Bob White is a native of Port Colborne, ON, Canada. His love of kites has extended from childhood right through to the present day.
Bob's first experiences with kites happened under the guidance of his father, Neil White, and his Uncle, Hardy Sodtke. The early kites of his childhood were made of two rough sticks and newspaper or butcher's paper coverings. They were always of the diamond type and usually required a high wind and a tail of strategic length to ensure some rather erratic flight.
Later kites were made from paper kite "kits", again of the diamond design, sold in corner stores in the early 1950's for ten cents. These afforded greater success since their design had been tested. If care was taken in the construction, generally good flight was assured in modest winds.
The crowning glory of all the boyhood kites was a special rotor kite purchased at a large department store in nearby Buffalo, NY. The "Skyro-plane" was of German design and manufacture. It utilized rotary wings for lift. It was unique and flew in most breezes. Complete with a wooden fishing reel type mechanism for managing the line, Bob's kite attracted lots of interest from neighborhood friends and it was flown often.
The Skyro-plane was purchased on an April Saturday in 1949. The maiden flight occured in a large field on Sunday. None of the guys (Bob, his father, younger cousin and uncle) could wait until after Church to test the new contraption in the beckoning breezes of the morning. A quick trip to the field nearby resulted in an entire morning of delicious flight and . . . missing Church!
Over the years, other matters pressed in and took up time. School, friends, university, a career in education and a family all pushed kiting into distant memories.
Then, on a camping trip to South Carolina's Outer Banks in the mid-1970's, a plastic delta kite was purchased near Kill Devil Hill, the site of the Wright Brothers historic first flight of a powered airplane (December 1903). The kite was attached to the bumper of the trailer and flew for three days and nights, changing directions with the shift of winds from on-shore to off-shore as each day progressed. Watching the kite and delighting in the fun that sons Rob and Jeff had with it, Bob's kiting interest was rekindled. This kite flew frequently back in Port Colborne as Bob, Rob and Jeff along with some neighborhood kids flew in a nearby school yard. As time went by, their interests moved to building and flying a series of spectacular model rockets and kites were again left behind.
Later, when youngest son Jonathon, was age four, Bob purchased two kites in Charleston, SC while attending an educational conference in 1989. This time the kites were made of more modern materials: - ripstop nylon and carbon filament spars. The excellent flight characteristics of these kites really fanned the fires of enthusiasm for kites to a bright flame.
In 1990 while speaking at an educational conference on School Effectiveness in Denver Colorado, Bob sought out a kite shop in the yellow pages. Travelling to the suburb of Aurora, CO, he stopped into the shop of famous kite maker, the late Rheza Ragheb. A delightful afternoon visit with Rheza resulted in two more purchases: a well crafted Delta for Jonathon and a superb Roller for Bob. Both of these kites, made by Reza, are still among his favorites.
Reza provided Bob with a copy of KiteLines magazine to read on the plane trip home. This wonderful journal, which regretfully ceased publication in 2001, was a source of inspiration and connection with the modern world of kiting. The bug had bitten and the passion for kites was now totally fueled.
Bob began collecting everything related to kites that he could find. Of particular collecting interest were books and magazines dealing with kites.
Noticing some wide discrepancies in the history of kites (inaccuracies, large gaps, unexplained issues) portrayed in some of the kite boooks he had collected, Bob determined to gather as much source material as possible and satisfy his own questions and interests. With an undergraduate degree in History and a graduate degree in Education, it was not long before Bob began keeping a timeline of verified kiting events and his own notes on kite pioneers.
Beginning in 2000 Bob began writing journal articles which were carefully based on his research and collection of kite information. Some of these articles have been published in Kiting, the Journal of the American Kitefliers Association, KiteLife e-zine, the newsletter of the Australian Kitefliers Association, the newsletter of the New Zealand Kitefliers Association, and on the Internet in a variety of sites that have sought permission to publish his writing.
In 2005 Bob began publishing his own writing and research about kites in this web site Best-Breezes.
Bob enjoys working with teachers and students. He is always available for conversations about how to use kites as a learning tool for students. As time and schedule permit, he also conducts kite building workshops for teachers (train-the-trainer before they build kites with their students) and kite presentations to students in schools.
In 1992, along with local fliers Vaino Raun amd Dru Nelissen, Bob helped to form a local kite club, the Niagara Windriders Kitefliers Association. Bob is a member of the Directors of the NWKA, a member of the AKA, and is on the founding Board of Directors of CKF-FCCV (Canadian Kite Federation - Federation du Canada de Cerf Volants). He also is a member of the Toronto Kitefliers, Kitchener-Waterloo Wind Climbers, and the Great Lakes Kitefliers Society.
Kiting has introduced Bob to many new friends in Canada, the United States and around the world. Regular discussions on kites, kite history, and kiting issues are something he enjoys very much.
Bob has built a number of interesting and unique kites to fly at festivals and he has participated in a number of kite workshops to improve his skills in kitemaking.
Bob may be reached via e-mail if you wish to discuss kites or have suggestions for improvement of this website.