July 4, 2008

We recently made some small changes to our Gallery Pages. With over eight years of Weekly Updates on line, it made little sense to maintain separate picture pages of festivals. And besides, they were getting dated. So we took them offline.

But in the process, we eliminated one of the most popular stories we’ve ever told.

Susie and I leave for South Africa at 03:00 am tomorrow. After the big Octopus show last week, I don’t have a new report. So insead, from April of 1999, we’re bringing you a reprised of – the Great Trilobite Disaster.

Happy July 4, everyone!! We'll be back in the office in the 15th.

The Great Trilobite Disaster...

The International Festival in Berck sur Mer, France, is always wonderful. One of the highlights is the day we spend flying for the children at an oceanside long-term care hospital just down the beach.

This year, the kite show included some special entertainment. Scroll down to see more...

Trilobite 1

What could be better for the kids than a nice big Peter Lynn Trilobite? Let's launch it right up here close to the hospital where everyone can see it!

Trilobite 2

The winds are perfect! No turbulence at all. We can fly up over the hospital and even over the Church! Isn't this great!!!


Someone must have miscalculated. Because suddenly, the Trilobite dropped down and the tails got tangled in the very top of the Church steeple!

What will we do now??

Trilobite 3

Trilobite 4
Good thing this is a mid-size and not the really big one.

Maybe if we just pull a little on the line... No that just seems to tighten things.

Trilobite 6

Who is flying this thing anyway? Why -- it's Ron from Germany!!

Trilobite 5

"We'll get it down", says Ron. "We'll think of something. No worries".

Trilobite 7

"Besides - it isn't mine. I borrowed it from a friend..."

Trilobite 8

Let's call the Fire Department! They're good at rescue stuff. They can send a ladder up there and untangle the tails!!

Trilobite 9

Oh No! Too short... We're stuck on the very top of the very tallest building in town. :-(

Let's try pulling again. Maybe if we go off in this direction...

Or maybe that direction...

No, this doesn't seem to work at all...

Anyone have a key to the Church?

Trilobite 10

Trilobite 11

Church key - right! Steeple key - right! Now let's go up and get the kite! Wrong...

Trilobite 12

No matter how hard we pull, it just gets worse... Besides, I'm getting dizzy.

Trilobite 15
So as evening falls, the Trilobite, the $2000 Trilobite that doesn't even belong to Ron, remains tightly wound around the Church steeple.

The next day, the Manja Club took a turn trying to cut the tail loose. They masterfully maneuvered fighter kites far out over the beach and with the proper angle achieved, sliced away with their glass line.

It didn't work.

They cut the body, they cut the tail, they even cut the cross, but they didn't free the Tangled Tril. With more than twenty feet of rips and tears, the kite remained caught tight.

Trilobite 14

The week wore on.

We considered options -- hiring a steeple climber from the next town, renting a helicopter -- or just coming back late at night and pulling really hard.

Nothing worked. And as the festival inched toward the weekend, thousands of visitors walked down the beach to view the Great Trilobite Disaster.

Ron called his friend and said he found "someone" who wanted to buy the Trilobite. "Great!" the friend, and asked for $3000. Ron weakly smiled...

On Monday, a week later, we all left town. The Trilobite was still there.
It probably still is.

Several points need to be made about this story.

  • First, obstacles create turbulence which can cause accidents for even experienced fliers.
  • Second, Susie wants me to stress that it wasn't our kite. In fact, I wasn't even involved until the rescue began. Really!
  • Third, AKA insurance will not cover this because Ron isn't an AKA member. But if he was a member and the accident happened in the USA, he'd be a lot happier.
  • Fourth, I want to thank Jurgen Eppinghaus for these photos. I was too busy helping to take any shots.
  • And finally, that Peter Lynn makes a tough kite ... BTW, we sell them for less than three thousand dollars...

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