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How we select the kites we carry

We attend the annual Kite Trade Show to see new products first hand. Then, we review manufacturers' product literature and touch base with smaller suppliers, requesting hundreds of samples. We carefully evaluate each item, flying every single kite in our "if it flies here, it will fly anywhere" conditions. Stunt kites are tested by multiple fliers, usually on more than one occasion to establish our subjective but unbiased comparison charts. Most of the images you see on our website and in our print catalog are photographed by George Emmons, the owner of Into The Wind, who is actively involved in selecting the products that make the grade. Once kites pass the flying test, we determine whether they meet our quality, availability and value standards. Items that make the cut are guaranteed to fly and not just the first time but every time they take to the sky.

A recent Kite Trade Association International show prior to opening. Photo credit: Dan Rubesh
Spar Charts

These charts list spar measurements of various kites that Into The Wind has carried over time, indexed by the year they appeared in the catalog. When replacing a spar in a kite, it is best to determine the diameter, length and spar material by referencing the instructions included with the kite and/or measuring the actual spar that you're replacing. Alternatively, these charts can be used to approximate the replacement spar. They were compiled by measuring each kite listed, only once. While we attempted to be as accurate and comprehensive as possible, some entries are incomplete and errors exist. Since we make no guarantees as to the reliability of this data, please use these charts for verification purposes only.

1997 - single line    
1997 - stunt
2000 - single line
2000 - stunt
2001 - single line
2001 - stunt
2002 - single line      
2002 - stunt

The Into The Wind Spar Comparison Chart compares various spars and materials by measuring weight in ounces per foot and also by indexing the relative stiffness of select spars. The third column lists a ratio calculated by dividing the stiffness of each spar by the weight of that same spar. This chart is useful when you want to replace one type of spar in a kite with an alternative spar. To maintain the flying characteristics of your kite it is important to frame with a material that is as similar in weight and stiffness to the original spar as possible (i.e. has an identical or similar ratio). This data is particularly valuable when it is necessary to replace a spar in an older kite that is framed with obsolete material. Keep in mind that even though two or more ratios may be similar, the actual spars can still differ in diameter and stock length which may make substituting one spar for another difficult or impossible. Also note that kite symmetry is critical; if the frame on one side of the kite is modified, the corresponding spar on the other half of the kite should be replaced as well.

Spar Comparison Chart

The five knots illustrated below are some of the most useful ones for kiteflying.

Use an Overhand Knot to create a loop at the end of your stunt kite flying lines:

Use a Lark's Head Bridle Knot to attach your flying lines to the bridle of your stunt kite:
Watch the video on tying a Lark's Head Bridle Knot

If you purchased bulk Dacron line, transfer it to your reel and use the Slip Knot to attach it to your reel:

Slip Knot: Tighten second overhand knot up against first one.

If you have a swivel, tie your line to it using a Clinch Knot:

Clinch Knot: Use 5 wraps and this knot will have 90% of the strength of your line.

If you don't have a swivel, tie the line to your kite with the Bowline Knot:

Bowline Knot: It won't come untied under tension and has 85% of the strength of your line.

For more knots and knot tying instructions check out these links:
The British Scout Group of East Sussex, UK has a site with 15 animated knots that tie themselves before your very eyes: http://www.42brghtn.mistral.co.uk/knots/42ktmenu.html
Complete Guide to Knots links to illustrations and written descriptions of 17 common knots: http://www.actiondonation.org/articles/complete-guide-to-knots.html
Repair Instructions

The best way to avoid kite repairs is to fly within the recommended wind range for your kite and follow the assembly instructions included.

Ripstop Tape: The most common sail repairs, puncture holes or small tears in the sail, can be repaired with adhesive-backed ripstop tape. If you use white tape on the back of the kite, the original color of the sail will not be altered by the tape color when you look at the kite from the front. Cut the tape in oval or circular shapes, covering the tear and pressing the tape to the sail with the back of a spoon or other smooth object in order to burnish it effectively to the sail. If you can let it "cure" for a day before using the kite, the tape will hold better. You can sew the edges of the tape down for a permanent repair but the adhesive tends to stick to the sewing machine needle. Spraying silicone on the needle can help to keep it from sticking. Larger tears in fabric or puncture holes in high stress areas may need to have fabric patches sewn on or sail panels replaced.

