ftlosm

A few questions from a complete novice...

32 posts in this topic

Hi everyone, since I was a kid i loved flying kites, well at 43 I am still just a kid only older and bigger now, I really want to get back into flying kites but never had anything beyond the basic dept store delta types.

The kite I am looking to buy is the SKYBIRD probably get it from into the wind, this is a big kite 16 feet wide 8 foot tall, but being a larger guy myself 6'6" and 375lb I shouldn't have trouble holding it down :) I looked around on many sites and the one that just keeps standing out to me is that skybird (aloha) intothewind said they should have more within a week or two so I am considering just ordering one up but had a few basic questions.

First off on line, I have seen kevlar, poly braided, Dacron (dacron is what into the wind sells), and wondered what do i really want or need? They recommend 300lb dacron line thru their website for the skybird, but just dunno the differences or pros and cons of the various types of line.

Second, winder/holders, the 9 inch hoop is what I was thinking, I have large hands and that slrs 10 winder looked cool just afraid my hand wont fit into it, curious what others who fly larger kites like this have tried and or would recommend with this skybird in mind. I would probably just go with 500 feet of line @ their recommended minimum of 300lb.

Connections, sounds dumb but how do you connect your line to say a hoop? I was thinking a lasso knot then a swivel then wind up the line on the hoop, then another swivel to connect the main line to the skybird? Saw two types of swivels on their site they have a 300lb sampo for about $6.50 or a 450lb coastock for .90 cents, seems odd to me are the sampos really that much more quality or something? I DON'T want to lose this kite so steer me in the right direction on the best connection (was guessing swivels).

Lastly tails, this is a large kite and was thinking a tail off the center would be fun, is their a rule of kite size vs tail size? If its 16 feet wide, should I go at least 25 feet for a center tail? Will the tail make it more stable in flight or just be more decoration?

Thanks guys and gals for any input on all this, wife is gonna kill me when she sees the visa but I have wanted a big kite for a LONG time and that skybird just seems to be the one that keeps calling my name so very soon I want to just take the leap and SOAR, but being so new to it all need some advice...

Bill :matrix:

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Swivels are needed only if you put twists into the line. It is possible to avoid doing this by discipline.

I like hoop (Halo, Cuban Casting Reels, etc) winders, but you must make yourself manage the line so as to avoid adding twists. If you hold the hoop in one hand and wrap the line around it with the other hand, you will add exactly one full 360 twist per wrap. If you ALWAYS let the line off by holding the hoop crossways and letting the line spin off, you will remove exactly one 360 degree twist per wrap, with a combined twist of zero. To do this, you have to always put line on and take it off the same side of the hoop. (I write with a felt marker, "ON AND OFF FROM THIS SIDE ONLY".) For 500' of 300# line, you want a big hoop. Big hoops also take in more line per wrap than small ones. The only down-side is that they weigh more, and take up more room in your kite bag. Oh, yes -- you will need a leather glove. As you let the line fly out and as you wrap it back in, it will burn an unprotected hand.

If you let the hoop slide in your hand, letting it turn and unreel the line, then you must rewind it by turning the hoop, which is fairly slow and tiring. There are people who say they can accurately wrap 10 times from one side and then 10 times from the other (for no twist; and let the line out by letting the hoop turn), but the slightest bias in the number of wraps per side will eventually add up.

To attach the line to the hoop, as you say, a "lasso" knot of some sort. A loop in the end of the line and turn it back on itself to make a noose which you can slip onto the hoop. No swivel needed at the hoop end. Frequently, you will not let out all the line, and then a hoop-end swivel would never get used. Remember, you have a large, spectacular kite. What is the point of flying it so high that it looks like a tiny kite? Usually you fly just high enough to get into steady wind. (There is also the tedium of winding in a LOT of line at the end of the day.)

Crank-type winders require cranking, which I (personally) find tiresome. Your mileage may vary.

