Understanding Single-Line Kites – What You Need To Know

Kites with only one line are as spectacular-looking in the sky as any other type of kite (often more so), but are often less taxing to fly once the kite is in the air and the wind is behaving. It is perhaps for this reason that single-line kite flyers are often not in the game solely to fly the kites, but actually to make them as well. With so many individual kite makers, it is no surprise that there are loads of variations in kite shapes and materials. Most lightweight materials have found their way into some kind of kite from bamboo and bark to paper and plastic. Pretty much anything goes when constructing a kite, as long as it is wind-friendly. As a general rule regarding shape, the simpler the kite (for example, delta, diamond or hexagon kites), the easier it is to fly.

Single-line diamond kite

Design

A diamond kite is one of the easiest kites to fly and pretty much the simplest kite you can make two pieces of paper, a length of bamboo, some tape and some thread all put together will give you a functioning diamond kite.

Size

The overall size of the kite is not important, it is the relationship between the dimensions that matters. For example, if your diamond kite is not symmetrical along its vertical axis it will not fly well; the right-hand side must be of equal length to the left. However, the bigger the kite overall, the less wind is required to fly it and the more stable it will be when it is in the air. Tiny kites are great as presents but are useless for flying!

Tail

Banners, ribbons, streamers, tassels, drogues, ladders all are different types of tails made from all sorts of materials. Some kites need tails as an integral part of their design for example, the hexagon kite whilst other kites use tails purely for aesthetics. Tails can be added to a kite to create more drag resulting in a less twitchy flight and allowing the kite to fly in stronger winds. The diamond kite (see illustration) uses a keel, and so eliminates the need for a bridle and means that a tail is not strictly necessary. If a diamond does not have a keel, it Will need a tail to fly properly.

Control system

Most single-line kites are flown with a simple spool which the line is wound around, making it very easy to lengthen or shorten the lines depending on wind strength. These spools are perfectly suited for kites which are pegged down once airborne. Shaped winders are slightly easier to hold onto if the kite is not going to be pegged down. These are normally plastic with a hollow section making it easy to hold on to them when the kite is pulling in the air. There is also an option of using a type of winder like that used for extra-long dog leads it pulls in your line at the touch of a button. As for line length, this is a matter of preference, but be aware that flying above 60m (195ft) can be dangerous and is illegal in some countries (in the UK you must obtain written permission from the Civil Aviation Authority if your kite is over 2kg (4.5lb). Most factory lines are around the 45m (150ft) mark, some are 90m (300ft), and many enthusiasts reach the smoother winds high up with 150m (500ft) lines. Investing in some tangle-resistant kite line Is also a good idea and will save you a lot of time if you intend to fly a lot, as factory lines are notoriously difficult to untangle.