What Are The Common Types Of Kites?
The word “kite” is itself synonymous with a particular shape – the diamond with a stretched downward point. Actual flying kites come in a huge variety of different shapes, though! Minimizing weight is important in kite design, so most feature only two or three spars to keep the kite stretched out. On modern kites, the fabric of choice is ripstop nylon. Box kites mount multiple sails into a tubular structure so that they can catch a breeze from any direction. High-end kites often use a parafoil design to create a similar effect. Rather than relying on a rigid structure, parafoil kites trap incoming breezes in carefully-constructed pockets to provide structural stability.
How Are Kites Steered?
A kite with a single line is often at the mercy of the wind. Kites designed for more controlled maneuvering are known as “stunt kites.” They use two or four different control lines to give the flyer more options. Adding tension on one line will make the kite swoop to that side. Pulling hard enough will send a stunt kite through a complete 360-degree turn. Kite control lines slide right past each other and let the flyer retain control even when they become twisted up.
How High Can Kites Fly?
The prime factor that limits a kite’s altitude is, in fact, the weight of its line. In higher winds, kites generate more lift, but this is counterbalanced by the fact that they need thicker and heavier lines. A good single-line kite is generally equipped with no more than 60m of line. Stunt kites usually have shorter lines so that flyers have an easier time maintaining control. Short control lines also help to keep kites out of obstacles like trees.
How Much Wind Do Kites Require?
A kite’s overall weight will dictate how much of a breeze it needs. Of the designs described above, parafoil kites are generally the lightest and therefore the most useful in light winds. Flying a kite in a wind that’s too strong for it will make control difficult and may damage the kite. The normal range for kite flying is between wind speeds of four and 20 miles per hour. You need at least enough of a breeze to feel on your face. If the wind is blustery enough to make it hard to handle an umbrella, it’s also probably too windy for kites.
Are Line Tangles Inevitable?
Kite lines tend to tangle because they normally twist in flight. This stores energy in the line and that energy will try to escape once you ground the kite and remove the tension. You can avoid tangles by always keeping the control lines straight. Lines should be wound in as you approach the kite after flying it. Keep the lines attached to the kite until they’re completely wound in.
Kites work by deflecting wind. Wind that strikes the kite is pushed downwards. The kite’s natural response is to move up and away, but the line prevents horizontal movement. The kite’s angle to the wind will gradually taper off as it climbs until it reaches a point of balance. When all of the forces acting on the kite are equal, it will essentially hover in place, giving you effortless control over its further movement.