Two-string kite flying

Yesterday I went to Hanlan’s Point beach with some friends, in part to fly my DC Sport dual control nylon kite: 60″ wide.

It’s a fun thing to fly. The only control surface you have is the entire airfoil, and the only axis of motion you can directly control is roll, by altering the relative length of the two strings.

The kite has a flight envelope comprised of a curved two-dimensional surface, with varying levels of power in different places. With very little practice, most people get a high degree of control. One guy walking along the beach was able to do it almost immediately when I suggested he give it a try.

It would be neat to get a parasail-style four-string kite with more power, pitch as well as roll control, and the option for controlled reversible landings.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

16 thoughts on “Two-string kite flying”

  1. The simplest systems provide steering by pulling either end of the kite. More lines can provide different functions. These are:

    * adjusting the angle of attack: Pulling on lines attached to the front edge of the kite will reduce the angle of attack and thereby reduce the pull of the kite.
    * braking: A line pulling the trailing edge down causes a braking effect that can be used either to make the kite turn quickly if applied to only one side, or to bring the kite down if applied symmetrically.
    * distorting the kite: Useful when the kite is lying on the surface of the water. A fifth line is occasionally used to do this and thereby makes relaunching much quicker and easier.

  2. Course 104 – Kite Lines

    There are many different types of kite line used in today’s kites. We will cover three of the most common lines in this section. Each of these three types have their own characteristics that make them best at what they are used for. Each type is listed below with their good points and bad points. By using the list below, you will be able to choose a line that will work best for you.

  3. “Gloves, proper reel choices, goggles, guards, tension limiters, and other safety devices help to reduce accidents. Ability to de-power a kite’s lift and drag is a part of sound kite systems. Tensed line can act as razors. Moving lines can cut through flesh too easily. Fatalities too often occur from kite line abuse. Keep kite lines in good condition. Realize that knots weaken kite line. Keep kite lines dry and clean. Log any wear and use of the line; replace lines as needed. Choose a safety factor when designing a line for an application. Avoid flying in the rain or stormy weather changes.”

  4. Samuel Franklin Cowdery (later known as Samuel Franklin Cody; 6 March 1867 – 7 August 1913, born Davenport, Iowa, USA) was a Wild West showman and early pioneer of manned flight. He is most famous for his work on the large kites known as Cody War-Kites that were used by the British in World War I as a smaller alternative to balloons for artillery spotting. He was also the first man to fly an aeroplane in Britain, on 16 October 1908. A flamboyant showman, he was often confused with Buffalo Bill Cody, whose surname he took when young.

  5. That looks like so much fun! Was it very windy? In Pakistan they have a national holiday of flying kites adorned with money. The object is to cut down as many kites as you can. Children run all over the city trying to get the money off the fallen kites. the kites are beautifully decorated and the string is reinforced with cut glass. It creates a beautiful colorful sky and brings many people onto their flat roofs.

  6. It had some problems already when I lived there, but it was greatly loved. Compared to the everyday struggle of surviving in Pakistan, kite flying is quite relaxing and enjoyable.

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