Tied to the Sky / easy to fly kite
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.
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.
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!
Parafoil 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 adjust 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!