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Jon Burkhardt – History of Kites


Posted on May 14th

Jon Burkhardt

With a master’s degree in City Planning from MIT, Mr. Burkhardt had many years of professional experience in transportation, survey research, program evaluation, planning, and technical assistance. He was formerly the president of Ecosometrics, Incorporated, and later a Senior Study Director at Westat. He’s noted for having been a pioneer in transportation services for persons with special needs, including consumers of medical transportation services, older persons, persons with disabilities, and persons living in rural and small urban areas.

Jon now spends much time in kite design, kite festivals, and kite organizations. Since 1980, he has won top awards in the U.S. and abroad at many festivals, including AKA’s Grand National Kitemaking Championship in 1984 and 2015 (the 2015 award was for a kite made cooperatively by Jon and his wife, Karen), the first prize for Best Kite Display at the International Kite Tour of India in 1993, and awards for championship Rokkaku kitefighting teams at major “kite capitals” and kite festivals in the U.S. Displays of his kites have been presented in many locations.

He is actively engaged in spreading the joy of kite flying to others. He has helped lead the Maryland Kite Society for many years. For the American Kitefliers Association, he has served in most official positions, including Vice President, Treasurer, and member of AKA’s Board of Directors for many years.

Jon has been the Event Coordinator and Head Judge at many kite festivals and competitions. He has been an active participant in the planning and operations of numerous major kite festivals. He is the chief author of many editions of AKA’s Rules and Guidelines for Kitemakers’ Competitions.

He has written articles on kite flying and kite festivals for numerous publications, iincluding KiteLines and Kiting, and major articles featuring him and his kites have appeared in American Kite, KiteLines, Kiting, Martha Stewart Living, the Washington Post, numerous other publications, and on National Public Radio. In 2008, Jon assisted the Smithsonian Institution and Ball State University in developing a web-based instructional curriculum on kites for elementary school children. In 2018, he helped create and curate a major kite display at the Strathmore Mansion and Music Center in Bethesda.




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