April 15th – Kite Safety
With years of kite organization history behind us, AKA volunteers have assembled this over-simplified resource to help new fliers understand the basics and provide other resources which should contribute to the first of many successful kite flying sessions.
While kiting is perfectly safe under ideal conditions, taking note of a few practical safety points will ensure that you have an excellent experience in the field.
Whether you are flying alone or in a busy park, it is good to remember the 3 C’s of kite safety: Caution. Courtesy, and Common Sense.
Parks, beaches, and playgrounds can be crowded, with many different activities competing for space. It is each kite flier’s responsibility to fly safely so that we continue to be welcome at our favorite windy places.
Consideration of Others
- Do not fly very close to or over roads where drivers could be distracted
- Do not fly noisy kites in crowded places
- Be careful not to scare animals, particularly horses with riders
- Clean up after yourself. Take all of your materials and trash home with you
- Be careful not to fly where you might scare nesting birds
- Watch out for other people who are not aware that kites can be dangerous
- Avoid other kites, kite lines and kite fliers.
- Kite lines conduct electricity so do not fly near overhead power lines
- For the same reason do not fly in electrical storms
- Flying lines on larger kites can hurt your hands. Watch out for line burns. If you fly a large kite, wear gloves.
- Be aware of who or what is behind you as well as in front of you.
Limitations of Self and Equipment
- Be aware of the limitations of your skills and strength and do not fly anything too large for the conditions, or try anything too complicated near other people
- Be aware of the power and limitations of your kites
- Make sure kite anchors are strong and secure enough to hold your kite
- Be wary of attaching hard items to kite line – think of what would happen if the line breaks or is cut by another kite
The best kite flying places offer an open beach, park or field without trees or power lines. Upwind obstacles such as trees or houses can create air turbulence that can make launching or flying your kite difficult. It is possible to fly in turbulent wind but the more open area you have upwind, the smoother the wind will be, which is why ocean beaches or large lakes are so popular for kite flying.
Being comfortable is also important, here are a few things that you might find useful:
- Snacks for the “kids” – big and small…
- First Aid Kit
- Sun umbrella or canopy
- Chairs for the old folk…
- Gloves to protect your hands when handling strong pulling kites.
- No wind toys like frisbees.
- Camera – you never know what you might capture on film!
Particularly evident with maneuverable kites (dual, quad, fighter, power), the wind window is an important aspect of kite flying – the angle of wind on your kite changes as you fly around the wind window, decreasing or increasing the power and control depending on a number of other factors such as the weight of your kite or lines.
Dropping grass, sand or letting a ribbon move in the wind should give you a sense of where the center of your window exists – from there, its mostly a matter of observing both the visual and physical feedback your kite is giving as it moves through the window.
More wind window diagrams:
Beaufort Wind Scale *
|Appearance of Wind Effects|
|On the Water||On Land|
|< 1||< 1||Sea surface smooth and mirror-like||Calm, smoke rises vertically|
|1.2-3||1-3||Scaly ripples, no foam crests||Smoke drift indicates wind direction, still wind vanes|
|3.7-7.5||4-6||Small wavelets, crests glassy, no breaking||Wind felt on face, leaves rustle, vanes begin to move|
|8-12.5||7-10||Large wavelets, crests begin to break, scattered whitecaps||Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended|
|13.0-18.6||11-16||Small waves 1-4 ft. becoming longer, numerous whitecaps||Dust, leaves, and loose paper lifted, small tree branches move|
|19.3-25.0||17-21||Moderate waves 4-8 ft taking longer form, many whitecaps, some spray||Small trees in leaf begin to sway|
|25.5-31||22-27||Larger waves 8-13 ft, whitecaps common, more spray||Larger tree branches moving, whistling in wires|
|32-38||28-33||Sea heaps up, waves 13-19 ft, white foam streaks off breakers||Whole trees moving, resistance felt walking against wind|
|39-46||34-40||Moderately high (18-25 ft) waves of greater length, edges of crests begin to break into spindrift, foam blown in streaks||Twigs breaking off trees, generally impedes progress|
|47-55||41-47||High waves (23-32 ft), sea begins to roll, dense streaks of foam, spray may reduce visibility||Slight structural damage occurs, slate blows off roofs|
* Developed in 1805 by Sir Francis Beaufort
(Forces 10-12 excluded from chart above)