Tied to the Sky / Canadian kite shop

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 →

What is a Parafoil kite?

What is a Parafoil kite?

Bora kite parafoilParafoil kites are often made of ripstop nylon and they have no rigid frame or skeletal system .  Sometimes it  is helpful to think of something that looks like a parachute.  It is thought that the parafoil kite design was the work of Domina Jalbert (1904-1991).

The parafoil kite has an upper and lower skin (hence para) with vertical fabric cells sewn in between the two skins.  These cells fill with air and give shape and form to the kite so that it can take flight.  Through the opening of the cells in leading edge (top) of the kite wind is tunnelled into the cells.   The resulting air pressure is what give the parafoil kite its aerodynamic shape allowing it to take flight.

The parafoil kite uses an intricate bridling system that is designed to add further shape and aerodynamics to the foil helping it to have an efficient angle of attack for the wind in relation to the tow point where the flying line(s) connect.  Efficient and effective bridling of the kite also adds stability and in some applications like kite surfing makes for stable efficient maneuverability.

Usually the bridling is ideal out of the bag but sometimes experienced kite flyers will HQ Fluxx trainer kiteadjust the bridle for various wind conditions.

Parafoils come in a number of shapes and sizes.  These include single line kites to large lifting parasols, to multi-line traction kites designed to generate pull and power for snow kiting and kite surfing.  The same theory is used with many large inflatable show kites that you may have seen.

The benefits of the Parafoil kite includes no framing to break or lose, they are pretty easy to fly, can generate strong pull.  In addition, they pack up into a relatively small package which makes transport and storage pretty easy!

Great Canadian Kite Company sells a variety of parafoil kite designs from the simple single line kite to the big lifters to the parafoil kites used for snow kiting and KiteSurfing. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online.  Don't see what you are looking for?  Drop us an email!

Read more →

Stunt Kite Flying Basics

Stunt Kite Flying Basics

Have you seen our stunt Kite flying manual?

 Flying stunt kites is an exciting way to enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise and relax.  Many people like to learn the latest tricks, while others like to fly their kite listening to music on their iPod.  Stunt kites are a wonderful way to spend your leisure time with friends and family. The following is our illustrated start up guide for flying two line stunt kites.  This material was collected from a variety of sources and presented here for your information and interest.

These basic tips will help you get in the air faster and enjoy more success as you take to the skies with your new kite.  Also have a look in our resource section for some great online kite fly tutorials to help take you to the next levels!

 Click on images to enlarge

Kite flying instructions.  How to fly a stunt kite

 

How to Fly a trick kite - two line kite

Read more →

Top 5 Things to Consider when Buying your Kite

Top 5 Things to Consider when Buying your Kite

buying kites in canada

There are many businesses that you can purchase kites nowadays, but discerning shoppers are looking for more than just a low price. In addition to a competitive price, they are looking for quality and support to enrich their kite flying experience whether it be a family affair or for a single person hobby.

Quality kite retailers are such that they provide added value for their customers - its good for business and its good for the sport of kite flying. Not all retailers that sell kites know kites, and this difference can make or break your kite flying experience.



Here are 5 Things to Consider when Buying your kite:


1) Does the retailer sell quality kites from manufacturers who stand behind their products? - Not all kites are created equal, and there are a variety of materials that can be part of a kite. Some materials are great for durability and fly-ability, and some aren’t.
Look for a ripstop nylon sail cloth and fiberglass or carbon fibre framing. Also, consider whether they come with line and a storage sleeve or case.
Quality also is a measure of kite performance. Do they fly well and are they fairly robust to endure the learning curve?

2) Can you get replacement parts? Do they have your back after the sale? There are lots of people who will line up to take your money, but the quality kite dealer is there both before and after the sale.

Why? Because serious kite retailers want their customers to enjoy kite flying and experience success.

Why? Simple, because we enjoy kites too! And people who enjoy kites will buy more kites and happy kite flyers are really the best ambassadors for the sport!

All that aside, we deal with many, many people who have purchased their kites from retailers who don’t stock parts or provide after sale service. Lets face it, a quality kite that you spend money on, you want to fly for a good long time. Your kite retailer should be able to help get you back in the sky, FAST!

Also, quality kite retailers have good relationships with the manufacturers and can be a liaison for any warranty/defects or new and exciting products. In addition, this relationship helps with special orders, and troubleshooting, if need be.

3) Are you buying your kite in Canadian or US funds? This will save you serious money, and in most cases get your kite to you fast. Before you buy from a big box        e-commerce site, make sure you know what funds you paying with.

