`Battle in the Blues'

By Dennis C. Mingo
Guyana Chronicle
May 7, 2000

OSTENSIBLY, it begins as an innocent family fun-day. Traditionally, it is the Annual Easter Monday Kite Flying Show. Realistically, it becomes a `Battle in the Blues!'.

The Aircraft-carrier is Georgetown's seawall - a Dutch conceived sea defence that straddles Guyana's 7,000-mile Coastal Belt which squeezes in 70 per cent of the population.

The Squadron of flyers converge from many parts of the country. They come to showcase their aeronautic dexterity, devilry and daftness - possibly more in the latter category!

The aviation ingenuity of some `birds' would do proud the invisible Guyana Air Force. They range from the Matchbox to the Monster models. Ground pilots are issued licences indiscriminately. The only prerequisites are a capacity for adventure and failure.

The cockpit crew of these home-of-the art crafts are an amusing consortium of dad - yanking furiously at the navigation cord tangled about his legs, trying to airlift an uncooperative machine; mum, oblivious to his futility, is busy in her delicatessen and kangaroo kids adding to the mayhem.

The sedate sky is metamorphosised into an aerial amphitheatre. The haphazard madness that passes for traffic up there makes crossing the New Jersey Turnpike at rush hour look like a stroll in the park.

Ominously, the wind-aided droning of these string-strung `birds' is reminiscent of the death knell music of Africanised killer bees readying for the assault.

In that frenetic world, many air mobiles are prematurely grounded by clumsy, friendly-firing. Others are calculatedly hacked down by killer `birds' whose tails are studded with razor blades. This is no longer fun in the sun, but survival of the sharpest.

The temperatures of frustrated, forlorn flyers sizzles to the point of cooking an egg. One flabbergasted flyer blames his careless navigation on my son and hurls an invective at him.

Agonisingly, many spend half the day trying to sky-lift these silly-stringed planes and the other half chasing them like Labrador Retrievers.

Consequently, jay-flying is punishable by electrocution as evidenced by many skeletal `birds' pitifully dangling like trapeze artists from GPL power lines!

Furthermore, foolish flyers (as in biblical understanding), fail to check for mechanical problems and to bring to the fray extra spare parts to deal with inevitable damages.

My own state-of-the-laugh navigation may predispose potential gliders into thinking that aeronautic life is sheer pell-mell. Not quite. There are a number of vintage pilots who boast `wings' gained from deft, aeronautic acrobatics; and coming away virtually unscathed from numerous combats or sorties.

Ruefully, crafts, having abandoned their owners for trees, trenches and electric lines, leave their pilots with no other alternative but to resort to kinder pastimes such as cricket or just plain Tomfoolery!

As for those Pharisees who pontificate that kite flying makes a mockery of Christ's resurrection, they should at least thank their holy crucifixes that the Almighty did not employ a kite-raising neophyte like me to raise His Son!

The dying practice of `singing engine' kites, flying all night over houses, was the forerunner of the Manico Broom, to ward off evil spirits!

In meteorological systems of yesteryear, the kite was used to help detect the direction of the wind.

Finally, the earlier monstrous type kite, unlike UG's 17 x 16 Kitezilla, which a category three hurricane would have had trouble lifting, was used in military campaigns to drop soldiers behind enemy lines!

Nonetheless, the kite-lifting efforts of UG's academicians teach that a good angle to approach any problem is the TRY-ANGLE! So, as with all worthy pursuits, "it won't fly if you don't try"!