How to Fly a Kite in 6 Steps10 min read

Kite flying isn’t just for kids. Even as an adult, it’s an excellent pastime because it helps relieve stress. There are few things more enjoyable than feeling the wind in your hair and watching your kite soaring in the sky. For some of you, it may even bring up fond childhood memories. If you’re going to try it for the first time or if you’ve gotten rusty at it, you’ll need to brush up on kite flying 101.

Here are six essential steps on how to fly a kite.

Step 1: Choose the Perfect Kite

The quality of your kite is one of the major factors that will affect how well it flies. If you fancy yourself a skilled crafter, go all out and build your own kite at home. Make sure your kite has a sturdy but flexible foundation, and use a durable material that won’t get damaged even if it gets hit by a strong gust.

Check out the following video for instructions on how to build a basic kite.

If you’re building a kite for kids, even the kite-building process can be a fun activity on its own if you get them involved. Let them paint the material or choose a color, for instance. That said, not everyone has the time or skills to build their own kite, but there’s always an option to buy readymade kites at your local toy store. Even better, you can get inexpensive, high-quality kites through websites like Amazon.

You can choose from different types of kites such as the standard diamond, the Delta, etc. You can also find kites shaped like animals and airplanes, which kids will love. For kids and beginners, however, box kites and Parafoils are the safest options.

On the other hand, the standard diamond is the easiest to build. In fact, it was the only one I knew how to build as a kid. Plus, there’s also the option to choose between single-line and dual-line kites, but it’s best for beginners and kids to start with a single-line kite. So in addition to checking for quality, choose something based on what you need and what’s convenient for you.

Step 2: Check Your Flying Space

Kite flying is best done in wide open spaces so there’s ample room for you and your kite to move around. Trees, hills, and buildings can cause turbulence, making it difficult for you to control your kite. Plus, your kite could easily crash into these obstacles and get caught, and you can imagine how frustrating it can be to retrieve it.

Look for areas where there aren’t a lot of large obstacles to cause turbulence. Of course, you should also consider your own safety. So stay far away from power lines, cliffs, and roads. Parks, open fields, and beaches are usually your best bet.

Step 3: Check the Wind and Weather Conditions

Kites need wind to fly properly, but too much of it isn’t good either. If the wind has too much force, it’ll knock your kite all over the place and you won’t be able to control it. So when you’re learning how to fly a kite, you should also learn to observe the wind and weather conditions. Ideally, there should be a light breeze that you can feel on your face but isn’t strong enough to bowl you over.

You can look at the trees to get a fair idea of how windy it is. If the leaves aren’t moving much, it means that there is no wind or that the wind is too light for flying a kite. If the whole tree is swaying, it means that there’s too much wind and you won’t be able to fly your kite properly. No matter what you do, do not try to fly a kite in the rain especially if there’s thunder and lightning.

The amount of wind you need also depends on the kind of kite you have. There are kites made to withstand heavy wind, while some are made to fly in light wind. However, most kites will be able to fly properly in low wind speeds of 4-10 miles per hour.            

For those of you who like to do things by the book, you might even want to use an anemometer to accurately measure wind speed. The following video shows you an easy way to build your own anemometer using a few things you can find at home.

Step 4: Learn How to Launch a Kite

In spite of how it looks, kite flying isn’t essentially a solo sport. You’ll typically need someone to serve as a launcher i.e. someone who helps you launch your kite. Experts may be able to launch their kites without any help, but beginners might find this a bit challenging at the start. Plus, you’ll need stronger wind to successfully get your kite up in the air without any help.

So for beginners and kids, it’s best to have a launcher around when you’re just learning how to fly a kite, especially when there’s little to no wind. All you need is someone to stand 50-60 feet away facing you and holding the kite in place.

You’ll need to pull in on the line as they release it. Make sure that you’re standing with your back to the wind. As soon as they release the kite, it should immediately shoot up in the sky if there’s a decent breeze.

It won’t be long before you’re ready to start launching on your own. However, solo launching requires stronger wind as mentioned earlier. Start by standing with your back facing the wind and holding your kite straight up. Then slowly release the kite without any forceful pushes or throws.

In a stronger breeze, the kite should start rising on its own. Let out some flying line gradually so that the kite flies back, and then tighten your grip before it reaches the ground. This will bring the kite back up, and letting out the line will allow it to fly higher until it reaches steady winds. Check out the following video for a short demonstration on solo launching a kite.

Step 5: Learn How to Control Your Kite

This is one of the most difficult steps in learning how to fly a kite, but it’s also the key to getting better at kite flying. In kiting, you need a lot of patience and this is where a lot of people fail. They may be in a rush to get their kite high up in the air, so they’ll let out too much line.

This can get dangerous because the kite is too high up in the air, not to mention that you won’t be able to enjoy flying a kite if you can’t even see it. Plus, letting out more line means it’s going to get messy and difficult to wind it back.

Instead of rushing to let out your line, keep a steady control of it based on how the kite feels. If you feel that it has become slack, then you should bring it in a bit. If you feel that the kite is pulling too hard or if it’s starting to become unstable, let out a little bit of line.

Similarly, you can pump the line gently if you want to increase the altitude. Pull it in a bit and then release it slowly. Repeat the process until the kite reaches a desired height. It should be able to reach a height where the wind is stable so it can fly smoothly.

Step 6: Make Adjustments

If you find that your kite is unstable and extremely difficult to control, you can also add a tail. While kite tails may seem like a decorative element, they also serve a different purpose; they help keep the kite steady by ensuring that the nose points up toward the sky.

The whole point of adding a tail is to maintain balance, so make sure that you put it along the center of the kite. Even if you have to add more than one tail, they should be equally long. They should also be placed at an equal distance from the kite’s center.

The length also plays a huge role in how well your kite flies. If you keep it too long, it might weigh the kite down as it no longer balances with the nose. So it will keep dragging the kite back down, in which case you will need to shorten it a bit.

Bonus Step: How to Fly a Kite without Wind

Although kites typically need wind to fly, some of you may be adamant to go kite flying even when there’s no wind. There are a few unorthodox ways to do this. You can try the following techniques if you’re trying to learn how to fly a kite without wind:

  • Ride a Lawnmower – When there’s absolutely no wind, some people have been able to fly their kites while riding a lawnmower. However, this isn’t entirely recommended because there could be some safety risks when you’re trying to focus on controlling both the kite and the lawnmower.
  • Use a Helium Balloon – You could even attach a helium balloon to your kite if you’re trying to figure out how to fly a kite without wind. Serious kite-flyers may not be too keen on this solution, but it’s a great solution when the kids must absolutely fly their kites. The following video shows you how to do it.

Final Thoughts

Kite flying may seem like an easy and basic activity from the looks of it, but there’s a lot that goes into controlling a kite. You need to know exactly how to add more height to your kite and bring it back down. You also need tons of patience to make gradual adjustments to the line as needed. So use the tactics given above to learn the 101 on how to fly a kite.

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