Tedlar Tape: Prism recommends high-tack UV-resistant clear adhesive Tedlar tape for kite sail repairs. Although it is not as flexible and as easy to use as ripstop tape they maintain that it out performs colored ripstop tape in strength, adhesion and UV resistance. Additionally, because it has no color a repair made with Tedlar is practically invisible while flying and can be used to repair any color of sail material. Prism provides the following Tedlar repair instructions: Tedlar should always be used on both the front and the back of the sail. Corners should be rounded, and the patch should be large enough to stay approximately ˝" beyond the extent of the tear. Tedlar is viciously sticky. Handling and placing it once the backing is removed requires a little practice. Once the tape is positioned and stuck down, burnish the repair thoroughly against a hard table surface by placing a piece of paper over the repaired area and rubbing hard with the back of a spoon or similar object. This embeds the adhesive in the ripstop sail material and insures optimal adhesion.

Hot Stuff Glue: This glue is formulated to fill small gaps between surfaces to be glued resulting in a better bond. It works very well for gluing ferrules, nocks and dihedrals to graphite and fiberglass spars. When gluing a ferrule to a spar, apply glue to both surfaces, and place half of the ferrule inside or over the spar, twisting it in place to evenly spread the glue over the two areas. As with all instant glues, avoid skin and eye exposure. Fingernail polish remover is a solvent.

Zona Hacksaw: This hacksaw can be used to cut wood and fiberglass spars. Choose the appropriate blade for the material that needs to be cut. To prevent the spar material from splintering while being cut, wrap the area next to the cut with masking tape and turn the spar while cutting. Although a high-speed cutting disc is the recommended tool for cutting graphite, it can also be cut using a hacksaw by scoring all the way around the spar, cutting most of the way through, then snapping off the end and sanding the rough edge. Sand the ends of wood spars and use vinyl end caps on graphite and fiberglass spars to protect the pockets and sleeves.

Replacing Wood Spars with Fiberglass or Graphite Spars: Solid fiberglass spars are four times heavier than the same diameter wood dowel. This can significantly change a kite's wind range. They are also more abrasive and can cut through spar pockets more quickly than wood. Since they are also more flexible than the same size wood dowel, this can affect how the kite flies. Fiberglass tubing is stiffer and lighter than solid fiberglass. It is also more expensive and is generally only available in shorter lengths which mean that it may need to be ferruled to replace a comparable wood spar. Fiberglass tubing and wood spars that are the same diameter weigh about the same amount. Graphite spars are lighter and stiffer than similarly sized fiberglass spars. They are generally smaller in diameter than other spars and are shorter in length than wood dowels and fiberglass rods. Although they are durable, they are the most expensive framing material and because of their small diameter may not be as easily substituted for other spars, especially wood dowels. However, we have generic Avia fittings (Center T's, spreader connectors, nocks and ferrules) to fit almost all sizes of graphite rod and tubing that we sell. This makes the transition from odd-sized, discontinued spars to an all-Avia framed kite relatively simple. Use the spar chart below to compare weights and stiffness for various materials.

Spar Comparison Chart
Stunt Kites 101

Preflight Check
At the Flying Field
Launching & Flying
Adjusting Bridles
Developing Your Skill
Kite Safety


Preflight Check

Stunt Kite Safety is Important!
The speed and power that make stunters so much fun make them dangerous as well. Any kite line can be hazardous, but stunt lines are thinner, stronger, and move at high speeds close to the ground. If someone wanders into your flying range, land your kite immediately. Tell onlookers to stand behind you, the safest place to watch. Most people have no idea that a kite or its line could harm them.

Don't fly your stunter in so much wind that you can't control it. Some kites generate tremendous pull, even in moderate winds. Never fly near overhead lines, in stormy weather or with wet lines. Many stunt kites have conductive graphite spars. If your kite shorts out a power line, you may be responsible for the damages, but don't try to remove a kite from overhead lines yourself! Contact your utility company for assistance.

Setting Up Your Stunt Kite
Read your kite's instructions first! It's best to assemble your kite once indoors before you take it out to fly. Also check it before each flight to be sure everything is set correctly. Typical Stunt Kite Set-up Illustration.

