Power Kite Safety

For Stunt Flying And Traction

Are you a power kite beginner and wondering about kite safety? The following bunch of tips should give you a feel for the relevant safety issues. For this page, I'll use the term power kite to mean any flexible kite used for stunt flying or traction.

By stunt flying I mean making the kite fly big shapes in the air while you stand still and control it. In the case of traction, that means the kite is pulling you along. For example in a buggy over the sand or on a surf board in the ocean.

This Slingshot B2 trainer kite is a very good one for learning to control a hard-pulling steerable kite.




Kite Safety Hints

The old saying still holds true. 'When in doubt, read the instructions!' Kite safety is no exception. Look for a sticker on the packaging or a printed slip which gives kite safety warnings and flying tips. Definitely worth spending a few moments to read.

It's a great idea to start flying a new kite in fairly light winds, until you are used to it. That way you'll feel more in control when you take the kite out in stronger or gustier conditions. This could apply to stunt or traction kiting. You might even decide to get a small trainer kite first, to have a bit of fun and get the hang of flying a parafoil in a range of conditions.

Choose the right kite, not too big for the wind conditions you expect to fly it in. Whether shopping on or off-line, it's easy to get advice on this point. Apart from asking the shop owner, you can just hang out in a relevant forum online to get some answers. Kitesurfing safety advice is easy to come by, this way. Forums where you can find land kiteboarding safety advice or advice for stunt flying might be a little harder to find.

I can remember seeing a news article where a young guy went out stunt flying with a large power kite. In a gale! He got picked up by a gust and dumped many meters away, and was fortunate to survive.

This kite safety issue is just common sense really... Fly your new kite in a large enough area, away from obstacles, including other people. In the case of stunt flying, imagine the full extent that the kite might arc to the left or right. Make sure there's nothing there but flat ground. Can you imagine someone getting whacked in the ear by a fast power kite? Or the Spectra lines doing an egg-cutter thing on someone's pet dog? I've read about a Flexifoil Stacker that was claimed to have hit 160 kph! Is that fast or what.

Wear safety gear if you are getting dragged over the ground, for example in buggying. Protect yourself from getting scratched and bruised when you come unstuck in a fresh breeze. Maybe a bush leaped out and got you. Or you didn't react quick enough to a big gust and you end up sliding across gravel.

On the topic of kite safety gear, a helmet is sometimes recommended for kite surfing in the ocean. Most images you see on the Web show people kite surfing without helmets, but in strong conditions it's possible to hit the water hard. At high speed, water isn't soft any more, and it is possible to get injured. Some kiting helmets are pretty minimal and don't look anything like motorcycle helmets, and yet offer useful protection. Of course, when traveling over hard ground, that's an even better reason to use a helmet!

If you use a kite harness, a safety release system allows you to detach from the kite in an emergency. For example, if you are about to hit a hard object. Or if a huge gust threatens to turn you into an unwilling paraglider pilot! Also, if you are using a fully-depowerable kite, it's quicker to just drop the bar and get out of trouble that way.

Think about getting kite instruction before getting into the more advanced extreme sports. It costs a bit, but results in fewer hassles and a smoother entry to the thrills of traction kiting. Actually, by being less likely to damage your kite, you might even save a bit of money in the long run!

Otherwise if going it alone without any kite lesson, get good at doing stunts with your power kite before thinking about letting it drag you along. One thing at a time! Stunt pilot first, then kite boarding hero later...




E-book special...


This month, it's the Dowel Delta.

Get the e-book for making this super-light-wind design.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means convenient off-line access while you make the kite. It also means printable instructions if that's what you prefer.



What's New!

  1. Japanese Fish Kites

    Jul 27, 16 07:00 AM

    A previously published page containing background info on these 'kites' from Japan. Very ornate and glossy, these are more correctly described as 'windsocks' since they cannot hold a positive line ang…

    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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E-books


Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





Testimonials
(unedited)

"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!"

_________________

"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"




Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!





Wind Speeds


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
38–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6