A logical extension of the morphological structures embodied in the SuperStructures toy was the idea of modular kite systems. The first true modular kite was the tetrahedral kite invented by Alexander Graham Bell c. 1903. Indeed, this was the first time in known history that anyone had built a high-strength to weight three-dimensional space truss based on the regular tetrahedron. Bell was interested in heavier than air flight, and considered the tetrahedral kite as a basis of human flight. Although he was able to lift a man with some very large multi-cell tetrahedral kites, they turned out to be impractical for such purposes. In any case, in the mid-1970’s, Peter Pearce interpreted Bell’s kite as an all plastic kit, which he called the Tetrakite. It was packaged in two sizes, a 4 cell and a 16 cell. These unique cellular kites flew very well, although they did require a wind of at least 7 mph. The images show both the 4 cell and 16 cell versions. The 16 cell version was quite large. With some care in assemble, it was possible to build a 64 cell Tetrakite by combining four 16 cell Tetrakites. This was quite an impressive site.
Pearce’s experience with the Tetrakite led him to invent a unique modular kite, which became known as Skylinks. This is a true modular kite system. It can be flown as a single-cell kite or in a train of multiple single-cell kites strung together in a sequence on a single flying line. Two, three, and four-cell compound kites can be assembled as well. These can be assembled in longitudinal or lateral configurations, or in combinations of longitudinal and lateral geometries. The lateral kite assemblies and the combination kites can be flown on two lines, which enables them to be controllable. With practice, these kites can do aerobatics, including loops and dives. The Skylinks kites fly with very low drag and high lift characteristics, which enables them to fly with a nearly vertical line angle. The compound Skylinks are also quite large. The four-cell longitudinal assembly is approximately 8 feet long.