Why Go Fly A Kite?

1001 Reasons (OK, Maybe 5...)

Why go fly a kite? The phrase has a negative connotation for some, as in telling someone to 'go fly ...' In fact, there's an RC Kite company in Singapore with the name GoFlyKite. There's some Singlish (Singaporean English) for you! I've met the guy, and seen him demo what many refer to as an LED Kite. Flown at night, all lit up, but ahem, I digress...

Anyway, why not go out to fly a kite now and then... A bit of a drive down memory lane has brought a whole lot of experiences to mind, which will help to answer the question.

Probably the most compelling reason to fly a kite is because you just made one! With practice and experience, new kites nearly always fly well on their first outing. I'll never get sick of putting up a new design straight to 300 feet on the very first flight. Weather permitting. It's a good feeling when it happens!

Apart from just a few outings with a sport kite, my experience is entirely with single liners, and mainly home-made ones at that.

Buying something like this Stowaway Diamond Kite from Amazon is another way to enjoy kite flying within a couple of days.
Go Fly A Kite - small Roller at the beachMy wife with 1-Skewer Roller

Just as an aside, it seems that the various major categories of kites tend to attract distinct personality types. Examples? Just 3 might illustrate the point:

  • Power kites attract sporty, adventurous types who traverse all sorts of terrain. Kite powered extreme sports!
  • Sport kites tend to be flown by competitive types who try to improve their own precision flying or beat others in competition.
  • Single liners are often flown by laid-back fliers who appreciate solitude. Like Your's Truly. They tend to have quite a deep connection with the wonder and experience of flight.

Let's explore that 3rd point now, expanding on a few good reasons to go fly a kite...





Noticing People's Reactions

Although the main focus when deciding to go fly a kite or 3 is the flying, you can't help but notice people's reactions. It nearly always makes you feel something. Either about the kite itself or the flying experience that is unfolding. And, it's usually a positive thing! Now, here's a short catalog of people's reactions from past flying outings...

  • A departing car toots as they gawk at the 2-Skewer Barn Door surging around at 200 feet, on a rather warm and gusty day. Hey, someone else is getting something from seeing the kite up there! Perhaps they will go fly a kite later on, as a result.
  • I catch sight of a man craning his neck to watch the tiny 1-Skewer Sode weaving away in a brisk breeze, on 300 feet of line. Although it was weaving, it was basically holding position. The guy was there for several minutes! It was amusing that such a small cheap kite could hold his attention like that.
  • A slightly funny one. This lady comes across the field, walking her dog. Just a quick glance at the strange guy staring up into the sky with his hand in front of him. She disappeared from view, none the wiser. Meanwhile, I was getting a real kick out of seeing and feeling the 2-Skewer Rokkaku overhead at 400 feet, meandering around in patches of rising air. At that height, even if she did look up, it would have been hard to spot!
  • Slightly funnier perhaps... I'm having trouble keeping a kite in the air due to the very fresh breeze pushing it past its limits. Loops and landings. A guy comes up and asks 'not enough wind mate?' You gotta be kidding...
  • And of course, you tend to lose count of the times you hear excited kids saying 'look Mum, a kite!' Anyone getting excited by one of your own kites just sets off a brief feeling of pride doesn't it. Plus it's nice to raise someone else's spirits in that way - even if they are only 4 years old :-)




It Plays On The Senses

Except for the sense of smell, unless you count the subtle smells of the outdoors. The grass, leaves and insects and so forth. When I go fly a kite I never seem to notice. But it's the other senses that combine to really make the kite come alive for the flier. It's not just a kite. It's a kiting experience, and it can really uummm lift you...

  • Sights. The most obvious, from a glowing back-lit sail or striking colorful design, to the characteristic motions every kite has. Tip-wagging Diamonds. Small weaving Sodes. Gracefully floating Deltas. Bending Rokkakus. Steady Barn Doors. The list could go on.
  • Sounds. Flapping trailing edges in a fresh breeze. Rustling tail plastic, as the kite is lowered at the end of the day. Whistles and downright strange noises from the flying line as the wind speed picks up. All pretty subtle most of the time when you're out to go fly a kite. But just occasionally it comes to your attention and triggers a feeling. Faintly positive I guess... There's not a lot of exhilaration in the sound of gently moving plastic! But it's like there's a living thing up there, saying 'Hey, I'm here!'
  • Vibrations, pulses and strains. On reflecting about all the different sensations that can come down the line, it's actually quite a lot. It all depends on the kite and the wind strength. Even the gustiness of the wind plays a role, since smaller kites can sometimes feel like a fish on the end of a fishing line. The direct force of the wind on the sail is one thing, but I think that other aerodynamic effects can also contribute to the pulses on the line. For example, tip stalls and flutter. Bigger kites tend to just raise and lower the tension in the line more gently. However, they can also pull the line super-tight, making it sing at various frequencies as the wind causes vibration!




