How To Fly A Kite

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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.

The MBK Dowel Rokkaku kite in flight.MBK Dowel Rokkaku
The MBK Dowel Rokkaku kite in flight.MBK Dowel Rokkaku

Can you relate to this? If so, the information here should be very helpful.

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.

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 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.

Try this colorful delta kite from Amazon.

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

 Like to see a video clip? Just scroll down to near the end...

The principles of how to fly a kite aren't any different if it's home-made. Like that Delta in the photo. 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...

"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 decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."

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...

How to fly a kite like this simple home-made DeltaMBK Simple Delta - quick to make, easy to fly in light winds

How to fly a kite like this simple home-made DeltaMBK Simple Delta - quick to make, easy to fly in light winds

  • 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.

That's our home-made MBK Dowel Delta in the video up there.


It's easy to get hold of a nice-looking delta kite from Amazon. This one has plenty of good reviews!


You might like these...

FREE E-Book!

I'm referring to Simplest Dowel Kites, my popular kite-making download. It's a printable PDF file. Make a diamond, delta or sled. Each kite is capable of flying hundreds of feet up for hours on end.

Could you do me just a small favor though?

Please sign up for my free monthly publication, "Tethered Flying". No other emails will be sent, and your details are safe with me. You need to be at least 16 years old. There's...

  • 3 "tips of the month" (for beginners, parents & experienced)
  • A fresh "photo of the month" (+ link to big hi-res version)
  • A fresh "flight report of the month" (my personal flying)
  • News section on the MBK kiting board game. (download!)

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Click here to buy anything you need. Just use the Search box in there if you need different weights or lengths of line, for example.

P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

What's New!

  1. How To Make A Paper Rokkaku Kite - Step-by-Step - MBK Paper Rokkaku

    Aug 06, 20 08:42 PM

    Learn how to make a paper rokkaku kite with these easy-to-follow instructions. Fully illustrated with close-up photos.

    Read More

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 ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
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

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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...