LOGIN
  Click here to register.
SEARCH
CATALOG QUICK ORDER

Order Summary

Your cart is empty.

    

Your Account

      View order history
      My Account
      Customer service




How we select the kites we carry

Kite Comparison Charts

Spar Charts

Knots

Repair Instructions

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).

 [Click here to return to the top of the page]

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

 [Click here to return to the top of the page]

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.

Self-Launching
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.

 [Click here to return to the top of the page]

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.

 [Click here to return to the top of the page]

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!

 [Click here to return to the top of the page]

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.

[Click here to return to the top of the page]
Traditional Kites 101

Kite FAQs

Ask The Experts Archive