A stunt kite can reach speeds of 100 miles per hour and create hundreds of pounds of pull. Being at the helm of that speed and power can be heady and exciting. However, it can also be dangerous, especially in the hands of a novice. While anyone can learn to stunt fly, there are some basics beginners need to learn first.
Setting Up For Success
For the beginner looking to purchase his or her first sport flyer, the most important characteristic to look for is the length of the line. A longer line, preferably 75 to 120 feet long, gives the flyer more time to respond. As with all kites, shorter lines make for faster soaring, which increases the challenges for the person on the ground trying to control it.
For a beginner, it is also useful to have a helper for the first couple launches. The helper should hold the stunt kite while the flyer unrolls the line, keeping the tension in the lines. Then the helper should give the glider a gentle lift into the air. Don’t get frustrated if it takes several tries for a successful launch. Launching and gaining control from lift-off are among the most difficult skills for a new stunt flyer to master.
Choosing The Best Site For Kites
Some of the best tips for selecting flying sites for kites are obvious but bear repeating. Never fly near power lines or in thunderstorms. Never fly near trees, houses or over roads or highways. And never fly over a person or animal.
Stunt flyers should have a pre-launch checklist they go through before every launch. It involves looking for hazards in the immediate area, such as those mentioned above. It also involves checking the site for other kites and making sure there is sufficient space to back up.
Stunt Kite Steering Tips
There is nothing complicated about steering a sport glider. Like all kites, it can go left, right or straight. To go left, pull the left line. To go right, pull the right line. Keep turning in just one direction and eventually you’ll fly in a circle. Just gliding back and forth, left and right, in a large figure eight is good practice for a novice flyer. To slow down, move toward the glider. To go faster, pull the handles in. To land, let it go out to the left or right to slow down and eventually fall to the ground.
There’s no need to raise one’s arms or to jerk them when steering. Upraised arms do not affect height or control but will make the flyers’ arms tired. Jerking will likely cause it to jump around mid-air and eventually crash. Pulling is another reflex that can lead a beginner astray. The more one pulls on the lines, the more tension is increased and therefore the more power and speed there will be.
It’s common for flying lines to end up twisted. This usually occurs after gliding in a circle, whether on purpose or accidentally. It’s possible to put a dozen such twists in the line before it affects control. To untwist the lines, simply fly the glider back in the opposite direction from the way it flew to get twisted.
Stunt flying is as simple as that. However, it does take practice to turn those lefts and rights into a more dynamic flying pattern complete with controlled diving and soaring. Practice these basics over and over again while observing safe flying, and soon you’ll have an awe-inspiring stunt flying performance.