Flying the traditional Chinese eagle-kite every morning has become a habit for the 69-year old Tian Yutang. "It's better to fly kites in spring as the wind condition is ideal, but the eagle-kite is special, because I can fly it in a calm environment, even indoors," Tian said.
Tian started flying kites eight years ago in Baotou in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, when he just retired and needed something to kill time. "At first, I flew the kite quite high in the sky, just like many other kite flyers. But this kite has specific demands for wind conditions, and I even lost several kites when the wind was too strong," Tian said.
Eagle-kite flying attracted Tian's attention in 2013. The traditional Chinese eagle-kite is not only designed in the shape of an eagle, but also mimics the flight path of a real eagle.
"The size of the tail, the length of the wing, and the anchor point of the kite string are all decisive factors. The eagle-kites with small tails are more suitable for indoor flight or in low-wind conditions," said Tian.
Tian's eagle-kites has a strong, lightweight frame, and he glues the eagle-shaped silk to the frame and then paints the eagle feather on it. All of Tian's eagle-kites have four numbers on the back, "That's the kite's birthday, as I would write down the date when I finished it," he said.
Tian does morning exercises with his fellow eagle-kite flyers and sometimes joins kite-flying festivals in China. "Eagle-kite flying is quite suitable for middle-aged and elderly people, as it requires the hand-eye coordination, and it is not so intense," said Tian.