Flying Your Stunt Kite In Low Winds
Featured Image: https://www.my-best-kite.com/kite-stunts.html
It’s an annoyance to every pilot when there’s either too much or not enough wind. The good news is that you can fly a stunt kite in low wind just as well as in perfect weather. The kite’s design determines how much wind it needs to fly easily.
Do I Need Lighter Lines?
The line set weight will be lower with a lighter # line. This will in turn reduce downward drag in low winds. Experts recommend using 50 feet of 90# at wind speed under 5 mph and 100ft @ 75# for 5-10. In very low wind, a shorter line can be indispensable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer much window room. It’s OK for indoor flying.
In extremely low wind, a pilot will need to pump their kite quite often to keep it up. In this case, don’t set your bridle for “light or low winds”. The kite’s nose will fall back every time you pump and also when you reload for another pump. Then, wind will be dumped off the top of the sail. Between pumps, the kite will tend to drop on its back. This way, it’s really hard to get it to rise.
The wind behind buildings or big trees is quite turbulent, so it’s best to avoid these places. Find an open area or move downwind.
What About Bridal Settings?
Set your bridle to a point where there is a bit of bobbing coming from its nose in between pumps. You could mark this spot on the bridle. Then, pump and step back smoothly. Take long, slow strides; don’t run back.
To reduce tension and keep the kite in the air, try moving the outer standoffs on both sides towards the innermost standoff, about 1.5 inches. Bridle settings are overlooked all too often. To change them, just adjust the kite’s nose backwards or forward depending on wind conditions.
Heavy setting is where the pilot sets the nose of the kite backwards, away from them. “Heavy” means the kite can shoot up and then drop back down really fast. It launches and then drops down to the ground or stalls irrespective of the number of times you pull. Light setting is when you set the nose forward, toward you. This way, the kite will be hard to stall out and will have fast forward drive. Light and heavy settings both change the kite’s so-called angle of attack. In low wind, it’s best to move the bridle setting to light. This will help keep the kite flying in lower wind by pushing most of the wind out through the bottom of the sail and propelling it forward.
What About The Kite Weight In Low Winds?
This is a major factor for stunt kites in low wind. The smaller the sail area and the heavier the kite, the stronger the wind has to be if you want it to keep soaring. Many people remove the kite’s higher spreader in very low wind to reduce the weight by a couple of grams.
Most kite bridles come with tabs that read “heavy wind”, “light wind”, “low wind”, or “strong wind”. There are knots to help you adjust the settings. Kites come with factory settings for “average” wind, which is quite a broad notion, so you can’t reasonably be expected to leave it on that setting in all conditions. Normally, you don’t need to adjust by more than an inch up or down.
It can be very technical to learn to fly in low wind, but eventually your skills will improve and you’ll have no problem flying in heavier wind. You’ll find this site really helpful in the process. If all else fails, take your phone or a friend and wait for the wind to pick up.
You can read more about stunt kiting through here, or contribute your own content and grow your fanbase!