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the Flaki, the second life of the Aldige team....

The sky becomes colorful over the Eifel

If you've been flying kites for over 30 years, ones with one or two, even four lines, then at some point you get stupid ideas. I build almost all of my kites myself. The materials are ripstop nylon cloth or ripstop polyester cloth. The linkages are not made of light wooden slats as they used to be, carbon fiber is used. The lines are no longer made of twine, they are aramid or high-quality Dynemaa cords. Much lighter and more tear-resistant than comparable steel wire

But sometimes a lot of that isn't necessary. Sometimes an idea crosses your mind that the 30-year-old kites that come from the discount store and are just vegetating in the garage deserve a second life. In addition, a few years ago I got to know a brilliant old man on the North Sea beach of Sankt Peter-Ording. Also a hang glider through and through. A constructor who had visions. He drew and built stunt kites, which I liked and which I was also allowed to fly. His stunt kites were sometimes small with a span of just over a meter and sometimes large, very large with a span of 12 meters. Yes, you can fly it standing alone. They are the largest stick kites ever released into the sky. Günter is no longer alive. But his inheritance is. There is a circle of friends who honor his memory. And that's how I got this idea.


So I took my 17 kites from the discount store that had accumulated over the years and tried to build something big. Not quite as tall as Günter at 12 meters, the idea of a wingspan of 7.6 meters was enough for me. Since I've also flown the really big ones, I tried to implement the idea and drew Günter's plan on a roll of paper, cut up my discounter kite and got to work.


This is how the currently largest stick kite in Rhineland-Palatinate was created at home in Harscheid near Adenau at the dining table. There was already a lot of cloth that had to find space under my sewing machine.

Evening after evening the colorful sail was created. Since my 17 kites were not enough, 5 to 6 more kites of the same type were bought in the classifieds.


With my old kites I still found the manufacturer's flags on the cloth, on which I had noted who I got the kite from. I sewed these flags back into the new kite. The story behind it stays alive. 

Zerlegen der alten Drachen.JPG

I also left the discoloration and quirks in the cloth and didn't cut out the reinforcements, which otherwise only get in the way. I wanted the past to be seen in the new dragon.

And this is what it looks like when you have to sew almost 5 meter long felled seams.

So that the pressure in the sail doesn't get too great and I don't get dragged to the Nürburg, some areas were sewn with gauze. Gauze fabric is a grid, similar to a fly screen, and it lets some wind through. The nylon fabric can be fixed very well with painter's tape and you don't have to experiment with pins. 

Am Esstisch wird genäht.JPG

It was always a bit scary when you let very long lengths of clothing, which were fixed with pins, run through your legs in the direction of the sewing machine. You couldn't imagine how it feels when one of the needles gets caught in your thigh and the machine happily pulls on the fabric.

Since I always put a picture of my Sabine (left) and my Birgit (right) on my kites, the new kite had to have this likeness, of course. 

Meine Frauen.JPG

If you are now wondering which model the dragon is, it is a Flaki 7.6 penned by Günter Wolsing. The old man on the North Sea beach that I got to know. Flaki simply means that the dragon has a flat keel. The depth of the keel corresponds to its width.  As a result, it flies very stably in a straight line and can be easily steered in a different direction.

Certainly one or the other in Harscheid, Winnerath, Reifferscheid or near Mahlberg noticed my kites. Unfortunately, leisure activities, or rather kite sports, are not as widespread here in the area around the ring. Maybe that will change.

So that such a kite is also durable, the outer leading edge is made of particularly hard-wearing material. It's called Dacron and consists of a nylon cloth that has been reinforced with synthetic resin. The nose is then reinforced again with truck tarpaulin. But my old Pfaff goes through with it without any problems and goes along with any nonsense. I'm slowly running out of space in the kitchen and dining room. Not everyone has room to play soccer in their home.

Segelhälfte mit Leitkante.jpg

4.6 meters leading edge is quite nice on the carpet. And the long seams are fun, but you think that the machine will never stop stapling.

