Stunt Kite Manual. How to Fly A Stunt Kite.

Stunt Kite Manual. How to Fly A Stunt Kite.
Hi Fly Kites
P.O. Box 827, Howick 3290
Woodgrove Farm No. 22, D 795 Road, Merrivale 3291
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Tel:
Fax:
URL:
033-330 5746 (Intl: +27-33-330 5746)
033-330 5746 (Intl: +27-33-330 5746)
www.hiflykites.co.za
STUNT KITE MANUAL
Welcome to the exciting sport of
stunt kite flying.
You are going to discover a whole
new world that up to now you have
probably not been aware even existed.
One thing for sure is that from the
moment of your first flight, you are
in great danger of becoming a stunt
kite addict.
You need to be fully aware of the
consequences, as we take no responsibility for the effects this may
have on family and friends.
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How to Assembly A Stunt Kite
With your back to the wind, unpack the
kite and lay it out and familiarise yourself with the various components.
Insert the bottom spreader into the spine
T Piece making sure the bridle lines are
free.
Next secure the spreader into the leading edge connector. Again make sure no
lines are tangled.
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Connect the stand-offs or sail
tentioners.
Insert top spreader.
Now hold the kite into the wind and make
sure everything looks symmetrical and
none of the bridle lines are tangled.
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Connecting the Flying Lines to A Stunt Kite
Follow the sequence below to form a "larks head hitch" or "kiters knot":
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Safety Tips when Flying A Stunt Kite
1. Safety first: apply common sense and never fly near:
• Power lines
• Roads
• Airfields
• Railway lines
• People and animals
• Thunderstorms
2. Remember that the flying lines are most likely to be the cause of injury as they can cut and burn.
3. Never under any circumstances hold onto the line when they are under tension, and do not wind up
lines while they are still attached to the kite.
4. Do not exceed the recommended maximum wind speed for your kite.
5. Stay clear of other kite fliers in your vacinity, being especially careful not to make contact with their
flying lines. The safety of both you, the flyer, and the spectator are in your hands.
6. If you disregard these rules you place yourself and others in danger of serious injury.
Choosing the Flying Area
Now for your first flight!
Requirements:
• An area of at least 50m x 100m (55yds x 110yds) wide, which is reasonably smooth and soft
enough to absorb some impact. (Not a car park!)
• Wind of course is an essential requirement. The ideal wind would be steady and in the moderate
range. If the wind is not ideal and you experience problems, do not persist for too long - difficult
though it may be, rather wait for the right conditions. Try to stay clear of trees and buildings. The
turbulence from a tree/building is 20x the height of the obstacle i.e. a tree 5m (16ft) high means
you will have to stand at least 100m (110yds) away from the tree to get "clean" wind.
• A helper of good disposition as you may require someone to blame if all does not go as planned!
• A hat and sunglasses are useful if the wind is blowing towards the sun.
The wind window is that space in which your kite will remain airborne, the window is a half hemisphere
in front and above the flier, with a radius equal to the length of your flying line.
With your back to the wind, the area directly down wind from you and about just above the ground is
where you will get the strongest pull, this is known as the power zone. This is also the best place to
launch your kite especially in light wind.
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Hot Tip: In strong wind and with larger kites it may be better to launch towards the edge of the window
where the initial power surge will be lessened and you reduce the risk of being dragged across the
ground. The space directly to your right and left and extending directly over head in an arc is known as
the neutral zone.
There are two factors that affect the size of your wind window. The first and most critical is wind
speed, if you are flying in a strong wind the window will expand in comparison to a light wind where the
window will shrink. The second will be the length of your lines, the longer your lines the greater your
wind window will be. Longer lines also make maneuvers less precise.
Kite Setup for Flying
Lay the kite on its back and unwind flying lines in the direction of the wind giving yourself clearance on both sides of
the flying area.
