Stunt Kite - Uneven Turning
by Adam Carter
(Port Neches T, USA)
I have an older 2 line delta stunt kite. It was for beginners when I bought it (about $65 fifteen years ago) and has had its share of wrecks but still flies well. The spars should be replaced soon and a few seams resewn just to tighten it up, but the main problem I am having is sluggish turns to the left.
When I pull to the right it is very tight, but to the left is slow, and as it gets older it gets slower. It's always turned slow that direction since I have had it, but is getting slower.
I know it's time for a newer more advanced kite, but I was going to pass this on to my 11 year old son to fly and wanted to "tune it up".
I'm hoping that an experienced kite person, initials G.C. ;-) , will jump in here to help, since my own experience with repairing a stunt kite is very limited! However, experience or no experience, it's a fact that Delta stunt kites depend heavily on being symmetrical, just like single-liners. The left side should be an exact mirror-image of the right side, in other words.
I would rig the kite indoors, then very carefully look at the sail and the bridle lines on either side. Get out a ruler or tape measure...
Sail: Any obvious stretching, letting the sail billow a little more on one side? Are the positions and lengths of any stand-offs exactly the same on both sides? Where the sail edges attach to the spars, does this look exactly the same on both sides? Any slippage on just one side? Does anything look different on the left as compared to the right? Perhaps it could be fixed when those seams are re-sewn.
Bridle: Measure the lengths of every individual leg of the bridle lines. The measurements on one side of the kite should correspond exactly with the measurements on the other. If anything differs by a measurable amount, double-check, then try to adjust it back to symmetry with the other side.
Spars: Look right along them - are they all perfectly straight? If not, replacing the spars should help. What are they made of? If plastic or fiber-glass, that's OK, but wooden ones... One leading-edge dowel might be more flexible than the other one, which would certainly affect turning ability in one direction. But I doubt you have a dowel kite :-)
I realize my reply is heavy on fault-finding and a bit light on what to actually do about fixing the fault, but I hope this is helpful anyway! If you can pin-point the difference between the left and right sides, perhaps someone at a local kite shop might be able to go the rest of the way in suggesting the best fix.
Happy fault finding!