Drachen bauen und steigen lassen

(Making and Flying Kites)
by Wolfgang Schimmelpfennig
ISBN 3-8068-0767-1
Falken Verlag, Germany, 19.80 DM
79 pages, lots of color pictures, drawings and photos

This is the second book by Wolfgang Schimmelpfennig. It is called "Making and Flying kites" and was published for the first time in 1987. There exists a new edition since 1991. Wolfgang is well- known in Germany, and I think also in the world-wide kite-community. He is one of the organizers of the "International Kite Flyers Meeting" in Fano. He has also published some other books on a) stunt kites, b) kites for children, c) a book mainly with wonderful photos from kites all over the world with many kite developers and d) since November 1993 a new book on single-line kites and stunt kites.

This book mainly deals with single-line kites. It is divided into 4 chapters about the history of kites and kite building, materials, plans of kites and some tips on why kites fly. You will find plans for 19 kites and kite trains.

The chapter about the kite history starts with kites from China, Japan, Thailand, Korea, and Bali. Wolfgang then mentions among others Bell and Cody and finishes the chapter with some remarks about F. Rogallo. The chapter about material and sewing techniques covers the usual techniques about ripstop, bamboo, carbon and wood spars, knots. You will also find remarks about sewing and painting of tyvek.

In the plan chapter, there are plans for single-line kites: eddy, eddy- train, hexagonal-kites, train of hexagonal-kites, delta, flare, flare- train, multi-flare , nagasaki hata, indian fighter kite, sanjo rokkaku, janggaan, wau bulan, parafoil, spinning windsock, conyne-type delta and snowflake. The book also contains plans for a peter powell and a stunt kite called vector. The plans are detailed enough to be able to build all the kites.

In the last pages of the book Wolfgang explains why kites fly and how one can increase the stability of kites. The book is finished with some information about stunt kite flying, on how to make pictures of kites and safety of kites in general.

As a conclusion I can very much recommend the book. This was the first book on kites that I bought and I have built the snowflake, spinning windsock and a sanjo rokkaku from the plans with no difficulties. If you are a more experienced kite builder, you might be looking for some more complicated or modern kites, but this book is perfectly suited for beginners.

Nevertheless I would also like to mention that the plan for the parafoil is said (and some friends have tried it) to be not very good. Especially the outline of the profile is not very good. So if you want to build a parafoil, try to get a plan for the Hagaman parafoil - these parafoils fly much better than the Schimmelpfennig parafoil.

(Review by Bernhard Malle, December 1993)

(This book may be out-of-print)