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Kites 101 : 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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