Tied to the Sky
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!
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!
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.
Have you seen our stunt Kite flying manual?
Flying stunt kites is an exciting way to enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise and relax. Many people like to learn the latest tricks, while others like to fly their kite listening to music on their iPod. Stunt kites are a wonderful way to spend your leisure time with friends and family. The following is our illustrated start up guide for flying two line stunt kites. This material was collected from a variety of sources and presented here for your information and interest.
These basic tips will help you get in the air faster and enjoy more success as you take to the skies with your new kite. Also have a look in our resource section for some great online kite fly tutorials to help take you to the next levels!
Click on images to enlarge
This post is all about the history of Revolution Kites. More than kites, this dynamic and innovative company has developed, hands-down, the best quad-line stunt kite on the market. Sadly, often copied, the counterfeits are nowhere near the quality or performance standard of the authentic Rev kites. Not unlike the introduction of dual line stunt kite back in the day, Revolution kites have breathed new vibrancy into a traditional and historic hobby for a new generation of kite enthusiasts.
I have heard it said by some that the quad line kites are difficult to fly but my experience has been the opposite. Teaching many folks to get started with these awesome flying kites is usually done within 20 minutes and the basics are well in hand. Like dual line flying, proficiency and the "cool-ness factor" increase exponentially as you hone your skills. I think the transition is often most difficult for those who have flown dual-line kites for a while because fly quad-line Rev kites is really a different kind of flying - more wrist action and smaller inputs which as you begin to master them unlock the "Holy Sh&$" of how these kites perform!
The following history of Revolution Kites was found on their website written by Joe Hadzicki. Enjoy!
A true family business, Revolution Enterprises was founded by three Hadzicki brothers in in 1988… Specializing in carbon fabrication, Revolution produces quality kite products, skateboards, golf shafts and a wide variety of other carbon and related products at their factory in Poway, CA.
The Revolution sport kite was released at the 1989 KTA Kite trade show in San Diego, California. The kite was in development for about two years prior to that.
The development of the Revolution design began in 1987. I had recently moved back to San Diego from Santa Barbara, California after completing a degree in mechanical engineering and working with an engineering firm there. While driving by the San Diego Bay one afternoon, I noticed a big husky guy flying a kite and being dragged across the park! I was so fascinated that I looked into this new sport. I soon found out that the best kites cost up in the range of $200 to $300. I quickly enlisted the fun loving company of my two brothers Jim and David. Within two weeks we had designed and built our own set of power dragging kites! For the next several weeks, we spent our afternoons experimenting with this new hobby of ours! After getting the basic controls of two line flying down, we flew team maneuvers, then we flew our delta kites with long flowing tails, then we stacked the kites, then we got kind of bored.
I’m always looking for ways to improve things, and it seemed to me this kite could use some improving! Primarily, better landing abilities!
Several months later I woke up one morning with a completely new approach to the design problem. I decided to approach the kite from an airplane control perspective as opposed to a kite approach. By controlling each wing independently from a flap or aileron design we could redirect the air flow to cause forward or reverse flight. Within two weeks we had a working model that far surpassed our wildest dreams! Far beyond our main goal of being able to back down and land, this new revolutionary kite was capable of instantaneous stopping, reverse flight in any direction, full speed control in both forward and reverse flight, and propeller like spins! The most impressive fact was that these characteristics are inherent to the basic design and therefore do not take hours and hours to learn complicated techniques.
Although precise accurate control takes practice, backing down to land takes nothing more than a simple rotation of both wrists!
Since the initial design of the Revolution I had a nine-foot wingspan, structural integrity quickly became an issue. Fiberglass was too flexible and heavy. The high stiffness aluminum used in the arrow shaft industry works well but begins to bend to shape within an hour or so of flying. My younger brother David just happens to be a pro rated golfer with a lot of connections in the golf industry including access to the graphite shaft design team at Aldila, who at the time was the worlds’ leading graphite golf shaft manufacturer. Within six weeks or so we had designed the ideal shaft for our Rev I (Neos Omega) kite.
With eighty kites built and two days to go until the international kite trade show in San Diego, Aldila gave us the bad news that they wouldn’t be able to manufacture the shafts for us due to other production obligations.
The Revolution design was an instant show stopper at the convention, selling out in the first hour followed with orders for 400 more! We had a wall of people, three deep for three days placing orders.
