Tied to the Sky

Wind Window and other Kite Flying Tips

wind for kites
The wind window is an important thing to understand if you want to make your kite flying experience a blast!  Its a good idea to have an understanding of how the wind "works" and those things that affect it. Being able to determine where it is strongest and where it is lighter are key to kite performance    Obviously, as you fly your kite through the window the flight speed and characteristics can change.  With the wind at your back (yep, I really have to say it!) you will find the power zone directly in front of you.  You will find your kite is fast and pulls the hardest in this area.   

wind window for kite flying

As the kite approaches the zenith or the top of the window the kite will slow down and generate less power.

As you fly to the outer edges of the window, left and right sides, the speed and power will diminish also.

In higher wind days, I will often launch and land towards the outer edge of the window.   This allows for a slower, more controlled launch or landing.   I also tend to trick there on the higher wind days - I try and find the sweet spot where I can get enough wind at the right speed to play.

Be aware of what is up wind from you.  Trees and buildings can have a dramatic impact on the wind quality.  This is called a wind shadow.  The air moving through trees or around building can make for some trashy wind as opposed to smooth and steady.  Trashy wind buffets the sail and doesn't fill or stay filled properly and this affects flight.   Hills and valleys can also produce some interesting wind that rolls.   Personally, my favorite wind is ocean wind - smooooooth - but as a land-locked prairie boy you learn to take what you can get!

While we are talking about being aware, check for overhead power lines - flying into power lines is a recipe for a really bad day!  It can kill ya and vaporize your kite in short order.  Ben Franklin flying his kite with a key makes for a cute story but flying kites in a lightning storm is a special kind of stupid! Seriously though, please fly safe, we want kites to be a fun healthy activity for you!

Two last things.  Watch out for people.  Stunt kites and foils can get going pretty fast and sometimes people don't see or think about the lines.   Kite lines under load with speed can really hurt someone.  Be aware other others using the space.  

Last thing... DOGS.   I have had several flyers share stories of how a dog playfully attacked their kite and caused significant damage.  I know... dogs are supposed to be on a leash and the owners are responsible for them but I have yet to see a dog owner compensate a flyer for a DDK (Dog Destroyed Kite). 

 Fly safe, have fun and smooth winds!


At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Blog section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada.  

Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question?  Drop us an email!

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Weather Resources for Kite Flying

wind sock - wind for kite flyingI have found since I have started flying kites that I have a greater interest in the weather.  Aside from taking a long hard gaze at every flag pole I pass,  I have come to find a couple of online weather sources really helpful.

Environment Canada's weather site.  Find weather, wind speed and direction by city and town in Canada.  A great tool for kite flyers!

Wind Energy Atlas - a Good source of wind information! aims at developing new meteorological tools to be used by Canada's wind energy industry. Consultants and the general public will find here valuable data about this promising renewable energy."  Good source of wind information!  

Launch Code "is the premiere weather forecast source for sport aviation pilots. The forecast data is read 'real-time' from the National Weather Service Aviation web site. This data is adjusted to the local time zone and converted into a graphical format.  With over 1000 locations across the country to choose from including Hawaii and Alaska, you can probably find a Launch Code station near you."

Truth be told, despite the best weather intelligence- you just never know for sure!  Living in Southern Alberta Canada, the wind for kite flying is often feast or famine.  I compensate for this by:

a) keeping a few kites in the car.  You never know when you may have some time to fly and the weather is right!

b) I like to have some low wind, some standard and high wind kites - a kite for every wind!

So good luck!  And we sincerely wish you Smooth Winds!


At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Blog section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada.  

Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question?  Drop us an email!

Read more →

What is a Wind Shadow and how it impacts Kites

What is a Wind Shadow and how it impacts Kites

Choosing an appropriate flying location for your kites is often given little thought.  For many, they look at the trees or a flag flapping in the breeze and decide to head to their local green space to fly kites. But did you know that the landscape (topography) of the flying locations has a huge impact on your kite performance?

Trees, hills, and buildings affect the quality of the wind you have in the typical flying zone and can thwart the successful launch of even some of the best kites.  On the prairies, I often describe the wind as "trashy" and by this mean it is not smooth, rather it is gusty or rolling and choppy. 

There is another term to describe this phenomenon - Wind Shadow.  Wind Shadow is the term used to describe the disturbed airflow downwind of obstructions like trees, hills and buildings.  

Think of it this way; have you ever stood behind a tree or a building to escape  a cold wind?   The obstacle blocks the wind forcing the airflow to go around, under or over the obstacle. It is this air movement that creates disturbed (flakey, choppy, trashy) air flow.  This wind is often swirling and rotating which can sometimes create down drafts that can keep your kite from taking flight.


Learn more: Understanding the Wind Window


Flying field selection is key and this means being aware of what's around you.  The rule of thumb is a wind shadow is approximately 7 times the height of the obstacle.  So, if a building is 20ft tall, it is a good idea to launch your kite 140ft down wind of the building.

 

Wind shadow affect on kites

Careful flying field selection and paying attention to recommended kite wind ranges becomes even more important when we fly performance stunt kites - where we are looking for smooth steady airflow. It becomes a significant safety consideration when flying large traction kites.  Being aware of the impact of the Wind Shadow can go a long way to making your kite flying successful!

At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do we we pride ourselves in providing a variety of quality kites for many different interests, ages and abilities, we also want to do our best to make sure your kite flying experience is great, and that means we do our best to provide a selection of kite flying tips and advice in our Kite Resources section. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online. We ship throughout Canada.  

Don't see what you are looking for? Have a kite related question?  
Drop us an email!

Read more →

Join the American Kitefliers Association (AKA)

THE AKA IS A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO SHARING KITE FLYING WITH THE WORLD.

American Kite Fliers AssociationFounded in 1964 by the late Robert M. Ingraham of New Mexico, the American Kitefliers Association (AKA) has thousands of members in 25 countries, making it the largest association of kite fliers and kite clubs in the world. Our purpose is to educate the public in the art, history, technology, and practice of building and flying kites - to advance the joys and values of kiting in all nations.

We strive to promote public awareness of the pleasures and educational opportunities that kites provide. They can remind us about how we interact with our environment and each other. Kites can be a source of community building, breaking down barriers that typically prevent us from interacting. No words are needed to fly a kite!

Learn More about the AKA

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Assembling Your HQ Butterfly Kite

My boys set to work to produce this informative video on how to set up the HQ Butterfly kite.  These beauties are pretty simple to assemble and these few tips will help you avoid a few common assemble mistakes!
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