Parafoil Kites

3 Kinds Seen At Kite Festivals

The MBK Parafoil kite in flight.MBK Parafoil
The MBK Parafoil kite in flight.MBK Parafoil

The parafoil kites you see in the air at kite festivals can be of the single, dual or quad-line variety. These are soft kites, meaning there are no rigid spars in their construction.

Most commonly, the quad-line kites you see down at a beach or at a festival will be surfing kites, as they tow surfers through the waves and even into the air from time to time.

Most parafoils are not easy to re-launch from water, so are not used for surfing.

Single-line and dual line parafoils are flown over the sand and we have seen too many of these at the local festival to remember them all!

Very few of the parafoils you see will be home-made though. Even a simple one is relatively complex to put together, compared to say, a simple Diamond or Sled.




If you would like to make a simple plastic parafoil - be my guest! Here's how...

Making The MBK Parafoil is a PDF e-book. This means you can download it then print it off if desired.




Here's a summary of the 3 types of parafoil, which all feature a double-surface sail containing many cells which are open to the airflow at the front...

  • Single-line. Relatively flat kites, often with multiple small keels to which the bridle lines are attached. These can look a bit like a flying inflatable mattress! Also, there are novelty kites that are technically parafoils, but come in all sorts of creature shapes and sizes.
  • Dual-line. Fast, highly maneuverable stunt kites which pull hard and are flown from a stationary position. Although soft in construction, you still wouldn't want to be hit by one of these, in windy weather!
  • Quad-line. Traction kites, meaning designed for pulling buggies, mountain boards, or even a pair of in-line skates! Two lines are used for steering, while the other 2 are brake lines.

See if you can identify some of the above types in the listing below!



Photos Of Parafoil Kites & Comments

Two colorful single-line parafoils, with twin tails. The flat-looking design with multiple small triangular keels is only seen in single-line kites. We've seen a variety of these at our local kite festival. Some can be quite large, requiring a large bag of sand as an anchor or even the tow-bar of a vehicle. Simple and bold graphic designs suit these kites best, since the 'canvas' is not exactly table-top flat when you get up close!



Some small soft stunt kites can be flown in a single-line configuration, like this one. See how the 2 main bridle lines are attached near the wing-tips with shorter lines, like a 2-line stunter. However, both bridle lines come together at a single flying line attachment point. These parafoil kites are efficient and durable, with a solid amount of pull for their size. Very little space is taken up when they are rolled up and put away.



A great close-up of a 2 line power kite in flight. It looks a little like a paraglider, not only in shape but also in color-scheme. You can clearly see the individual cells running from front to back. The multiple bridle lines on each side, and even a few meters of the 2 flying lines can be seen against the dark gray cloudy background.

This kite could probably be used to pull something along on wheels, such as a mountain board, or just flown as an over-grown stunt kite. Plenty of fun to be had either way!



Nice photo of 4-line traction kites pulling two 3-wheeler kite buggies on a sandy beach. The guy on the right seems to have a little tension on the brake lines of his kite. Look closely at the trailing edge, near the small white logo at the top end of the kite. See how the blue material is sloping down like an aircraft flap... I guess these parafoil kites are 'flying in formation'!



What a great photo this is! It really captures the feel of harnessing wind power while traveling along on a 4-wheeler land board. Sometimes called a mountain board since they can also be used for skating down steep terrain like snow-boarders do.

See how most of the work is done with those top 2 lines. The bottom 2 are used from time to time to brake the kite, or for finer steering control.




That's about it for this photographic overview of parafoil kites. Maybe you will recognize some of these types next time you attend a kite festival or similar event. The smaller ones are mass-produced and can be quite cheap.

Have a look at Making The MBK Parafoil Kite if you would like to make and fly one yourself, from my e-book instructions. The e-book is a PDF file download, from which it's easy to get print-outs. 


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...

  • A huge "photo of the month" (via a link)
  • 3 "tips of the month" (one each for beginners, parents and the more experienced)
  • A "flight report of the month" (selected from my own flying logs)


Back to top of page


Need winders, reels, flying line?

We earn a small commission if you click the following link and buy something. The item does not cost you any more, since we are an "affiliate" of Amazon.

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. Global News Report:
    Kites Old Fashioned And On The Way Out

    Dec 05, 19 08:15 PM

    From the USA. Kites might not be a default family activity any more, but... ---------------------------------------------------------------- Jill Dillard often shares posts about Derick doing things w…

    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

Like/share this site...

Like/share this page...

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...