STANDARDS

CCSS: 4.G.A.1

TEKS: 4.6A, 4.6C

Fantastic Flier 

Meet a teen who mastered the art of kite flying

Courtesy of Dylan Nguyen/Team Flying Dragon 

Dylan and his brother Cardin compete together as Team Flying Dragon.

Dylan Nguyen (WEN) says his love for flying kites came from his mom, PV. She used to make her own kites from bamboo sticks and newspaper when she was a kid growing up in Vietnam.

Today, Dylan, 17, his brother Cardin, 14, and their mom and dad live in West Linn, Oregon. They all fly kites together. Dylan says he’s been flying them since before he could walk. But when he turned 7, he decided to take his hobby to new heights.

Dylan Nguyen (WEN) says his love for flying kites came from his mom. His mom’s name is PV. She used to make her own kites from bamboo sticks and newspaper when she was a kid. PV grew up in Vietnam.

Dylan is 17 years old. He lives in West Linn, Oregon, with his 14-year-old brother Cardin and their mom and dad. The family flies kites together. Dylan says he’s been flying kites since before he could walk. But he decided to do more with kites than just fly them.

Courtesy of Dylan Nguyen/Team Flying Dragon

Dylan started participating in kite-flying competitions. At these events, some people create their own impressively designed kites to be judged on how unique and beautiful they are. Other participants, like Dylan, show off their flying skills. They use sport kites to perform stunt-filled routines set to music. A competitor is judged on how well they match tricks, like figure eights, circles, and spins, with the melody.

Dylan has been competing in kite-flying competitions since he turned 7. Some people at these competitions create their own kites. The judges decide which kites win based on how unique and beautiful they are. Other competitors show off their flying skills. They use special sport kites to perform stunts while music plays. The judges decide who wins based on how well the kite-flying tricks match the song. These tricks include figure eights, circles, and spins. Dylan uses a sport kite to compete in this way. 

Top Flight

Today, Dylan and his brother Cardin compete together as Team Flying Dragon. In 2019, Dylan was the American Kitefliers Association’s Grand National Champion, bringing home seven first-place medals! Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a national competition wasn’t held in 2020 or 2021. But that hasn’t lessened Dylan’s passion for the sport. One key to a successful kite-flying routine is to have fun. “I like to make people smile when I fly,” says Dylan.

Dylan often flies a kite with four lines, called a quad line. He holds two lines connected to a handle in each hand. He moves the handles to change each line’s angles and tension, or tightness. This gives Dylan precise control over the kite’s movements and allows him to do tricks.

Dylan and his brother Cardin compete together as Team Flying Dragon. Dylan was the American Kitefliers Association’s Grand National Champion in 2019. He won first place seven times! There were no national competitions in 2020 or 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But Dylan is still excited to fly. One important part of making a great kite-flying routine is to have fun. “I like to make people smile when I fly,” says Dylan.

Dylan often flies a kite with four lines. This type of kite is called a quad line. He holds two lines connected to a handle in each hand. He moves the handles to change each line’s angles and tension. Tension means tightness. Moving the lines in this way gives Dylan precise control over the way the kite moves. It allows him to do tricks.

“I can control a quad line so they can fly forward, backward, hover, and spin in the air,” he says. “I can fly really close to someone and even land on their hand.”

“I can control a quad line so they can fly forward, backward, hover, and spin in the air,” he says. “I can fly really close to someone and even land on their hand.”

Courtesy of Dylan Nguyen/Team Flying Dragon 

A kite’s design determines what tricks it can do in the air.  

Beyond Kites

Dylan is also part of a robotics team at his school. During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, he and his team members used the school’s 3-D printers to make face shields. These printers build up layers of material to make solid objects. Dylan gave the shields to frontline workers to protect them from catching Covid-19. Dylan also learned to sew so he could make masks to donate.

Now Dylan uses those skills to design, build, and repair his own kites. “When I’m flying, I might see a problem with the kite or a part breaks,” he says. “I’ll design an improvement and print it on the 3-D printer. When the new part works better than the original, it feels great.”

Dylan is also part of a robotics team at his school. He and his team members made face shields during the early days of the pandemic in 2020. They used the school’s 3-D printers. These printers build up layers of material to make solid objects. Dylan gave the shields to frontline workers. The shields helped protect the workers from catching Covid-19. Dylan also learned how to sew. He made masks and donated them.

Now Dylan uses those skills to design, build, and repair his own kites. “When I’m flying, I might see a problem with the kite or a part breaks,” he says. “I’ll design an improvement and print it on the 3-D printer. When the new part works better than the original, it feels great.”

Dylan thinks kite flying is a hobby anyone can do. “Go out there, fly, and enjoy it,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to those who are more experienced. That applies to many things. Speak with people willing to share their knowledge and really listen.” Good advice for anyone looking to soar!

Dylan thinks anyone can fly kites. “Go out there, fly, and enjoy it,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to those who are more experienced. That applies to many things. Speak with people willing to share their knowledge and really listen.” Good advice for anyone looking to soar!

Now You Try It

Dylan shops for kites online at Flying Smiles Kites in North Carolina. The store has a 6-sided kite, called a rokkaku. What type of angle is angle A?

Dylan shops for kites online at Flying Smiles Kites in North Carolina. The store has a 6-sided kite, called a rokkaku. What type of angle is angle A?

A. This drawing shows the most common shape for a kite. Classify angle B. 

B. How would you classify angle C?

C. What type of angle is angle D?

A. This drawing shows the most common shape for a kite. Classify angle B. 

B. How would you classify angle C?

C. What type of angle is angle D?

A. Dylan often flies quad-line kites like Kite 3. Classify angle E.

B. What type of angle is angle F?

C. How would you classify angle G?

A. Dylan often flies quad-line kites like Kite 3. Classify angle E.

B. What type of angle is angle F?

C. How would you classify angle G?

Draw your own kite design, using only straight lines, on a separate sheet of paper. Label and classify each angle in your design. Then use a protractor to check your angle classifications.

Draw your own kite design, using only straight lines, on a separate sheet of paper. Label and classify each angle in your design. Then use a protractor to check your angle classifications.

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