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By Leslie Hunt

In the discussion of Tailless Kites, were explained some of the conditions contributing to flying that are not generally classed with winds.  Upward and downward currents of air are hard to detect, since there is little evidence of such movements unless one is some distance from the ground.  Any kite will be buoyed up to some extent by upward currents, and but few will remain aloft if a downward current is encountered.

Winds blowing parallel to the earth's surface are better for high or sustained flights than those that rise rapidly but make little progress otherwise.  A study of smoke or cloud movements will give a great deal of information of value. In order to judge the direction of movement comfortably and correctly, level a mirror, face up, on the ground and mark the directions on it with bits of gummed paper.  The reflections of the smoke and clouds in the mirror will move in the same compass direction that the smoke and clouds move in the sky.  The mirror lessens the effect of perspective and allows the observer to take a more comfortable position than would be possible by looking into the sky.  The mirror may be taken afield to watch the kite if one is obliged to fly the kite toward the sun.

While the kites described in this book will hardly reach above any but the lower clouds, still the study of cloud conditions is often helpful in choosing a good day to fly.

Some kites fly better in one wind than they do in another.  A properly made elastic bridle will greatly increase the range of wind suitable for a given kite. As a rule, a kite darts when a strong gust of wind strikes it, since the movement is too sudden to swing much of the string with the kite, and a small circle is described.  The elastic bridle allows the kite to lie flatter when the gust strikes it, and to utilize the extra force by leaping upward.

In the case of a tailed kite, one often finds that a kite will fly near the surface, but when aloft, it becomes "foxy" and requires more tail.  If the kite is lowered and more tail added, difficulty is then had in raising the kite to its former height.  The elastic bridle offsets this difficulty to a great extent, by allowing the kite to lie flatter so the tail will pull more nearly in line with the spine.

All other things being equal, the heavier of two kites will stand the stronger wind.  This is due to a number of causes, among them being greater stiffness and the fact that more effort is required to move a heavy body than a light one.

For those who are fortunate enough to live near a large body of water, a word of caution may be in order about the failure of the wind.  There is often an "on shore" breeze one time of the day, and an "off shore" breeze at another time.  Between the two breezes, there is a period of calm which may be accompanied by downward currents. 

Sometimes the breeze blows one way during the day, and the other way at night.  This change in direction is due to the different rates that land and water receive and radiate heat.  It will be well to study the different times the breeze turns and to be careful not to have your kite out too far at the time.  Sometimes there is a lull in the wind at the turning of the tide that will influence a kite.

A few years ago, I was interested in studying the origin of the trade winds along the west coast of South America.  I used kites like No. 17, but a trifle larger than those described.

One evening after school I sent two kites aloft, and very soon the leader was lost among the clouds.  A little later, the second kite was playing hide and seek in the clouds that drifted at about 1,000 feet.  All at once, I noticed the second kite settling.  I reeled in the string frantically but to no avail.  The kite continued to sink.  I then pulled in the string hand over hand, but the wind was gone and the cold air was drifting earthward.  The leader dropped through the clouds and started toward the sea.  The second kite was now within reach and bore every evidence of having been in a flurry of snow and frost.  The sun dipped below the horizon and almost like a stone, the leader fell with several hundred feet of string.  I recovered part of the string, but not the kite.  I was wiser next time, and had my kites down before the off-shore wind failed.

I have had kites get into whirlwinds, and have seen them rise, fall, be drawn into the whirl, thrown out of the whirl, and torn to pieces.  No two performances were the same.  Lost and destroyed kites sometimes have scientific interest, but the boy or girl who has a good kite seldom cares to sacrifice it out of scientific curiosity.  It is well, therefore, to choose a good place to fly, and to avoid freakish winds.

25 Kites That Fly 

 

 

   

 

 


Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Introduction ] 25 Kites That Fly ] 2 Stick Frames ] 3 Stick Kite Frames ] Broom-Straw Frames ] Accessories ] Adjustments ] Altitude ] Balloon ] Barrel ] Bear Dancing ] Boat Sail ] Box, Pyramidal ] Box, Rectangular ] Box, Square ] Box, Square with Wings ] Box, Tri,  Wings ] Triangular Box Kite ] Boy ] Loose Kites ] Butterfly 1 ] Butterfly 2 ] Butterfly Chinese ] Cannibal ] Kite Clubs ] Cross ] Dragon Chinese ] Dragons & Fish ] Eddy ] Elephant ] English ] Filipino ] Fish ] Fisherman ] Kite Flying ] Flying Machine ] Frog 1 ] Frog 2 ] Girl ] Imp ] Japanese Square ] Keeled Buoy ] King Crab ] Knives & Cutters ] Luna Kite ] Kite Making ] Malay ] Maley or Bow ] Maly Triple ] Man ] Messengers ] Military ] Moving Star ] Neptune Notes ] Owl 1 ] Owl 2 ] Pennants ] Preface ] Pulley Weight ] Shield 1 ] Shield 2 ] Star ] Star, 5 Point ] Star, 6 Point ] Star, Belly-Band ] Steering ] Hargrave ] String 1 ] String 2 ] Swim ] Tailless ] Tailless R Best ] Tandem ] Tetrahedral ] Turtle ] Useful Info ] Wagon ] War ] Armed ] Unarmed ] Where to Fly ] [ Wind ] Winding In ] Windmill ] Ship ] Woglom ] Woman ] Yacht ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.