Seat the spars fully in their fittings. Caution: New fittings can be tight. Take care not to slip and poke a hole in your kite with a spar.

If your kite has standoffs, you may need to line the fittings up along the spreader spars. Make sure bridle lines are free of twists at each fitting and that any attachment loops or clips are secured symmetrically.

Stunt Kite Lines
Stunt lines are generally around 100-ft. long. Short lines speed response, while long lines slow things down. Popular for Beginners' Stunt Kites, DacronŽ line stretches 15% at the breaking point and slows response for easy learning. Five times as strong as Dacron, SpectraŽ line stretches 4% at breaking, improving your kite's response and light wind performance. A slippery fiber, Spectra feels smoother than Dacron when lines are wrapped around each other.

Caution: Spectra has a low melting point, causing it to break if it crosses another type of line, even cheap cotton line. Stay away from those little plastic deltas! Blended Spectra lines are braided of Spectra and Dacron fibers. They stretch 6% at breaking and do not need to be sleeved.

Sleeving Your Line
"Sleeving" Spectra line increases its knotted strength from 45% to 65% of the line strength. Sleeving is a length of hollow braided Dacron put on the ends of line before it's tied. You can get line pre-sleeved or get a sleeving needle and do it yourself. After you've stretched out your lines and made them roughly equal length (don't try to do this indoors) you're ready to sleeve them. Tie a loop in the sleeved end and tie an overhand knot in the end of the flying line to keep it from slipping through the sleeving (See our sleeving illustration, right).

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At the Flying Field

Where and When to Fly Stunt Kites
Look for a flying area without people, trees or obstructions for a distance of 150-ft. downwind and to either side of you. Avoid buildings and trees upwind that can cause turbulence. If there are single line kites in the sky, stay away from them to avoid crossing lines with them. It's easiest to learn to fly stunt kites in gentle to moderate winds. Too much or too little wind can be frustrating. If you don't have a wind meter, use the Beaufort Scale to estimate the wind speed.

Set Up Your Lines for Flying
Stunt kites are flown on two or more equal length lines. The lines are laid out on the ground for the desired flying length (usually 80 to 100 feet). You attach lines to your kite, launch and fly your kite, land and then wind your lines in when you're finished. Unlike single line kites, you don't change the line lengths while your kite is in the air.

First let out your lines as you walk into the wind. Rock the winder or handles back and forth to get the line to flow off them smoothly.

The first time you use new line: Tie loops at the flying ends of your lines, if they aren't already tied. If your lines aren't attached to straps or handles, use the Lark's Head Knot (below) to attach them. Check your line lengths to make sure they're equal by attaching the flying ends of the lines to a tree or post and pulling on the straps or handles. With stunt handles, adjustments are made by winding the line around the line stop. With sleeved lines, untie the loops and slide the sleeving to the same location on both lines. Fold both lines at the center of the sleeving and retie identical loops. Replace the overhand knot at the sleeving on the adjusted line (Sleeving Illustration). Lines can stretch with use. Check for equal lengths again after a few flights.

Attach the Lines to Your Kite
If your stunt kite has snaps on the bridle lines, just attach them to the loops at the ends of your lines. Many kites terminate the bridles with knotted loops of line instead of swivels. Use the Lark's Head Bridle Knot (below) to attach your lines to these loops. First take the loop at the end of your flying line and form a loose lark's head knot. Then put the bridle loop through this lark's head. Finally, tighten the lark's head up against the knot on the end of the bridle loop. Go back to your handles and untwist the lines to be sure that you have the right flying line in your right hand.

Watch the video on tying a Lark's Head Bridle Knot
Lark's Head

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Launching & Flying

First Time Launching is Easier with a Helper
While you hold the handles with the lines taut, have your helper stand downwind from you, behind the kite, holding it with the nose up. As you pull lightly on the lines, your helper should give your kite a gentle underhand toss. Immediately after launching your kite, your helper should step backwards to avoid being hit if your kite dives.