There are also winders which are a long board with U-shaped notches at each end to wind the line around. These can store a LOT of line, but are heavy and bulky. I have some for my very heavy and long lines. Some people wind around; some (like me) wind the line on in a figure-8 (which puts alternating 1/2 twists in the line, for a net twist of zero.)

With the best of intentions, you will probably get some twists in the line, or it may just make you feel better to have a swivel at the kite end of the line; that way it can keep swiveling right up until you wind the kite completely in. You probably will want a ball-bearing swivel, rather than the brass bead type. The bead type can wear out and break unexpectedly. The ball-bearing kind will lock up (which you will notice) before it wears out and breaks.

Dacron is a trademark for duPont's brand of polyester fiber, so they are the same plastic. Kevlar™ is also a duPont trademark (which they defend vigorously) for aramid fiber, a different plastic. It is very strong for its weight; it is yellow; it is not very stretchy. In general, if a Kevlar line crosses a line made of any other plastic, the other line will break. This might keep your kite safe, but it will make you VERY unpopular with other flyers, unless you intend to fly alone, forever. It is also somewhat dangerous; a Kevlar line under tension, pulled across a person, will cut them, badly. I think it is better to use braided Dacron/polyester line for single-line kites (SLKs). It is slightly stretchy, so gusts of wind are less likely to break the line or the kite.

There are other kinds of line, used by 2-line and 4-line kite flyers. These lines are very slippery, very un-stretchy, and so, not particularly useful to SLK flyers. They are usually made of stretched polyethylene (which lines up all those long molecules so they can't stretch much anymore). Polyethylene (polythene to those in the UK) is naturally slippery, and requires some extra efforts to make knots that won't slip.

The important things about tails are their drag, and their weight. The length can affect those characteristics, but is not particularly important in itself. Generally speaking, Deltas (and Delta-like kites like the Sky Bird) tend to be very stable and straight-flying kites. I would determine whether the kite flies well first, and then think about adding a "draggy" tail or a heavy tail, depending on what is needed. (A draggy tail pulls the after part of the kite down-wind; a heavy tail pulls it towards the ground.) If nothing is needed, you could add a light, smooth tail just for looks.

I hope this is enough to get you started.

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Hi Bill and welcome to the forum.

I'll take a first pass at answering your questions. Just remember that all of us are very opinionated on what we like and don't like, so it's not uncommon to get a dozen or so different answers for every question you ask. None of them are "wrong", so just think through the answers and pick the ones that make sense to you.

The kite I am looking to buy is the SKYBIRD probably get it from into the wind, this is a big kite 16 feet wide 8 foot tall, but being a larger guy myself 6'6" and 375lb I shouldn't have trouble holding it down :) I looked around on many sites and the one that just keeps standing out to me is that skybird (aloha) intothewind said they should have more within a week or two so I am considering just ordering one up but had a few basic questions.

A delta kite can be de-tuned so that it doesn't pull that hard. But, 64 sq feet of kite can get you into trouble quickly if you don't use your head. With a foil that size, you'd need to anchor it before launching it. So, do be careful ...

First off on line, I have seen kevlar, poly braided, Dacron (dacron is what into the wind sells), and wondered what do i really want or need? They recommend 300lb dacron line thru their website for the skybird, but just dunno the differences or pros and cons of the various types of line.

300 pound line should be adequate for that kite. I like dacron because it's a little softer and easier on your hands than the other stuff. Poly braided is also okay. I like the smooth surface ... others like the rougher, courser braided line 'cuz they can get a better grip on it.

Second, winder/holders, the 9 inch hoop is what I was thinking, I have large hands and that slrs 10 winder looked cool just afraid my hand wont fit into it, curious what others who fly larger kites like this have tried and or would recommend with this skybird in mind. I would probably just go with 500 feet of line @ their recommended minimum of 300lb.

Most of my hoops are 8 inch ... they have a 5 inch center diameter which is plenty of room for my hands. I'm just south of 6 feet and north of 220 lbs ... with large hands. 500 feet of line is plenty ... why buy a large kite and then fly it way up in the sky where it looks like a small kite? I usually fly with 100 to 200 feet of line.

