Flying Kites is a fun way to spend a summer day in the garden or park or even on the beach. Kites have been around for over 2500 years and learning to fly a kite isn’t as difficult as some would think. There are several factors to consider for the best results such as the type of kite and the wind conditions which are the overriding factors of a successful flight, but details such as setting the trim of the kite correctly and choosing a safe place to fly it are also important. Read on to learn how to fly your own kite.
Types of Kites
There are numerous styles of kites, such as the simple classic diamond kite, the extremely complex modern box kites with modular tetrahedral designs, and traditional decorative kites in the shape of dragons or birds. Traditional kite-making materials like bamboo, silk, and tissue paper produce good results, but modern materials, such as fiberglass rods, Ripstop nylon, and tyvek are lightweight, strong, and produce durable kites with excellent flight characteristics.
The dozens of different styles of kites fall into only a few basic types, classed according to the type of wing used in the design. Simple kites like diamond and delta kites are basic monoplane kites that form the basis of more complex biplane and multi-plane designs, like the box kite. There are also flexible sail designs, such as the traditional dragon kite, and rigid and semi rigid sails, such as sled kites and those used for kite surfing. More advanced kite designs include multiple unit kites that have several wings attached to one line as well as multiple pilot kites that have two or more control lines.
Wind Speed (mph) Wind Condition Suitable Kites
0 to 3 Calm Diamond, Ultra-Light Kites
4 to 7 Light Delta Wing Kite, Diamond
8 to 12 Gentle Box Kites, Cellular, Diamond
13 to 18 Moderate Diamond, Flexible Sail Kites, Box Kites
19 to 24 Fresh Bowed Kites, Mid-sized Multi-Unit Kites
25 to 31 Strong Large Multi-Unit, Cellular Kites
Finding the right angle of attack for the kite wing is essential to a steady, controlled flight. Many kites employ a tail to create drag and to place the center of gravity of the kite as low as possible to create the correct orientation for controlled flight. The other factor in kite trim is the angle of the string. Kites use adjustable bridles that allow the flyer to alter the angle of attack of the kite’s wind to produce the maximum possible lift.
The first step in flying a kite is launching it, and while it is possible to do alone, it is easier if there is a second person to hold it steady during the process. Kite flyers should extend 20 or 30 yards of kite lines to give the kite enough string to get airborne and pull it as taught as possible. A flyer stands with his or her back to the wind and gently pulls the kite line backward to generate the initial lift necessary. If the kite fails to gently lift into the air, the attachment point of the bridle or the length of the tail might need a final adjustment to correct the trim.
The flyer can let out more string to increase the kite’s altitude after launching. Pulling on the kite string changes in direction and altitude of the flight, and in most kite styles, the reaction of the kite will be in the opposite direction to the pull, so that pulling the string to the left causes the kite to fly to the right. Stunt kites use two strings to control the movement of the kite in the same way. The best method of landing a kite is to wind in the kite line until it is short enough to catch the kite by hand.
Kites Available from gardengames.ie
Foil Kite – €7.95
Stunt Kite – €10.95
Large Stunt Kite – €13.95