A kite to let first-timers and bystanders fly

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timothymcmackin:

Do you have a kite that you let bystanders and first-timers try to fly (adults or kids)? What kinds of kites are good for that purpose?

I keep an ancient diamond-shaped two-liner for this purpose, and I think it does pretty well as a teaching tool if the wind is strong. I put varying lengths of tail on it depending on the wind speed to stabilize it and in general, first-timers do OK with it. Last weekend I had two in the air to let some friends fly, and despite fairly light wind, they did well. (A big advantage came from the 50# spectra we used instead of the junk line on reels that usually comes with those kites.)

When the wind is 5mph or lighter, I also (after taking a deep breath) hand over my Prism 4D. I have done this at least 10 times and no one has damaged it yet, though when sharing this kite I keep a very close handle on the flying session. It's a risk, because they also don't know when to give to the kite before a crash, and not to drag it around the ground, but so far the flexibility of the 4D's spars has saved it. I've sold at least one 4D that way, so if any kite companies want to send me kites to try out and offer to bystanders, I'll accept them! :-) I'm wondering if a kid-friendly UL like a SkyDog Black Dog UL would be good in this situation, too.

A friend of mine keeps a small open-cell foil (around 0.8m) for this purpose. It's a little fast, and like many foils it has a tendency to collapse if not managed properly, but it's unbreakable. It's good if there's enough wind for it, but if I were buying one I might want a little more sail area for stability.

Another thought I had was if it would be easier to teach someone using a control bar (or a yardstick, or a broom handle) rather than independent straps. I find that even if I explain basic technique around keeping the hands down and using a push-pull motion, people still wind up with their hands all over the place. I'm wondering if I give them a bar to hang onto, we can talk about using the bar like the handlebars on a bike, and if that will simplify things. I'm going to have to find an old broom handle and try to fly stunters using it rather than straps to see if this is actually simpler to learn on.

Any opinions on the subject?

-Tim

thief:

I had a Prism Adrenaline in the bag for this purpose......pretty durable.....and i use one of my linesets so that the line length/equality is not in question.......


misterbleepy:

I tend to let them fly my Outer Space (or OS UL in lighter wind), as it flies really nicely and has been pretty tough so far. If it's really windy then I don't let them fly any of my kites ;-)

DD:

Depends on the wind. I have used an acrobat std, nexus, snapshots, e2, beetle, and actually ran a learn to fly with a psycho. I did recently cut some bars, It might help little kids that want to try.

kepople:

I usually have a Foil kite with me. That way they can enjoy without anyone worrying.

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