Kites with standoffs can be laid on their back and self-launched. Pick the handles up carefully, pull gently to stand your kite upright. Then pull back quickly to launch it. In light winds, take a few steps backwards to help your kite gain altitude. In strong winds, you may need to stake your handles down and lean your kite back against the line tension to keep it from launching itself (See our self-launch illustration, below).

On Your First Flight
After launching, keep your hands together in front of you. Let your kite fly up to gain altitude. If your kite goes to one side, pull slightly on the opposite handle to correct its flight. Get your kite to fly high and downwind from you, where it will be easiest to control. When it's flying high and steady, pull on one line and see how your kite responds. Pull right to go right and left to go left, returning each time to the center. Remember to keep your kite high, start slowly and don't pull too far. Move your hands inches, not feet. Keep pulling and your kite will loop. Stop pulling and it will continue straight in the direction it's pointing. Don't worry if the lines twist around each other when you do loops. You'll feel some resistance, but several wraps on the lines won't affect your control. If you're having trouble controlling your kite, try adding a tail or flying in a different (lighter) wind.

Explore the Wind
Once you know how your kite behaves, you can explore its Wind Window (below). Down low in front of you is the "power zone" where your kite pulls hard and speeds up. Smaller hand movements are needed to control it here. Off to the sides are the "edges" of the window, where it slows down and the most skill is required to fly. Right and left hand turns take unsymmetrical amounts of pull here. As you fly, notice how the wind affects your kite. In strong winds, it speeds up and pulls harder. You can use this to control your kite. Step backwards a few steps to increase its speed (effectively increasing the wind) or forwards to slow it down.

Landing is Easy
To land your kite gently, fly it low and far to the side until it loses lift and comes down. With some practice, you can land it nose up and ready to relaunch. Fly it to the side and as it comes near the edge turn the nose up and step forward to land it.

Developing Your Technique
You can make your kite turn by pulling on one handle, by pushing forward with the other handle or by doing both at once. Notice that the further and quicker you pull or push, the quicker the turn. You'll also find out how far not to pull on a turn. Too far and your kite may "stall" (spill the wind) and fall out of the sky. Use push turns in light winds to prevent stalling. For best results, keep your hands down low near your body and make smooth, controlled motions. Jerky and excessive movements will make your stunter fly in a wild and erratic manner.

Winding in Stunt Kite Lines
Land your kite. If you're using handles, put them together and wind the lines around both at once (very few line twists will be added). If you're using a card winder, figure eight the lines onto the winder so you'll have twist-free lines the next time you fly.

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Adjusting Bridles

If the wind is right for your kite and it still doesn't want to fly, you may need to adjust the bridle. Most bridles are adjusted by moving the bridle attachment point along the line running from the upper spreader to the bottom of the center spine.

Your kite's instructions will tell you where to start relative to the marks on the bridle. Make sure both sides are the same and move the clips or loops 1/4" at a time, test flying the kite after each adjustment. Move the clips or loops up toward the nose when the kite won't climb, pulls too hard or oversteers (keeps turning after you try to get it to stop). This increases the kite's speed and lift in light winds, letting it fly higher and further to the sides and decreases the pull in strong winds. Move the clips or loops down when the kite flutters, doesn't pull or makes very wide turns. This makes the kite respond quicker, turn tighter and pull harder. Lift is decreased in light winds, so more wind will be needed to fly your kite. Some kites have an adjustable "outhaul" (or outer) bridle lines. Shortening the outhaul line tightens turns and quickens response. Lengthening it reduces oversteer and increases stability.

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Developing Your Skill

Advanced Stunt Kite Flying
Our Pocket Guide will get you started, but when you're ready for the next step, the videos and books in our Kite Catalog will take you as far as you want to go. A sample of things you can do with stunt kites:

Kite Ballet Flying
Using a portable music player and headphones, try matching your kite's motions to music. Music expressed with a stunt kite is a most enjoyable way to develop your skills.

Start a Team
If you and your friends have similar kites, try flying them together in formation as a team. Team flying is harder than it looks. Starting out in light winds will slow your kites down and help you stay in formation. Kites made for team flying are very precise and slow. You'll see why.

Flying Patterns
In Precision Flying, the goal is to fly perfect patterns in the sky. Some maneuvers are easy and some are challenging. Pattern flying serves to advance your flying skills and to measure your progress.

