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Go Fly a Kite – There Are Really Cool Ones

Kite

March in the United States is generally the perfect month for kite flying but anytime there’s a brisk breeze and you can get outside to enjoy it is a good time. The experts at American Kitefliers Association have a few helpful tips.

A kite for anyone

The hardcore specialists recommend keeping in mind a few simple things and you’ll have a really great experience. First, they note, pick the right day, time, and wind. Then you need to find a good place and the right kite.

Choosing the right supplies and accessories can make a huge difference. Once you have the gear in the right place and time, there are some standard steps to get airborne and keep control. Overall, you need to be ready to make corrections if problems come up.

Category 5 hurricanes aren’t a good day for kite flying. While you need wind, you don’t want too much of it. Around 8-15 mph is optimal. Lighter ones can fly in as little as 3-4 mph wind. Likewise there are heavy duty stunt kites that need a lot of wind, up to 25 mph. You also want wind that’s fairly steady. Not gusty then calm. Once you get off the ground, the wind stays much steadier aloft.

Dusk and dawn aren’t the greatest times of day. Not only is the light in your eyes, wind tends to be light and variable. As a rule of thumb, if a light flag extends from a nearby pole, you have enough wind. If small trees in the area start to sway, it’s too much for small kites.

When choosing a place for kite flying, the best is clear and open. Also where the wind blows steady. Avoid trees, poles and power lines.

Farm fields, parks and beaches are great options. A large flat area is a must. Air becomes turbulent when it flows around obstructions like buildings and trees. The more open the area, the smoother the wind flow.

Choosing the right design

Kites don’t have to be fancy but they can be. They can get expensive too. In general the kite design can be matched to wind conditions and skill level. Aficionados usually have a collection to chose from.

For a light wind choose a no tail model with a lightweight frame and a large sail area. For heavier wind, add a long tail, extra bow, flex, or dihedral.

When it comes to accessories, there’s more than just string. You may want a winder to reel it back in later.

Kite

Other helpful things to pack along with your kite are sunglasses, gloves to handle the string, a hat to shade your eyes and sunscreen. You’ll want to bring a camera and snacks for everyone. A few chairs and a first aid kit are also helpful.

For a basic single line kite design start with your back to the wind. Hold it up high by the bridle point and slowly put out some string. As long as there is enough wind, it should rise right up.

As the kite flies away, pull back to make it climb. In lighter wind you can go for a jog or get a helper. Too light a breeze will cause it to sink tail first. Too much wind causes spins or headlong dives. Adjusting the tail and bridle can often solve the problem.

What do you think?

Written by Mark Megahan

Mark Megahan is a resident of Morristown, Arizona and aficionado of the finer things in life.

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