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Author Topic: A kite to let first-timers and bystanders fly  (Read 2998 times)
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Location: Durham, NC, USA

« on: January 16, 2013, 08:22 AM »

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?

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Location: North Shore of Massa-WHO-setts

« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 08:33 AM »

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.......

Kites kayaks & corgis again!!!
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Location: Newquay, Cornwall, UK

« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 09:01 AM »

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 ;-)

Keith B...   ...leep     bleep     bleep
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Location: Ohio USA

« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 09:02 AM »

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.

Sine Metu!
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 09:10 AM »

I usually have a Foil kite with me. That way they can enjoy without anyone worrying.
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 09:21 AM »

Depends on age.  I had a quantum for that until I gave it away and now its just about anything in my bag since I spend a good amount of time getting them started with good basic control, safety and how to minimize crash impact.
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 10:21 AM »

I teach all students (first-time fliers) on whatever kite I'm flying when they approach,

unless it's on loan for pictures.

Mojo, Quantum Pro, Katana, STX 2.1....whatever.

I'll get the kite in the air, then have them take the straps.
I'll stand behind and fly the kite, holding on to their elbows.
As they get better, I'll fly the kite less and they'll take over.

I won't teach kids to fly unless their parents are with them.
And I'll explain to the parent that I will be holding the kids' arms.

It hurts to see the kids walk away without getting to fly.
But if their parents aren't with them, I have to say no.

Hope that helps.

P.S. I did lose a Vapor sail years ago to an overly strong man
        who "knew" how to get out of a dive.  Huh

Thankfully, Mark Reed sent me a new sail, remembering that I
had a red-tipped Vapor.

« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 10:35 AM by chilese » Logged

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Location: Chilhowie, Virginia

« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 06:06 PM »

When I started flying again a few months ago it had been so long that I was concerned about damaging a framed kite.  I bought a Prism Snapshot 1.2 because it looked pretty fool proof.  I like it's speed & toughness.  It is a bit different to self launch than a wing but is easy enough to accomplish.  I think it's a good introduction to two line flying at a reasonable price.  My current opinion is that any kind of time in the air is beneficial for me.  But I do think it is important that someones introduction should be mostly fun & without the fear of damaging a fragile expensive kite.  The little Snapshot got me interested again.  I could even say it "Revved" me up.  The next kite I bought was the Snapshot 2.5 & then sent off for the extra brake lines & a Prism control bar.  Liked the bar but changed it to the quad mode to try that aspect of control.  I have acquired some tube, foam & end caps to make more bars.  I admit it took me some time to stop flailing my arms when using flight straps early on.  I am not too far from that first time experience.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 06:44 PM by dayhiker » Logged

"Well him & my uncle tore that engine down
 I still remember that rumblin' sound"   Steve Earle - Copperhead Road
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Location: Ohio USA

« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 06:21 PM »

I agree with John on teaching kids to fly, not without their parents.
I also will tell anyone I teach(but tend to emphasize with women) " Im goin to grab your arms and elbows and I apologize in advance if I grab anything else by accident" Roll Eyes

teaching on the beach with lots of people around can be difficult, especially when people wander thru. I will tell these people,generally in a loud voice but in a happy tone, that the flier is new and to be mindful of the kite. I do the same thing at festivals too but generally we have a roped off space so it isnt too bad.


Sine Metu!
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Location: Southern California

« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 06:33 PM »

In response to the original question about using a broom handle or some kind of control rod, I've seen it do wonders with people's ability to keep the kite in the air.

Last year I hosted a park day for the kids' Sunday school class, and they were doing the typical over-controlling the kite with very little time flying.   I then had the idea of using one of "one-hand-flying" handles with the kids.  It was a night and day difference, and they started really enjoying themselves.

I say do it.

Steady winds, y'all.
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Location: North Carolina

« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 08:11 PM »

Tim, those are excellent trainer kites you have. I use my Prism Hypnotist for new flyers but itís fairly heavy and needs a bit of wind to fly. It takes punishment very well. I also prefer to hold elbows or forearms to teach new flyers. A complete stranger helped me fly my first dual line that way.
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 09:03 PM »

We keep a couple of Beetle 2000's with us at all times and if there is a lack of wind a couple of Prism 3d's of the non-classic variety.  Most people would be surprised at just how tough the 3D actually is.

Kant Fly......might just as well buy!
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