When the winds kick up in Tucson, which they have been known to do from time to time, Tucsonan Bob Ray takes to the skies.

Bob, a professional kite-flying instructor, owned the toy store Northern Sky Toyz in Portland, Maine, for close to twenty years. These days, he teaches others in Tucson how to fly kites, and I am applying to be a member of his team.

We started off by laying out all of our pieces, starting with a nylon, triangle-shaped kite known as a delta kite. Bob has a collection of kite and kite accessories that would make Charlie Brown jealous.

From the jump, I really didnt know what I was signing up for.

This kite is huge, I told Bob. Im going to fly this?

Bob assured me that running would not be involved. But he did advise me that I would need gloves.

We want to protect our hands, he said. This kite is going to pull.

It wasnt long before the rainbow-colored beauty was flying high.

The gloves were a good idea. I could feel the heat of the string and it ran through my hands.

This is so intense, I said.

We tied the string around a stake so that the kite was flying on auto-pilot, then we moved on to the second kite.

This new kite launch was going to include several smaller kites on the same line, leading down to the ground.

We have a spikey ball, big sock, two spinners, Bob said.

A baby elephant kite was first. Then we added anotherand another.

Then it was time for the two-person launch.

I couldnt hold back my excitement.

Its going, I exclaimed! Wow. Its a lot of stuff in the air. It looks so good!

A midair crash meant we had to separate the two main kites and relaunch.

The wind was so heavy at times, the kites kept coming down. One of them almost took me out.

This is a lot of work, I told Bob.

We eventually managed to get everything up-and-flying again.

This job was no joke.

I got cut, I told Bob. I lost some skin. That is how intense it is, so you got to be careful.

In the end, my first try as a professional kite flyer for Why Things Fly yielded positive results.

We are hiring, Bob told me. You were great.

Even though we ran into problems, we stuck through it and the kites stayed aloft, he added.

See you in the friendly skies!