Connections, sounds dumb but how do you connect your line to say a hoop? I was thinking a lasso knot then a swivel then wind up the line on the hoop, then another swivel to connect the main line to the skybird? Saw two types of swivels on their site they have a 300lb sampo for about $6.50 or a 450lb coastock for .90 cents, seems odd to me are the sampos really that much more quality or something? I DON'T want to lose this kite so steer me in the right direction on the best connection (was guessing swivels).

Tie a four inch loop in both ends of your line. One end will be attached to the kite bridle with a larks head knot. The other end will be attached to your hoop with what's essentially a larks head knot. Swivels are not needed on the main line. You'll need to develop a pattern to taking the line off and on your hoop. 1) Always take it off and wind it on the same side of the hoop. or 2) Allow the hoop to spin in your hand when taking it off ... when putting it back on you'll either 2a) reel it in like a fishing reel or 2b) wind ten loops over the left side followed by ten loops over the right side ... this keeps the twists to a minimum.

If you do decide to buy swivels, buy good ones. Most swivels our size come from the fishing industry where they are lubricated and cooled with water. In our usage, they run dry ... not a good application. So, if there's any appreciable load, buy good ones. Cheap ones go on light weight tails.

Lastly tails, this is a large kite and was thinking a tail off the center would be fun, is their a rule of kite size vs tail size? If its 16 feet wide, should I go at least 25 feet for a center tail? Will the tail make it more stable in flight or just be more decoration?

There are so many variables involved with tails that a rule of thumb is hard to come by. Tails will help stabilize a kite (most times) so they are not a bad addition. You'll just have to experiment to find the correct tail to get what you want. Realize that material (nylon vs taffeta, etc), style (tube vs flat vs fuzzy vs banner), length, are only a few of the variables that you need to contend with. If you're only after looks, then two or three ribbon tails will look neat. They don't impart a large load on the kite, so they can be 30 ~ 40 feet long with out causing problems.

Thanks guys and gals for any input on all this, wife is gonna kill me when she sees the visa but I have wanted a big kite for a LONG time and that skybird just seems to be the one that keeps calling my name so very soon I want to just take the leap and SOAR, but being so new to it all need some advice...

Bill :matrix:

Get the Bear to share some of his secrets to sneaking new kites into the house. He seems to be very good at that.

You live very close to a brick and mortar shop there in Plymouth, Michigan. Give them a call and get hooked up with a group of folks who fly kites almost every week. Jon T. (the owner) is very friendly and helpful about getting new fliers into the air. --Pete (on this forum) also lives near you and can help you in person.

Again, welcome to the forum.

Cheers,

Tom

Looks like --pete was typing faster than I was

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Well heck, Hi Bill. I used to fly single line kites, before the dual line and quad line bugs bit, so I'll try to help you out. And as Jeepster said, we all have our own opinions and ideas, as how to best accomplish this...........

First of all, that's a pretty large kite, and it should have substantial pull. Take some advice and get some gloves, and get the largest "Hoop Winder", they have. Also, as for line, get the braided dacron, which is pretty standard for that kind of kite, and get the strength that the manufacturer recommends, or add 50 lbs to the recommended strength.

As for attaching the line to the hoop - NO - you do not need a swivel there. Simply wrap the line around the hoop (around the circumference, not through the middle), and tie a "slip knot". Then cinch the slip knot up tight, around the hoop, and pull it so it is snug, then proceed to transfer (wind) your bulk line, onto the hoop. You'll need some help here, to hold the bulk spool, as you wind the line on the hoop, or set it up so it pulls off the spool, through a book, or something, just to put a little tension on the line as it is unwinding. Another suggestion, buy the line already on the hoop, if it is available. Now, this is important. Make sure that you unwind the bulk line, off of the bulk spool, from the side of the spool, like line coming off of a level-wind casting reel. Do not pull it off of the end of the spool, which will create a circular motion, and that will cause you to insert excess twist, into your flight line. That is a no - no ! Also, as you wind the line on the hoop in your hands, like a wheel, rolling the line straight onto the hoop. Do NOT hold the spool in one hand, and wind the line around it with the other. This also adds twist to the line on every single wrap, and again, this is a no - no. You want to keep the line as twist free, as possible, always. There is nothing worse than a line that kinks up, every time you allow it a bit of slack. Just roll the hoop toward the line that you are taking up, now, and when taking the kite in, and you will never insert any twist in your line.

