Multiple kites high in the sky

Are Smaller Kites Harder to Fly?

With both large and small kites in the market, have you ever wondered how both behave when flown? If you are a novice kite flier, this article will clarify whether large or smaller kites are harder to fly. 

Small-sized kites such as deltas and diamond kites are easy to fly. They are more responsive and turn quicker when compared to more giant kites. Both children and absolute beginners should start with these kites.

Is a Bigger Kite Easier to Fly?

Kite flying has a long history that is also varied. There are different types of kites in various designs (2).

People fly kites for all sorts of different reasons. It includes recreation and competitive uses such as competitions and ariel ballet. 

The different kinds of kites are fighter kites, indoor kites, man-flying kites, inflatable single line kites, stunt(sport) kites, and water kites.

To fly successfully in different winds, you will require several kites. However, it would be best to get kites with good designs to make kite flying easier. 

With time, kite flyers develop the ability to ‘study the wind’ and how it affects its environment. 

When choosing kites, you may also opt for small kites or more giant kites. However, your choice will be dependent on several factors. 

The size of one’s kite will depend on their weight. It mainly applies to those in kite surfing. Also, having multiple kites is advisable to deal with higher and lower winds. 

Children and beginners should lean towards the smaller kites such as delta and diamond-shaped kites. Besides being easy to assemble, they are easier to fly for this group. Additionally, they are light which makes them easily portable.

Note that smaller kites are best suited to turn quicker and are more responsive when compared to more giant kites.

Larger kites, such as power kites, are best suited to generate higher pulling power. In addition, the increased kite size means that the surface area is proportionately more extensive, which in turn allows the kite to create more pull from the wind and allows it to power traction sports (3)

Which Kite is Best for Beginners?

Summer afternoons and windy springs have many taking their kites out and enjoying the recreational activity. However, for those looking to start in the sport, purchasing a kite may look challenging, especially since there are various kite types in the market.

Kite flying is not a one size fits all affair. Therefore, there are significant precursor considerations also to consider. 

The wind is the main factor to which you must pay close attention. Larger kites require lighter winds (14-18m), medium kites work best in medium winds (11-13m), and smaller kites require higher winds (5-9m). 

Picking a kite should depend on the wind range that blows in the particular area. As a rule of thumb, the stronger the wind, the smaller the kite. 

So, for example, kite surfing and stunt kite flying would require different kites.

Other factors that come into play when picking a kite include skill level and flyer’s weight. What you plan on using the kite for also matters. 

When purchasing kites, beginners should keep their eye on kites with good stability and ease of learning. Steering clear of high-performance kites is advisable. Not only do they require more skill, but they also tend to be twitchy and are very expensive.

Beginners should go for single-line kites. It includes diamond kites or deltas (4).

Flying single-line kites are easy whether they are biplane, octopus, triangle, box style, or cylinder. Complex kites require more skill. 

However, a complex single kite is still easy to fly. An excellent example of a single-line kite is the Parafoil 2 (2sq ft).

One does not have to be a complete beginner to be new at different aspects of kite flying. For example, one may have flown single-line kites but never stunt kites. 

To fly stunt kites, one requires more skill as they are quicker and more responsive. Starting with an inexpensive model allows flyers to familiarize themselves with the speed and handling of such kites (5).  

Power kites are gigantic and powerful kites. When getting into the sport, beginners should start with smaller versions first. Also, working with instructors or professional power kite flyers is necessary.

Do Bigger Kites Need Less Wind?

We have established that wind is a necessary component in kite flying. Locations such as the beach are great, provided you steer clear of other people. 

The amount of wind required for kites to take off would depend on various factors such as shape. For example, some kites are very aerodynamic, meaning they don’t need much wind to fly. A slight breeze would be enough.

The size and weight of the kite are also contributing factors (6).

When it comes to kite size and wind speed, the basic rule is that as the speed of wind increases, the size of the kite decreases. By doing this, moderating kite power becomes easy. The same concept applies to surfing and sailing, where the surface area of the sail may be reduced or enlarged according to the type of conditions you might use the equipment.

Bigger kites need less wind to get airborne. Their large surface area allows more room for catching the wind. However, if they are heavy, you might require more wind to lift them off the ground.

Bigger kites also lift higher, and they travel slower when compared to smaller kites. 

Smaller kites need gustier wind due to the reduced surface area. The fact that they require more current makes them faster.  

For kitesurfing, manufacturers prepare a wind range table for the kites they sell. It serves as a guide for the maximum and minimum wind speeds required for different kites (7).

While outdoor kites require wind to get airborne, indoor kites need little to no wind. Many refer to these kites as zero-wind, windless, or low-wind kites. These kites fly via wind conditions dependent on the flier’s motion. 

The motion entails moving backward in circles. Additionally, many fly these kites during indoor kite festivals. 

Why Does My Kite Not Fly?

Lift is an upward-acting force, while gravity is a downward-acting force. The influence of gravity causes kites to fall, and lift prevents kites from falling. For kites to successfully launch into the air, lift force must be greater than gravity. (8)

As mentioned before, the wind is a necessary component of kite flying. We also noted that different kite sizes require certain wind speeds. Therefore, flying a large kite in unfavorable wind conditions will prevent it from getting airborne. 

With that said, kites may fail to fly if the tail used is too long and very heavy. The solution, in this case, would be to either remove a section of the tail or replace it altogether. 

The environment that you fly your kite in is vital. It would be best to fly these masterful devices in flat areas free of obstructions such as buildings and trees. Beaches and parks are excellent spots.

Flying in areas with obstructions can cause turbulence. It may reduce the wind speed and cause bumpy flights. The worst-case scenario would be the kite not launching (9).

Summary

Larger kites require less wind due to their increased surface area, while smaller kites require more wind. Starting with smaller kites makes the experience enjoyable for both children and beginners as they are easier to control. 

With time, they can confidently begin to fly larger kites.

Sources

  1. Lee and Cameron, What is the Easiest Type of Kite to Fly? All Things Kites, https://allthingskites.com/what-is-the-easiest-type-of-kite-to-fly/, Accessed 6th December 2021
  2. Kite, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kite#Designs, Accessed 7th December 2021
  3. Kite Flying Basics, Prism Flight Center, https://sites.google.com/prismkites.com/flightcenter/Home/kite-flying-basics, Accessed 7th December 2021
  4. Wiki How staff, How to Fly a Kite, Wiki How, https://www.wikihow.com/Fly-a-Kite, Accessed 8th December 2021
  5. Course 105 – Choosing The Right Kite, A Wind of Change, http://www.awindofchange.com/lessons/lesson1-5.html, Accessed 8th December 2021
  6. How Much Wind Does It Take To Fly a Kite? Wonderopolis, https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-much-wind-does-it-take-to-fly-a-kite, Accessed 9th December 2021
  7. How much wind does a kiteboarder need to fly a kite?, Surfer Today, https://www.surfertoday.com/kiteboarding/how-much-wind-does-a-kiteboarder-need-to-fly-a-kite, Accessed 9thDecember 2021
  8. Kite Launch and Flight, NASA, https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/VirtualAero/BottleRocket/airplane/kitefly.html, Accessed 10th December 2021
  9. How to Fly a Kite, America Kite Flyers Association, https://www.kite.org/about-kites/how-to-fly-a-kite/, Accessed 10th December 2021

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