Flying a kite is fun, and it can be seen as just a toy that you take out on a sunny day. But it does not come without risk. A kite is actually considered an aircraft in some countries, and there are formal rules and regulations set regarding where and how high you can fly a kite. So, how high can you legally fly a kite?
The maximum altitude for kites varies between countries. In the UK, you will find that the limit is 60 meters (197 feet), and in the USA, it is 150 feet (46 meters) with some conditions on weights. In Australia, it is 122 meters (400 feet).
In some countries, kites must be operated according to the Aviation Administration’s regulations. There are restrictions on heights, and you are not allowed to fly near or in restricted areas like airports, defense facilities, and some government buildings. Most regulations also have rules if you wish to fly your kite after sunset.
In other countries, you will find there are fewer rules and regulations for flying a kite.
But no matter what country you are in, you should familiarize yourself with your local regulations before you head out with your kite, to ensure safety for yourself and others.
Let me guide you through the principal regulations for kite flying in the USA, UK, and AUS. Below we will take a closer look at these regulations and what they mean for you when you go kite flying.
What Are the Formal Regulations Around Kite Altitude?
There are many different types of kites, and they all fly differently. Some kites are challenging to maneuver, and some kites are very stable. There are kites with one line, and there are others with multiple control lines that can perform stunts. Some kites can be flown on high altitudes and some lower. Depending on the nature of your kite, you may or may not operate it without permission.
If you are flying a smaller kite with a line, which is about 50 meters long, you can fly without concerns and within the regulated limits. For these types of kites, the standard height of flying would be 43 meters or 142 feet above ground level.
Regardless of the type of kite you are flying, you must always fly safely.
Kite Flying Regulations for the US
In the USA, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has set some regulations on how high and how you, in general, may operate a kite. According to the FAA, no person may operate a kite more than 150 feet above the surface of the earth. If you are up to flying higher than the usual standard, then you must give notice to the FAA ATC facility on your kiting plans. Additional, you have to ensure that your kite line has colored pennants or streamers attached, beginning at 150 feet with a 50-foot interval.
If you want to take out your kite between sunset and sunrise, you must ensure it’s adequately lighted. The light is so to give a visual warning so that there is no interference with air navigation.
Kite Flying Regulations for the UK
In the UK, it is the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) who sets the legislation around kite flying. You can find the regulations for kite activity in Article 92 of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016.
The majority of the rules apply where the kite weights over 2 kg, but many refer to all kites. In general, the maximum altitude to fly a kite in the UK is 60 meters above ground level. For any height higher than this, you must get permission from the CAA.
The regulation also differs if the kite is to be flown during daytime or night time. Flying kites at night requires lights to be displayed. You must for safety reasons not fly within 5km of any airport or other restricted areas.
Kite Flying Regulations for AUS
In Australia, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) prohibits kites flying above 400 feet above ground level and not within 4 kilometers (3 miles) of an airfield. As local laws may apply, you should always check with local authorities before flying your kite. It may be that you are not allowed to fly a kite in some public places, for example, in parks or campsites.
When is it Legal to Fly a Kite Over the Allowed Height?
In general, it’s not legal to fly your kite higher than what the regulations state. But if you have a large kite and want to test your limits (or the kites limits), or simply wish to reach higher heights, most regulations state that you have to obtain permission.
The law around the allowed height varies between countries, so you should check and seek permission with your country’s Aviation Administration.
How do I Know That I am Flying a Kite Within the Allowed Altitude?
By now, I am sure you understand how important it is not to fly your kite above the allowed hight. Fortunately, it’s easy to make sure it does not happen; merely restricting the length of your kite line to the maximum permitted height.
Under ideal weather conditions, a smaller kite will typically fly at an elevation of 60 degrees. If you have restricted your line, it means that it would always be under the allowed limit.
Flying a Kite Close to Prohibited or Restricted Areas
Flying a kite near an airport or other restricted areas can be considered to cause dangers. It is safe to say that you should avoid flying your kite close to any prohibited or restricted area like an airport or military areas.
There are numerous reasons why you should choose safer areas. Flying your kite to close to an airfield may distract pilots during critical stages of flight (such as take-off or landing). Aircraft engines can even ingest the kite, which clearly would lead to a catastrophic accident.
So, always ensure that you keep your kite flying in safe zones.
Kite Flying in General
Safety is paramount when you fly with your kite. If you have any doubt as to where, how high, or when you can operate your kite, contact the local authorities for advice. They will be able to guide and help you with any questions.
You’ll also want to check the weather for kite flying in addition to the local laws. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
What is the Highest a Kite has Ever Flown?
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Highest Kite Ever Flown was achieved back in 2014 by a man named Robert Moore. He flew his kite with an altitude of an impressive 4,879.54 m (16,009 feet)! He accomplished his record on a 50,000-acre sheep station in far western New South Wales, Australia.