As for the swivel, YES, you need a swivel on the other end of the line, that is going to attach to the kite. Make sure and get a good one, probably stainless steel, and make sure that the strength of the swivel, matches or exceeds that of the line.

As for a tail, wait and see if the kite has a grommet for attaching a tail. There should be some information with the kite, that mentions using a tail, or not. It may not need a tail, and adding one may adversely effect the kite. If there is a grommet in the center of the kite, at the bottom, it is probably for a tail. If so, it's also a good idea to tie a short piece of line from that grommet to a swivel, and then attach the tail to the swivel, or tie two swivels together (these don't need to be the expensive kind), butt to butt, and then you can snap one swivel to the bottom of the kite, and the other to the tail. Makes for easy removal..............

Hope all this makes sense, and remember, "this ain't rocket science". Just keep your line twist free, and you shouldn't have any problems. Follow all instructions and warnings, that come with the kite, and all should be well. Also remember, that the pictures of people running with a kite, to get it in the air, are "Bull". You should never have to run, to get a kite to fly. If it won't fly, without you running with it - box it up and send it back....................Good Luck :matrix:

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Bill,

As you can see, everyone has their own opinion.

I am quite near you; we can probably meet up at some point.

Some folks are trying to set up a fly on the evening of Thur 6/23 at the Lyon Twp Park in New Hudson, which is VERY near you. (This is the sound of envy!!!) I plan to try to get there, myself. (Look for my yellow cap.)

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Bill,

As you can see, everyone has their own opinion.

I am quite near you; we can probably meet up at some point.

Some folks are trying to set up a fly on the evening of Thur 6/23 at the Lyon Twp Park in New Hudson, which is VERY near you. (This is the sound of envy!!!) I plan to try to get there, myself. (Look for my yellow cap.)

YOU GUYS ROCK!

Thanks so much for all this info, yeah I am right off 8 mile and pontiac trail (south lyon side but northville address), so new hudson is right here in my backyard, I did go to that kite fest they had a few weeks ago that was a lot of fun but 20 mins into it I got a call and had to leave UGHH!..

I didn't realize there was a technique to putting on and sending/bringing back in the line either, gotta learn a few of these knots, saw a video on youtube that was showing a lark knot i think to connect the main line and the kite um that just didn't look "secure" to me, or at least if i did it I have a feeling I would be running after a big kite blowing away soon after...

Will for sure get myself some good gloves, that was something not on the list but rather know NOW than the day I try to take it out for the first time...

Also somewhat new to this area still, is the park the same one they did the kite fest at recently James F. Atchison Memorial Park, ughh wife just filled me in we will be out of town that weekend (DANG), but will for sure try to meet up and learn a bit before I "attempt" to put this all together and fly it for the first time...

Bill :matrix:

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... saw a video on youtube that was showing a lark knot i think to connect the main line and the kite um that just didn't look "secure" to me, or at least if i did it I have a feeling I would be running after a big kite blowing away soon after...

I fly several large foil kites (75, 100 and 190 sq ft) and use a lark's head knot on them all the time with 1200 lb line. In good winds, the 75 sq ft Pit Bull Dog foil will bounce the rear of my Jeep up and down.

A friend of mine flys his 2200 sq ft foil using the same knot.

Trust me on this one ... done correctly it is an extremely safe knot.

Cheers,

Tom

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It is Atchison park - where the Lyon Kite Fly was held.

6/23 is a Thursday, so unless you have a long weekend planned, you might be able to make it. (And it depends on the weather too. No one will be up on that hill in a thunderstorm! Or a dead-calm.)

