In 1980, members of the Edmonds Community College Kite Team became the world record holders for the largest kite ever flown to date.
The team successfully flew the world’s largest kite, measuring 52 by 70 feet and weighing about 400 pounds, on Oct. 3, 1980, at Magnuson Park in Seattle.
The kite flew to an altitude of 300 feet for two minutes and 47 seconds in 15 mile per hour winds, beating the previous record holder – Shirone Kite Association of Japan – by 78 feet.
The parafoil kite was made by Edmonds Community College faculty and students in the college’s Needle Trades Department who volunteered to work on the project.
Team director and department coordinator Harry Osborne collaborated with Domina Jalbert, the world-renowned inventor of parafoil, on the design and construction of the kite.
In the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, apparel production technologies were rapidly advancing, and the college added a Needle Trades Technology Program to its Occupational Education Department, offering commercial power sewing, commercial power sewing machine mechanics, and apparel management.
Students from the program worked for months to stitch together over 2,000 yards of nylon to form the kite and attached 80 lines to the fins of the kite.
News of the Edmonds CC Kite Team and its historic flight made it into the June 1982 issue of the Smithsonian in a story titled, “For some jobs, go fly a kite.”