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Archive - History of traction Kites

The History of Traction kites

Wind-power has revolutionised self-supported polar travel since the introduction of traction kites in Greenland in the late 1980's.

ca. 2000BC 


Kites pull wheeled vehicles over the China plains

ca. 1700 


Kites are used to propel canoes

ca. 1720


Benjamin Franklin uses a kite to pull himself across a Massachusetts pond on his back



George Pocock patents his char-volant (a carriage pulled by his collapsible arch-top flown on 4 lines), which carries 4-5 passengers near Bristol, England at speeds up to 33km/h

Nov 6 1903 


Samuel Franklin Cody crosses the English Channel from Calais to Dover (38km) by a kite drawn collapsible ballasted canoe.

Summer 1988 


Martin Block, Gunther Kerber, Udo Krieger, Michael Krug and Frank Wagner cross Greenland unsupported from East to West on a Parawing-pulled sled. First kite crossing.

Nov. 1992 - Feb. 1993 


Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr. Mike Stroud cross the Antarctic continent unassisted, travelling 2,380km in 95 days using an Up-Ski chute. First unassisted crossing of Antarctic continent.

Nov. 1996 - Jan. 1997


Borge Ousland crosses Antarctica, travelling 2800km in 66 days on skis pulled by a Parawing. First solo and unassisted crossing of Antarctica

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