Tied to the Sky / wind speed

Wind Ranges for Kites - What to think!

Wind Ranges for Kites - What to think!

Andrea of Great Canadian Kite Company flying her Revolution kite

I remember as a kid trying to fly kites that you had to run like mad just to keep them aloft. It made for a very frustrating experience. One exception from my childhood was a delta shaped black plastic kite  - the one that you affixed adhesive eyes too. These fiery eyes made it look pretty cool, and you know, it flew pretty well! As fun as that kite was, being made of plastic it didn't last very long!

When we started the Great Canadian Kite Company (read our story here) we wanted to make sure that we sold a quality product that flew well and was built to be durable by quality kite standards. As such, the kites we have chosen are from reputable manufacturers with proven designs that fly in the stated conditions.

But even then... what does a wind range really mean? A wind range is provided to communicate the range of wind speed that the kite will fly in. So a range of 10 - 40 kph means that the kite is capable of flying in winds as low as 10 Kph to an upper limit of 40 kph.

The upper range can be a little more flexible if just flying the kite is the priority. When kites fly in winds above the range, they will often become much faster, harder to control, pull too hard and become difficult to trick. Too much wind will rip stitches and fabric, or break framing and line. It also can increase the potential for damage with hard crashes.

In higher winds you can add wind brakes or add tails, and this will often raise the upper limit.

Nexus Kite by Prism KitesSometimes, especially with stunt kites (low wind or Indoor) you see a lower wind range of zero or 5 or 8 or 10 kph. Low wind kite flying is an art as much as it is a science, and many manufacturers when establishing the lower end of the wind range have folks testing it who are really good pilots!

So can the kites fly at those low ranges? You bet! Can anybody fly them in the low range - with some practice you can learn to keep your kite aloft at the lowest wind ranges.

As kite professionals, we are here to offer you experienced recommendation on the kinds of kites and kite accessories that will get you in the air with the goal of providing the best kite flying experience we can!

Great Canadian Kite Company also have some Resources for the Kite Flyer:
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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.  

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