You may have heard all sorts of advice when getting ready to go out and fly a kite. For example: “Don’t fly too close to a tree” or “don’t fly a kite when it’s raining!”. Here is an easy-to-read list of our top 10 safety tips for flying a kite.
#10 When in doubt, ask for help.
This is especially true if you are new to kite flying. Please ask for help if you are ever unsure. You can either reach out to your local kite flying club, or to a local kite shop. You could even have a chat with another nearby kite-flier if you have any questions while out flying.
You should also ask for help if you need someone else to either watch your kite for you or to assist you with retrieving or launching it.
If possible, check when and where your local kite flying club has activities for beginners. These are often a great way to introduce yourself and be introduced, and possibly have a seasoned ‘kite flying buddy’ to fly kites with.
#9 Location, Location, Location!
The ideal spatial conditions for kite-flying are:
- Large and open space
- Generally flat ground that has little to no obstacles such as rocks or marshland
- The area is clear of trees and other obstacles such as overhead power lines.
Generally, you won’t get into trouble for flying a kite in most public spaces. However, did you know that in the USA, there are rules and regulations listed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for flying kites? This brings us on to our next tip.
#8 Make sure you’re not breaking the law when flying a kite.
As mentioned, the FAA in the USA has some regulations on how high and how and where you may operate a kite. These rules and regulations are to keep you and others safe.
According to the FAA, no one may operate a kite more than 150 feet above the surface of the earth. This is usually suitable for general kite flying, even with overly large kites.
There are restricted areas in which you must not and cannot fly a kite. Examples of such restricted areas are any airport and military camps in the USA. Flying a kite near an airport or other restricted areas such as military camps or training areas can be dangerous both for you and others in the vicinity.
To legally fly a kite in the USA, you will need to be at least 5 miles outside of the boundary of any airport in the USA. If you stay near an airport, it is best to take a 15-minute trip to a park to fly your kite, rather than to try and fly it in your backyard.
It can be a dangerous distraction for others if you fly your kite too close to an airfield, as your kite can distract both pilots and Air Traffic Control (ATC) crew during critical stages of flight, such as take-off or landing. A kite flying at sufficient height can also block visibility, or it could be sucked into aircraft engines or get entangled in propeller blades.
In some countries, it is also not permitted to fly too close to highways, motorways, and busy roads. This is to prevent a kite from obstructing visibility for the vehicles on the road and causing accidents.
If you are unsure, check with your local kite flying club, or your local Aviation Administration office. Do note that different countries may have different laws and regulations and it is always good to check prior to embarking on a kite-flying session.
#7 Avoid obstacles.
You may have heard this piece of advice often enough to discount it – after all, a kite-eating tree is only part of a comic strip…right?
Unfortunately, there have been instances where obstacles such as trees, buildings, or power lines can damage a kite or injure a person, or both. The branches of a tree can easily snag your kite or kite line; your kite could accidentally fly into the side of a building, breaking its spars or tearing the kite sail.
If your kite is stuck in a tree, try to coax your kite free by letting out some line when the wind picks up. Sometimes, your kite will catch the wind and lift itself out of the tree if it’s not too badly snared.
Power lines are one of the most dangerous obstacles on this list. If your kite is tangled with power or telephone lines, or anything that looks electrical in nature, call your local power company immediately. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RETRIEVE YOUR KITE YOURSELF. Power lines are dangerous even for professionals, and can be lethal to the untrained. We recommend that you write that kite off if you are unable to retrieve it.
If you choose to fly a kite in your backyard, make sure that you stay away from any obstacles, including your own house. At speed, a kite can be a missile that can crack windows.
If you are unable to fly in a spot where there are no obstacles and you aren’t feeling comfortable about flying near a tree line or an obstacle, it’s best to postpone your kite flying session to another time. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
#6 Watch the weather.
Before you pack your kite-flying kit for a kite-flying session, check the weather forecast for the area that you’ll be flying your kite in. This is especially true if you stay in an area where the weather can change very quickly.
You should also check that the forecast of “clear weather” will hold till whatever time you want to finish your kite-flying session. The weather may suddenly change, which can make it unsafe for you to keep flying. If you notice that the weather is changing i.e. light rain turning into a storm, make sure to bring your kite down quickly, so that your kite doesn’t become a missile in high-wind conditions.
We have also written an in-depth guide on the ideal weather conditions for kite-flying where you can get into the nitty-gritty of weather conditions suitable for flying a kite!
#5 Be considerate of those around you.
When flying a kite in a public space, you may not be the only one flying a kite there, or there may be other people simply out enjoying themselves.
