Paul Chapman, England

Lecture – SAMUEL CODY: How Kites Were Instrumental in the Development of the First British Airplane

Kite bibliophile, historian and retired aircraft designer, Paul worked in the Aerodynamics Department at the

Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough in the 1970`s and had the chance to research the work of Samuel Cody, the American-born showman who developed man-lifting kites for the military and ultimately made and flew the first aircraft in the UK from the Farnborough airfield. This fascination led to deeper

research, meetings with the Cody family and, ultimately, a lecture to the Royal Aeronautical Society commemorating the 90th anniversary of Cody’s first flight.  He was closely involved with the Cody aeroplane replica constructed for the centenary in 2008.  

In his talk about the way kites influenced the first flight in the UK, Paul will review important kite/flight related events prior to the Cody period. He will use his aerospace background to show how Cody subconsciously developed the modern concept of technology demonstration and will back this with his in-depth understanding of aeronautics to present Cody’s achievements.

Paul is well known in the kite community for his researches into early kite pioneers and their kites. He currently lives in Bristol, a city rich in aeronautical tradition. Bristol is also proud of its place in Canadian history since it was from Bristol, in 1497, that John Cabot sailed from Bristol in the good ship Matthew and circumnavigated Cape Breton Island before returning.

Tom Crouch, United States

Lecture – KITES AND THE FLYING MACHINE: Tethered Flight and the Invention of the Airplane

Tom’s passion for building and flying kites as a child provided a great foundation for his adult life as a professional historian devoted to studying the invention of the airplane, particularly the role that kites played in the birth of winged flight.

As curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC for nearly four decades, Tom is currently Senior Curator of Aeronautics at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Its collection includes the oldest surviving Eddy kite, an original Bell tetra cell, and a series of kites used by Samuel Pierpont Langley in the experiments leading up to his own flight trials of the 1903 Great Aerodrome.

Tom has studied and written extensively about Alexander Graham Bell not only as a flying machine experimenter, but as the founder of the AEA, and as a regent and leader of the Smithsonian Institution.

An authority on the Wright brothers and the early history of the airplane, he is also an award winning author of some fifteen books and lots of articles and has an extensive personal kite collection.  Tom has flown replicas of the 1899 Wright Brothers wing warping kite.

Hans–Ulrich ‘Ulli’ Draheim, Germany

Lecture – TEDDY BEARS TO FLIGHT: Steiff, Kites and Flight in Germany

Hans will never forget the scent of the first kite he built. It was made out of wooden strips and covered with waterproof wrapping that smelled of coffee and chocolate! He was 12 years old.

For more than 2 decades Hans has been interested in the history of kites as well as kites of history. This is why he collects everything that has to do with kites: kites, kite books, kite t-shirts, kite spools, kite winders and more!

His most prized historical kite items are his French Deffain kites, older than 100 years.

Hans also holds a large collection of American, British, Russian and German antenna kites as well as historical transmitters/radios. He has many original Steiff Roloplan kites and an original Rogers Patent Walkstick kite, a collection of kites made by Robert Brasington (Tasmania) and Robert Trepanier (Canada) and a few large Codys and Sauls kites.

He is a specialist for hygiene, health care and environmental medicine with the Public Health Department in the region of Gifhorn, Lower Saxony, Germany.

George Paisiovich, Canada

Lecture – KITES THROUGH THE AGES: Tidbits, Tales, Curiosities and Legends

Part of his global exhibition “Kites of the World”, is currently on display at Parks Canada’s Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site reflecting kites of the countries the Bells visited during their 1910 world tour. Future exhibitions for other venues includes “Dime Store Diamonds”, “The Art of the Kite”, “Kites are Fun” and an expanded “Kites to Flight”.

A stakeholder relations consultant by profession, and after his first priorities being a father and husband, George spends a few hours every day progressively developing his kite museum, and considers himself to be a student of kiteology rather than a learned expert.

George Paisiovich is curator of Canada's only kite museum located on Pelee Island, Ontario, now in its fifth year of operation.

George's passion for kites started as a child and was rekindled with the opening of his own kite shop in the 1970's, and now with his museum, which he looks forward to doing full-time when he retires.

George's global kite collection is one of the largest in the world and includes a number of rare and one-of-a-kind kites as well as a many prints, articles, books, and other items.

He has flown kites in 12 countries around the world, and sees kiting as a wonderful way to simply "share joy" and, as he says, “existo ut ventus” – “be as the wind”.

This Baddeck 2012 event is the second "Kites to Flight" symposium George has organized, this year in partnership with the Baddeck community and Parks Canada.

The number of, and quality of, the people familiar with kite history is as large as the sky.

We are proud to bring together a few of the leading North American and International historical kiteologists to begin what we hope will be an ongoing engagement with the public for the purpose of

promoting and preserving our collective history - and sharing joy.

The Kiteologists

Thom Shanken, United States

Lecture – AND IN THE BEGINNING: A Chronology of North American Kites up to the Wrights and Bell

Building and flying kites has been part of Thom’s life for as long as he can remember and he keeps finding new and interesting ways to enjoy them.

After being introduced to the traditional single-line kites of India in the early 1970s, Thom spent the next several years learning all he could about them. This led him to dual and quad-line kites and finally to large show kites.

Along the way Thom also developed an interest in the art and history of kite culture around the world, and he began to share what he was learning through presentations and workshops at events and festivals in Canada and the United States.

Thom researches, designs and builds kites and he helps organize and promote a wide variety of kiting events and activities for different groups and organizations. He says the best thing about kiting is the people you meet along the way and sharing the joy and artistry of these beautiful creations.

Currently working with the Drachen Foundation of Seattle, Washington, Thom is collecting and documenting information on the world’s oldest know kite: an 18th century pear-kite discovered 25 years ago in the Netherlands.

His advice: “Keep looking up!”

Bob White, Canada

Lecture – THE BELLS OF BADDECK: Aerial Explorations and Aerodromes

A degree in history and a passion for kites have made Bob White one of the North America's leading kite

Historians.  Building and flying kites as a young boy, Bob became fascinated by tethered flight. His love of things that fly continues to this day.

Bob has spent many years pursuing the work of kite pioneers who developed unique kites and contributed to the advancement of science and technology.  Alexander Graham Bell’s experimental work with kites continues to be a source of fascination and study for him.

Bob frequently leads kite building workshops for students and experienced kiters. He is a member of several kite clubs and publishes his thoughts and findings in kite journals and on his own web site.

Enjoying the pull of the kite on a line or pursuing a famous kiter through a historical timeline is a source of constant enjoyment for Bob.

Jan Westerink, Netherlands

Lecture – SECRETS FROM THE KITE PATENT FILES: Studying and Re-creating Patented Kites

Jan is a self-described kite builder - nothing more or less. A former industrial designer turned handicraft teacher, he has built replicas of dozens of unknown kites from early to mid-1900s.

It’s what he likes to do: sawing and sanding thin breakable sticks, sewing fine cotton and knotting this all together. Testing and flying it once and then starting it all over with another kite model. Jan even moved with his family to a bigger house to accommodate more real size kite building.

His website www.firstkites.nl is dedicated to the somewhat uncommon kites designed and patented in between 1898 and 1949. In this context ‘uncommon’ means not used very often or not working very well or even not flying.

Most of the kites on this website are patented and all are built by Jan.  

He likes kite building so much because it is easy! “Design and technical thoughts are meeting at close distance; you can store giant structures in small places; and you can build great structures with small parts. It is art, technical, but most of all pure handcraft!” he says.

Jan owns and studies a serious collection of commercially manufactured and patented kites from the period 1898 to 2000.