Love The Great Indoors?
Go Fly A Kite!

Who hasn't heard of the time-honored remedy of 'getting out of the house for a while'? Not an issue for some, who don't actually spend much time inside their own homes, but we're talking introverted kite-fanciers here :-)

A good long kite flying session is good for removing various pressures from your mind. It gives you a break!

Some time out in the sun, protected by a wide brimmed or flapped hat of course. The sunlight ups your Vitamin D levels, brightens your mood and now I feel some verse coming on....

Experience the weather, even measure it,
With windsocks and bubbles lifting and swirling.
Anemometers and gauges whirring -
Flight-enhancing toys for the single liner nut!

Ok, that last line's a 'half-rhyme' with the first line - don't you know anything about poetry? ;-)





Quality Family Time

Particularly with small sons and daughters! Go fly a kite with them. My son Aren has been involved with my kite flying since the age of about 2 years. Much of his early kite flying was conducted from a seated position in his pram!

I'll just list off a few things now, that Aren did...

  • Age 2: Held up a small kite and watched its tail flutter in the breeze. Tossed the reel after grasping it for a few seconds. Spotted the kite in the air and looked at it for a few seconds.
  • Age 3: Ran along, towing a small Diamond kite. Chased after its tail while it was brought down. Hung on to the flying line for a minute or 2, and slowly pulled it in, hand over hand.
  • Age 4: Took an interest in going out to fly. Took an interest in how the kite was rigged. Happy to fly a bigger kite for a while, in light winds. Jerked the line repeatedly, to see how the kite reacted. Before he got told to stop it immediately!

Just a small sample of how kids graduate through stages in their kite-flying.

Of course, kids need other things to do as well, since their attention span can be limited. Meanwhile, you get to continue to fly the kite. Usually you can tether it somewhere. Hence, you can spend time with the youngster, while keeping half an eye on the sky!





The Love Of Flight

And I'll spare you the poetry this time... However, there is something poetic about the flight of your favorite Delta or Rok.

The love of flight spans many things in some of us kiters. Some might enjoy the full range of kite craft, from Traction right through to Indoor featherweights. Others focus steadily on one form or the other. Like Ray Bethell, who only cares for Stunt kites but takes it to the nth degree. World records and all.

And that's only kites! Examine people's backgrounds and you will find airline pilots, glider pilots, aeromodelers heck maybe even frisbee or boomerang throwers. Chances are, a kiter has flown something else in his or her lifetime.

In my case, that's just about everything without an engine, except balloons. Will have to fix that itch one day!

When these people go fly a kite, it tweaks something in their soul. It re-awakens the mystery, the draw, of flight all over again. It's something that remains even after you have gained a solid grasp of the principles of flight. You might know all about it, but you never get sick of re-experiencing a flying object all the same!

"If it flies without an engine - even purer, even better!" Just a thought. Now, go fly a kite will you!

Haven't got one? This Stowaway Diamond Kite from Amazon has plenty of good reviews.






E-book special of the month...


I've been making and flying traditional-style
Box Kites on-and-off ever since this site was started...

Get the e-book for making a range of bamboo or dowel designs. Down to $7 from the usual $9.95, for this month.

With a large range of wind speeds covered, not to mention a large choice of kite size to attempt, the ideal box kite for you has to be in there somewhere!

My personal favorite would have to be the giant 2.4m (8ft) long Multi-Dowel Box which flies steep and steady. It's on the e-book cover over there...

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.



What's New!

  1. The Eddy Kite

    Sep 28, 16 07:00 AM

    A previously published page covering the historical Eddy design - a large tail-less Diamond. Illustrated with our own Dowel Diamond, also tail-less, which is based on the Eddy concept...

    Read More





Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



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Wind Speeds


Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7