April 17, 2011
Even Bigger in Berck!

I used to own the largest kite in the world. Yesterday, here in Berck, an even bigger one went into the sky.

Mega Flag is 1000 square meters. The new Monster Ray is 1200 square meters. It's big. it's really, really big. The tail alone is about 150 feet long.

The lifting surface is over 125 x 125 feet. To match it, we'd need to add a strip 30 feet thick to the base of our flag.

Smooth Flight

The new kite was, of course, designed by Peter Lynn. It is owed by the AlFarsi Team of Kuwait, who also flew the first Mega Flag. And the Ray was brought to the wide beaches of Berck for the very first official flight.

Inflating the behemoth took over an hour. And that was surprising since the mouth opening was big enough to drive a school bus through. As it filled, the eyes began to bulge out of the top and we began to get a real sense of what we had before us.

Monster Ray Monster Ray Monster Ray

On first launch, the kite lofted and then fell over on one side. The thousands of fans behind the safety barrier cheered, and then sighed. Sidelines and bridles were adjusted and a second launch was prepared.

Monster Ray Monster Ray Monster Ray

With lines re-adjusted, the kite went up again quickly, it then nosed over and dived to the ground with a thud that shook the sand for some distance all around. Sidelines -- and the vehicles they were tied to were re-positioned again.

Monster Ray Monster Ray Monster Ray

For the third launch, the kite went straight up and stayed there. It flew steady without a pilot and dwarfed everything around. I was impressed. Supporting fliers from AlFarsi, AWITA, and Gomberg shook hands and lined up for photos.

So how do you bring a kite like this down?? The main flying line can be released - like the Flag series. But instead of falling back and emptying like the Flags, the Ray has a take down attached to the nose. When tensioned, the leading edge is pulled over and the kite settles into a launch position on the ground.

Measurements so far are unofficial. Launch Director Andrew Beatty told me they plan to have the kite surveyed before details are submitted to Guinness. I also asked what the kite was called. It has yet to be formally named.

Meanwhile, Susie and I have the largest American Flag kite in the world....

Check back next week for more kites and news from the amazing festival in Berck, France. Adieu!

Smooth Flight

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