Kites to fight a war
The earliest written account of kite flying was about 200 B.C. when the Chinese General Han Hsin of the Han Dynasty flew a kite over the walls of a city he was attacking to measure how far his army would have to tunnel to reach past the defences. Knowing this distance his troops reached the inside of the city, surprised their enemy, and were victorious.
To catch a falling star
During the Silla Dynasty of Korea around the year 600, General Gim Yu-sin was ordered to subdue a revolt. However, his troops refused to fight. They had seen a large shooting star fall from the sky and believed it to be a bad omen. To regain control, the General used a large kite to carry a fire ball into the sky. The soldiers, seeing the star return to heaven, rallied and defeated the rebels.
Kites for scientific research
In the 18th and 19th centuries, kites were used as vehicles and tools for scientific research. Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Wilson used kites to learn more about the wind and weather. The Wright Brothers experimented with kites and contributed to developing the airplane.
During World War I, the British, French, Italian, and Russian armies all used kites for enemy observation and signalling. However, airplanes soon made these observation units obsolete. But the German Navy continued to use box kites capable of lifting a person for surveillance. In World War II also, the US Navy found several uses for kites. Flying Kites prevented airplanes from flying too low over targets. Pilots lost at sea raised box kites so they could be found. Target Kites were used for shooting practice and aircraft recognition at sea.