Sharing the Exciting World of Kiting Since 1983
On almost any weekend at a small island park in the middle of the Detroit River, you may find the Windjammers Kite Team consisting of Gary, George, James, Mike, Nate and Jean practicing their craft. In 1983, these metro Detroiters,with members now in Indiana & Canada, along with their mutual interest in kites, established one of the oldest kite teams in the United States and possibly the world. On Belle Isle they have become a regular attraction for island visitors, stopping traffic with their stunning display of aerial artistry that can only be described as phenomenal. Along with Belle Isle visitors, The Windjammers have also thrilled thousands of other sky-watchers. They have performed at many events around the world, including the Selfridge Air Force Base and Detroit Air Shows, Singapore, France and Canadian kite festivals, The Michigan Hot Air Balloon Challenge, Miami, Cleveland and Milwaukee International Kite Festivals, just to name a few. As a team on the National Sport Kite Circuit, they have won many awards. Choreographing their performances to music, and with a wide array of kites at their disposal, they can design a performance to fit your specific needs. Besides performing, they can do kite making workshops, large kite displays, and using multimedia, can show the history of kites with plenty of kites from around the world. This last item is excellent for small groups. Specializing in flying trains of kites. Each pilot flies 10 or more kites on long lines, often with streaming tails, presenting a sky filled with color as they dance across the field.
They also have kites made for almost all wind conditions. And, what if there is NO WIND? No wind! No problem! These new motorized kites are able to save the day by flying day or night. These radio controlled motorized kites allow them to perform in no-wind conditions, as well as in stadiums, convention centers and large rooms. These lightweight, battery powered electric motors have up to 10 minutes flight time on one battery. Consequently, with a good supply of batteries and a built-in lighting system, they are able to perform no matter what the weather conditions. The Windjammers are always eager to assist beginners and can regularly be seen helping others to get their kites aloft into the awaiting skies. And if the weather and wind conditions permit, they have been known to allow the public to try flying these stacks of kites with assistance. It’s an experience that will last a lifetime and is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face!
30 years as a team. I would have never guessed that I would have been flying kites for that long. The guys on the team are more than team mates, they are family.
Favorite Memories: The demo the team did in Grand Haven in 1996. It was one of those days when the wind was just right, the weather was perfect. In the past our flying the stacks in Grand Haven was beseeched by bad luck. The announcer "Bob" was explaining to the crowd about the history of the team in Grand Haven. When the music started and we took to the air. While haft way through I was almost moved to tears. We were flying to music we had never flew to before, but it was going great. The crowd had finally had a chance to see us (Aaron, James, Nate and myself) fly the way I knew we could.
P.S. Meeting the Mayor of Detroit (Archer, the good Mayor) was also right up there in the many splendid memories I have with my extended family "The Windjammers"..
Early morning in FranceCape EnrageSun in MiamiOriginal set of Sky BurnersCover of Detroit News paper2014 AKA Logo contest winner2915 AKA logo contest winner1 - 7<>
I started flying kites in 1989 on Belle Isle just for fun. Some days people would walk up to me and say "Hi Nate, where are rest of the guys?" I didn't know who Nate was, or what guys they was talking about? I saw other people out there flying kites, but I never met them. Then one day I drove to the Isle to fly, and I saw a crowd of people watching some guys flying and the news was interviewing them. So I set up across and street and flew for a bit. After the press left, one of the flyer walked over to me and said that the team was watching me fly. He said his name was Gary, and asked if I would like to met rest of the team. I said sure. We walked back across the street and I met Aaron and Nate. I said "Ohhh, so you are Nate, people keep calling me Nate." I later found out one of the persons was Gary's grandfather that called me Nate. Nate and I looked a little alike and around the same frame size. I was always wearing a white jacket and so were the Windjammers.
Gary told me about the team and the 5/20 kite group. So I joined 5/20, and started flying with them. I bought a kite magazine with a calendar of event in it, and one of the months had the Windjammers kites on a beach. The background looked so nice with a lighthouse that I asked Gary where was it. He said "Grand Haven." I asked when they are going there again and he said "in May." So I made plans and drove to the Great Lakes Sport Kite Championships in Grand Haven. Here was a lot of the top Kite flyer and teams from around the world. I was impressed. When the Jammers arrived, it was only Aaron and Gary, no Nate! Gary said "Nate had to work." And asked if I would fly with them in the team events. I said "no, I don't know the team moves and no way I'm going to mess up in front of all those people and top flyers. Gary said "if you would like to be on the team, be at practice on Tuesday and Thursday." So that is how it all started.
I became the fourth member of the team and made a lot if friends in the kite flying circle. The team became a second family. I enjoyed the traveling we did in and around Michigan to go to the events. In 1996, I moved to Lockport in upstate New York to work, but I still try to make it to some of the demo flies the team goes to. And when I do, it's like a family reunion.
