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Kite Help

- How to choose a kite

First kite for children:-
Parasled, No. 5 delta, Small Van Sant delta, Octopus. In that order.

For absolute beginners (all ages):-
Parasled:- the easiest kite to fly.
Deltas:- all types, but especially the Van Sant Delta. Nothing to adjust and easy to assemble. Bigger kites should be ordered with a tail, so that you can fly in a greater range of winds.
Bird kites. See above.

Slightly more complicated, but still easy:-
Octopus kites:- Fibreglass frames, so pretty bouncy. These have a simple bridle which may need adjusting for different winds. Also snakes. All make nice sounds in the sky and have a lively flight.
Flooks:- Although they look more complicated, all the flooks are easy to fly. They don't fold very small, though...

If you can read instructions:-
Rokkakku:- Not as hard as you might think, and easy to assemble. Four-leg bridles. Will lift tails.
Tsugaru:- These have a tail, so relatively steady in flight. Nice shape, not quite what most people expect in the sky.
Pilot kites:- Triangular-celled boxes, easy to assemble and very steady in flight.
Genki and Flare:- Good in very light winds.

More advanced:-
Square boxes:- All fairly easy to fly, but some are hard to assemble. You may need strong fingers or a little patience. Not for small children. Hexagonal and Croydon boxes are easier to put together.
Rollers:- need light winds and precise adjustment before flying.
Tailed kites:- Mostly easy to fly, but the longer tails need patience to launch, and the kite will not be stable until all the tail is in the air. They do look spectacular, though.

Difficult kites, not for beginners:-
Vampyre:- A bit of a beast. Lots of spars and a bit inclined to bite. Some experience and stout gloves for this kite, please.
Sode (and Suruga):- Needs a very steady wind and will not like being crashed.

Kites for lifting things (line junk, laundry, radio aerials, cameras, bears, sweets, etc):-
Double (and large single) pilot kites:- very steady fliers. Large Rokkakku:- Good "billboard" kites capable of lifting well. Ginormus and TDB Deltas:- I recommend a tail for lifter deltas. Lifting at your own risk- check your insurance, please.

Bear in mind that the largest sizes of most kites will be harder to control in difficult conditions. Fly safely!

Kite won't fly?


If the kite will not lift:- may not be enough wind; bridle may need adjusting (see note below); too much tail; make sure you are not in the "wind shadow" of a building or trees.
DO NOT RUN! It is a waste of time and you could hurt yourself...
If the kite rises very rapidly then dives from overhead:- may be too much wind; not enough tail; bridle may need adjusting (see note below).
Kite leans to one side:- check that nothing is twisted and the bridle is not caught up somewhere. Deltas- check that the spars in the wings are right down inside the pockets. If there is a cross-spar or matching side spars, try turning them round or swapping them over- if the kite leans the other way you have a warped spar- replace it. If you need to replace a spar which has a "twin", replace both. If you don't know how, ring me or email for advice.
If the kite starts to dive- LET OUT LINE. This will either cause it to recover, or soften the blow if it crashes. When the kite lands, keep the line in your hand and go to pick it up- if you drag it across the floor you WILL damage it.

Bridles
The bridle keeps the kite at the right angle to the wind, and if it is not adjusted well the kite will not fly. If the kite rises too fast the bridle ring needs to be moved DOWN a little. Try just a little at a time until you are happy with it. Likewise, If the kite will not rise, move the ring UP a little at a time until it takes off. Some kites (Deltas, Birds) have a fin rather than a bridle. They don't need adjusting...

Finally:- Repairs!
I am always happy to repair one of my kites if it should have a mishap or just get worn- nothing lasts forever and they are designed to be mended. However- I will be very unhappy if you have put glue or sticky tape on the kite before you send it back. "Ripstop repair tape" is as bad as any other sort, and gaffer (duct) tape is the worst. If you must do a "running repair" on the field, please take it off as soon as the kite is down and make sure you remove all the residue. I have a kite in the workshop at present with so much sticky stuff on it that it may not be repairable, and that would be a shame...