Launching - Décollage

< version française >

Anybody who has a lot of work into a kite will certainly want to minimize its chances of failure, and possible destructions at launch or landing. There are the kite's most vunerable momeoidednts, and there are a number of hazards to be avoided.

The challenge is to fly your kite through the poor and disturbed wind near the ground and into the better wind above. The trick is to do it without changing the bridle and altering the angle of attack, if possible, since a change may be unsuitable for the winds at the higher elevation.

Many people believe you must run with a kite to launch it. This is not true. If the wind is steady and strong enough for your kite at ground level, you may launch your kite without taking a single step. Those who run usually ignore the wind direction! Since airplanes take off into the wind, your kite should too.
Many accidents are caused by people who run with a kite while trying to keep an eye on it instead of watching where they are going. These runners may stumble, fall, or slam into something like a tree or a fellow kiteflier — an encounter that is humiliating and painful. Even if the runner succeeds in pulling a kite into the sky, it will fall once they stop running unless the kite rises high enough to find stronger wind.

The best way to launch your kite is to determine if the wind is light, moderate, or heavy, then use one of the methods below. Once a kite is launched, it will seek out the correct angle to the wind.

Light Wind Launch
On days when the wind at ground level is too calm to launch a kite, a steady stream of air often flows above the trees and buildings. If you can place your kite into this upper layer of air, it could continue to fly for hours, even when the wind dies down late in the afternoon. Achieve this by using a favorite trick of expert kitefliers called a long line launch.

One method of achieving a long line launch is to let out 100 to 200 feet (30-60 meters) of line. Have a helper hold the kite or prop it up against something so that it is facing you and facing the wind. Signal your helper to let go of the kite, so it can rise naturally from their hands. The helper should not throw the kite into the wind. As they release the kite, stand still and pull in line quickly.

Another method is to pull the line in rapidly while doing a short sprint into the wind. In most cases, this burst of energy will force the kite to rise quickly and possibly climb into an upper air stream swift enough to sustain its flight.

Make sure your helper stands behind the kite. That way your helper doesn't get hit by the kite or tangled in the bridles. Also, make sure your helper knows which end is up!

Moderate Wind Launch
On days when the wind at ground level is strong enough to launch a kite you will find it easy to launch the kite directly from your hands. Stand with your back to the wind. Hold the kite aloft so that it is facing you and catching the full force of the wind. Release the kite and pay out line steadily until the kite reaches a stable altitude. If the wind does not carry the kite up immediately, the kiteflier can take one or two steps backward and, at the same time, pull steadily on the line.

Heavy Wind Launch
On days when the wind at ground level is very strong you will find it easy to launch the kite directly from your hands. For larger kites it's extremely important to anchor your kite line. You may need gloves to protect your hands.
It's important to watch your kite closely. Your kite may fly well at a low altitude, but as it rises it may be overpowered by stronger or gusty wind. You can tell it's overpowered when it spins, loops and dives. It may be necessary to add a longer tail and adjust the bridle by moving the tow point toward the top of the kite 1/4" at a time.
Launch Trouble-Shooting
If the kite will not rise:
  • The wind may be too weak to achieve the lift required to support the weight of the kite. Eat lunch then try again.
  • The wind may have shifted direction while you were setting up. Change your position to assure you have your back to the wind.
  • c. A hill, a tree or a structure could obstruct the wind. You also could be holding the kite too closely and your body may be blocking the wind. Do not throw the kite. Try the long line launch and allow the kite to rise smoothly.
  • The bridle may need to be changed because the angle of attack may be too great or too small. If the kite does not climb, move the bridle point slightly higher. To steady the kite, move the bridle point slightly lower. Move it only one quarter of an inch at a time. When you dangle the kite from the bridle point usually the kite will have the nose slightly up instead of horizontal.
  • The kite must be symmetric. That means that the size and weight and flexibility of the left side must equal that of the right. Check it by flexing the frame and dangle the kite from the bridle to see if it is balanced.
  • The kite may have too much drag because of too much tail or the tail is too heavy. Very often a kite will need a longer tail to fly in stronger winds. Try 7 times the length of the kite to start. If you need to improvise, strips of plastic garbage bags work well.
  • The line may be too heavy. In flight, this is usually indicated by a sag in the line. Switch to thinner line or wait for stronger wind.
  • If a kite swings from side to side, consider bowing the kite more and/or adding a longer tail.
Article plus récent Article plus ancien Accueil