These tips assume the kite itself is in good condition and flies well. Even in that case, things occasionally get interesting. Oh yes! All sorts of unexpected things can happen when you're kite flying with a single liner. There's too many for 1 article so here are just 4 issues, with a little discussion and some suggestions for each.
Avoiding Trees And Other Obstacles
This might seem a bit strange since you can't steer most single-line kites. However, kites get caught in trees often! The first thing I do when walking into a park or reserve to fly a kite is to test the wind direction. This is easily done by throwing some grass or dust into the air. Once the kite is up, it will tell you exactly where the wind is coming from. You might find you have to move a little, to give the kite the most room possible. www.privatekite.com
Despite having enough room in the general wind direction, you might find your kite flying far over to the left or right. Here's a few reasons, starting from the most likely:
- a thermal is passing through
- the wind strength has crept up and the kite has become less stable
- the general wind direction has changed
- something has failed on the kite
So, if the kite is heading over some tall trees, you need to act quickly! You can't assume that the kite will be fine and eventually return to center. It probably will, but then I've been caught out more than once! It's best to scoot across in the opposite direction, which will encourage the kite to center itself and hence fly away from danger.
Another situation is where the kite is heading over some obstacles, but it is quite high. In this case, it pays to just keep an eye on things. If anything starts to go wrong, you have time to wind in line or walk backwards so the kite ends up upwind of those kite-eaters below!
For example, if the wind dies suddenly, it's easy. Just reel in line to keep the kite in the air and also to keep it away from the obstacles. If the wind picks up and the kite starts to loop, it's trickier. Winding in will usually make the looping worse, but you have no choice. You have to act! Often, the situation improves as the kite gets lower, due to the wind being slower near the ground.
Bringing Down A Kite Quickly
This is sometimes necessary when weather conditions aren't great, but you decide to go kite flying anyway. However, with the first few spots of rain, there are no excuses. The kite has to come down quick, or you are in danger of operating a very long lightning rod! In these circumstances, just throw the kite winder on the ground and take in line hand over hand as fast as you can.
However, if the kite is large and pulling strongly, it might make more sense to just walk quickly downwind. Bring down the line as you go, hand over hand, with the winder on the ground behind you. With the kite grounded, you can take your time winding on all the line.
Towing Up To Find Faster Air
Here's a little kite flying trick that sometimes comes in handy in very light conditions. This is worth trying if the breeze won't quite support the kite at ground level. You've tried time and time again to get the thing in the air, but it keeps on sadly sinking back to earth after a promising hover or 2. All you need is just one more knot or so of wind speed!
Because air gets slowed down near the ground, chances are that you will find that tiny extra bit of wind up higher. Let out plenty of line, at least 50 meters (150 feet) and drag the kite into the air. Pull in line or jog along just fast enough to keep it climbing until it reaches a good line angle. You might be surprised to find that the kite has no trouble staying up now!