WHERE TO FLY

dad and daughter flying the kite they made at a kite making workshop
Plenty of wide open spaces at our beaches.

Always fly your kite in wide open spaces well away from trees, buildings and hills. The beach, park or paddock are usually great places to fly. Obstacles within 50m of your kite will greatly interfere with the steady wind flow needed for good kite flying.

Parks are great places to go kite flying with the kids
Parks are great - but watch out for the trees!

WINDS

Medium, steady winds are great for kite flying. Just keep away from other kites!

Medium winds are best for most kites. If there is not enough wind, your kite will not get off the ground – if there is too much wind, your kite will spin around in circles and you risk crashes and breakages. Kites fly best in steady winds, not in gusty, strong-then-light type winds.

You should not need to run to fly your kite except for very light winds.

A well designed kite will fly in a wide wind range and cope with less-than-ideal conditions but there is no kite that will fly in all conditions.

ASSEMBLY

Assembling your kite depends on what type or shape it is and how it’s designed. All of our kites come with full detailed assembly instructions but here are a few generalisations.
Delta Kites usually have 1 rod that fits across the back of the kite into pockets or rubber fittings. It’s job is to spread the wings of the kite and keep them apart in flight….that’s why it’s called a ‘spreader’. Deltas are nearly always super easy to put together. All of our Deltas come with the string already connected to the kite so, one stick across the back and you’re ready to fly!

A single rod across the back of a delta
kite spreads the sail into position.

Diamonds often have 2 ‘spreader’ rods that join together in the middle. The plastic fitting in the middle is called a ‘dihedral’ and it’s made with a 15° angle to set the sail in shape. It’s really important to have this angle turned the correct way. Look at the images here to see which way to turn it. If your Diamond won’t fly, check this first! Like the Deltas, most of our Diamonds already have the string attached so, once you’ve put the 2 sticks (we call ’em spreader rods) across the back, you can take off.

Two rods across the back of a Diamond kite meet at a joiner.
Make sure the joiner is around the right way.

Compound Kites like Butterflys, Sharks and Dolphins usually have a combination of rods to fit across the kite. If you simply follow the instructions that come with the kite, you will be up and flying in no time. Some of the rods are very thin and are designed to bend (don’t worry, they won’t break). You can see that the thin white rod on the photo of the Shark is really bent to fit into it’s pockets. This keeps the ‘head’ of the shark spread while also giving the sail ‘flexibility’ to bend and move in the breeze.

Thin fiberglass rod spreads the Sharks head.
(It slips into the stitching break behind his beady eyes!)

details of the spreader rod in the head of a single line shark kite
Jellyfish single string kite. No assembly needed
No assembly needed, connect the string and fly away!

Dragons & Foils
Shapes like the Jellyfish don’t need any assembly at all. They are already together so all you need to do is attach the flying line and you are ready to fly. This also applies to Parafoil designs. They are soft kites with no frame that fill up with air in the sky. No frame means no assembly.

Parafoils are 'soft' kites (no frame) so need no assembly
If your kite has a Loop, Ring orEyelet.

The last step in getting your kite ready to fly is to connect the Flying Line. This is the fancy name we give to the string wound onto the handle. Most of our kites here at Leading Edge come with the flying line already connected but, in case it comes loose, here are a few ways to attach them.

If your kite has a short knotted string in the middle.

Never assume your flying line is tied to your handle!
If you let out all of the string and it is not tied to the handle, your kite, and line, will disappear into the sunset!

LAUNCHING

Boy launching the single string kite he made in class kite making workshop
Slowly let out string until the kite gets high.
In Medium or Fresh winds, stand with your back to the wind and simply hold your kite to the wind and it will rise into the sky.
Slowly let out string until your kite gets high.
Most kites will be quite wobbily and unstable close to the ground (this is because of ground turbulance).
If this happens, have a friend hold the kite a few meters downwind from you while you pull it gently from their hands.
Once you have got into more stable air, start letting out more line slowly, the higher you get the more stable the winds will be.
Fly high to get away from ground turbulance.


You should not need to run to fly your kite however in very light winds you may need to run a little to allow the kite to rise.
Make sure you only run
into the wind and watch where you are going.

In light winds, you can also do a ‘long line launch’ This is where you let out lots of string and, while a friend holds the kite downwind, you gently pull it from their hands.
Tell them not to throw the kite into the air, just let you pull it from their hands.

