BLIND MAN HEARS HIS KITES FLY : WOODLAND HILLS RESIDENT GETS RUSH FROM PAPER BIRDS.Byline: Eric Wahlgren Daily News Staff Writer
Blind since birth, Ralph Council has never seen the objects of his obsession - the graceful kites he flies every day of the week at a Woodland Hills field.
But the 44-year-old said he still gets a major rush from his wind-powered aircraft that buzz across the sky above the green at the corner of Collins Street and Sale Avenue.
``I don't get to see them, but I get to hear them and get to feel the pull on the line,'' said Council, a Woodland Hills resident. ``When they take off, it's a real adrenaline surge. It's kind of like I'm putting on a pair of wings and flapping and taking off.''
Council has loved airplanes ever since he was a little boy. As a youngster, he used to tape-record planes taking off from Van Nuys Airport Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY, FAA LID: VNY) is a public airport located in Van Nuys, California in the San Fernando Valley, within the Los Angeles city limits. because he liked the different sounds the various aircraft made.
He got his first kite when he was 12.
His father built him a home-made model out of scraps of wood and tissue paper, wanting to give his son something he could fly without help from anyone else.
``I played around with the kite and I got the bug,'' said Council, who graduated from Birmingham High School Birmingham High School is a public coeducational high school in the neighborhood/district of Lake Balboa in the San Fernando Valley section of the city of Los Angeles, California. The school is a part of District One of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). in Van Nuys. ``Over the years, they just became more complicated and exotic.''
Today, Council, who earned a degree in broadcast journalism Broadcast journalism refers to television news and radio news, as well as the online news outlets of broadcast affiliates. at California Polytechnic State University This article is about the university in San Luis Obispo, California. For Cal Poly Pomona, see California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
California Polytechnic State University, commonly called Cal Poly , San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo (săn l`ĭs ōbĭs`pō), city (1990 pop. 41,958), seat of San Luis Obispo co., S Calif., near San Luis Obispo Bay; inc. 1856. , flies more than two dozen kites including one with a 12-foot wingspan he has christened ``the beast.''
One kite he owns is a gizmo Slang for any hardware device. See gadget. with a rotor that is attached to a string, an aircraft that takes to the air like a helicopter. Another has two separate bridles, giving Council the control he needs to slice up Verb 1. slice up - cut into slices; "Slice the salami, please"
cut - separate with or as if with an instrument; "Cut the rope" the sky with the paper bird that can climb as high as 1,000 feet.
``I fly a variety of things,'' said Council, who is known to some as the ``crazy kiter.'' ``There are kites for all seasons, moods and winds.''
Council said he sends his birds up into the air every day, setting off on foot from his residence to the field about noon.
He uses his hearing and the tension on the string to guide the aircraft. He leaves a transistor radio at one corner of the field as a homing device Noun 1. homing device - the mechanism in a guided missile that guides it toward its objective
guided missile - a rocket-propelled missile whose path can be controlled during flight either by radio signals or by internal homing devices so he can find his gear after a long afternoon of flying.
``I'm diving and looping and sweeping all over,'' Council said. ``The object is to stay in the air as long as I can until I want to land. I'm all over that field.''
PHOTO (1) Blind since birth, Ralph Council, 44, strings out his eight-foot-long kite Big Bertha Big Bertha
Either of two different sets of long-range artillery produced by the Krupp works (see Thyssen Krupp Stahl) in Germany during World War I. The first were 420-mm (16.5-in.) howitzers used by German forces advancing through Belgium in 1914. No. 7 in Woodland Hills.
(2 -- 3) Council prepares Big Bertha for flight at the old Charles Evans Hughes Jr. High School. ``I fly a variety of things,'' said Council, who is known to some as the ``crazy kiter.'' ``There are kites for all seasons, moods and winds.'' Right, Council flies a gyro kite that has a rotor and takes to the air like a helicopter.
Hans Gutknecht/Daily News