Stunt Kite 101 : 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.
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, Dacron® line stretches 15% at the breaking point and slows response for easy learning. Five times as strong as Dacron, Spectra® 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, left).
Next : At the Flying Field