Tied to the Sky / kite information

Anatomy of a Stunt Kite

This is a basic diagram of the parts of a dual line stunt kite.  This is helpful when trying to figure out what replacement part you require! 

Parts of a stunt kite, trick kite

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Sky Shark Performance Kite Framing

We take great pride in providing a reliable Canadian source for quality perforce kites and accessories.  We stock a good supply of SkyShark air frames that are ideal for kite repairs and kite customization / upgrades and projects.   We found this great information on the SkyShark website and thought you might be interested.

Sky Shark™ Competition Air Frames
 are world renowned as the very best competition tubes. It is no wonder, the best flyers in the world use Sky Shark™ Air Frames. The facts speak for themselves, there is no equal to the weight to stiffness of Sky Shark™. The consistent quality of the fibers and tubes offer un-matched reliability and performance. Sky Shark™ is committed to bringing the the very best to kite flyers of all abilities. Whatever level of kite you fly or manufacture, use the very best products, Sky Shark Kite™ Products.

The "P-Series"

The Sky Shark™ P Series Straight Competition Air Frames. These tubes can be cut and ferruled anywhere using a solid carbon rod. They can also be ferruled with any of the New Tapered tubes except the 2PT. These tubes work great for building sport kites as well as single line kites.     All of our P series tubes are non-tapered, with the same inside diameter as tapered tubes. You can join any P series tubes with the tapered tubes. These tubes are made in much the same way as our wrapped tapered tube with the exception of materials used . The P-series also use a different layering of materials which makes it possible to cut the tubes anywhere and ferrule them without breaking out the wall, unlike the tapered tubes.   A common question is "what is the difference between P-series tubes and the tapered tubes?" Weight verses stiffness. Example 3pt, at 12.5 grams, has the stiffness of the P-200 at 14.5 grams.Which is more durable? The P200. The 3pt is an ultra light performance tube wind range 2mph to 12 mph or more depending on design. The P-200 could take winds up to over 20 mph and not break. It would lack the performance of a stiffer tube, but can take it, unlike the 3pt. The P series tubes also have a smooth finish and this year come in either a black or the original gray carbon finish except for the p90 and p400 which only come in the grey.

 

  •  (Ferrules-- You should always use solid .2400 rod in all tubes with the exception of 2pts, P90s and 2ps which you could use lighter 2400 tube ferrules.)

The "PX Series"
We have a new series of tubes the P1X, P2X and P3X.  The new tubes have a new woven look, they are very much the same as the old P series tubes, same ID and OD. The big difference is the tubes are made with a higher modules of carbon which makes them 15 to 20 % stiffer that the old P series tubes.

The "PT Series"

These tapered air frames are exceptional. We have increased stiffness up to 50%. What's the secret? New material combinations! All of the Sky Shark PT series tapered tubes are made on the same mandrels. This means that all of the inside diameters are the same, at .244 I.D. You can use a .2400 or 6mm ferrule across the range. 

 

(source: http://www.skyburner.com/skyshark/ss-products.html )

 

 

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Kite Jargon - Know your Kite Terms

Kite Flying, Kite termsLike many things in life; our professions, hobbies,etc.  there is a jargon that a community uses to communicate. Jargon is the technical terminology of a special activity or group.  As we learn the kite jargon, we can get a better understanding of our hobby of kite flying.  One of the challenges of serving folks well, as a Canadian kite store is helping people find the language to communicate what it is they need or want to do - whether it is anatomy of a kite, kite parts, and kite flying; basic kite flying to more advance kite flying tutorials.

There are a variety of terms that are used in the sport of Kite flying.  Here is a short list to give you some common lingo and their meaning!

Bridle:  the lines which connect to the kite sail and frame to help support the kite and/or to orient the kite at a proper angle to the wind.


Carbon / Graphite:  Stunt kite frames are made of carbon fiber which is relatively are rigid  material and light weight.    Can be in a rod or tube form.  Popular graphite products include: Sky Shark, Icone and Revolution. Wrapped or extruded.

Centre T:  Where the spar for the spine and lower spreaders are joined.

Dark Side (The): An affectionate term for those Kite enthusiast who have embraced flying the quad-line stunt kite by Revolution Kites.

Dual Line: Refers to two line trick or stunt kites. The two lines allow for the control of the kite. (There are Quad line stunt kites as well)

Dyneema kite line: A brand of synthetic fiber used in making performance kite line. It's best advantage is it's very strong and yet very thing and doesn’t stretch much.  Not all spectra lines are created equal!  Spectra fibre is used to make popular premium flying line.  These brands may incorporate unique braiding of the fibre, coating with agents to reduce friction and sometime to make them resistant to UV and salt water.  All of which enhance performance and line life significantly.