This is the same technique we describe above for getting away from turbulent winds so,
if the regular just-hold-the-kite-to-the-wind launch doesn’t work, give a long line launch a try.
If you don’t have someone else with you to hold the kite, just lean it against a fence or tree trunk or any sort of obstacle, walk back to your kite handle and pull it gently away. Again, you may need to do a little running to get the kite high.
.
Try a long line launch for light winds

ADJUSTMENTS

A kite flys well if it has a correct angle to the wind. Some kites, like single point diamonds, are ‘self adjusting’…they will flatten or deepen as the wind strength changes.
Other kites, like keeled deltas, may have a few different anchor points or eyelets on the keel. By attaching your flying string to a different eyelet, you can change the ‘angle of attack’ of the kite. Try the
top eyelet in stronger breezes and the bottom eyelet for lighter winds.
Kites with bridle strings with 2 attachment points, like our magnificent Rainbow Cell, can be adjusted by moving the towing ring up or down.
If your kite is adjustable, try experimenting with the different settings in different winds. Generally you want the sail to be open for light winds and flat for stronger winds.
adjusting towing point on a single string kite

If your kite spins in circles or rolls to one side.
Loosen the slip knot  at the ring and pull on the piece of string that goes to the TOP of the kite.   
This will move the Start Mark ABOVE the slip knot and make the Top leg of the bridle a little longer. This will heel the kite down and it will be more stable in flight.

* If the kite spins in circles, pull the TOP bit of the string until the Mark is 5-10 mm ABOVE the knot.

how to adjust a kites angle of attack

 If your kite doesn’t lift away from the ground.
Loosen the slip knot  at the ring and pull on the piece of string that goes to the BOTTOM of the kite.    This will move the Start Mark BELOW the slip knot and make the Bottom leg of the bridle a little longer. This will flatten the kite in the wind and it will rise higher in the sky.

* If your kite won’t rise away from the ground,   pull the BOTTOM bit of the string until the Start Mark is 5 to 10 mm BELOW the knot.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Kite spins in circles

Usually this is because the wind is too strong for your kite type. Try adding more tail to increase drag and give it more stability (see About TAILS below) If you have a Delta shape, make sure the leading edge rods are pushed all the way down into the wing tips. Your angle of attack may be too steep, try moving your towing point up toward the nose of the kite (see ADJUSTMENTS above)

Kite will not lift off, or away, from the ground

Generally this is because there is not enough wind for your kite type. If you have removable tails, take some off to reduce weight. If your kite is adjustable (see ADJUSTMENTS above) open the sail up to more wind by moving the towing point down a little.

Kite pulls to one side

A kite usually pulls to one side if it unbalanced or to ‘release wind’. If you have a Delta shape, make sure the leading edge rods are pushed all the way down into the wing tips. Make sure the sail is ‘balanced’ left to right. Your angle of attack may be too steep, try moving your towing point up toward the nose of the kite (see ADJUSTMENTS above) In strong winds you may need to add a little tail of some sort to the lower side to get better balance. Experiment with different lengths to get the balance you need for your winds.

ANCHORING

Most times when you are flying, you will hold on to the handle (never the string!) but every now and then you might need to use a ‘hands-free’ technique. If you ever do need to anchor your kite, simply tie it off to something that is fixed to the ground like a fence post or tree trunk.

Never tie knots in your flying line….it will weaken the line so that it breaks and it’s also very difficult to untie the knots!…. so it’s best to use a ‘larks head’ knot. It’s easy to do and very easy to undo.

Never leave your kite unattended. Even if it’s flying smooth and steady you never know when the wind will change direction or change strength.

RETRIEVING

When you’ve had enough and it’s time to pack up, simply wind your line back onto the handle to bring your kite down. There are a few things to remember about bringing your kite down.:-
  • Always wind your string onto the handle, don’t spool it on the ground, that’s a tangle waiting to happen!
  • If you can’t wind the string straight onto the handle, keep it stretched out along the ground, disconnect the kite and wind in towards you while it is stretch out in front. This is the best way to avoid tangles.
  • Don’t wind your line in under pressure. If it’s really windy and there is lots of pull on your line, winding in with this strong pull will put lots of pressure on your handle and can crush it. In strong winds, have a friend ‘walk ‘ the line down…while you hold the handle, get them to hold the line as they walk towards the kite to bring it to ground but away from you. Then you can disconnect the kite and wind the line in without pressure.
  • – When ‘walking’ a kite down, use a hand-over-hand method like lifesavers do with rescue reels. If you run the line through your hands it will really burn, especially in strong winds.

About TAILS

Tails not only look great, they provide your kite with extra stability. In strong winds, we often add more tail to our kites to keep them steady in the sky and to stop them spinning in circles. Just about anything can work as an extra tail in an ‘emergency’….ribbons, streamers, your kite bag….Just make sure it is balanced. It must be either in the exact middle of the kite or, if you have 2 tails, out on each wingtip. Tails have the opposite effect in light winds….they add too much drag and stop the kite from rising. Be ready to remove any extra tails if the wind drops.

CARE and REPAIR

All of our kites are made with quality RipStop Sailcloth and Fibreglass frames, with a little care and attention, they will last a lifetime. Here are a few things to remember.
  • Store your kite rolled up in it’s carry bag. This will protect it and save you from last bits.
  • Sand and salt are very abrasive, if you’ve been to the beach, give your kite a quick hose down with fresh water and let it dry before packing it away.
  • Direct sunlight will fade bright coloured nylon fabrics quite quickly. Don’t store a kite in direct sunlight like the back dash of a car.
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