I started flying sports kites about 1986. I enjoy flying all kinds of multiple line kites, but I love flying the large single line kites. My wife, Renee, and kids, enjoy going to different kiting events, especially Grand Haven State Park in Michigan.
One day, I went into "Kites And Fun Things"l. They had a RC Pyramid Racer kite hanging in the shop and I just had to have one. Once I began flying, I was hooked! I started experimenting and changing things to improve flight and control. Jon T introduced me to makers and they asked me if I would like to be a test pilot for them. Jon T also told me, Gary and the rest of the Windjammers would like to get into the RC kite flying. Gary introduced me to the rest of the Windjammers and the rest is history! I enjoy flying with them and hope to have many more years flying with the Windjammers as well as meeting new kite friends
jean got terminally hooked on kite flying in 1993. He never slowed down since. He spent 8 years flying with Team S.T.A.F.F. , the last 6 of them as team captain. Being from Quebec, the team style was somewhat a mix of European trickery and American flowing flight. Adding to that his own personal love of low wind flying.
jean is now flying solo and is renown for flying his very colorful stacks. You will see him with his stack of 20 kites and their long tails gracefully evolving in the slightest breeze. The less wind there is, the larger jean’s smile. He has a knack for performing in near to nothing wind conditions.
You should also see him doing his very personal stunt. He flies two 9 kite stacks at once. This you have to see for yourself. The effect is simply amazing. . .
If you are looking for a heavy metal performance, this is not the one to watch. But if you want to see sensitivity put together with kite-flying, then watch jean and you will discover a new world..
On a Bike
Michèle and jean
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Thanks to the good folks at Premier RC, we begin a new avenue to our kite flying. We are working on a radio controlled kite show to go a long with our other kite flying demonstrations. This will be great for those NO WIND days. We can even fly them indoors in moderately sized spaces.
We have two styles the Delta Box and the Canard. These are very nice looking kites and are very durable.
We would like to thank the City of Southfield, MI who allowed us to us one of their buildings to practice in during the winter months.
Check out this video of one of the kite practice days.
Aaron passed December 17, 2002, 9:02pm. due to complications from cancer. Aaron was the founding member of the Windjammers. He was also an accomplished kite-maker, flyer, teammate, father, husband and friend to many, which was reinforced by the party he had little more than a month ago, when close to 200 people came to visit.
I had the good fortune to have visited Aaron just hours before he passed and he mentioned how he enjoyed the party. I know that he and his wife Debbie really appreciated all of the cards, calls, thoughts and prayers they received throughout the year. Debbie told me that before he passed that “He was happy and he was ready.”
In 1983 Aaron along with Nate and Gary formed the Windjammers, together they performed and competed thru 2002. Aaron stopped competing in the mid 90’s and only flew with the team during demonstrations, which he did even after losing his leg to cancer. There are many things that we will miss about Aaron, his deep heart felt laugh, his uncanny way to find the best deal when purchasing anything, the way he kept an upbeat attitude during some very hard times.
I think that I not only can speak for myself, but for Nate, James, Mike and George “That when ever we look to the sky, to watch a kite dance in a breeze we will remember Aaron and the joy he brought to us.
Aaron is survived by his wife and three sons
Sparking his interest in kites after seeing Flexifoil kites in a Popular Science magazine in the early 80's, while touring North America with his band Joust. He went to the local kite shop in Downtown Detroit (Skyline Kite Shop) , where Aaron was working at the time. Nate purchased a set of Peter Powell kites. Later he went back for several Flexi and Trlby kites.
Nate would head to Belle Isle after work and to fly . Aaron and Gary would meet up with him and well the rest is HISTORY.
Photo shoot Belle Isle
Showing off his new Hawaiian
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When I was six years old my brother came home with a kite and I just had to have one. My mom sent him back to the store to get a kite for me and I've been flying ever since. In 1987 I saw and purchased my first stunt kite! It was a three pack of trylby's, I started to teach myself to fly with two lines and I got hooked very quickly. In 1996 I was flying my kite on Belle Isle when I saw a group of guys flying kites in sync with each other. Those guys were the Windjammers and that was my first time ever seeing team kite flying. About one week later I was on Belle Isle flying again when Gary Maynard walked up to me and asked if I would be interested in flying with the team, I said yes and the Windjammers have been like brothers to me since that day.
After the Rain
On a bike in France
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George joined the team in 1996. After seeing the team at several events around the Tri State area, he approached us and asked to join the team, even though he lives in South Bend, Indiana area. (Easily as 3 hour trip from Metro Detroit) He would make the trip up for practice. And began performing with the team ever since. George has many other hobbies , one that stands out is his affection (Borderline obsession) for Radio Controlled aircrafts. We have lost count the number of RC Planes, Helicopters and etc , he has. So many that he had to a custom trailer to carry them to his local flying field in Indiana.
