Kite Club Of Phoenix AZ
Kite Basics & Safety
From: Into The Wind
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Courtesy & Safety Go Together
Remember That There Is No Substitute For Common Sense
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Kite flying is awesome, but safety needs to come first in order to keep it a safe and joyful experience, one in which the whole family can enjoy. Sport or stunt kites in particular can pose potential dangers to the flier and those nearby from minor injuries to major, but with knowledge and common sense the dangers can be avoided. Know how to fly your kite, make conscious decisions of when and where to fly, choosing safety above all. Here are some safety tips from Prism Kites.
What Can Happen How To Prevent It
What Can Happen How To Prevent It
The FAA has one regulation that currently applies to kites that weigh less than 5-lbs.
No person may operate a ...kite... in a manner that creates a hazard to persons, property or other aircraft.
Some localities have other laws and regulations governing kiteflying. Check with your local authorities.
Choose an open park or field without trees or power lines. Trees or buildings upwind of your site can cause ground turbulence that makes launching your kite difficult. Downwind of your site, these "kite eating" trees or building cause turbulence with a magnetic attraction for kites.
Hills can be great places to fly kites. In all but the lightest winds, stand on the windward side rather than the crest to avoid the turbulence created by the hill itself.
Generally, less than you think, (except here in Arizona where we have almost no wind). If the trees are swaying and it's hard to walk against the wind, you'll have a battle on your hands, even if your kite does fly. Gentle breezes are better for kiteflying.
If you don't have a wind meter, use the Beaufort Scale below to judge the wind. Most kites have a wind rating that will help you determine the appropriate wind speed needed for that kite. Most kiteflying problems are caused by trying to fly a kite in the wrong wind.
Teach yourself how to determine the wind speed. Originally developed to help sailors estimate the wind at sea, our Beaufort Scale is modified for judging the wind on the land.
Today's high-performance designs make it easier that ever to fly a kite. Here are some tips to help you have the most fun from the start.
Attach A Swivel To Your Line: You should use a snap swivel to make it easy to connect your line to your kite and to help keep tangles out of your line.
Adjusting For The Wind: Many kites can be adjusted to fly in lighter or stronger winds. If your kite loops and dives while pulling hard on the line, the wind is too strong. If it wobbles and fails to climb, the wind is too light. If adjusting doesn't help, the wind is beyond your kite's wind range. Try another kite or fly on another day.
Adjusting The Bridle: The bridle is the line that is attached to the front of the kite, that you will attach your line to. This line, or bridle will typically have a loop already in it that was selected as the optimal setting for that kite. Mark the original bridle loop so that you will always know where it was originally. For strong winds, move the bridle loop back for light winds, (like here in Arizona), and forward for strong winds. In some cases you will have more than one loop. In this case select the upper most one for strong winds, and the lower most loop for light winds. You can sometimes make extra loop on your bridle but need to be careful to keep the bridle lengths the same. This should be done by an advanced kiter.
Tails: Match your tail to the wind. A streamer tail may be fine in moderate winds, but not enough for strong winds. If your kite loops an dives, add more streamers or change to a tail with more drag or catches more wind. If your kite flies low and won't climb, reduce or remove the tail.
Diamond Kites: This type of kite is pretty basic and will generally fly without any adjustment. Tails are needed for most diamond kites.
Delta Kites: A Delta Kite looks like a pyramid with a triangle of material in the middle for the string to attach to. Make sure that the wing spars are pushed all the way out to the wing tips. The wing spars are the rods in the leading edges of the kite. If there are two holes on the keel, or the attachment point of the kite, you will select the attachment point based on the wind as described in the "Adjusting The Bridle" section above. A tail is not necessary on a Delta Kite, but adding a tail makes deltas easier to launch and fly in gusty winds, and will stabilize a wobbly kite. Deltas are light wind kites so if your delta pulls hard and loops or dives, the wind may be too strong.
Box Kites: A Box Kite is a steady flier in a steady wind but will fly erratically in gusty or strong winds. Tails are not needed for this type of kite, and the Bridle Adjustments are the same for all single liners. If this type of kite won't climb or drops rapidly each time the wind varies slightly, the wind is to light for this type of kite.
