Unique flights: A kite flying guide

Unique Flights: A Kite Flying Guide

We often associate kite flying with children’s toys; however, kites have a rather long history behind them. In Eastern Asia, kites were first used for superstitious reasons, as well as in the military. Later on, different Asian cultures developed their own styles of kites, and different ways of flying them. One popular sport of competitive kiting involved not only making the kites fly high, but also maneuvering them to bring down an opponent’s kite. South America is another area where kite flying is extremely popular. The Chileans enjoy flying kites during their Independence Day, while in Columbia, the later windy summer months are perfect for flying kites in the park. Curiously, in Guyana, kite-flying is associated with religion. There, people mainly fly kites during their Easter celebrations.

Even today, kite flying is popular all around the world for its simplistic pleasure. In the United States, there are entire clubs, associations, competitions, and festivals that are dedicated to flying kites. Apart from the traditional Asian kites (which are still made in the old style), other types of kites include box kites, flat kites, power kites, and sport or stunt kites. Each of these has their own purposes; their individual design variations dictate the manner in which they can be flown.

In general, kites can be divided into two categories: single or multi-line. Some of the most recognizable kites are the very simple diamond-shaped single-line ones. Multi-dimensional kites often tend to have multiple lines. The reason for the multiple lines can be compared to a puppet that has numerous strings for controlling each of its limbs separately. The multiple lines on a kite can help the flyer to accurately control how high the kite flies, where it moves, and how it turns. Have a look at the fascinating resources below to discover more about flying kites.

Kite History

  • Kites Around the World (PDF) – Some of the earliest examples of kites come from the Far East.
  • American Kites – View a slideshow about the history of kites and their varying designs.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s Kite – Ben Franklin made history when he flew a kite during a lightning storm to understand electricity better.
  • All About Kites – Kites have historically been used for purposes other than play, such as for sport, warfare, and science.

Types of Kites

  • Stunt Kites – See a few different examples of stunt kites.
  • Kite Lines – Find out what the difference is between single and multi-line kites.
  • Various Kite Designs – A kite’s design can greatly alter its ability to fly and turn.
  • Cultural Kites – Read about fighter kites from Korea, Japan, Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia and more.

Kite Plans

  • Single Line Kites – Print out free plans for various types of single line kites.
  • Box Kites (PDF) – Follow this tutorial to learn how to make a box kite from scratch.
  • Waldof Box Kite – This tutorial explains how to create a colorful, intricate type of box kite.
  • Advanced Kite Plans – For a more complex kite, try out these advanced plans and tutorials.
  • Japanese Kites – A step-by-step guide explains how to create a traditional Japanese kite.

Kite Organizations and Forums

Flying Resources

  • Kite Science – With this online simulation model, kite flyers can test out variations to see how it affects kite performance.
  • Flying a Kite (PDF) – This helpful guide covers the basics of flying a kite, including launch and maneuvering.
  • Flying Tips and Safety – Follow these important tips and safety rules to fly your kite properly.
  • Wind and Kites – Contrary to common thought, kites do not necessarily need a very strong wind in order to be flown.

Other Resources

  • Virtual Kites – Test and fly a virtual kite to help decide on a design for your own real kite.
  • Miniature Kite Guild – Learn all about creating miniature kites that can be flown indoors.
  • Kite Resources – Find information about kite events, clubs, stores, and publications.
  • Flights of Fancy – This annual kite flying festival is open to everyone and offers plenty of fun, family events.
  • World Kite Museum – This unique museum is dedicated to kites from all cultures and eras.


(Featured image: Vivian Evans)

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