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mutiple kites on one string


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Okay novice question, hopefully someone can point me in the right direction. When I was I kid there was a guy that would come down to the lake on the end of the dock with a setup he built with a chair  that had a box attached to it with a crank and inside was full of line, he would attach what appeared to be some kind of parachute kite to it which seemed to have alot of lift, then once he got that in the air maybe 10 feet or so he would add what appeared to be a delta kite, he would keep adding kites like that till he had about 10 to 20 kites up on one string. I have never seen this done since then and was wondering how to go about doing something similar, is there a special kite that is made to hook in series and what kind of kite that first one might have been. This was about 30 years or so ago and any info would be helpful, BTW this was in central Fl.

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There are two basic styles.  You described the second.

The first style is called stacked kites.  Here are some YouTube videos. Basically a bunch of similar kites are tied together in a stack.  They can be single line, or multiple line if the pilot wants to control them. My current profile picture to the left is two kites stacked together, then flown as one.  These kites can have tremendous pull even in light winds. Sometimes pilots have multiple people helping them, ready to grab hold and keep the pilot from lifting to the air or from dragging across the field.

The other style is called line laundry. Here are some YouTube videos. This starts with a strong, powerfully lifting kite like a sled or parafoil. Smaller items are attached to the line, such as spinners, streamers, climbers, smaller kites, and they are lifted with the kite. Large show kites can have tremendous pull, capable of lifting several hundred pounds, so they need to be securely anchored.

They can be beautiful, and are common at kite festivals.  If you're interested, find a kite show and chat with the people involved.

The can be fun, but needs caution and experience.  The bigger and more elements you add, the more dangerous it becomes.

In both styles there is risk involved because of the high strengths and tensions involved.  People are sometimes injured or maimed. The two biggest risks are being pulled into the air and having your fingers or hands twisted in the lines due to a gust.  I have met people who have suffered both kinds of injuries (two people with missing fingertips, one man whose legs and ankles were completely rebuilt after being thrown into the air and blowing out his knees and ankles on a hard landing) and read many tales of people who suffered such injuries. 

Even when you're prepared and experienced, accidents happen. I know of a man, Dean Jordan, was in charge of kite field operations for various AKA events, owned a kite manufacturing company, and was experienced with that style of high pull and man-lifting kites. At an event where he was surrounded with experienced people, after a few hours of enjoying high power man-lifting kites and properly wearing assorted safety gear, he made a small mistake that nearly cost his life, shattering his pelvis and breaking assorted bones, landing him in the hospital for an extended time.  

 

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