How To Fly A Kite

Having Trouble?

Need a hand with knowing how to fly a kite? We've seen plenty of struggling kite fliers from time to time! On the beach, at the park, near a kite festival in full swing. Can you relate to this? If so, the information here should be very helpful.

How to fly a kite like this simple home-made Delta

This page is all based on our own flying experiences with single-liners such as Diamonds, Deltas and Rokkakus. Each type has its quirks, but the basics apply to them all. The emphasis is on flat or bowed kites with solid spars, but you should find plenty of info here that applies to Parafoils and Sleds as well.

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A note about flying shop-bought kites...

If the weather and location are good, and the kite is a simple, proven design like a Diamond or Delta, there shouldn't be much problem. The manufacturer should have pre-set the bridle to give immediate success in most weather conditions.

These kites are generally quite accurately made. Most have a good wind range, meaning they fly in fairly light right through to fairly fresh wind.

However, be aware that not all those fancy novelty kites are great fliers!

This Stowaway Delta Kite from Amazon is an example of a good shop-bought Delta.

The principles of how to fly a kite aren't any different if it's home-made. However, a whole bunch of things can go wrong if the kite is not made carefully. Also, the smaller the kite, the more accurate you have to be!

Having said that, homemade kites can provide a lot of fun and reward. Heck, most of this website is all about making your own kite!

The beginning of any flight is the launch. This can be a little tricky when you are on your own, inland, in a gusty variable breeze. I've put together a few tips for this hand-launching situation. Since there are some large fields quite close to home, we don't often fly down at the beach where winds are smoother.

In good conditions, once you have your kite up high, there really isn't much to it. Just watch it do its thing. Anchor the line somewhere and keep an eye on things from time to time, while you do something else.

Often, it gets more interesting than just turning up somewhere and holding a string. So, I've written more on the various situations that can arise when kite flying with single liners.

But, supposing there are problems, for whatever reason. Time to check out a few tips. Maybe someone has fiddled with that bridle adjustment...

How To Fly A Kite...
And Not Get Bored

Some, maybe most, people just enjoy the relaxing aspects of flying a single-line kite. Just watching it fly, perhaps enjoying the subtle artistry of color and movement. Maybe even enjoying the feel of controlling an almost-living creature on the end of the line. However, if you would like to get a little more out of your kite, why not try the following ideas. No special equipment is needed! OK, maybe a stopwatch if you want to get more serious...

  • Launch straight off the ground, on a long line. Pull in line to get the kite in the air, then let it climb up to full height.
  • Bring your kite right down into your hand without letting it touch the ground. Pull in quicker from time to time if needed, to keep it airborne.
  • Keep records. See how long you can keep it in the air, to the nearest 5 minutes.
  • See how fast you can get 150 meters (500 feet) of line out, from a hand launch.
  • See how quickly you can get the flying line to a 45 degree angle from your hand at maximum length.
  • Once you know how to fly a kite, get serious about photographing it from time to time.

Of course, with money, extra gear and more experience you can eventually try a range of even cooler things! Like...

  • Teddy drops or lolly (candy) drops under a simple parachute, using a Kite Messenger to haul the payload up the kite string
  • KAP - Kite Aerial Photography
  • Flying really large and artistic kites of various kinds, to draw a crowd
  • Getting involved in kite fighting competitions with Indian or other fighter designs.
  • Getting serious about making and flying really small kites. Requires great craftsmanship and finesse!

That's about it for my somewhat long-winded speil on how to fly a kite.

Talking about being long-winded, here's some more ideas on why you might want to go fly a kite. It's quite a long page!

And just in case you want to know how a kite flies, I've done a piece on that too!

By the way, if you are in any way involved in teaching others to fly kites, take a look at How To Fly A Kite, by Glenn Davison. This book was prepared for the AKA (American Kite-fliers Association).

You might have noticed that this site has a monthly newsletter...

For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.

And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Dowel Box Kite Rides Inland Gusts

    Sep 16, 14 05:51 AM

    A recent bout of sickness has left me with double vision for a while, which rules out driving the car anywhere. So it was time for a return visit to the small grassy reserve where many of the 1-skewer designs made their debut years ago. The easy walking distance from home was the main thing!

    Looking out the window, the breeze shifting the tree tops around seemed capable of supporting the Dowel Box kite. The Fresh Wind version with its smaller sail panels. Sure enough, down at the reserve, the kite managed to grip enough air around 50 feet to stay up fairly comfortably. A couple of times I had to interrupt some movie-taking to coax the kite higher as it threatened to sink right back to the grass.

    After 20 minutes or so of flying near the lower end of the kite's wind range, a period of fresher breezes began. In the somewhat sheltered location where I stood, the wind meter showed around 8 kph gusting to over 12 kph. However, the breeze was clearly over 20 kph higher up. The firm pull on the flying line was one indication!

    Isolated rain showers had been forecast for the area, so fairly low cumulus clouds were everywhere. No rain had fallen all day in our suburb though.

    The cloudy sky-scape made for some attractive footage of the 2-celled Box surging about in the gusts, lulls and wind-shifts. Due to the small size of the reserve, it was wise to not let the kite fly on more than about 45m (150 feet) of line. But that was enough to let it take full advantage of the moderate-strength (20kph+) airflow over the treetops.

    So, some enjoyable box kite flying today, with the 50 pound Dacron feeling like thread compared to the 200 pound variety with which I do most flying these days!

    About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.

    Read More

New! 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...

Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!


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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."


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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!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"