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Author Topic: How long can a kite last?  (Read 8796 times)
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Allen Carter
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Location: Half Moon Bay, CA

« on: March 22, 2009, 08:33 PM »

Topic: How long can a kite last?

Topic author: kriswong

Posted on: 12/04/2003 6:16:44 PM

I like to know how long can a stunt kite last if not abused? After flying more than 100 hours, my Addiction has standoff, lower spreader, wing tips rubber band broken, sail worn out, head and wing tips all worn out, but after reapir it can still fly normally, but I think its low wind performance is not as good as before. BTW, I have to say the Addiction is really a very robust stunt kite!

Replied on: 12/04/2003 6:26:43 PM

Ask Dennis Smith to show you his pink TC Ultra.

He described the fabric as almost a silk feel. If you look at the LE pocket, there are random areas gently worn away exposing the LE rods.

I'd be curious the age of that one.



I refsue to spelchcek

John welden
Replied on: 12/04/2003 7:48:12 PM

I think its a lot more fun to see how long you can't make your kites last. Wear that sucker out.... Fly it to death. You can't wear kites out if you don't fly them. 


Seattle, Washington

Replied on: 12/04/2003 8:37:45 PM

It ain't the years, it's the mileage. Or in JW's case, the abuseage. 

John Chilese  Cupertino, CA _ Practice PEU Please

Replied on: 12/04/2003 8:55:36 PM

Kites have to get really ugly, I mean beat and tortured, before they don't fly well.

If the repair effort is more than you're willing, then I guess the kite is through. The same kite might fly another couple of years for someone who likes to work on kites, or maybe doesn't mind the look of patch tape all over a kite. End of life often has to do with looks. Some people don't like "used" kites. 


Replied on: 12/04/2003 11:44:53 PM

I see. I use different kite upon different gound surface, that's why I fly the Addiction most.

Jan Anderson
Replied on: 12/05/2003 06:48:09 AM

I had this discussion once with Mark Reed. He'd commented about my not carrying spare parts and then corrected himself by saying...that's right, you're one of those who doesn't break kites". He went on to say there are many who do a lot of breakage on a regular basis and others who may fly the same amount of hours but hardly ever break anythinng.

He addressed it more as a phenomenon of the manner in which they fly, not particularly that one is better than the other, they just tend to break, or not to break stuff on a regular basis.

Then he said something which seems obvious but has proven soo true, keep the kite away from the ground and you're going to break a lot less stuff.

So when I started going to the school of how low can I trick my Elixir to the ground and getting frustrated and really jumping on the lines to dead launch, well I started doing damage. 

98% of the kite damage I've had, all came within about a two month period and all on one kite but I did not care. When I got that Elixir, I told myself I could keep the creampuffs tidy, but this one was my trainer and I've had more fun just going for it and backing iti up with tedlar, superglue and spare sticks. And mostly by not getting upset when something did get's a kite, I broke it, I fix it, I fly again.

I think I've broken four or five spreaders on that one kite, all from deadlaunching on rough grass and one of those breaks caused a seven inch tear right close to the leading edge but it repaired easily and has held perfectly. 

I used the superglue technique with tedlar on both sides...probably overkill but it's my work kite so it's gotta stay together.

Kites will break, I can baby mine or not, and maybe some probably will break more easily than others. After looking up close at a Legacy, I think that would be a pretty hard one to snap anything on, being the frame is seriously heavy duty. I think much of it is a trade off; make a kite that will fly in lighter wind and something's more likely to give. Make it stronger and it gets usually heavier. Yes I know, the right combination of space age materials and this might be a cost of course. I'll leave any more of that discussion to pretty much everyone here who is more technically inclined than myself.

I'd flown an Ozone I had a lot, and in no way ever babied it. I was probably at least the third or fourth owner and it had lots of tedlar, just from fair wear and tear but I'd have to say it was probably one of the most durable kites I've owned, I flew the heck out of that thing and only broke one spreader (yeah I know, deadlaunching again on crummy clumpy grass) and plain wore out what I assumed was the original bridle.

Jannie.."I used to be Snow White - but I drifted" Mae West

Replied on: 12/05/2003 07:22:55 AM

Fly it till the frabic fails due to UV dammage.....

AKA TakoIka
AKA Harold
King George VA

The wind is like the air, only pushier.