Radical Tricks
Responding to carefully-timed, aggressive punching and pulling on the handles, "Radical" style kites make extremely tight, wind-spilling, "snap turns or stalls". Advanced maneuvers like the axel, turtle and flip flop all begin with snap stalls. Advanced videos and books help to get you started flying on the wild side of kiting.

Zero Wind Flying
Indoors or out, flying kites in no wind opens up a sky full of possibilities. You'll need specialized equipment and practice to do it, but you'll never have to wait for the wind to blow!

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Kite Safety

Stunt Kite Safety is Important!
The speed and power that make stunters so much fun make them dangerous as well. Any kite line can be hazardous, but stunt lines are thinner, stronger, and move at high speeds close to the ground. If someone wanders into your flying range, land your kite immediately. Tell onlookers to stand behind you, the safest place to watch. Most people have no idea that a kite or its line could harm them.

Don't fly your stunter in so much wind that you can't control it. Some kites generate tremendous pull, even in moderate winds. Never fly near overhead lines, in stormy weather or with wet lines. Many stunt kites have conductive graphite spars. If your kite shorts out a power line, you may be responsible for the damages, but don't try to remove a kite from overhead lines yourself! Contact your utility company for assistance.

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Traditional Kites 101

Where to Fly
Getting Ready
How to Launch


Where to Fly

Pick the Right Place to Fly a Kite
Choose an open, treeless area. Trees or buildings upwind can cause ground turbulence and make your kite hard to launch. Downwind, these "kite eating" obstacles can cause turbulence that attracts kites. Hills can be great places to fly kites. Stand on the windward side to avoid turbulence created by the hill itself.

How Much Wind Do You Need to Fly?
Generally less than you think. If you don't have a wind meter, use the Beaufort Scale to judge the wind. Most kiteflying problems are caused by not matching the kite to the wind. If your kite loops and dives while pulling hard on the line, try letting out line. If that steadies it, but only temporarily, the wind is too strong for it. Try adding a tail for more drag. Remember, a tail should add drag not weight. If your kite wobbles and fails to climb unless you keep pulling in line, the wind is too light. Some kites can be adjusted for the wind (see below). If that doesn't work, try a different kite or fly on another day.

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Getting Ready

Before Flying Your Kite Get Your Flying Line Ready
If you bought bulk line, transfer it to your reel, using the Slip Knot to attach it to the reel. A snap swivel makes it easy to connect line to your kite and keeps tangles out of your line. If you have a swivel, tie your line to it with the Clinch Knot. If you don't have a swivel, tie the line to your kite with the Bowline Knot.

Before Flying Your Kite Get Your Kite Ready
Read its instructions and assemble it indoors first to see how it's done. Some kites, especially Boxes, can be complicated to assemble. Read the tips below for different types of kites. When you've got your kite and line ready, see How to Launch and Fly Single Line Kites.

Delta Kite Tips
Make sure that the wing spars are pushed all the way out to the wing tips. If there are two holes on the keel, attach your line to the lower hole in light winds and the upper hole in stronger winds.

Deltas are light to moderate wind kites. If your delta pulls hard and loops or dives, the wind is too strong. Adding tails makes deltas easier to launch and fly in gusty winds. Be sure to keep the kite symmetrical, add tails at the center or equally to each side. Don't attach tails to the keel.

Tips for Dragons, Diamonds and Box Kites
Attach your line to the loop on the bridle. You can adjust your kite for stronger or lighter winds by moving the bridle loop. Make sure the factory setting is marked before you move the loop up 1/2" for strong winds or down for light winds.

Tails are needed for most diamond kites; box kites prefer steady winds, and Mylar® Dragons will last longer if you avoid strong winds.

Tips for Airfoil Kites
Attach your line to the bridle loop. Bridle adjustment is not recommended with airfoils. Instead, match your tail to the wind. A streamer tail can be fine in moderate winds, but you may need to change to a drogue tail (picture) in strong winds.

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How to Launch

Launching a Kite
To launch in good winds, stand with your back to the wind and hold your kite up to catch the wind. Let line out only as fast as the wind lifts the kite. If the wind lulls, pull in line to make your kite gain altitude.

