Kite-flying can seem really effortless when the kite is in the sky. However, did you know that there are steps you can take before even launching your kite to make your life easier? Use the following steps to ensure that your kite-flying experience is an amazing one!
- Check the weather forecast for the area you will be flying in.
- Check your kite for any damage.
- Pack necessary items for your trip.
- When at the flight location, check your kite lines and any other equipment.
- Ensure that you have a safe launch area.
- Prepare anchors and any other equipment.
- Check the direction and speed of the wind.
- Ready to launch! Stand with your back to the wind and hold your kite up to the wind. When the wind catches the kite, release it and start letting out the kite line to let it fly higher. If you are flying an extremely large kite, you will want a friend or a team to help you launch it.
Kite flying can be fun for everyone involved. Keep in mind that safety should be our top priority when flying kites, and everyone will have an enjoyable time.
Check The Weather Forecast For The Area You Will Be Flying In
One of the factors that you should consider when deciding when to go and fly a kite is the weather. We cover in detail what is good kite flying weather on this site. As a general rule, you will want the following:
- Light breeze (between 8 to 24 mph) unless you are flying a large kite, which usually requires stronger winds.
- No precipitation – rain or heavier precipitation can weigh down your kite and kite line, which can lead to damage. We recommend leaving it to the experts to fly kites in the rain.
- Take note that if you are in a country that has 4 seasons, you can also fly a kite in Winter! Depending on the state that you live in, there may be winter kite festivals, which can be a great outing for the family.
- Good sunlight and temperatures.
- It can be wonderful soaking up sunlight, however prolonged exposure to the Sun can cause wrinkles, age spots, or worse, skin cancer. If you will be flying a kite without any shelter, make sure to wear enough protection such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat! You will also want to stay hydrated, so make sure to drink plenty of water.
- Extremely hot or cold temperatures can make it difficult to focus on kite flying. Ensure that you wear appropriate clothing for the forecasted temperatures.
You will also want to ensure that you keep an eye on the weather while flying your kite. Weather can sometimes be unpredictable, and even a clear forecast can change rapidly.
Check Your Kite For Any Damage
It is always disappointing to pack everything for a trip to the park or beach for a kite-flying session, only to unpack your kite and find that a part of it has been damaged. Common damage to your kite includes broken spars, a torn sail, or a stretched sail or bridles. This can be due to wear-and-tear, or improper handling.
It is a good habit to always check your kite and any other equipment you will use in your kite-flying session prior to leaving the house, and then to check them again after travelling to the flight site, and one more time after a kite-flying session.
Pack Necessary Items For Your Trip
If you know that you will be flying your kite(s) for an extended period of time, make sure to pack any necessary items such as food and drink, extra kite lines and spars. If you are attending a kite festival and won’t be returning home every night, make sure to pack extra clothes.
Other items that are useful as part of your kite-flying kit are:
- Small but sharp pocket knife with a sheath – not only is this useful for cutting crossed or tangled lines, but also to make adjustments with if need be.
- Boundary tapes (aka flaggers or surveyors tape) – these come in vibrant and eye-catching colors and can be easily made into tails if you need to make one on the spot to help balance your kite.
- Additional reels. You may also want to consider bringing additional spools of kite line, with varying weights if you intend to fly different kites or to compensate for stronger winds.
- Additional spars for your kite(s).
- If you have a splicing kit for your kite lines, make sure to pack it as well.
- Gloves – fingerless or otherwise, gloves can be handy when handling and bringing down your kite, especially in high-wind situations where gusts can cause rope burn.
- Carabiners – these are useful if you need to attach your kite to an anchor, or around an object temporarily. Make sure to check how much weight each carabiner can bear when using them.
- Mini first aid kit.
When At The Flight Location, Check Your Kite Lines And Any Other Equipment
When you have reached your destination and are unpacking your kite and other equipment, it is a good habit to inspect your equipment as you unpack them.
When unpacking your kite, check for any broken spars, torn or stretched sails, and any frayed or broken bridle lines. Broken spars are common when in transit.
Inspect your kite line(s) to ensure that there is no fraying, stretching or shrinkage. This goes for your kite tail(s) and laundry line items as well.
If you are flying a large kite, you may want to invest in a decent set of anchors to anchor your kite. If you do have anchors, make sure you inspect them for any wear-and-tear or fraying. Make sure you also have enough anchors and material (if using a sand anchor) to weigh down your kite, or they could turn into missiles.
Ensure That You Have A Safe Launch Area
Once you have checked and are satisfied with your equipment for kite lying, check your surroundings. Are you too close to a line of trees or obstacles? These can create turbulence, or your kite could be eaten by a tree. Are there too many people around, preventing a safe launch of your kite? You may want to cordon or mark off your launch area. Generally, it is more visible to use flagging/boundary tape on branches staked into the ground than to spray a boundary on the ground.
If you are flying a massive kite (at a kite festival, for example), you may have already got a friend or two to help. They can help you to get people to move a safe distance away from your launch area, as well as help to launch the kite later.
After you have cordoned off an area, depending on how you will be launching your kite, you can lay out your kite lines for an easier time launching.
Prepare Anchors And Any Other Equipment
This step is to remind you to ensure that your anchors are securely staked into the ground; if you are using sand anchors, this would be a good time to fill them and then set them inside your launch area. You should also attach carabiners to them so that it is easy to attach your kite line to the anchors when you choose to do so.
Check The Direction And Speed Of The Wind
While some advanced kite fliers will want to invest in an anemometer, as a beginner, one can also wet the tip of one’s finger and put it in the air as a quick and easy way to determine the approximate direction and speed of the wind.
It is important to note the direction of the wind as you will use it to help launch your kite in the next step. The wind speed will give you an indication of how quickly your kite will launch at your height.
Ready To Launch!
If you are flying solo, stand with your back to the way that the wind is blowing, and hold your kite up to the wind. When the wind catches your kite, release it and start letting out the kite line to let it fly higher.
If you are flying an extremely large kite, you will want a friend or a team to help you launch it. In this case, you should assign roles to each person in your team. The basic roles are:
- Pilot – the only person who will hold on to the kite line. No one should touch the kite line unless the pilot specifically tells them to.
- Launcher or launch team – this could be a single person or a team helping the pilot to launch the kite. After the kite has been launched, people in this role may have other roles assigned to them such as:
- Catcher – someone (or a team) who catches the kite as it is being brought down; or
- Spotter or Observer – a person who is watching for any anomalies with the way the kite is flying, or for any changes in the weather. They can also watch out for any spectators that may unknowingly walk into the launch area during launch, or when the kite is being brought down.
With a team, reel out your kite line and have the launcher or launch team hold your kite approximately 100 feet downwind from the pilot, keeping the kite line somewhat taut. You will want to have a pre-arranged signal to let your launcher know to let go of the kite. When the launcher releases the kite, reel in your kite line quickly to allow your kite to gain height.
You may have noticed that we have not recommended that you do the run-and-launch. Running to launch your kite is possibly the hardest way to do it. As you run, you create uncontrolled tugging on the kite line, which makes the kite dive towards the ground rather than lift up. It would be much easier to let the wind and your reel do the work instead.
Remember: safety should always be your top priority. Unsafe launches can cause damage to your kite and harm to yourself or others. We hope you will put these steps to good use, and have a wonderful time flying your kite!