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Flying Kites for the Health of it!

Flying Kites for the Health of it!

Health Fitness Revolution shared Top Ten Benefits of Kite-Flying on their site  in April of 2015. There are other articles along the same line but Health Fitness Revolution put together  a pretty impressive list. Here are their Top 10 Health Benefits of Kite-Flying:
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Flag Pole as a Wind Meter for Kite Flying

Canada flag - Taber Alberta. KitesWhen I was a young stunt kite flyer I would regularly pull out my wind metre (I have owned and lost many) and check the wind.

In the early days, I'd tweak my kite often trying to get it locked in for the wind conditions. Anyone who has flown on the prairies knows the wind is fickle and if you don't like it - no worries it will change 27 times per half hour!

While it's good to have a sense of what the wind is doing speed wise if you're gonna tweak it continually you won't get much air time. For me, I work to be aware of the wind (I'll tell ya my secret here in a minute) but I learn to adjust my flying rather than over tweaking my bridle and or frames. I will fly in the parts of the wind window that feels right and where the kite flies well.

Yes, we need to be aware of wind changes, and the dramatic changes you'll feel pretty fast but this simple trick helps me stay aware of wind direction, and changes in speed by watching flags. Whether I am flying or not I have the habit of watching flags on flag poles. I have learned by the behavior; angles and even the sound of a flag and this helps me evaluate wind conditions.



Watch a flag on a flag pole:

  • If the flag is limp with a little flutter the wind is typically less than 5 kph
  • As wind increase, the angle of the flag relative to the flag pole changes. So we can learn to estimate that angle.
  • If the flag is at a 45-degree angle then the wind speed is about 20 kph. If it is straight out, at 90 degrees you can estimate the wind at about 35-40 kph.
  • With this in mind, we can estimate the wind speed at other angles. At 22 or 75 degrees relative to the flag pole.
  • Is the flag is straight out (90 degrees relative to the flag pole) and is making a soft fluttering sound you know you are 40 - 50 kph and if the flag is making a hard, snapping sound you are upwards of 50 kph.


I'm aware that these are guess-timates at best and some may disagree with my estimations. The point is to develop your own wind sense relative to a nearby flag and flag pole and what your kite is telling you.

No flag or flag pole? I have wind feathers with streamer tails that work well too. There have been times where I have used a 1.4 inch, 4-foot piece of dowel with an eight-foot piece of surveyors tape tied to the end. I shoved it in the ground in a place where I could see it and it wasn't in the way. It worked well.

Typically, most consumer kites top out at 40 kph. When you fly them in higher than recommended wind they tend to be faster, harder to control and you risk damaging the sail, the frame or breaking the line. Good news though! There are kites that are built, designed and rated for higher winds - so not to worry. There's a kite for that!


At Great Canadian Kite Company, not only do 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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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!

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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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5 Reasons Kites Make Great Gifts

Yesterday we spent the day hiking and kite flying one Alberta's premiere provincial parksflying kites at Writing on Stone Provincial Park - Writing on Stone.  It was a great way to get out in the fresh air for some quality time together as a family  One of the best aspects of it was there was no cell service!  What this meant was we had to talk to each other (novel idea, eh? LOL!), climb, laugh and fly kites together - we had a blast!  I tell ya,  my wife & I didn't think about work once and felt like we had a truly refreshing day.

Many folks are looking for quality gift ideas for Christmas this year.  We know that kites are one such gift idea and it is a fun, enjoyable and here are a few reasons why.

1) Fresh air is underrated!  How good it is to get outside enjoy blue sky, the sun and the great outdoors.  We fly kites all year round - including winter!

2) Physically active - Getting out and moving does a body good!  There is a kite for just about every kind of physical ability from the gentle to the full on extreme - glide kites,  single line kites to carving up the sky with a trick kite or getting your adrenalin fix with Snow Kites!

3) Reduces Stress -  Getting away from the day to day grind is a first great step for stress reduction.  Add the gentle flight of kites on the breeze or flying your stress through your stunt kite through the sky, flying kites have demonstrated to be an effective ways of reducing stress.

4) Promotes creativity - Many quality kites are flying pieces of art and many with tails make for a lovely display in the air.   But stunt kites can be a great way to express yourself as well!  I love to listen to music while I fly and in a very real sense fly my kite to the music.   Some folks like to soul fly and toss and flip and manoeuvre their kites as an expression of what's going on inside them.

Mike- owner of Great Canadian Kite Company5) Great way to spend time as a family - Lets face it, there are a lot of things competing for your time, and we want to make time for quality activities to do as a family.   With quality kites, a good wind and a place to fly, you and your family can make some great memories!  One thing my wife and I enjoy doing together is flying our four line Revolution kites together, side by side.  We play follow the leader, hover side by side and fly forms together.  Lots of fun and good for a few laughs if you don't take it too seriously!

Looking for exciting Christmas gifts? Great Canadian Kite Company sells a variety of kite for many different interests, ages and abilities. Browse our online Canadian kite shop to buy your kites online.  Don't see what you are looking for?  Drop us an email!

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