General Kite Flying Information.
Choosing a suitable site for kite flying.
Select an open area that is either flat or on the upwind side of a slight hill. Make sure that your wind will not be “shadowed” by any obstacles (e.g. trees or buildings).
Be sure that there is sufficient space so that your kite does not hit anything. Tangling with trees or anything solid can damage your kite.
The ground surface should be clear of objects that can damage the kite or catch on the strings. A clear sandy beach or sports ground are best.
Check the weather conditions. The wind speed should be within the recommended range for your kite. See the Wind Speed to learn how to assess wind speed.
Review the precautions given on the Kite Safety page to be sure that the area where you plan to fly the kite is safe.
Important hints for looking after your kite.
Read the instructions for assembling and flying your kite
Kite assembly – Insert the struts into the end fittings or connectors as far as they will go. Use a steady, even pressure when you push the strut in and don’t force anything.
Ensure that all joints are made correctly and that the bridle strings are not wrapped around or under one of the struts.
Wherever possible avoid nosedives and hard landings as these can cause kite spars to break. Try to fly on soft ground such as beach sand when learning so that the impact of crashes will be reduced.
After a crash, check for spreaders or standoffs that may have come loose or disconnected.
Kite disassembly – When removing the struts “twist” while pulling and avoid applying force to any part of the sail.
If the kite is damp, ensure that it is entirely dry before storing.
Flying Line (String Care)
Kite Flying Lines (strings) should be rated to the strength requirements of your kite. The bigger the kite or stronger the “pull”, the stronger your lines will have to be.
The lines provided with your kite will be rated for the recommended wind speed range and level of pull. It is important that you fly your kite in winds within the recommended range. To estimate wind speeds please refer to Wind Speed.
Connect the kite to your lines using a “Larkshead Knot”, as shown below:
Lower strength lines in light wind conditions will assist responsiveness of the kite.
High quality line (such as Dyneema or Spectra) has minimal stretch when you pull and so will give you more precise control of dual-line and quad-line kites.
Lines should not be excessive in length as this will create high wind drag and reduce responsiveness. 25-30m lines are ideal.
Always wind and unwind lines from the same side of the spool or handle. That will avoid lines being twisted together.
Dual lines should be wound onto the winder together, using a “Figure 8” pattern, to avoid twisting.
The two main fibres used for high quality kite lines are Dyneema and Spectra. Both are registered trade names of their respective manufacturers. Both are fibres independently developed by their respective manufacturers and while their production details likely differ, both are made of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, or UHMWPE fibres. The following characteristics of both Dyneema and Spectra make either product perfect for kite lines and bridles:
- Weight for weight, they are up to 15 times stronger than steel and up to 40% stronger than Kevlar (c) (DuPont).
- Being slender for their strength, they offer less aerodynamic drag than other types of line.
- They are more abrasion resistant than high carbon steel.
- They are resistant to UV light.
- They do not absorb water (and they float).
- They exhibit very low stretch compared to nylon or Dacron lines (like comparing steel wire to rubber bands)
High quality line such as Dyneema or Spectra, needs to be covered with woven tubular nylon sleeves at the end loops. Knots weaken the line, so sleeving serves to protect and strengthen the knot by keeping the strands from cutting through themselves.
If you break a high quality line (Dyneema or Spectra) do not attempt to re-tie it. The friction caused by the knot will cause the line melt, effectively creating a weak point. If the break is close to one end, the line can be re-sleeved. If the break is in the middle of the line, it will need to be replaced.