BEST IELTS General Reading Test 438

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 438

IELTS General Reading Test

THE HISTORY OF KITES

А. The fighter kite is an ancient design that became popular in Asia. While there were some variations, fighter kites tended to be small, flat and diamond-shaped and were flown throughout Asia, including in Japan and India. The main part of this kite was made of paper, while its spine consisted of a piece of tapered bamboo. There was also a rounded, balanced bow. These kites did not have tails, which were thought to affect their manoeuvrability. Most of the line was made of cotton but part of this was covered with an abrasive, which could cut an opponent’s line in a competition.

European kites developed later, possibly crafted out of flags. Nowadays there are eight main kinds of kite worldwide: the flat, bowed, box, sled, delta and compound, all of which have frames, and now the parafoil which is somewhat like a parachute, and the rotor which has a spinning vane between two cylinders. Perhaps most significantly, the materials used to build Kites remained basically unchanged for hundreds of years, but today the materials that comprise the various components of kites are often synthetic.

IELTS General Reading Test

B. In Europe, kites were curiosities at first rather than being part of the culture, but they were soon used as vehicles for discovery and innovation. In 1893, William A Eddy introduced a tailless kite that was in the shape of an elongated diamond. He was interested in the potential kites had for the purposes of meteorology and aerial photography. Besides being responsible for a renewed interest in kite-flying throughout Europe, Eddy’s kite was also utilised by the United States Weather Bureau.

In 1752, the American inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin went out in a thunderstorm with his son to fly a flat kite with a pointed wire. They attached a metal key to the kite’s line and watched as it became electrified, both miraculously avoiding electrocution. This proved that lightning was a natural occurrence called electricity, and this experiment led to Franklin inventing the lightning rod, a metallic rod that protects a structure from lightning damage by guiding currents from lightning flashes into the ground.

IELTS General Reading Test

C. Kites also contributed greatly to the development of the airplane. The first recorded aircraft with a person inside was British aviator Sir George Cayley’s glider in 1853. He used modified kites to test whether his glider idea would work. This was a big step in aviation, as it dispelled the former assumption that an aircraft would need wings that flapped like a bird’s.

Around 1900 Orville and Wilbur Wright started using kites to test their ideas for planes. These brothers ran a bicycle shop in Ohio in the United States and were obsessed with aviation. It was the Wright brothers who concentrated on how to control the aircraft, something that had, until then, baffled many other Inventors. The Wright brothers made a box kite that was wired in a way that meant the kite could be made to turn. Not long after that, they successfully flew the first manned airplane. Without experiments with kites, modern aircraft would have taken much longer to be developed.

IELTS General Reading Test

D. Whatever the design of a kite, in order to fly, it needs to have certain characteristics. Firstly, it needs to be able to lift in the wind and this requires an aerodynamic structure. It also needs to have something that stops it from flying away, this is called a tether. One end of the tether is connected to the kite and the other is usually on a hand-held spool for a person to manage the length of the line. Another necessary component is the bridle, which is two or more lines that are attached to each other at a point and this can be adjusted according to the strength and direction of the wind.

E. There are three forces that control kite flight; these are lift, gravity and drag. If the wind is stronger than the resistance of the air (drag) and the pull of gravity, the kite should be able to fly. One way in which a kite differs from a plane is that when the kite is fixed (using the tether) so that the wind gives it lift, it maintains what is called ‘perpetual stall. This is essential for a kite to fly but would not be a suitable design for an aeroplane. If a kite is flat, it should have a tail to provide drag so that the nose of the kite is pointing upwards.

IELTS General Reading Test

Although many people try it, running with a kite is not an effective way to send it into the sky. It is better to start off with two people, one holding the kite and the other with the line unravelled about 30 metres, holding the reel or spool. The bridle of the kite should be facing the person who is not holding it and the breeze should come from behind the kite. If all this has been done, the kite should be launched successfully when the person holding it lets go of it. 

The text above has five sections, A-E. Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below. Write the correct number, i-vi, in boxes 28-32 on your answer sheet.

NB you may use any letter more than once.

List of Headings

i. Using kites for scientific research

ii. Types of kite

iii. Factors that determine whether a kite will fly

iv. The beginning of manned flight

v. The popularity of kites throughout the years

vi. Basic features shared by all kites 

IELTS General Reading Test

28. Section A

29. Section B

30. Section C

31. Section D

32. Section E

IELTS General Reading Test

Label the diagram using ONE WORD ONLY.

33. …………….. used for the body of kite

34. …………….. is curved

35. …………….. is made up of bamboo

36. line is coated in……………..

IELTS General Reading Test

Choose the correct letter, ABC or D.

37. What is the main difference between kites in the past and modern kites?

A. led to a useful innovation.

B. Modern Kites tend to be larger.

C. Kites in the past were less sturdy.

D. They are used for different purposes.

38. Benjamin Franklin’s experience flying a kite in a storm

A. led to a useful innovation.

B. proved it was not a dangerous thing to do.

C. showed that his son’s theory was correct.

D. was a successful use of a new kind of kite.

IELTS General Reading Test

39. The Wright Brothers differed from other early aviation engineers in that they

A. used kites as models for real planes.

B. worked on how to determine the direction of a kite.

C. applied what they had learned in their bicycle business to flying.

D. made an important discovery by accident.

40. The best way to send a kite into the air is to

A. hold the kite and run along with it.

B. ensure that the wind blows underneath the kite.

C. release the kite at a distance from a person holding the string.

D. let the kite fly from a person’s hand as it is given more string.

IELTS General Reading Test

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BEST IELTS General Reading Test 438

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IELTS General Reading Test

28. ii 

29. i 

30. iv 

31. iii 

32. vi 

33. PAPER

34. BOW

35. SPINE

36. ABRASIVE

37. A

38. A

39 B

40. C

IELTS General Reading Test

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