpacking the gecko and untangling its bridle. At about that time event photographer, Curt Olinger, wandered out onto the ice and captured the whole thing.
That day we learned this particular gecko was designed as a true kite, made to fly on its own, without a pilot or lifter kite. In late 2021, Premier Kites’ Tony Killip outfitted the gecko for more stable flight. More about that in a future post.