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Make sure the lines are not twisted, are
of equal length, if one line is shorter than
the other then the kite will always turn to
that side, also ensure that the left line
goes to the left of the stunter etc.
Pre-Launch check: have a quick look
around you and make sure there are no
obstacles or people in the kites flight
path and do you have enough space
behind you in case you need to back up
quickly and be especially aware of any
other kites in the sky.
If you have a helper ask him to hold the
kite in front of himself facing you and into
the wind. Now take up the slack keeping
kite lines equally tensioned so that the
kite launches straight up and the wind at
your back. If the wind is a little on the
light side wait for a gust of wind before
signaling your aid to throw your stunter
firmly and smoothly into the air whilst you take a step backwards at the same time.
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The kite will accelerate swiftly upwards
without much contribution from the flier.
If you are on your own you might try the
alternative of placing the flying straps/
handles over a spike (large screwdriver)
and inserting it into the ground. Then
place the kite directly down wind of the
spike with the lines pulled taut. Stand the
kite on its spine and wing tips leaning
back to at least 30 degrees (to prevent
the kite from launching by itself) It will now be possible to self-launch by lifting the straps off the spike
and maintaining even tension on the lines stepping back smartly to launch the kite.
For beach launching lay your kite on its back with the nose facing away from you. Place a handful of
sand on the sail between the stand-offs. Pick up the handles/straps and slowly take up the slack in the
line. Now step backwards easing the kite into a standing position, which has the effect of removing the
sand. Step back smartly, maintaining even tension on the lines, and your kite will launch.
Flying A Stunt Kite
Controlling the kite is like riding a bike! Pull the left control line and the kite will turn left. Pulling the right
control line will make the kite steer right. These are known as pull turns. Once you have had a little
experience in doing pull turns try doing push turns. Remember if you push your right hand forward the
kite will turn left and vice versa and will turn faster than a pull turn. Even the most complicated maneuvers are just a combination of these 2 movements. If you keep the left-hand line pulled the kite will do
a complete circle.
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Picture above depicts what are commonly known as pull turns:
1. Even tension on lines and kite climbs straight.
2. Increase right hand tension. Kite turns to the right.
3. Maintain right hand tension. Kite describes a right hand loop.
4. Left hand tension turns kite to the left and if maintained will uncross lines.
The kite will tend to pull more in the centre of the wind window (power zone) anticipate this increase in
pull and lean back to take the strain.
Line twists while flying are inevitable and are caused by turning (loops) in one direction continually. Do
not panic! Up to, a dozen or more twists in your lines will have little effect on the kite or on how it flies.
To get rid of twists simply turn (loop) the kite in the other direction until the twists are undone.
Remember that although stunters are designed to be highly resistant to impacts with the ground,
such collisions do take their toll and in the long run will shorten the life of your new prized possession.
In other words unscheduled landings at inappropriate angles and at high speeds should be avoided.
Do not attempt new maneuvers close to the ground!
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If at any point you think you are going to
crash the kite, move forward quickly to
reduce the tension and speed of the kite
thus allowing it to hit the ground more
gently. Do not PULL on the handles, as
this will cause the kite to accelerate
making things worse.
While flying keep you arms at your side,
large arm movements or holding your
hands high in the sky will do nothing to
help your kite fly, try to keep you hand
motions smooth and gentle.
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Flying A Stunt Kite - Hot Tips
• Your kite is not performing properly. First check if you have assembled it correctly. Check that the
bridle lines are not wrapped around any spars, and then check the bridle setting.
• Kite turns immediately into the ground on lift off. First check that the right line goes to the right
side of the kite and vice versa, secondly check the flying lines are the same lengths. If one line is
longer than the other the kite will always tend to turn to that side, thirdly check that your bridle
settings are the same.
• The kite is very fast or very slow. The length of your flying lines can have quite an effect on the
kite's performance. Short lines will result in the kite being very fast and responsive while very
long lines will make the kite slow and sluggish.
