How to Fly a Kite

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM
  • The best places to fly kites are large, open spaces such as parks, public playing fields and beaches. A good launching site should be open to the wind and well away from roads, airports, trees, tall buildings and electric power lines. Also, don't fly a kite in stormy weather.
  • Average kites fly well in steady winds of about 12-24 km/hr (when tree leaves and twigs are moving slightly); delicate kites require lighter breezes. Wind speeds of up to 32 km/hr (when small trees are swaying) are generally safe for larger, sturdy kites with strong lines.
  • To launch a kite in good winds, stand with your back to the wind and hold up your kite. Let line out only as fast as the wind lifts the kite. If the wind lulls, pull in line to gain altitude.
  • In light or gusty winds, have a friend hold your kite 100 feet or more downwind, with the line stretched tight. When you signal, your friend should raise the kite in both hands so that it catches the wind. Then reel in line to make it climb.
  • It's hard to launch a kite by running, as uncontrolled tugging on the line makes it dive and crash. Let the wind and your reel do the work instead.
  • Careful line handling lets you control your kite when it's airborne. Maintain a steady line tension for an even flight. Take in line to move your kite in the direction it is pointing. Let out line to change its direction.
  • Use the line to keep in touch with your kite. If the line goes slack, the wind has lulled - reel it in to slow your kite's descent. If the line gets taut, check to see if a gust is making your kite loop or dive. Let out line to help it recover or soften its landing. Always leave some line on your reel for unexpected gusts.
  • If your line tangles with another's, hold yours steady and walk toward the other flier. The tangle will move down the lines so it can be undone.
  • To land a kite in moderate winds, reel it in slowly, pausing if too much tension causes it to loop. With a hard-pulling kite, walk it down. While a friend holds the reel, put the line under your arm or hold it with a gloved hand, and walk toward the kite to bring it in without increasing the apparent wind speed.