Different Types of Kites
Experimenting with different types of kites puts the magic of flight at your fingertips. Kite flying is a safe and relaxing hobby; however, to make the most of the environmentally-friendly pastime, it pays to try out different types of kites before settling on a favorite.
The most basic type of kite is the diamond shape kite. It was made famous by Ben Franklin during his experiment testing the properties of electricity. Often referred to as an Eddy kite, the diamond shape is the most rudimentary of kite models. It is easy to make by placing two sticks in a cross pattern, stretching material over it, and then attaching a length of string around the outside.
While the diamond shape kite is easy to make and fly, it is by no means the only option you have. There are several different types of kites, including these popular picks:
- Box Kite
- Winged Box Kite
- Sled Kite
- Delta Kite
- Power Kites
The box kite is shaped like a large rectangle with material wrapped around the top and bottom. It was invented by Australia's Lawrence Hargrave in 1893 while he was trying to create a manned flying machine.
These days, scores of kite enthusiasts are attracted to this model because of its ability to fly high in the sky. What's more, the box kite can be made at home by attaching muslin to a box frame made of sticks. Finally, string is attached at the top and bottom, with the flying line, or reel, attached in the center of that string.
Winged Box Kite
The winged box kite shares the same basic shape as the box kite, though it includes the addition of two triangular pieces added to the long side of the box frame. These winged pieces feature strings that are used to control the kite.
Typically, the strings run from the edges of the triangles and are not tied to the frames. By doing so, the sails are able to increase the stability of the kite allowing it to stay up longer during fickle winds.
A sled kite is shaped similarly to the popular winter vehicle made to travel over ice and snow. However, in the case of the kite, the sled model has:
- A rectangular base with curved sides
- A flying line attached to the edges of the kite rather than the middle of the frame
- Long streamers at the bottom of the kite's base
William Allison first invented the sled kite in the 1950s. Back then he called them polymorphic kites because their form changed in the wind. However, the design was later modified by Frank Scott to improve the kite's flexibility and ability to remain in the air.
The delta kite is a triangular kite, similar to the diamond. The triangle frame is covered with material and a line is attached for flying. In some designs, a smaller triangle is added to the tail of the delta to give it more support.
At its core, the delta kite is an isosceles triangle with a very long base. Given its aerodynamic properties, the delta kite usually outperforms other types of flat kites.
In addition to the aforementioned standard kites, there is another high-performance model making waves in the kite industry. Power kites are much larger than traditional kites and are designed to provide precision and power in order to lift large objects, including humans.
The horseshoe-shaped frame has lines attached to each end, and is typically used in conjunction with a boat or board.
Power kites can be used on the water to kite surf. To do so, a rider is strapped into a harness and stands on a board, which is attached to the kite. In kite land boarding, the rider is lifted into the air by two or three power kites.
Choosing the Perfect Kite
With so many different types of kites available for your flying pleasure, it may take a while to select just one.
Before settling on a single model, determine your kite-flying criteria. Are you looking for a kite that is easy to control, flies the highest or can do a slew of tricks? Once you test out the different varieties, you will be better able to find the right kite for you.