Got an email today announcing that Pam Kirt, one of the grand ladies of kite flying died yesterday morning. We lost a really unique person, who in her deeds and works of art, made a significant impact on the history of kite flying. As a factory team flyer, she rose to prominence not only for her skills, but being a woman flier, inspired many women and girls to take up the sport. Her factory team, Top of the Line, was the first World Cup Champions. They literally invented team flying and formation flying in the early days and many of their maneuvers and basics of team flying are still being used 30 years later. Their technical skill is still admired and looked at with astonishment to this day.
I had a chance to meet Pam many times on the competition team. She was always warm and friendly, even to a newbie like myself. We even competed on the same field on individual events at some of the kite festivals. Always a class act and excellent kite maker. In the old days, all the kites were made by hand and Pam made sails for TOTL. In recent years, she and her husband continued to make kites for a living until her illness. I still own many of her sails from TOTL.
In the video below, Pam is the one with the pony tail (obviously). They do several 'hook ups' in which the kites fly between the lines of their team mates, locking them temporarily together with both flyers controlling the linked kites. In the finale, all four team members are 'locked together' before being separated for the landing. Amazing stuff...even 27 years later..... Rest in peace Pam, and thanks for all you've done for us.