Other Kite Fliers
Unless you are participating in a kite-flying competition, other kite fliers in a public space are not competing against you. It can be, at best a nuisance, and at worst dangerous, if a kite is flown to disrupt other kites in flight.
I have had the unfortunate experience of having my large Delta kite cut loose by accident. This happened on a busy day at the beach, and my kite line had tangled with another kite’s. Not knowing much, I kept tugging on my kite line, hoping that my kite would spring free. A few minutes later, there was an audible snap and I watched helplessly as my kite fluttered away. In case this ever happens to you, walk towards your kite, and scan the crowd to see if you can find someone who is struggling with their kite as well. If you find that person, you can work with them to bring both kites down safely – and hopefully undamaged.
Do not purposely attempt to tangle or cut down other people’s kites with your own – this is frowned upon and considered bad kite-flying etiquette unless you are in a kite-fighting competition. This can end very badly for all parties involved.
If possible, fly a distance away from others; and if in doubt, refer to our #10 tip above to ask if another kite-flier would be kind enough to share the space with you!
It can be fun and mesmerizing to watch kites in flight. In a crowded area, spectators can easily get tangled in either your kite’s sails, lines, or tails. If you are flying solo, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings. It can be helpful to anchor your kite so you can watch your belongings and surroundings easily.
To ensure that people do not accidentally walk into your kite line(s) or anchor(s), you can either cordon off an area and/or put up signs. If flying an overly large kite, you may have a team, with a person specifically assigned to guide people away from the kite launch zone.
#4 Always supervise children around kites.
Children can get caught up in watching the pretty and eye-catching shapes and colors in the sky. They may also attempt to chase after the kite(s) if it flies out of sight. This can be dangerous for them as children tend to be unaware of their surroundings while fixated on the kite(s). They could move very quickly from a safe space to one that is not so safe.
Take note that children don’t need to be flying a kite to land themselves in danger. We recommend that adults always keep an eye on a child that is flying a kite, or if there is someone nearby that is flying a kite. This is to prevent the child from wandering away, or getting entangled in kite line(s).
Read more about the dangers of kite flying and what you can do to mitigate them here.
#3 Have a kite-flying kit.
Throughout this website, we have mentioned a kite-flying kit. This includes items that are useful during your kite-flying session, on top of your kite(s), kite lines, anchors, tails, and any other accessories.
If you intend on making kite-flying a regular part of your schedule, we recommend that you have a bag that contains the following essential items:
- 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.
- Splicing kit – 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 or to an object temporarily. Make sure to check how much weight each carabiner can bear when using them.
- Mini first aid kit.
Our in-depth guide on what should be in a kite-flying kit has more information and ideas for your kit!
#2 Always check your kite, kite line(s), and accessories before and after a kite-flying session.
We cannot stress this enough. Make a habit of checking your kite(s) and accessories before and after a session can help not only to prolong the life of your items, it can also prevent an accident.
For example, if you have a tiny hole in your kite sail, and it rips while in flight, your kite could drop from the sky and injure someone. If your kite line is severely stretched, it could snap while you are flying your kite, which can lead to a lost kite.
Once you have safely landed your kite, make sure to check it for any rips, tears, or broken spars. You can also take this opportunity to check if your kite lines have been overly stretched.
If you notice any issues with any items in your kite setup, you should either repair or replace them as soon as possible.
#1 Know your limits.
Knowing your limits is always helpful to ensure that you do not strain yourself. Before you start flying a kite, you should be aware of the following:
- Limitations of your skills: if you are a beginner, choose a beginner’s kite and work your way up from there. Using an overly large or complicated kite can be dangerous for you and those around you.
- Limitations of your physical strength: flying a kite that is too big for you to handle safely is dangerous as you may not have the strength to hold on to it, or you may not be able to bring it down safely. The wind can also change swiftly or there may be sudden gusts that can catch you off-guard. Do not fly in winds that are beyond your strength as they may take both you and the kite away!
- Limitations of your kite and the rest of your setup: Be aware of the pull, lift, and speed of your kite. If you are learning to fly double- or quad-line kites, be sure to fly with a group of people who are knowledgeable on handling those types of kites. Overall, such knowledge help you to better control your kite.
Flying a kite (or multiple kites in one session) can put a strain on the body, especially over long periods of time. If you get too tired, you may not be able to safely retrieve your kite, or you may have impaired judgment of the situation, both of which can cause serious damage to you, those around you, or to your kite. Always fly within your limits.
We hope that this list has been enlightening and helpful to you. Do you have any other tips that you want to share? Comment down below!