These tips on how to fly a straight kite should be helpful for anyone making simple homemade kites for the first time. These general points only concern flat or curved single-seaters, such as diamond kites. It all depends on the symmetry of the wing materials. That is, how the left and right sides of the kite match in different ways.
1. Symmetry in the form of a veil
It is important. In other words, the shape of the sail on one side is an exact mirror image of the shape on the other side. This also ensures that the sail surface is exactly the same on both sides. In practice, we can’t be perfect, but there are ways to do a really good job.
For example, by bending the sail material along the center line before measuring and cutting, a kite can be very symmetrical in shape. This gets you off to a good start, although other things can still go wrong. A few classic instructions on how to make a kite use this technique.
2. Symmetry in Sail Billow
If you are a little careless in securing the sail to the frame, it is possible that one panel of the sail will inflate a little more than the other panels, in flight. Try to hold the kite by its tail and swing it through the air, inside. If the problem is significant, you can actually see the uneven wave that way.
If you make a kite big enough, this is unlikely to happen. However, with a very small design, all kinds of inaccuracies can creep in. If necessary, remove and re-attach the sail to even out the waterproofing of the panels.
3. Symmetry in flexibility
How to do a kite loop out of control when there is nothing visibly wrong … It can happen when you are flying in a cool or strong wind. The cause is that one side of the kite is folding more than the other.
Synthetic materials like fiberglass or carbon fiber aren’t likely to be a problem in homemade kites, but natural materials are. The solution is to do a quick check of flexibility when choosing the material for the horizontal spars, or even just to match the spars with the naked eye.
In light winds this factor is unlikely to be a problem as the spars will hardly bend at all.
4. Symmetry in weight
When your kite is finished, there may still be a little imbalance for some reason. Hang the wing at the nose and tail to see if one wing tip feels heavier than the other.
In my experience, this is perhaps the least important aspect of symmetry. It seems to have the most effect at the lower end of the wing’s wind range. Either way, balancing the wing is easy to do with a few small pieces of tape added to a wing tip.
5. The lighter the better!
No wonder, but did you know that it can have a big effect on stability as well as performance? If there is too much weight near the edges of the sail and / or the ends of the spars, the kite will want to keep turning, if it starts to turn for some reason.
How to make a kite light? Choose a sail material that is strong enough but as light as possible. Use minimal tape or glue or whatever medium you use to secure the materials together. Use spars that are just stiff enough for the job.
6. Multi-point flange settings
Some bridles have lines that run to the left and right of the kite. I have found it very convenient to tie some of these bridle knots movable, so if the kite goes left or right, you have another option to correct the problem.
Another reason to make them movable is that you don’t have to be perfectly precise by tying a permanent knot in the exact exact position. If a movable knot is a bit out of place, it’s easy to drag it to the right place.
That’s it for the straight flight tips. Here is a bonus tip to help your kite fly like high as possible. Use the lightest flightline possible, while making sure it is still strong enough to avoid losing the wing. A rule of thumb is to multiply the sail area in square feet by 3, which gives the required line breaking stress in pounds.
The more you let go out of the flight line, the more load the wing is trying to support, in addition to its own weight. Therefore, the lighter the line, the higher the kite can fly before reaching its weight limit.
That’s about it for how to build a kite that flies straight and high over a wide range of wind speeds. If you’ve ever tried making a kite and it has a disappointing wind range, compare it to all of the points above. The solution could be simple, like tightening the sail a bit. Or you might find that you have a spar that is curved to one side and therefore need to make a new kite!