• Twisted/tangled lines, caused by unwinding lines off the reel/handle in the opposite direction to
which they where wound on. To get the twists out, unwind you lines completely and then starting
at one end walk along the length of the line running it through your hands and easing the twist
along until it unwinds completely at the other end. One way to avoid this happening again is to
make sure when you first start unwinding the lines they are coming off the reel un-twisted and to
keep it in your hand in the same position to wind on and wind off the line.
• Strong Winds. In very strong winds you might find it easier or more comfortable to sit down and
fly.
Landing A Stunt Kite
Landing the kite is not simply a matter of flying the kite into the ground! In order to land your kite
successfully you will need to practice flying horizontal straight lines. Start off flying quite high, and as
you improve, fly horizontal passes closer and closer to the ground. Once you have successfully
negotiated low fly passes without unscheduled landings you are ready to land.
Fly the kite horizontally across the wind
window towards the outer edge where it
will begin to slow down.
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When the kite has almost stopped, pull
on the uppermost line and the kite will
begin to turn.
When the nose is pointing vertically
equalise the lines.
Walk forward smartly and the kite will
land. Remember this is a little more difficult in strong wind sometimes making
it necessary to run forwards in order to
release enough wind pressure on the
sail.
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Adjusting Bridle Lines
A kite's bridles sets the "Angle of Attack" of the kite to the wind. The "Angle of Attack" is that angle at
which your kite is tilted away from the flyer. The bridles have been pre-set and you should not attempt
to adjust them until you have first flown the kite.
The kite wing operates efficiently in only a narrow range of angles of attack. This being approximately
4 to 12 degrees, this can best be seen by lying your kite with it's back on the floor, now take the line
attachments in your hands and lift the kite off the floor, lift by the same amount with each hand. The
nose of the kite should lift off the ground first and be about 8cm off the ground before the rest of the kite
lifts off, this is set at about 4 degrees. If the kite lifts off the ground evenly and lies almost flat to the
ground then the kite is set at about 12 degrees.
To fine tune your kite to attain its full potential is recommended and very easy to do, if you follow the
instructions carefully. Mark the current setting and use this point as a reference. Remember adjustments must be made in small increments and both sides must be adjusted equally.
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If you move the rings down (away from the nose) the effect will be as follows:
•
•
•
•
•
The kite will turn tighter and handle better in light winds
Speed will decrease
Pull will increase
Snap-stalls will become easier
Launching will become more difficult
As you move the ring further down, any advantages will disappear and the kite will become impossible
to fly with any pull on either line, resulting in an overstearing turn and stall.
Moving the bridle rings upwards (towards the nose) will have the opposite effect until the kite will
struggle to turn while having very little pull.
Determining the best performance of the kite will depend on you, as each person's ideal balance of
speed, turning and ease of launch will vary.
Don't be shy to adjust your kite, as with experimentation you will learn to get the best results out of your
stunter.
Stunt Kite Maneuvers/Tricks
With a little practice you should be able to fly the patterns illustrated below. These can be great fun
especially if flown as team maneuvers:
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• To get your flying more accurate, remember to always watch the nose of the kite. The kite will
always follow its nose.
• When flying in stronger winds the kite will fly faster and pull harder making trick flying more
difficult.
• Lighter winds are better for trying out new tricks and more advanced maneuvers.
HOT TIP: Remember when trying more advanced tricks that running toward the kite or throwing your
hands forward to reduce the wind will help the kite stall more easily.
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Stacking Stunt Kites
You may have seen stunters flying one above the other, from two up to as many as 10 or more. This
is called stacking and results in exceptionally high tensions which can create opportunities such as
jumping and skiing. Bear in mind that this has the potential to be very dangerous and unless you are
keen to see the inner workings of a hospital, we suggest you venture into this side of the sport with
caution.
