Hand Launching Kites

In Gusty Inland Winds

Want to know all about hand launching kites when the wind is gusty and the kite doesn't stay up long enough for you to let some line out? Let's assume the towing point is about right, since the kite tries to fly some of the time.

Putting up the 2-Skewer Barn Door in a gusty Winter breeze
A kite like the Prism Stowaway Delta is easy to launch for two reasons... No tail floating around and no towing-point adjustment required, since it's a keeled Delta!

The best approach here is probably to just let a helper carry the kite some distance away, while you let out the line. Then tell them to hold the kite up and let it fly out of their hand when the next gust comes through. If the helper is a kid then just be prepared for them to hold the thing upside down though! Yes, it's happened more than once to us. Not all kids know how to fly a kite.

Eventually, with some practice, you will be able to get good at hand launches. You dangle the kite from your hand, let the wind catch it and then let line slip through your fingers whenever you feel the kite pulling. If you do it right, the kite quickly gets higher.

Hand launching kites is a balance. Let line out too slow, and the kite is still low down when the wind dies. Let it out too quick, and the kite loses height, perhaps all the way to the ground! Climbing a kite is a process of letting out line when the tension is strong, and holding on when the tension is light.

A tip: Unless your spool or winder is designed to let out line continuously, it is easier to just pull off a fair amount of line onto the ground before attempting to get the kite flying. It's easy to slip line through your fingers when you don't have to try and unwind it at the same time!

When the tension is very light, you might even have to give the kite a hand by pulling line back in! This can be a lot of fun, when trying to keep a kite up in wind that is barely strong enough to make it fly. I can recall several times when I have brought the kite almost all the way back to my hand before managing to climb it away again up to several hundred feet in the air. When you can do this well, you'll feel like an expert!

Another tip:

Whenever you need to lay line on the ground, try to move around a bit so it doesn't pile up in one spot. Knowing how to fly a kite includes avoiding nasty tangles!

E-book special of the month...

Barn Door is a traditional American design, and this MBK version has delighted many of this site's visitors over the years.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite is only a small step up in difficulty.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Barn Door kite. Down to a mere $2.95 for this month.

The MBK Barn Door is a reliable flyer over the Light to Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, if the kite is made according to the instructions.

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. Flying A Kid's Kite

    Oct 26, 16 07:00 AM

    A previously published page which offers some thoughts on how small children relate to kite flying - broken down into age-groups. Partially based on experiences with our own son, Aren...

    Read More


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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"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
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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