We have had several people tell us horror stories after purchasing from large .com retailers. They tell us that by the time the smoke clears on their credit card; after the exchange rate and credit card fees, import related costs and tax, they have paid considerably more for that kite compared to what they could have purchased it from us at the Great Canadian Kite Company.

Homegrown Canadian Kite shops are generally on top of their business and understand that in today's market place we compete globally, and we must be competitive with the US retailers. However, it is up to the consumer to be sure they are comparing prices correctly.

4) Are they knowledgeable about kites and kite line? It is always a good idea to purchase your kites from a company that is knowledgable about kites. A retailer who knows kites, whose focus is kites and not just another sku.

Knowledgable kite companies can help you make informed decisions and answer any questions you may have. Quality online kite retailers like Great Canadian Kite Company not only have free online resources but also have a Toll Free number that you can call and talk to a real person. They also have email addresses that are constantly monitored and will provide a timely response to your inquiry.

5) Are they kite flyers? The bottom line when choosing where to buy your kites is are they kite flyers themselves? Are they passionate about kites and do they have genuine, on the kite field experience with the kites they sell?

Having someone with experience and passion can go a long way to enriching your kite flying experience, and dealing with any kite issues you may have. Someone who knows what it’s like to get to the flying field and there’s no wind or be able to give you practical tips to having a successful kite flying experience with your children. A kite flyer can also keep you abreast of new products, modifications, kite events and so much more!

Read more →

Why do we Sleeve Spectra Kite Lines?

kite line sleeving kitKite line Sleeving 

 

(You can find this article in our Kite Resources section too!)

Line sets
 are an important and costly necessity of flying your multiline sport kite, so it is important to make sure that you take steps to protect your line sets to maintain performance, increase longevity of the line and save you money.

Sleeving is like a tube sock that we put on the ends of spectra kite lines or any place where we tie a knot. Sleeving is made of hollow braided Dacron and is usually positioned at either end of each line where the line connects via a Larkshead Knot to the flying straps or to the kite tow point.

Spectra kite line, while stronger than steel, has a relatively low melting point.  Wherever there is a knot in the line this is a place of friction which creates heat and will significantly reduce the strength of your spectra line and will be the point of a line break.

This sleeving material acts like a heat diffuser by reducing and diffusing the heat generated by friction at the knot.


Sleeving Your lines.

At Great Canadian Kite Company, all of the sport kite spectra line sets we sell comes pre-sleeved. We are pleased to offer Shanti Kite line that provides superior braid, performance and kite line life. That being said it is possible to purchase line sets that are not sleeved, or perhaps you wish to buy bulk kite line and make your own line sets and then a kite line sleeving kit is an invaluable tool!   

To make your own line sets you will first want to stretch your lines and make them equal length.  With cheaper line (even cheaper spectra labeled line) you can expect lines to stretch as much as 12-15% where quality line sets may stretch 4-6%.   The point is line will stretch with use and it may be necessary to equalize your lines from time to time.

Once your lines are stretched and measured you are ready to sleeve each end. Our Sleeving kits come with simple instruction, two different colours of sleeving and a sleeving tool.  Here are the basic steps to sleeving your spectra kite line:

  • Sleeve one end of the line at a time making sure that you use the same colour of sleeving for both ends of the same line.  This is really helpful to help you keep straight which line goes to each side of the kite and which its corresponding flying strap.
  • Insert the sleeving tool through your Dacron sleeving. Pull the tool a few centimetres through the sleeving.
  • After the tool is inserted through the Dacron carefully take a lighter and melt the ends of the dacron for a clean looking sleeving job. This will keep the Dacron sleeving from fraying.
  • Thread your Spectra line through the end of the sleeving tool and pull the tool back through the dacron sleeving bringing the kite line with it.
  • With the sleeving now on your line, you can remove the sleeving tool.
  • Slide the sleeving towards the end of the line being careful not to go too far or you will have to reinstall the sleeve using the sleeving tool.
  • Tie a knot in the very end of the line (including the sleeve).
  • Stretch the sleeving back up the line so it won't bunched up.
  • Tie another knot at the end farthest from the end.
  • Bring these two knots together and make a loop as shown below. Make sure this loop is big enough that you can easily tie a Larkshead knot to attach to the kite or flying straps.  Ensure these loops are the same size on each end of each line.

The end of the line is now sleeved and you can repeat the process for each of the other lines.  Remember: make sure you have the same colour sleeving on the ends of the same line. 

Read more →