On Saturday, the kite demonstration day, we had store retailers crowded around with three to six kites under their arms waiting for a lesson. With this information, they would be able to go back to their stores and amaze all their customers, therefore selling thousands of kites! ….. Wrong! We gave people the basic lesson, telling them, thumbs back flies the kite up, left thumb forward turns left, right thumb turns right. Both thumbs forward, backs the kite down. The fact that this method of flying was completely alien to them (no pulling motions), along with the highly sensitive controllability, made the Revolution overwhelming. Add the fact that we had virtually no experience teaching people to fly added to the confusion. It seemed so easy to us! Thumbs back. Left thumb, right thumb, thumbs forward!! The stores had demonstration videos showing performance, but no technique. Only hard-core enthusiasts would dare accept the Revolution challenge!
Although selling the kites complete with a training video was the original plan, it had been dropped due to advice from store retailers that the cost would be prohibitive. After a couple months of frustration from new Revolution fliers and retailers, we began including the training videos with each Revolution sold. We instantly noticed the difference! New fliers that used to take two weeks to get the basics would now buy the Revolution, watch the training video that night, and learn the basic flying skills by the next day! My brother Jim, over the next couple years was successful in incorporating quad line flying into the international competitions including precision, ballet and team events. From the beginning and through the present virtually all quad line events are dominated by the Revolution design.
The original Revolution I design is extremely stable and is the choice for large stacks but is considered slow by today’s standards. The Rev II is fast and somewhat “twitchy”. I enjoy it most in high winds (12 mph and above) on a 100-foot line set, which makes the flying fast and furious! Forget precision! The Rev 1.5 debuted in 1995 and is by far the favorite of both competition fliers and competitors alike. At a wingspan of 7.5 feet, it has great stability similar to the 9-foot Rev I with a lot of the instant quickness of the 6-foot Rev II. The Speed Series, which debuted in 1998, introduced a new aspect to the Revolution design. With the 4-strut support of the tighter sail, the Revolution Shockwave and Supersonic reach speeds to 70 mph! That’s twice the speed of a standard Rev 1.5! In fact, the Speed Series can fly faster backward than a 1.5 can fly forward!
In 2001 we introduced the Revolution Blast. With a wingspan of 9.5 feet and a longer chord, this design resulted in significant power and improved stability over the standard Speed Series design. Introduced in 2003 is the Super Blast. With approximately 30% more sail area than the Blast this is a true buggy kite in winds above 12 mph. The up wind performance is unbelievable! One of the greatest advantages of all the Speed Series kites is the ability to instantly dump 90% of the power by simply rolling the thumbs back! This is extremely useful in all power kiting conditions.
In 2007, we worked with John Barresi to develop the incredibly popular B-Series. Built in the same 1.5 size class as our SLE and EXP, the B-Series incorporated John’s extensive experience as an international competition and performance pilot to provide some of the same advantages to recreational fliers such as the ability to adjust tuning for personal taste, and mulitiple frames to both expand the kite’s wind range and provide the right amount of competition quality precision.
In 2009, award-winning kitemaker Bazzer Poulter joined in our design efforts with the B-Series PRO – utilizing premium PC31 Icarex fabric, added reinforcements and custom colors for every sail panel. The PRO series went on to become the#1 choice for competitive and hard core recreational pilots all over the world.
Continuing to innovate in 2010, Bazzer Poulter worked closely with John Barresi and their iQuad teammates to develop the B-Series Zen. This design utilized a larger sail area, special bridle and framing for extreme ultralight conditions.
In 2011, we introduced a Rev II sized version of the B-Series called the B2 (faster and more responsive), as well as a full sized version of the B-Series PRO called the Xtra Vent for extreme high wind conditions.
Thank you again for all your interest and support over the years. We couldn’t do it without you. I hope kites has brought you as much fun and enjoyment over the years as it has us.
In 2010, all three Hadzicki brothers were inducted into the World Kite Museum Hall of Fame.
New York Minute (NYM) - 2014 saw the introduction of the New York Minute kite. An exciting new look with a 25 panel sail, new logo, and a folded ‘No Fray’ leading edge, this is one of our smoothest flying sails yet. Built with the best American made, new generation carbon fiber- our highest performing “Green Race Frame” comes standard in this exceptional sail. Innovative venting provides a selection of vent sail designs for almost every wind condition.
Reflex - New for 2016 the Reflex is a unique Rev design that is super stable and boasts a larger sail area. With impressive light wind flying and in winds over 12 kph deliver more power, more fun. Almost like getting 2 kites in One Reflex. Learn More
For the history of the specific models and framing, check out John Mitchell's website Revolution Kite History. This Rev enthusiast has put together a really impressive site in homage to an amazing kite.