1000 meters of thread are sewn into the kite. All in a closed felled seam. More than 10 meters of Velcro and fleece tape have been processed so that I can close the gauze sails when there is little wind. Fortunately, I had already bought enough Velcro material from the local dealer in Adenau before the lockdown. I always try to buy as much as possible from local retailers. 

After nights of sewing orgies, this March I was able to glue the sail in its full size to the garage wall of my garage for the first time. 

Aufspannen Segel.jpg

I also checked the symmetry directly. That would have been the end of the kite if the sides hadn't become even. But all clear, everything was fine.

Now it was time to build the linkage. It should be a linkage made of carbon fiber tubes with a diameter of 16mm. In order for the dragon to be transportable, I wanted to pack it down to a size of 1.6 meters. This meant that the pipes had to be sawed up and sockets made of aluminum pipe. Everything at the home dining table in the beautiful Eifel. 


Since I didn't want to get the carbon tubes from too far away either, I found them in the Swabian town of Weil im Schönbuch near Stuttgart. Good material from a small but fine factory. It takes a lot of effort to put the expensive high-tech tubes under the hacksaw and make them smaller. Sawn off twice and still too short was simply too expensive for me. Then the native Swabian comes through. So everything was measured again and then boldly chased the saw through the carbon. For my peace of mind, I have to say that I measured correctly. Cheers to a good meter ruler.

The connectors between the leading edges on the outside and the cross tubes were made of clear fabric tubing. The connecting lines to which the kite is then attached, the so-called scales, were made from the lines of an old paraglider. A friend from Mendig, who also builds such a kite, had an old paraglider at his disposal. But that's his story. From time to time you will certainly see large kites in Mendig.

After the kite was finished and the smaller fiberglass rods were cut to length and hung in, all that was left was the maiden flight. To attach the smaller sticks, I sewed loops of thin webbing onto the sail and reinforced them with truck tarpaulin. The sticks then get nocks from arrow shafts used in archery. The parts at the back of the arrow where the arrow rests on the string. As a kite builder, you always have to look far beyond the horizon and check which materials you can use. It would be too easy to just reach for the retailer's shelves.

Then, on a Saturday in April, the time had come. Set up on the meadow and the big dragon. It really shines in the colors of the old dragons.

Aufbau auf der Wiese.jpg

I was a little queasy at the thought of taking the giant by the lines and off with it in the air. Now what the heck? After all, I can't spend all night at the sewing machine, sinking a small fortune into the high-tech material and then backing out. No, that's not how it works. I wasn't alone on the meadow and my better half and friend Micha from Mendig were there.

So Micha helped me to check the scales. Due to the size, this is no longer possible alone. We each took a bridle in our hands and tugged lightly. The flaki stood motionless in the air directly above us.  And we actually had little wind on the meadows high above the Ahr valley.


That encouraged me and I was able to tie the 50 meter long steering lines to the kite. With a breaking load of 170kg per line, they should be able to withstand it. Similar to a pilot before the start, you go through everything again in your head.. all connectors are properly plugged in, no lines are tangled. ok, then the little man comes in your ear and asks you: "Have you distributed your inheritance, closed everything,  will this monster kill you or are you the lord of the beast?” 

But then you pull yourself together and boldly pull on the lines, take a small lunge backwards and then there's no stopping you. The flaki pulled up slowly and comfortably. He just flies and makes no attempt to bring me around the corner. It stands majestically in the sky and waits for further steering commands. First a curve to the left - ok, then to the right - also ok... now a looping, gut is a bit larger, clearly has a span of 7.6 meters. That has to be bigger.

Then I dropped onto the grass and sat down to fly and enjoy it all.

It's those moments in life that make life worth living.

You work on a project every night that everyone thinks is insane. And then everything works, the dragon flies and does exactly what you thought of. Simply an indescribable feeling of happiness.  

Anyone who sees the kite in the sky is welcome to come and watch. It just looks nice when the sky gets a little more colorful in these stupid times.