(And the Lark's Head Knot is very secure when used properly.)

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It is Atchison park - where the Lyon Kite Fly was held.

6/23 is a Thursday, so unless you have a long weekend planned, you might be able to make it. (And it depends on the weather too. No one will be up on that hill in a thunderstorm! Or a dead-calm.)

(And the Lark's Head Knot is very secure when used properly.)

I do kids tattoos ( Big Daddy Body Art ) and webdesign when I am no being Mr mom to my 2 girls, so that week/weekend from wed thru sun I will in Bourbonnais IL for their Friendship Festival updating their festival website daily and doing the kids tattoos during the day or I would be there absolutely!!!! Was kinda bummed when I said hey on this night I am gonna go check out some kite stuff and she quickly reminded me we won't even be here :matrix:

I guess if the knot on the end of the kite is big enough and if the larks head knot is done securely and put into place fully and given a good snug tug it would probably hold up great just looked a bit scarey to me i guess (not what I expected to hold a big kite in place).

Would a swivel at that end reduce the winding issues (allowing me to not have to pay as close of attention to the winding out and in) or are there disadvantages to using a swivel on a single line kite?

Bill

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Hey Bill,

Again, as Jeepster, Pete & I, have all said, everyone has their own opinion, some strong, some so so, on how things should be done. As I said, "this ain't rocket science", so take all of what everyone has said, and you should be ok. Different strokes for different folks.....................some attach the line to the kite with a lark's head knot (absolutely safe), and if you wind and unwind, precisely as Pete has described, no problem. However, I have noticed that many people, unless they are really into this, don't count winds, and will end up just winding, and then, as Pete so aptly described, you have inserted 360 degrees of twist, for every wind. That's why I suggested the "rolling wind", like a tire, toward the kite. For these reasons, that's why I described using a swivel, on the kite end, which is suppose to allow the twist, or torque in the line, to unwind and release, that is of course, if you have a good swivel. Swivels also make for quick, attaching, and disconnecting, should you have problems with the lark's head knot. Some do, some don't. Either way, as we have all said, there are numerous ways to do this, and again, it just isn't rocket science. You might be worrying to much. This is supposed to be a fun and relaxing hobby, so don't stress. Just do it................and if worse comes to worse, and the kite gets away, it's not going to just go flying off into outer space. Barring, being out over the ocean, the kite is going to come down. You may have to walk or drive a little ways, but trust me, unless the line gets hung on something, it's coming down. A kite, by definition, has got to have something (YOU), holding it against the wind, just for it to be able to gain altitude, and fly. So again, don't stress so much over this. It will all work out, and I guarantee you, if you meet up with Pete, he'll set you straight....................................go for the one on one help, if you still have questions ! :matrix: Keep hanging around here, and we'll have you on dual line, or quad line kites, in no time........:)

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Hi Bill!

That is one BEAUTIFUL KITE!! I've been looking at that one myself for some time now!

(Transmission just went out...$2200. Damn, the kites I could have bought for that!)

I do have my own question about the kite though. Does this kite have to be walked down like the SKYFORM60 I have?

=========================

As everyone mentioned..."there are a lot of different opinions"...let me mention before, I submit mine, that many people question my sanity!! heehee!! (that's funny!)

Keep It Up!

Duane

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... I do have my own question about the kite though. Does this kite have to be walked down like the SKYFORM60 I have? ...

It depends more on the wind/pull than the kite. I have a couple of 20 sq ft foils that I normally wind down, but have had to walk them down on occasion in high winds.

... many people question my sanity!! ...

Duane ... I thought we'd already answered the question of your sanity!!!!

Cheers,

Tom

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... I do have my own question about the kite though. Does this kite have to be walked down like the SKYFORM60 I have? ...

It depends more on the wind/pull than the kite. I have a couple of 20 sq ft foils that I normally wind down, but have had to walk them down on occasion in high winds.

... many people question my sanity!! ...

Duane ... I thought we'd already answered the question of your sanity!!!!

