Paul and his fire fighters

This true story starts with Paul. As you can see in the picture to the left he is a happy Austrian fire fighter. Besides, he is a windsock, made from cheap garbage bags. By the way, his designer’s husband, too, is a (happy) Austrian fire fighter.

But Paul felt a little bit lonely up there in the sky and longed for company.

Therefore six of his fire fighting friends gathered to join him. They were designed according to a Multi-tube plan which Jim Rowland had published in his well known book “Soft Kites and Windsocks”. But the design had to be enlarged because the original would have provided for four of them only, being of minor size.

Equipped with one fin each they didn’t fly all too well and staggered a few meters above ground without developing much drag. The poor guys at the edges suffered most because they never inflated properly.

Evidently something had to be changed to make them enjoy life.

So, what to do?

This was when the Panflute Kite concept entered the scene.

It offered an appealingly easy clue for redesign. The fins were completely removed, the leading edge of the top cell panels joined to its neighbours, the tubes almost entirely closed at the trailing edge.

And off they went!

At the beginning they were looking inward, keeping an eye on each other.

But as they are proud fire fighters they wanted to show off and it was actually quite simple to turn them around and make them present their faces to the outside world.

And then they had to deal with their first emergency on air: a nice little fire drogue right behind them which further stabilised their flight.

This story comes to an end with Paul finally – and happily – joining his comrades in their airy labour during strong winds, commanding his brigade in adventures to come.

Story by...
Tania Berger <>
25 September 2006