Erster Flug Sitzhaltung.jpg
Flaki steht am Himmel.jpg

And after what felt like an eternity, I tried to land. Flown slightly out of the wind, the Flaki came willingly in the direction of the meadow and positioned itself cleanly for landing. So I could park it, secure it and I'm sure it was already waiting for the next start.

This one wasn't long in coming either.

The experiences of that afternoon had a very long lasting effect. And although I should know better, since it's not the first kite I've built, I was able to march home deeply satisfied.

Here are two videos shot from the hand, one from the start and one from the landing.

April 25, 21 a great day with glorious weather. Pure sun and excellent wind around 2bft. Ideal to fly the big one. But first it was Micha's turn. He still had his maiden flight ahead of him with his flaki. This too, it should be mentioned in advance, was a success.

After that, mine was allowed to fly again. Here are a few impressions from the flight.


The old Aldi Dragon's colors still glow beautifully in the sun and are a delight to play with in the sky.


Today many hikers stopped and admired our colorful kites. We had some nice conversations and one or the other thinks that he should probably dig out his kite from the last North Sea vacation. So Sunday on the meadow makes a lot of fun.


The flaki also said hello to the delta, which holds its fish in the sky.

And with the sharp knife flight over the ground, which the flaki masters really well...


.. only to be standing in the cloudless spring sky again the next moment.

What we then noticed when we were back home, that the sun was really nice  had burned. Well, my hat protected me a little, but Birgit had a bad sunburn on her face.

And then there was a Micha who had brought his drone. He filmed our kites from above and so we can now see the flaki flying from above. 

So then a brilliant afternoon on the meadow came to an end and we went home satisfied.

On May 8th, 2021 in Mendig we were able to fly together with 2 flakis. At Micha in Mendig we found a freshly mowed meadow. 

Beide Flakis aufm Boden.jpeg

Both giants are standing together on the meadow waiting for their first team flight

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What a sight when the two giants play in the sky. We both had 50m lines and room to fly.

Flakis im Flug.jpg

And together with the folding star, they make a beautiful picture in the sky, even when it was cloudy.

Flakis mit Stern.jpg

From June 11th to 13th, 2021 at the 11th Wolsing Flying in Sankt Peter Ording, the Flaki was able to show what it can do. Under the expert eyes he pulled his lanes cleanly.

together we built the big one and then put it in the sand


Then he was allowed to be in his element, in the wonderful North Sea air in the large sandpit. I had to brace myself against it from time to time.


Together with Micha from Mendig we then flew in a very small space. Many spectators gasped when the flakis repeatedly touched and then flew in a circle in the other direction. 


Then Dani, Marcus and Alex took over the lines and had fun with the big bird. We played with the kite so good natured to fly. Again and again he landed the flaki on Marcus' hand at the edge of the wind window


On another approach I wanted to take it in hand. Dani then placed him next to me on the wooden pier before pulling him back up into the sky.


Of course, a photo with the three largest kites of the 11th Wolsing flying should not be missing. So we put all three 7.6 Flaki next to each other in the sand.

Flaki 7.6Treffen_01.jpg

on the left my flickwark flaki with me - in the middle the originals by Günter in the W design with the two minsters (Thomas at the camera) and on the right the flaki in Edel with Micha

And a picture that means a lot to me personally, my boys together with me in front of the Flaki


Daniel - Harald - Marcus and Alex   - my boys

back in the Eifel, am  October 24, 2021  in Harscheid our Falkis were allowed out again. Micha came to my house on a beautiful Sunday.

Here are a few pictures from the flight of the Flakis

mein Flaki_04.jpg
mein Flaki_21.jpg

For the first time on a very long 100m line - just awesome how much air space you have and how much outflow for the Flaki.

mein Flaki_26.jpg

And here is Micha's Edel Flaki... a dream of a large kite

Micha Flaki_09.jpg

Once a wonderful view from below into the kite, you can see how the wind shapes the sail. and can even bend 16mm carbon fiber tubes,

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