In light or gusty winds, a high-start launch can get your kite up to steadier winds higher up. Have a friend hold your kite 100-ft. or more downwind from you with the line stretched tight. When your assistant releases the kite, reel in line to make it climb.

Running is the hardest way to launch a kite. The uncontrolled tugging on the line makes kites dive and crash. Let the wind and your reel do the work instead.

How to Fly Your Kite
Line handling lets you control your kite when it's flying. Maintain a steady line tension to keep it flying evenly. Take in line to move it in the direction it's pointing. Let out line to change its direction. Play with it. It's fun!

Also use the line to keep in touch with your kite. If the line goes slack, the wind has lulled. Reel in line to slow the kite's descent. If the pull on your line increases, check to see if a gust is causing your kite to loop or dive. Let out line to help it recover or soften its landing. Always leave some line on your reel for unexpected gusts.

If your line tangles with another kiteline, hold your line steady and walk toward the other flyer. The tangle will move down the lines so that it can be undone.

Landing Tips
In moderate winds, just reel in your kite slowly, pausing if too much tension causes it to loop. With a hard pulling kite, walk it down. While a friend holds the reel, put the line under your arm or hold it with a gloved hand and walk toward the kite. This brings it in without increasing the apparent wind speed.

Winding in Your Line
Keep some tension on the line when winding it in, as loosely wound line tends to tangle. When winding onto a spool with your hand, turn the spool over from time to time and wind in the other direction. This keeps the line from being twisted so many times that it tangles.

Never struggle to reel in your kite. Reeling in line under strong tension could damage the reel. In strong winds, walk your kite down or pull the line in with your gloved hands, while moving around to avoid piling up line in one place. Then wind the line onto your reel.

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Kite FAQs

I've tried to fly my kite several times and it just won't stay in the air. What should I do?
If you have difficulty getting your kite to fly at the same location on multiple attempts, you should always try another location first. Sometimes structures and buildings can block the wind resulting in unstable and turbulent conditions. These variable winds can make an otherwise excellent flying kite perform poorly. If the kite fails to fly at several different locations, double check that you have assembled it correctly and make sure you're flying within the recommended wind range.

Why are some beginner stunt kites packaged with Dacron or polyester lines, while the more advanced stunt kites include Spectra or Dyneema lines?
Dacron and polyester are "stretchier" kite lines than Spectra and Dyneema. (Dacron and polyester line are rated at about 15% stretch, whereas Spectra line is listed at 3-5% stretch, and Dyneema 4-7% stretch.) A line with more stretch means it takes longer for hand motions to be "transmitted" via the line to the kite. That's a good thing when you're a beginner because it slows the kite's response. Longer flying lines, also typical with beginner kites, have the same effect. As you become more experienced, you will want the improved response that an upgrade to either Spectra or Dyneema lines will provide.

Will you gift wrap an order?
Unfortunately, we do not offer a gift wrap service but will gladly include a complimentary gift card with a short message. All gift orders include a packing slip in the box (without pricing). A receipt with the billing information is mailed separately to the purchaser.

Ask The Experts Archive

"Ask The Experts" is a regular feature in our eNewsletter that poses a question to our panel of kite gurus. Many of the answers are provided by kite designers, some who work independently and others who are employed by larger kite manufacturers. Other responses come from well-known and respected fliers and admired kitemaking enthusiasts. This page is an archive of Questions and Answers that have been included in previous eNewsletters.

Q: What's a wind tamer? When should I use it? How will it affect the performance of my kite?

Q: I want to fly my kite off of my boat. Which kite do you recommend? Will the speed of the boat plus the wind put too much stress on the kite? Should I use heavier line?

Q: Who introduced you to kiting and/or was most influential in encouraging you to pursue it as a pastime, career or lifestyle?

Q: In your opinion, which kite or kite-related innovation has had the most impact on the evolution of kiting?

Q: Just like an airplane, a bird or a bee, some kites have "wings" to help them fly. Besides wings, what are the other aerodynamic factors at work in kite design?

Q: My family will be having our big, annual barbeque on the 4th of July. This year I want to take a handful of kites so there's something for everyone to fly. What would you suggest?

Q: I've had to repair my kite several times over the years. Can I keep replacing spars and fittings or is it time to buy something new and put this in a garage sale?

