Kite line length

by Fred Olson
(Minneapolis, MN, USA )


Recently we found about 4 blocks of line laying in the trees tops along our street. About 720 to 1330 Russell Av N, Minneapolis, MN, USA. I estimate about 2400 feet of line. We finally found the kite in a tree up the street. The kite appears to be an Costco Dragon:

(T.P. - note that despite the bad reviews for this kite, some have had a good experience with it. The one mentioned in this post certainly did alright, managing to lay "4 blocks of line" as it finally came down!)

Is 2400 feet of line an unusually large amount? It seems long to us for an urban area.

So far I have not found much comment on line length on your site. I did find:

"The main reason for doing this is to keep clear of the legal altitude limit."

But I do not know what such limits are or how to find out.

How far might this kite have flow if it had been let loose / gotten
away from it's owner?


Fred, who has not flown a kite for many years though now that I have retrieved this one I may have to try it.


Somebody had certainly been doing a spot of high flying! To answer your points one by one...

"Is 2400 feet of line an unusually large amount?"

It certainly is in countries with strict aviation regulations. Not so much so in developing countries with a kite culture, like India and Afghanistan. In those countries, flying single-line fighter kites is routinely done on thousands of feet of line. Circling dots in the sky! Low flying general aviation craft are much rarer in those skies, so there is less risk of interference.

"So far I have not found much comment on line length"

In the flight reports there are occasional references to line length. For example how high I'm flying and why. Or doing hand launches vs long-line launches.

"But I do not know what such limits are..."

Most countries have a civil aviation authority. These aviation regulators set the rules, including for what can fly at what height. For example, it's the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) in the UK, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in the USA and CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) here in Australia.

I believe the limit in the US is 500 feet for large kites weighing more than 5 pounds. Here in Australia there is a blanket limit of 100 meters (330 feet) for all kites and R/C aircraft. However, the most important thing is to stay away from airports! Don't fly within a few miles of an airport, and always keep an eye and an ear out for low flying aircraft of any description.

"How far might this kite have flow if it had been let loose / gotten

My guess would be at least a mile or two. I say 'at least' because had the kite stayed in rising air for some time, it could have risen much higher than the length of the line and hence travelled far further downwind after the breakage! A kite flying vertically over the tether point is a sure indication of such 'rising air'. Otherwise known as 'thermals'.

Poke around this site a little more if you want. Making and then flying your own kite is a lot of fun!

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