Cheers,

Tom

:matrix: ...heehee!!

Keep It Up!

Duane

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Andrew Brown, also of Northville, (currently having trouble posting here) suggests Wednesday evenings at the Schoolcraft College soccer fields (see http://www.kitemap.org for directions). There are experienced people flying there most Wed evenings. (I can never make it as I am busy every Wed & Sun evening.)

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Finally back in town from a 5 day out of state festival doing bodyart, weather did not co-operate so we barely came out ahead (frustrating), sat down to sift thru over 300 emails and once that was done I went to intothewind.com and ordered up my 16 foot skybird with some accessories.. ;)

Still showing as out of stock on the website (they had said they would have them in mid june) but still put the order in hoping they arrive soon here...

Got a 9 inch hoop, 500 feet of 300lb dacron line, a 300lb swivel sampo, a few tails for other kites and maybe for my skybird will experiment, and last but not least, a fun kids tie dye sled kite for my littlest one too :)

Hoping this all comes soon tho can't wait to get it out there and fly it!

Will also try to grab some pics and or video of it since I couldn't find much on the skybird when i googled around...

Bill :)

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Today I got a box from into the wind had all the things I ordered except the skybird, so I have my hoop, line, swivels, tails, a small kite for my youngest daughter, now to just get the skybird!!!!!!!

Bill

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Good Luck!!! kid_devlish.gif

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UPS just left the Aloha Skybird has landed on my porch!

Opened it up (very nice shipping/packaging from intothewind btw), and spread it out in my livingroom, seems simple enough assembly wise got it together in less than 5 mins just checking it all out as I went along but there were 3 very thin spars I honestly haven't quite figured out where they go!!!!!!

Wrote to intothewind figure they will let me know, looked thru the case and box etc no real "setup" instructions, altho like I mentioned it went together super easy except those 3 thin ones that I haven't quite figured out where they go...

Bill ;)

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Just saw weather.com says we have 11-13 mph winds today, hummmm

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Got a reply from intothewind with a brief instruction sheet (didn't see that in my box or kite case), helpful in identifying 2 of the smaller spars that go along the side of the eyes into the nose area, yet I still have one last thin slightly longer one isn't shown or mentioned, might be a spare who knows..., kinda think its tim to finally try this puppy out tonight...

Bill ;)

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Got a reply from intothewind with a brief instruction sheet (didn't see that in my box or kite case), helpful in identifying 2 of the smaller spars that go along the side of the eyes into the nose area, yet I still have one last thin slightly longer one isn't shown or mentioned, might be a spare who knows..., kinda think its tim to finally try this puppy out tonight...

Bill ;)

Hey Bill! That sounds great...I hope you can send us some pictures...if not on your first flight, maybe later!

About the directions...I personally usually never read direction and I think all the extra part I've had left over, all these years, were just things they throw in the box to play with my mind! Of course I could be wrong! heehee!!

Keep It Up!

Duane

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Spent some time tonight examining the kite with wife, we both determined the ONLY place that last thin spar makes sense is at the tip of the two tail pieces, in fact there is a small thin sewen boot area on both sides, just seemed too short (not holding the fabric tauntly) but wife said ok look at it from the front side, you'd want that play in it to give it a 3d sorta full look, realized shes right and does seem to give a more stable look to the kite so think I have the mystery rod figured out ;)

Planned on trying to fly it tonight but wife got held up at work, I'd even go by myself with the kids but trying to deal with a 2 yr old and a big kite probably not smart so ill wait till wife can come with us, will certainly be taking pics of it on the ground and in the air it is one beautiful huge kite!

Bill :)

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Can't wait to see this one in person! Where do you plan to fly this?

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Can't wait to see this one in person! Where do you plan to fly this?

Sounds like a road trip .......... ;)

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Pete, thinking about trying to fly it tonight probably over at james atchison memorial park, or novi sports park on 8 mile, that is if there is enough wind.... I was wondering do the metro parks and or state parks allow kites? Kensington Metro Park or Island Lake, Mayberry etc?

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