Fiberglass: This is a kite material which combines strength and flexibility with relative light weight. It comes in several forms from solid fiberglass rods and hollow tubes.

Flying Straps: A loop made of webbing that attaches to your kite line.  You then slide you hands into the loops to hold the kite while you fly. These are ideal for performing the modern slack line kite tricks. See them here

Frame: The skeleton of the kite.

Freestyle: "Freestyle" kite is typically a good performer, capable of a wide range of tricks while still very stable and predictable. Freestyle is performing a variety tricks of one after another in succession.

Foil Kite:  Foil kites look like a parachute and use the wind itself to give structure to the kite.  These kites can be two, three and four line kites  in a wide variety of sizes.  These kites can genrate a great deal of power.  Obvoiusly the larger the kite the more power / pull with the same wind speed.  You will see smaller recreation ones to the very large which pull the pilot in a buggy, a snowboard or kite surf board.

Ground Stake: A handy tool which allows you to stake your kite handles or flying straps to the ground while you walk to reset or adjust your kite for launch.  This tool helps to ensure your kite doesn’t blow away.

Icarex:  A brand name of a type of ripstop fabric made from polyester fibers. It is lighter and more fade resistant than nylon ripstop fabric. 

Kite Party: Informal gatherings of kite flyers, who meet to fly kites, socialize with other kite flyers  and get their Kite on!

Leading edge:  The name for the part of the kite which runs from the nose to the wing tip.

Line Set: The lines which are used to control the kite. They come in a variety of test weight and lengths. Stronger weight lines being used for stronger winds and bigger kites.  Line sets are made of a variety of fibres.

Quad Handles:  Handles made specifically to fly quad line kites like those made by Revolution.  Lines from the top and bottom of the kite are attached correspondingly to the top and bottom of the flying handles which changes the shape of the wing and creates flight. See Them here

Quad line: Kites with four lines for control. Not only can you maneuver left and right, but you can fly sideways, spin like an airplane propeller, and forward or backward in the wind window.

Ready to Fly / RTF:  Many kites are sold with everything you need to get started.  Ready to fly means all you have to do is assemble the kite, attach the included line and add wind!  Many high end kites are sold as Kite only.

Rip-stop:  Typically used to make kite sails.  It can be made of nylon or polyester.  Hence ripstop nylon or ripstop polyester. Rip-stop is the process that weaves smaller fibers with larger fibers creating squares of reinforcing fibers in the cloth which make it resistant to tearing. The idea being that a tear will stop at one of the reinforcing fibers.

Sail: The cloth material of the kite. The material is usually made from rip-stop nylon, polyester, Icarex.

SkyShark: Is a brand of high quality performance carbon fibre tubing used to frame performance kites. Made in the USA.

Sleeving: A cover which encloses the ends of flying lines and helps to preserve strength and prevent wear.  Typically where the line sets are tied.

Soul Flying:  This is term referring to a style of stunt kite flying where you express yourself freely with your kite - Whether to music or to silence, precision or full on tricks you are in effect flying your Heart via your kite!

Spar: A generic term referring to the framing material used as the frame of a kite.

Spectra®:  A brand of synthetic fiber used in making performance kite line. It's best advantage is it's very strong and yet very thing and doesn’t stretch much.  Not all spectra lines are created equal!  Spectra fibre is used to make popular premium flying line.  These brands may incorporate unique braiding of the fibre, coating with agents to reduce friction and sometime to make them resistant to UV and salt water.  All of which enhance performance and line life significantly.

Spine: The center rod that runs lengthwise down a kite.

Spreader: The spars which run horizontally across the span of the kite holding the wings open. 

Stand-offs:  Are typically carbon or fibreglass rod which holds the trailing edge of the sail back from the lower spreader.  You may be able to fine-tune the performance of your kite in different wind conditions as their position affects the amount of lift the kite generates and thereby it's speed, turning, and precision.

Tail: Attached to the kite for visual effect or to cause drag on a single line kite.  Made of Ripstop or plastic.  Also a term to describe the lower end of the spine.

Tow point: The part of the bridle where the flying lines are attached using a Larkshead knot.

Winders:  For ease of use, lines are stored on winders.  With line(s) together, wrap the lines around the winder fairly snuggly. Some flyer prefer wrapping the lines in a figure eight motion, others prefer a simple wrap.  With care, either will work just as well.

Wind range: The range of wind speed that a kite will fly well in. Can be given in Kph, mph, or beaufort .

Wind window: 
 A 180 degrees in which the kite flies.  It’s size is determined by the length of the flying lines. At the edges of the window the kite will slow and has a tendency to stall and makes for a great place to land.

