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!