From the American Kitefliers Association Magazine “Kiting”- Fall 2017
Empty Places in the Sky – Walt Thompson
We recently lost a long time and avid kite flier due to illness. Walt Thompson was not just a kite flier. He was a part of kite history.
Walt was a key element of the San Diego Kite Club for its 25 years of existence.
He was a consistent board member and held many positions as staff, all the way to Club President. He was always eager to teach how to fly, how to make a kite, and how to share with kid-sized kite fliers. The local annual fun fly with visually impaired students was always one of his favorite events.
Walter Thompson was also an AKA Region 12 Director. He fully supported the mission of the American Kitefliers Association. He also participated in many activities at the AKA Grand Nationals, as well as Annual Conventions.
Walt flew everything, coordinated everything, and judged everything. His flying skills were with every kite genre from fighter kites, dualies, quads, foils, slk’s, and even miniatures. He was truly an Ambassador of Kiting. He will be missed.
Walt, “Good Winds” to you.
San Diego Kite Club
–All Photos Clickable For Larger Version
Walt was a key member in the history of San Diego Kite Club. As I came to believe San Diego needed a Kite Club, Walt was there to support me and encourage us through the good times and no wind times. He did something as a mentor, others as a lead er. We held various positions as past SDKC President, Vice president, membership with his wife Barbara, and AKA representative. He participated where we needed him. He attended meeting till his health became troublesome. He always was a protector, diplomate, champion for a cause and an awesome kite flyer. One event he always supported was the San Diego Unified School District field day for children with various physical challenges. He was a good sport when participating at Ron’s White elephant, or know to all as the “No whining gift exchange”, which is a yearly event in December. There is even a rumor that he had a Cove at El Mirage Dry lake named after him, “Walt’s Cove, he was a Power Kiter with buggies, at least that the story and we can’t confirm or deny it. I would like to thank his family for letting us have him in our lives and sharing the wonderful experiences he enjoyed while kite flying.
—Dan Willan – SDKC Founder
Many of you know me as someone who is “neck deep” in the world of kite flying. I was not born with that “status”. We all start out on our journey’s and passions knowing absolutely NOTHING.
For almost 20 years, I have been a proud member of the San Diego Kite Club. One critical reason is Walt Thompson.
When I found out San Diego had a kite club, I could not wait to figure out how to immerse myself in it from 150 miles away. At the time, Walt had his Membership Committee Helmet on, so he was my first contact.
Walt was one of those people who bettered me through what I call “Unconditional Kiting”. He did it in “Walt’s Way”, which was just Walt, being Walt. His invite to “C’mon Down” was easy. His demeanor, even easier. Back then, I was the NG, jumpy, full of questions and energy I did not know what to do with…Wait, BACK THEN??? Who am I kidding???
The first time I was able to get to Tecolote Shores was a Friday Afternoon,the day before the second Saturday Club Fly. There was Walt, just chilling with a kite in the air. He spent the better part of the afternoon “putting up with me”.
When the SDKC pops into my head, my thought process goes as follows:
- Flying near the bottom of the rise at Tecolote, praying the cars on the I-5 don’t crash right before the Sea World exit
- Contacting Walt to inquire about membership and club happenings
- Hanging with Walt on that Friday afternoon
- New SDKC Subject Matter
Walt, missing you does not even come close to what I’m feeling. The one thing I can smile about right now is you never knew your heavy impact on me. If you did, you’d just turn around, chuckle in that “Walt Way”, shake your head and say “Heavy Impact? Yeah, Right…”
Glen E. Rothstein – Director – Region 12
American Kitefliers Association