Pulling down big kites

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My son Mike has reached an age (and weight) where he likes the challenge of pulling down my kites when it's time to go.  Eventually he's worked his way up to my biggest, a new Gomberg Skyform 450, which he tackled in light wind the other night.


When I looked at his picture, it reminded me of an ongoing thought I've had about kite pull downs for years.  I've always used the same method for big soft kites that I began using years ago - walk the kite down offwind at about a 45 degree angle, then collapse it by pulling down on the upwind bridle line.  Other folks seem to  walk them straight downwind from the anchor.   I started doing it to the side after the pull down strap slipped out of my hands once and the kite relaunched immediately after yanking on the anchor something fierce when the slack in the line was taken out.

When I walk a big foil down off to the side some, and then release the line as if it's slipped, the extra slack in the line and the off-angle of the wind causes it to nearly always collapse before it can reinflate (only tested this with my old Sutton 125 and with half the line in). That said, I've often thought that if they did recover after taking the slack out, or were a different kind of kite, they might power sweep across the window and auger into the ground.

For ease and safety, which way do you go when pulling down kites, straight downwind or off to the side of the window?


PS.  By the way, the Gomberg Skyform 450 rocks!  Another view with a 150' banner tail.  It's HUGE!



I'm sure everyone has their own way and I'm no expert but I'll give my 2 cents....

I'd think you may want to avoid taking the kite down to the side. I'd agree that 99% of the time the kite, if released, would collapse but it it does not, you now have 40lbs of 450 sq feet sweeping the field. If someone happens to be standing there... well... it's like getting hit by a car (albeit, a soft car). Perhaps the bigger risk is that line speeding back across the flying field. If that were to hit someone it would not make for a fun day.

On a 450 I'd recommend a pulley and strap. I'd consider adding several loops to the pull down strap in case you need more then one person to walk it down. On my 525 the two inner keels have reinforcement straps sewn in from the bridle points up to the ribs. I hold onto the two inner bridle lines so that the two side edges of the kite fold up into the middle. The kite usually still flies just with that innermost skin but its easy to then pull down. I also always wear leather gloves. Harbor Freight has some yellow/black ones that are great.


Some people also use a brake line (loose line attached to the rear of the kite) but it's a little bit of a pain connecting it to the flying line up to the kite.


All good points!  Thanks for the input.    I'll cut down on the angle some and also throw some gloves on that kid!   :-\


Quote from: tcope on September 11, 2012, 08:50 AM
I'd recommend a pulley and strap. 



This will make taking the kite down much easier and SAFER.


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