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Flying a Kite Well

Aug 17, 2007
First to be considered is the place from which the kite is flown. There are certain do's and don'ts which operate here. For example, avoid a spot where the kite might become entangled with trees or overhead wires, or where it might sail over a busy road. A good site is one where there is room to move about freely without causing annoyance to others. This applies particularly when several kites are being flown. It is exasperating if the lines get mixed up. Kite flyers, like anglers, give one another sufficient room in which to enjoy their pastime.

Next, a word about weather conditions. It is the aim and intent of the enthusiast to fly his kite successfully under varying conditions. He regards them as a challenge to his skill. At the same time he is not so misguided as to see a challenge in a gale. He knows that because a kite is, after all, but a frail craft, there are limits to its capabilities. In this respect, common sense is a good guide.

The following are instances of different flying conditions. On a warm calm day the air seems to be still. But this is only comparatively so. Although there is little movement in a horizontal direction, there is upward activity. This is due to rising currents of air, called thermal currents. They will be found, for example, above ploughed fields, moorland and where buildings are grouped together. The familiar heat shimmer is an indication of this rising air. On the other hand, on such a day, there will be colder descending air where there is water, marsh or meadow.

Then there comes a day when the wind is blowing. There can be variation in its movement. For example, it may be a fitful wind. Again, and to the point here, it may meet an obstacle such as a hill, a cliff, or a building, in which case it is deflected upwards. The strength of the up current will depend upon the force of the wind, and the size of the obstacle it meets. Rising currents are a means whereby birds can soar, that is, fly without flapping their wings. Again, the glider pilot derives benefit from them. It follows, therefore, that, on occasions, they may prove to be helpful to the kite flyer.

We turn now from the weather to the kite. Before flying it, its size must be taken into account. Sometimes the enthusiast is tempted to build an outsize one. Though it may be the object of interest and admiration, the owner might not have realized that in flying large kites both skill and strength are needed. Someone has said that a 6-ft. kite pulls like a cart-horse. It follows then that one half this size, in a fairly strong wind and when a considerable amount of line has been released, can exert a strong pull. For this reason, the size in this book is limited to 3 ft. 6 in. This is a convenient and manageable size range for the beginner. Later on, if desired, the reader may make larger sizes by increasing the measurements given.

The next thing to do is to inspect the kite. First, check the bridle and the line, to see that they are secure and that the line runs freely on the reel. Secondly, test the bracing and bowstrings to make sure that they are taut. The method of tying these, if proper, will ensure that they can be tightened, if necessary. Thirdly, inspect the cover to ascertain whether it is secure and in good condition. This is very important in the case of a paper cover, as it can easily get damaged.
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