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Canadian Dollar & Kite Prices

Great Canadian Kite Company!As anyone who has been watching the value of the Canadian $$ versus the American has noticed, it appears as if the days of parity have disappeared for a while.  While in many ways this is good news for the Canadian manufacturing and the resource sectors, it will begin to impact prices on our imports, and yes, this includes kites!

I am preparing for my trip to the Kite Trade Association International (KTAI) meeting in Las Vegas at the end of the month.  I will be meeting with a number of kite manufacturers to see the latest, hottest kite products coming to the market.  We work closely throughout the year with our suppliers to ensure we are in the loop and you can access some great kites. 

(Watch our Facebook Page for Posts from Vegas starting Jan. 29)

Many of the manufacturers are also seeing their manufacturing costs increasing and some are being squeezed for manufacturing time forcing them to anticipate demand much further in advance than before.  Of course these cost get passed on down the line. We are seeing our product costs and the Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) of many of our kite products firming.  In addition, the Canadian dollar's relative weakness compared to US currency is putting increased pressure on kite prices in Canada.

We are fortunate for a number of efficiencies that allow us to continue to offer some of the best kites and accessories at really competitive prices - even with the US retailers. Purchasing your kites and kite accessories from the Great Canadian Kite Company will ensure:

  • Competitive pricing
  • Quality products & service
  • In house parts
  • Special / Custom Orders - Quick & Easy
  • Easier exchanges and returns (See our generous Return Policy)
  • Prompt After Sale Service
  • No surprises like extra fees, taxes and duties
  • No exchange rate shock on your credit card statement
  • Your Orders don't get bogged down clearing Customs

Great Canadian Kite Company is celebrating almost a decade in the Kite business, and we have taken pride in doing the best job we can to provide quality kites and accessories at FAIR, competitive prices.  The best part continues to be the opportunity to serve many, many of you over again!  We are so grateful for your patronage!

Below is a graph showing the change in the relative value of the Canadian dollar to the US.  Typically, we as consumers do not pay this price on our credit card purchases, as the card issuers generally charge 1-5% for margin.  Check with your credit card company for further details.  

As a courtesy, here is a link to RBC to demonstrate what might be indicative of a consumer exchange rate. Exchange Calculator

 

Graph source: https://www.google.ca/finance?q=CADUSD

 

 

 

 

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Autumn Kite Flying on the Prairies

The Echo low wind kite Well it's official.  The summer of 2012 has officially ended giving way to autumn.  The leaves are changing color and falling from their soon-to-be sleeping hosts, and the smooth gentle winds blow them all into my yard!   

I like autumn because with the crops all harvested the flying fields become abundant. The winds tend to come gently from the west and the south and have been 6 - 20 kph (between 4 and 12 mph) and on the lighter side I really enjoy a light wind kite - typically an UL or an SUL and away I go.   I like the way that even with a breath of the winds the sails load up and giddy - up.  I am no expert pilot - I was told once that you have a choice, you can be an amazing kite flyer or you can sell kites and though I fly a fair bit, selling them along with other things in my life has stunted my learning curve.  Well ... not to mention that I am just not all that co-ordinate either! :)  Regardless, I am so enjoying the art of flying well-made kites in the soft autumn breeze and for me that's the bottom line - kites are supposed to be fun!

Of late, I have found myself playing with The Echo.  The Echo is a Paul DeBakker design and is manufactured by Into the Wind Kites.   I am having so much fun with this kite in next-to-nothing winds as it float for what seems like forever and still has a very real presence in the lines.  I have enjoyed the liveliness of the kite, but it is quite precise. I like its balance, it's quite comfortable on its back. Wiith a gentle backwards step it is all too ready to go.

I am also impressed with the build quality.  Nicely stitched  and finished, and I like its size, again for the presence and the generous square centimetre's of sail.  I have also come to appreciate that for a zero wind / indoor kite she is pretty durable which is good for my more spazzy moments.   I am finding I am referring this kite more and more to folks who are looking for a solid low wind kite.  I think its geometry, sail to weight ratio, bridle and some of the little extras like some tail ballast make this an easier kite for those looking for a thrilling, positive low wind kite flying experience.

Here's the Scoop:

Wing Span: 182 cm

Height: 89cm

Sail: 0.6 oz. Icarex

Frame: 3mm carbon tubes

Lines:  50lb (Indoors:12-14ft) (Outdoors: 25-35ft) I've been using 25ft 90lb LPG.

Wind Range: 0 - 10 kph

To me it seems like a value packed, solid performing kite for only $130.  I will have to figure out how I can take good video and fly at the same time but in the meantime, here is a video of The Echo in the hands of an amazing flyer - Paul DeBakker


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