Getting Reacquainted With Kites - The Basics



What comes to mind when you think of kite flying?  Likely it’s an inexpensive plastic kite from a supermarket or hardware store with a short line and even shorter lifespan? 

The perception of flying a kite varies among different generations, but this thinking tends to be that of those who have not kept up with the sport and have only vague childhood memories of it.  There has been a shift and those type of plastic kites do not represent modern day kite flying.  Single line kites are made from sturdy fabric and soar hundreds of feet in the air.  Some utilize input from the pilot and some allow you to enjoy the calm serenity of flying.

Getting started requires very little.  First, of course, a quality kite.  A kite that will perform repeatedly does not necessarily mean high price.  Many well-built, single-line kites with innovative designs can be purchased for around $20.  Different sizes and shapes will allow for different flight experiences.

As your skill-set improves, moving on to stunt kites or power kites will bring about new experiences and fresh perspectives as a pilot.  Stunt kites or sport kites  fly with two or four lines and allow the pilot to perform exciting maneuvers or tricks as the kites sail through the air. 

Once you have a kite, you need SPACE.  Kites love room to stretch out, clear of obstacles such as trees or houses that cause turbulence and affect the quality of flight.  Beaches and large parks are great places to fly.  There are often kite festivals, contests, and gatherings somewhere nearby.  Next time you find yourself hanging out at the beach, take a look at the sky.  You will undoubtedly see several kites soaring above.

ALWAYS avoid dangerous obstacles such as lightning, power lines, roadways and aircraft.  These pose a significant threat to the kite flier and nearby people.

Surprising as it may be, wind is not always required to fly a kite.  There are a number of kites available that require zero wind.  They can fly on a windless day or even in a gymnasium!  Check them out in action here or here.  A zero wind kite will require more guidance from the pilot to keep it aloft.

Most single kites have wind ranges between 4-20 mph; however they vary by style and manufacturer.  Stunt kites can often fly in lower wind depending on the style – Standard, Ultra Light or Vented.  Wind ranges are included in the description and instructions of any kite that you purchase.

So grab a kite; it's time to fly!