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am 5. September 2006
There is a new book from Wolfgang Schimmelpfennig available called "Neue Lenkdrachen und Einleiner" (New Stunt Kites and Single Liners). Wolfgang has already published one book on stunt kites, one about single-line kites, a wonderfull book only devoted to the beauty and art of kitemaking and one about making kites with kids (all of them available via the Kite Lines bookstore).

In his new book you can find plans for six stunt kites (Solar Fire, Bel Air, Relax II, Scanner, Heavy Duty and Paradox) and three single-line kites (Samurai, Starflake and Starbird). The book resembles very much his other books: there is an introduction, a chapter about how to be creative with colors and forms when building kites, one chapter about materials and techniques. The book contains a lot of nice color pictures, but the names of the creators and kite builders (Peter Lynn, George Peters, Peter Malinski or Schimmelpfennig himself) are very rarely given.

The plans themselves seem to be as detailed and good as in all the other books by Wolfgang. As I am not an expert of stunt kites I cannot say much about the different kites. Nevertheless I have the impression that most of them are already well known and not really new. As Wolfgang never mentions any inventor or original designer of the kites, I get the impression that he has invented them all by himself...

There is one kite that is a little bit extraordinary: the paradox is a quadline kite. It is built like a box-kite and consists of seven panels. Wolfgang mentions in his description that the kite can also be used as single-line kite if you add a tail to it. It seems that Wolfgang thinks that everyone knows which handles to use for a quadliner, which length of kite line and which flying technique.

In the meantime I have spoken to some friends which have tried in vain to build the paradox kite. There are several faults in the dimensions in the plan and also if one has survived this struggle, the kite does not fly very well.

The chapter about the single line kites is introduced with a two-page picture of Wolfgang's soft-kites "Big Boss" and "Jake the Snake," two stunt kites. The Samurai is based on an ordinary genki, but a little bit modified to better fit the design of a samurai. The Starflake is kind of facet kite and if I remember right, I have seen the same design also in a book of Jim Rowlands or Margaret Gregor. The last plan in this book describes the Starbird. This kite is a combination of flat star kite and an Eddy in the lower part of the kite.

The book ends with some very general tips about tuning a kite and some safety rules.

As a conclusion I am disappointed by the book. There have been so many advances in kite design in the last years and I have the impression that none of them are reflected in this book. Wolfgang, who has developed "Jake the Snake" (softkite), a new paraflex (soft stunt kite), who seems to be a good friend of Peter Lynn and other well known kite builders, could have put some more effort in finding new and interesting designs.
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