Beginner's Guide to Flying a Kite

1 - Choosing Where to Fly a Kite

The two most important things you will need to successfully launch and fly your kite are plenty of open space and proper wind speed for your kite. It's best to choose an open area free of trees, buildings, and hazardous obstacles like overhead power lines. If you're planning on flying a stunt kite, make sure any spectators know to stay behind you. Stunt kite string is stronger and thinner than traditional kite string and can be very dangerous when flying close to the ground at high speeds.

Most kites have a recommended wind speed range. Check to see that the wind speed in the area you've chosen is within the recommended guidelines for your kite using a wind meter or a technique called the Beaufort Scale. The Beaufort Scale is a technique developed by sailors for estimating wind speed by observing how objects such as trees and flags are affected by the wind. If the wind is too strong or too light for your kite, you may experience problems getting it to fly properly. See our Kite Tips and Tricks for more help.

2 - Getting Your Kite Ready for Flight

Read the instructions and assemble your kite indoors, away from the wind, first. Your kite is designed for flight, but you don't want it flying off before you've finished putting it together.

If you've used your kite line before, check to make sure it is free of any snags or tangles that may interfere with your flight. If you've purchased extra line or a line reel, now is the time to attach your line to your reel and your kite. We recommend using a slip knot to attach the line to your reel and a bowline knot to attach the line to your kite as indicated in the assembly instructions.

3 - Flying Your Kite (Lift Off!)

Contrary to popular belief, running is not the best way to launch a kite. In fact, it can actually make launching your kite very difficult, causing it to dive or even crash during launch. It's best to let the wind and your reel do most of the work.

If wind conditions are good, face away from the wind and hold up your kite, letting it catch the wind. As the wind lifts the kite, let line out. If the wind slows or lulls, reel in some line back in to steady your kite.

When winds are very light or gusty, an assisted launch can be your best option for a successful launch. Have your helper hold the kite at least 100 feet from you, downwind. Keep your line tight and reel it in once your friend releases the kite to make it climb.

Once your kite is in the air, use the line to control its flight. A steady tension on the line will keep your kite flying evenly. You can slow your kite's descent by slowly reeling in your line. Pulling on the line will move your kite in the direction it is pointing while letting out the line will change its direction.

If the wind slows or lulls, you may notice some slack in your line. If this happens, slowly reel in the line to slow the kite's descent. When wind speed increases, your kite line may pull harder or your kite may loop or dive. You can ease this by letting out some line. You should never let your kite out so far you have no line left on the reel. Your line is the best way to maintain or regain control of your kite due to unexpected wind changes. Check out our Kite Tips and Tricks for more, well, tips and tricks on flying your kite.

4 - Landing Your Kite

When you're ready to land your kite, slowly reel in your line. You want to keep light tension on the line to prevent tangling. If your kite starts to loop, there is too much tension on the line. Slow down or have a buddy help you walk the kite down. To do this, one of you will need to hold the reel while the other walk along the line towards the kite with the line under an arm or held with a gloved hand.