WHEN Mr Daryl Ong tells people to “go fly a kite”, he is not telling them to “get lost”.
Rather, he is literally encouraging people to learn how to fly a kite or, more specifically, operate a high-tech “aircraft” via a remote control to perform gravity-defying stunts that a traditional kite cannot.
Mr Ong, 24, is an instructor at GoFlyKite.com, which offers remote-control kite-flying lessons and sells a variety of kites.
He is also one of 25 Sky Dancers, a specially groomed group of uniformed “pilots” who fly kites in a synchronised formation at corporate and national events, such as the 42nd National Day Parade, Chingay 2014 and DBS Marina Regatta.
In addition, as an assistant manager, he promotes and markets the sport to schools, corporations and the general public.
GoFlyKite.com has had students as young as six and as old as 86.
Learning the loops
Mr Ong stumbled upon the sport as a student when he met a group of Sky Dancers in 2013.
He was so interested in what they did that he joined them as a member. About six months later, he became an employee of the company.
“I saw an opportunity and a platform to learn and to build up a career, so I joined the company,” he recalls, adding that a desk-bound job never really appealed to him.
He embarked on the training in earnest and recalls his learning curve as “exponentially increasing”.
“Like what beginners go through, I started off with a flight simulator. Then I practised flying with my own kite with the advice of more experienced flyers by my side,” he says.
He also went through a progressive ranking system which tests one’s skills in performing loops, rolls, inverted flying and challenging flight obstacles.
“I took about four to six hours of flight time before I managed to keep my kite in the air over the span of one battery charge, which is about seven minutes.”
Today, he can execute stunts such as a stall turn, which involves dropping the kite from a height and pulling it back up just before it hits the ground, among others.
Still, he continues to fly traditional kites.
“I always like the starting part, where I have to get them up into the sky,” he says.
Airborne after dark
Flying kites aside, liaising with his clients is another part of his job that Mr Ong enjoys.
He says: “I love meeting and mingling with people from different walks of life, and I am exposed to other organisations during the course of training and organising events.”
In his unconventional job, his working environment revolves mainly around the night sky and the glitter emitted by the LED lights of the kites.
“I work from only 2pm to 6pm in the office, dealing with event requests, overseas orders, training schedules and sales.
“More exciting stuff happens from 8pm to 11pm, when we set out to the open field just beside Marina Bay Sands — where trainers, members and customers come together with their equipment and fly together as a group,” he says.
“It is a learning environment where everyone is a teacher to everyone else. We are like a one big family since all of us started off as hobbyists.”
He adds: “Where can you find a job where you actually fly an ‘aircraft’ while working at the same time?”
To find out more, visit www.goflykite.com