One other thing: George and Aaron grew up not that far from each other in South Bend, IN, but never officially met until George joined the team. They even had mutual friends. (Same World.)
I first started flying kites at a young age along with the little toy planes and helicopters that you could get at Walmart and other similar stores. I was interested with anything that could fly ever since I could remember. My first stunt kite was bought when I was around 10 years old, I think, but I think I broke a rod in it because I didn't fly it for that long. When I was around 13 years old I met George through my dad, and he helped me get started in flying rc planes. While at our flying field one day it was a bit windy and George brought out some kites. This was the first time I flew a stunt kite in a while but I caught on very quickly, and he began to tell me about The Windjammers. The first kite festival I went to was Kite Komotion in Shipshewana, the second was the Great Lakes Kite Festival in Grand Haven, MI this is where I met the rest of the Jammers. I really enjoyed the festival and I started flying with George at our local rc clubs field more. The next year, 2016, I flew with the team in Milwaukee practicing and ever since then i’ve been flying at the other events that i’ve been able to make it to.
February 15-17: Sky Circus on Ice. Billed as one of the Worlds largest kite festivals on a frozen lake.
Lake Lawn Resort, Delavan, WI (website)
May 18-19: The Kite Festival @ Grand Haven. If you are looking for a kite festival to attend with wonderful view of Lake Michigan on the sandy beach. Grand Haven, MI (website)
June 14-16: Catch 3 of the Jammers at Saint-Honore Dans Vent in Saint Honore, Quebec Canada (Website)
Jul 1: Canada Day (Check back for additional information)
Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada
Jul 26-28: The ImaginAIR Festival is an event for the entire family. There are shows, many outdoor activities as well as workshops focused on the culinary arts. You will see astonishing performances inspired by the air and summer colors, such as circus, kite flying and fireworks!, New Brunswick, Canada (website)
Aug 3: Canal Days
This is a great event. We always enjoy flying with our neighbors in Canada. Canal Days is a wonderful festival in the heart of Port Colborne Canada. There is something for everyone. So grab your passport and head over for some good family fun and bring a kite to Port Colborne, Ontario Canada (website)
Aug 24: Cleveland Kite Fest, Cleveland. One Day Only.
Edge Water Park, Cleveland, OH (Website)
Sept 1-2: Kites Over Lake Michigan
Labor Day Weekend. The 12th Annual Kites Over Lake Michigan, brought to you by our Title Sponsors Fox Communities Credit Union and Shoreline Credit Union. This will be our second appearance at this great event.
Neshotah Beach in Two Rivers , WI (Website)
Sept 15: Family Kite Festival. (TBD) Louisville, KY (Website)
Oct 6-7, check back for more info: Lake Erie Kite Fest
Leamington, Ontario Canada
Oct: AKA Annual Convention Seaside, Oregon
TBA: One Sky, One World, Belle Isle Detroit, MI
TBA: To Be Announced
TBD: To Be Determined
See some of our past performances and more.
View photos from years past as well as festivals from our travels.
For additional information regarding the team's schedule, performance requirements, feel free to Call: 248-648-1813.
For almost three decades we have received support from our many sponsors and they all deserve a BIG Thank You. They all help us bring "The World of Kiting" to thousands across North America and Europe each year. With out them and the support of our loving families, we would not be who we are today.
Kites and Fun Things, the best kite shop in Southeast Michigan. Stop by and check out the fine selection of kites and more. Oh and by the way if you have a friendly dog, they are Dog Friendly too.
40522 Ann Arbor Trail
Plymouth, MI 48170
Sky Burner Kites, long time sponsor of the Windjammers and makers of some of the best kites on the market. When the winds are light and "The Show Must Go On!" we bring out the PRO DANCER SUPER ULTRA-LITE
Manufacturers of the Vector Powered Radio Controlled RC Kites.
Invented by the Hadzicki brothers and introduced at the annual KTAI trade show in 1989, this unique quad line (four strings) kite called a Revolution (also known as a "Rev") indeed caused a revolution in what was primarily a single and dual line world at the time.
Dyna Kite is the exclusive manufacturer of unique stacking Dyna Kites and accessories. We are also a wholesale distributor of quality kites by Flying Wings, as well as decorative handmade & hand-painted Balinese kites.
Proud Members of the American Kitefliers Association
The goal of the American Kitefliers Association is to educate the public in the art, history, technology and practice of building and flying kites, in all nations.
Over 20 years ago, Paul Kyprie started Zeemo Productions to develop a variety of shows, which he has been performing ever since throughout Michigan and Ohio. He uses several stage names for the shows, including Zeemo The Magnificent, Yo-Master Zeemo, Dr. Zeemo and Zeemo The Yo-Yo Man.
The Flying Aces continues to perform for audiences around the world. We have put on shows in all 50 states as well as other countries including Canada, Puerto Rico and Saudi Arabia. We have appeared on numerous local and national TV Spots as well as newspaper articles across the country.