Replied on: 12/05/2003 08:27:37 AM

I have an L1 JITB in my opinion I do not abuse, but I never hesitate trying anything with it. More than I'd like to count ,Sleeping beauty's on this one,many-many times than I can count Tornado-Flapjack-one hand pop backspins-attempts gone bad.
I have not broken anything but I wore through a nose rather quick. I replaced it with ballistic material on the nose-replace the stand-off covers and its ready for more. The longer I fly it, the beter it performs..The stripes on the lower LE is beginning to peel back at the edges but who cares..just getting broke in..

Replied on: 12/05/2003 4:04:37 PM

Fly on the beach if you can. Think of it as "freeway mileage" on a car, because there is much less wear on the kite if you have a less than perfect landing.

Replied on: 12/05/2003 4:12:09 PM

Just for the record, I have some mylar dragons, paper and mylar fighters, and a mylar box kite that I purchased in the early 1970s that still fly so at this point I think kites may outlast cars!

Replied on: 12/05/2003 5:00:38 PM


Originally posted by kratebiker

Fly on the beach if you can. Think of it as "freeway mileage" on a car, because there is much less wear on the kite if you have a less than perfect landing.

I don't know about that. Sand can be softer for "landing" , but all that abrasive can wear through fabric over time. Even if you clean the kites pretty well, a couple years on sand is gonna be harder on the kite than a couple years on a nice, soft grass field. Baylands!


Replied on: 12/05/2003 5:03:57 PM

I have kites going on 14 years old that are still in good condition. The newer materials have extended the life of the sail considerably. At one time I was told a sail is good for 200 hrs I believe. Dan & I were discussing this once & I believe that was supposed to be the life of the sail at one time, not sure if nylon, icky or what. 

The wear depends upon the surface, your inclination to do ground work, luck & style. I have some kites I have never broken a spar on. Others, I'll go awhile, then break a few, then go awhile. I don't usually tear up a lot & been accused of "babying" my kites.


Replied on: 12/05/2003 5:07:15 PM

My first alpha+ is ugly . Still in my bag and the favorite one when there is a beginner around. It have gone thorigh everything I know. Even hita a sucker soccer player and survived. I have every single rod on it.


Steve Vaglica
Replied on: 12/05/2003 7:24:42 PM

I'm surprised to hear about your Alpha+ lasting so long, Alberto. I was once talked out of buying one by someone who said the Alpha+ was not built very well to handle crashes, compared to the Beetle.

Steve V.
Newton MA

Replied on: 12/05/2003 9:10:33 PM

Originally posted by mitchellnj

Ask Dennis Smith to show you his pink TC Ultra.

He described the fabric as almost a silk feel. If you look at the LE pocket, there are random areas gently worn away exposing the LE rods.

I'd be curious the age of that one.

It's light red NOT PINK!!!!!!!! 
You know that "crinkle" that icarex has? Well my vented ultralight (oxymoron) had that sound and feel back in '99. And after all the sun and sand and rain and abuse I gave that Ultra, especially during the "Twilight Zone" years. It's never been sent to TC for repair BTW. I still have that kite and it feels and sounds like a bed sheet. All I've done to it was change broken rods. And I tried to sew the infamus "TC Ultra Nose Poke" But I know if I were to send it somewhere to get the holes patched or the leading edges fixed. It won't fly the same. It's been broken in to the max. And it still works. I don't fly it as much in dual any more. And the last time I flew it in quad was in June at Old Dominion....1st place...oowee Must have been a fluke........But I say fly your kite 'till it won't fly anymore. Then plug up the hole, change the stick and fly it some more.............

Dennis Smith

Replied on: 12/06/2003 04:42:38 AM

This bee has been around since the early 90's. The whitish stripes on the wings were lime green and the pink was a hot pink once. It still sees air time even though the trailing edge is getting ragged.
It just depends on how they are treated as to how long they will last. 

Stephen Damon
webshots at

Replied on: 12/06/2003 07:23:47 AM


It's light red NOT PINK!!!!!!!!


The Stripes I bought from Ken shows a bit of wear on the center panel of the sail. That kite is from 1995-97 I just dont' remember what it says on the kite. The rest of the kite is fairly crisp given it's age. I'm not sure of how much airtime it has seen. What I do know is that there is at least one team on the East Coast who still fly the Stripes in Comp.



Spellchecking performed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other full moon.

Replied on: 12/08/2003 4:53:07 PM

I have also heard that the life expectancy of a dual line kite is 200 hours. I disagree. Both my Beetle and Adrenaline probably have close to that much flying time and are as good as new.

« Last Edit: March 22, 2009, 08:40 PM by Allen Carter » Logged

Allen, AKA kitehead
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