Dragon Kites: A dragon kite has a small rigid area with a very long body that can be described as a tail. Dragons last much longer if you avoid flying them in strong winds.
Launching: In good winds you should be able to launch your kite from your hand. (Running is for when we were kids.) Standing with your back to the wind, hold your kite up to catch the wind. Let line out smoothly, as fast as the wind lifts you kite.
In light or gusty winds, a high-start launch can help get your kite up to the steadier winds above. Have someone hold you kite at least 100' downwind from you with the line stretched tight. When you assistant releases the kite, reel in line as needed to make it climb. In very light winds, leave your reel on the ground and pull in the line hand-over-hand.
Running is the hardest way to launch a kite. The uncontrolled tugging on the line can make the kite dive and crash. Let the wind and your reel do the work for you.
Flying: You can control your kite's flight with the line. Let out line to change your kite's direction. Take in line to move it in the direction it's pointing. Maintain a steady line tension to keep your kite flying evenly.
Also use the line to keep in touch with what your kite is doing. There may be no wind on the ground, but if your kite continues to pull on the line, the wind is still blowing where it its. If the line goes slack, reel in line to keep you kite aloft.
If the pull on you line increases, check to see if a gust has overpowered you kite causing it to loop or dive. If so, let out line quickly to help it recover or soften its landing. Always leave some line on your reel for unexpected gusts.
If your line tangles with another kite line, walk toward the other flyer. The tangle will move down the lines to you so that it can be undone easily.
Landing: In moderate winds, simply reel in your kite, letting out line if excessive tension causes your kite to loop. With a hard pulling kite, walk the kite down. While a friend holds the reel, put the line under your arm or hold it with a gloved hand and walk to the kite. This brings it in without increasing the apparent wind speed.
Winding In Your Line: Keep some tension on the line when winding it in, as loosely wound line tends to tangle on the reel. When winding line onto a spool with your hand, turn the spool over from time to time and wind in the other direction. This keeps the line from being twisted so many times that it tangles.
Never struggle to reel in your kite. Line wound under excessive tension can crush a reel. Walk the kite down or pull the line in with your gloved hands, while moving around to avoid piling up line in one place. Then wind the lin onto your reel.
Flown on two strings, one for each hand, or in some cases with for lines using special handles with two lines per hand, stunt kites give you control of your kite's flight at all times. Compared to traditional kitefrlying, the experience of flying a stunter is more involving and exciting. Moving at speeds of 60-MPH or mor in strong winds, they're positively exhilarating to fly.
Where And When To Fly Stunters: You need lots of space to fly stunt kites. Look for a flying area without people, trees or obstructions for a distance of 200 feet downwind and to either side of where you will fly. Avoid buildings and trees upwind that can cause turbulence. If there are single line kites in the sky, stay away from them to avoid crossing lines with them.
Your First Flight: It's easiest to learn to fly stunt kites in moderate winds. Too much or too little wind can be frustrating and will give you or a friend a bad experience. This usually ends their wanting to fly again. So ensure that you have plenty of wind before sharing the flying experience with a friend.
The speed and power that make stunters so much fun makes them dangerous as well. Any kite line can be a hazard, but stunt lines are thinner, stronger, and move at high speed close to the ground. If someone wanders into your flying range, land your kite. Tell onlookers to stand behind you, the best and safest place to watch. Most people have no idea that a kite or its line could cause them harm.
Never fly your stunter in more wind than you can control it in. Some kites generate tremendous pull, even in moderate winds. Be prepared for it!
Never fly near overhead lines, in stormy weatyher or with we lines. Most kites are poor conductors of electricity, but some have conductive graphite spars. If your kite causes an electrical short by contracting power lines, you can be held responsible for any resulting damages. Never try to remove a kite from overhead lines yourself. Contact your utility company for assistance.
Hope to see you all on the fields!
And pray for wind! This is Arizona after all!
Gadget Man Manson