Sunfest '95, Longest Homemade Tail
by: Jim Reiser, Winter 1995

Laying it out.

The moment of truth had arrived, the Longest Homemade Tail competition was about to begin. The closely guarded secret had to be revealed, did we make it long enough? Maybe we should have added a little more. Well it's to late now, hours of cutting and sewing and umpteen number of yards of fabric went into the construction of "THE TAIL".

Outside the Kite Loft we all looked at each other not wanting to be the first to reveal the length of our tails. You go first! No, you go first! Well somebody finally did and here was the line-up: Ed Spencer with 750 ft., the Dallmers with 1200 ft., the Gleckners with 1540 ft. and Lehigh Valley Kite Society with a whopping 1670 ft. Yes, that was one thousand six hundred and seventy feet!

Getting ready to hook to the flowform.

We started with a 12" diameter tube and gradually decreased it to 4". We sewed it inside out, boy does it take a long time to turn it right-side out.

Going Up.

Just before the actual flight for the competition we laid out the tail to its full length, 1670 ft. is a big number, but it gets even bigger when you start walking from one end to the other. You couldn't talk to each other, let alone see each other end to end. I took the responsibility of running from one end to the other to make sure everything was ready for the flight. All right I only ran one time, I walked the next few times and crawled the last time.

Everything was ready, Paul Keeler was anchoring the flow form, the rest of the club members were spread out along the length of the tail. We launched and it rose into the air, higher and higher, more of the tail leaving the ground, and then it happened. We ran out of beach, the end caught on one of the buildings and we lost about 300 ft. of the tail.

Higher and ...

...higher

The Gleckners also ran into the same problem, just a different building. Theirs was more forgiving and they managed to free their tail intact.

Our tail still looked impressive in the sky, but we had lost. To those members of the Quarter Mile Club, I thank you for all of your hard work. Maybe next year we may form the One Mile Club. You never know.

(All the photos on this page were taken while we were test flying the tail. We never got it completely off the ground when testing it, the fields were to short.)

To many trees in the way.

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