Q: I'm not necessarily interested in setting a kite altitude record but I do want to fly a kite really high. Which kite would be the best choice?

Q: If you were happily stranded on a deserted island and could only have one kite with you, what would you choose and why?

Q: I've had a beginner stunt kite that was flown extensively for several years and then stored away. I have just pulled it out again so a friend can learn to fly. What maintenance might I need to perform and what should I check to make sure it's in flying condition? Does the line wear out? How can I tell?

Q: What is the best way to fly line laundry from my Flowform?

Q: Why do large kites fly better than small kites?

Q: I'm interested in entering some sport kite competitions. How do I know if I'm good enough and how do I get started?

Q: We asked our experts to "Sound off on Safety" for this eNewsletter. And this is what happened:

Q: I live in an area where the wind is very gusty. I'm trying to learn to do tricks with my 8-ft. stunter in these winds, with little luck. Are there any hints that would help me? What kite would be the best choice in these types of winds? Would I have better luck with a foil?

Q: Dad and nine year old going to Italy high up in the Alps for a week. Want to take a kite on the airplane. Must be packable (big suitcase), sturdy, easy to put together and durable. What would you suggest?

Q: I currently own a 9-ft delta single line kite. My question is: Is there a certain length to let the kite out? I believe mine comes with 100-ft. of line. Is it safe to go any higher? Would I have to go up to next stronger line?

Q: I am new to power kiting. I weigh 180-lb. Can you give me an idea of what kite to start with and what kind of pull I can expect from it? A good amount of pull is okay, but me flying, is not.

Q: What exactly does sail loading mean and why is it important? I was just curious and wanted to know.

Q: I have a lot of Delta stunters. Why would I want to get a foil if foils can't do tricks and I'm not "in" to heavy pulling kites? I usually don't break my kites either so durability is not an issue.

Q: Is the lift generated by a kite directly proportional to the size of the kite, or are there some smaller kites that have better lift than a larger kite? I was looking to get into kite jumping and was wondering what to look for in a kite.

Q: Where's your favorite place in the world to fly kites? Why?

Q: What's the best kite to fly at the beach?

Q: What's the new kite that you're flying, the new trick that you're doing? What aspect of kiteflying is new for you?

Q: I bought a fighter kite. I've tried to fly it in 8 mph winds twice. I just am not real sure what to do. I have the feeling that getting the bridle right is a must. Too much one way makes it touchy, the other way and you can't steer it. I know it has to do with tension, but does anyone know more than that?

Q: If anyone could offer me any advice on how to achieve a more consistent snap stall, I would appreciate it. I have great difficulty getting my kite to stall and I really want to be able to do axels and all those other great tricks, the key to which is a good stall.

Q: How can I make my wind decorations last longer

Q: Can someone recommend a good kite for kayaking? It should be able to work well in winds from 10-30 kts, pull about 400 lbs., and be easy to douse quickly in case of emergency.

Q: I have been flying stunt kites for a few years, and am interested in upgrading to four lines. Which kite would be best for me to learn on? Please let me know so I don't get in over my head.

Q: I'm a beginner and I have already accumulated four different lines. How do you keep track of the line strength that your kite should use and the strength of the line that you have on your handles? I can't eyeball the difference between 20#, 30# and 50# lines.

Q: Is there a natural progression or sequence of learning tricks? What are the first set of basic tricks/skills that one should learn?

Q: I just ordered a kite and was wondering... is kite fabric an important consideration? What are the advantages and disadvantages to ripstop sailcloth vs. polyester?

Q: I'm just a beginner. What line should I use for my stunt kite? Kevlar, Spectra, Blended Spectra, Dyneema or Dacron?

Q: What's the best way to make small repairs to the sail of my kite?

Q: I have a 5-ft. Rokkaku that is not a stable flier. The spars seem to be adjustable as well as the bridle. Can you give me pointers on how to fly this kite?

Q: I recently bought my first stunt kite. When I'm not flying it, it looks great hanging on my wall. But I'm worried that if it's always tensioned, it will become "looser" and less responsive over time. Is it best to store it disassembled when not in use?

Q: What is the optimal line length for learning stunts like stalls and axels?