Stacking lines for deltas consists of FIVE lines with overhand knotted loops at each end, each between 60-90 cm (24-35 in). All stacking lines MUST be exactly the same length, 80 cm (31 in) is
usually the standard length. The 5 lines connect onto all the bridle connection points and then on to the
corresponding points on the following kite and so on. If you find the kites jostle when in flight, shorten
the length of all the stacking lines. As the number of kites stacked increases, so will the pull and you
will have to change your flying lines to be able to cope with the increase in tension.
This is a very simple process if you follow the steps below and consists of attaching 5 lines to each of
the bridle connection points on the lead kite to the corresponding positions on the following kite.
Set up the kites in the order you want
them to fly. This system is suitable for
stacks of up to four kites depending on
the size of kite.
Starting with the lead kite feed the stacking line through the wing slot and over
the fitting. Do this for all four leading edge
connectors.
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The following kite is connected the same
way.
The spine line is now connected and
adjusted to fit. The slipknot is then locked
in place.
Hold the kites by the bridle loops of the
lead kite and make sure all lines are
equally tensioned. Adjust if necessary.
The stack is now ready to fly. Remember that kite stacks can produce a lot
of power so be careful!
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Care and Maintenance
Your kite is not indestructible! Flying in extreme conditions as well as frequent crashes will take their
toll. A few simple measures in caring for your kite will ensure many years of enjoyment.
• Stay away from obstructions such as barbed wire fences, trees and poles etc.
• You will soon find that dogs have almost the same enthusiasm for kites as fliers do - but remember the dog usually has more destructive ideas in mind. It may be fun to tease the dog but what
goes up must come down and he will be waiting!
• Clean your kite with a trickle of cold water and never use solvents, as this will remove the protective coating. It is imperative to clean your kite if it has been for a swim in the sea. Salt, even in the
form of airborne spray, can play havoc with rubber fittings and reduces the performance of the
fabric.
• The kite should never be packed away wet.
• Do not leave you kite in a hot car. Temperatures can reach levels where plastic fittings melt and
damage can occur to fabric and spars.
• When taking a break from flying, place your kite in a shaded area as prolonged exposure to ultra
violet light deteriorates the fabric and fades the bright colours.
• After flying check for worn spots, frayed bridles, popped stitches and the like. This may prevent
major repairs later. Bear in mind that we do offer a repair service and carry a full range of spares.
• Broken lines can be repaired, however be aware that fixed lines are reduced in strength by about
50% so be cautious when flying in strong winds. To join a broken line do so by using a fisherman's
knot.
Fisherman’s Knot
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Choosing and Buying A Stunt Kite
Beginner Kites
These are generally small kites with a wide wind range. They are supplied with 30-40kg line on handles
and do not generate a great pull. These kites are easy to fly, forgiving and with the tough fibreglass
frame, very durable. Suitable for all age groups. Examples: Tomcat, Helta Skelta, Meteor.
Intermediate Kites
These can vary considerably in size and can be flown in a wide wind range. They are designed mainly
for good all round smooth performance. Supplied with Dyneema lines and wrist straps. Straps being
more comfortable when flying these more powerful kites. The framework for this range of kites can be
fibreglass and/or carbon fibre. Examples: Streaker, Tornado, Skydancer, Phantom.
Advanced Kites
These kites are designed to suit very specific conditions and are designed for advanced performance
and trick flying. Supplied with Dyneema lines and straps. The framework is carbon fibre. This type of
kite is best suited to the experienced flier.
Parafoils
These types of kites vary in size considerably. There are kites for youngsters that do not pull too hard
and then the bigger kites designed for power kiting and can be used for buggying, kite landboarding
and water re-launchable foils specifically for Kitesurfing. Examples: Virus, Skyno, Tramp, Vortex.
CONCLUSION
This short manual on stunt kites is only an introduction to, sport kite flying. We would like to wish you
many years of enjoyment and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us - click
here.
You can buy a Stunt Kite online right now at www.hiflykites.co.za. See you there!
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