Stunt Kites :   Tips and Tricks

Flying Dual Line Parafoil Kites:
                             Questions, Answers and Tips 

 
Where's the frame in this kite?

The dual line parafoil kites have no hard frame to hold them in a flying position. Instead, air enters vents in the front of the kite and fills the cells to create an "air frame". With the help of specially designed bridling, the inflated kite holds a shape that enables it to fly like a wing (this does not apply to the Flexifoil family of foils as they use a flexible spar instead of bridling).

How can that "lump of material" actually fly?

When completely deflated, the dual line parafoil kite somewhat looks like a "lump of ripstop nylon", however once inflated by the wind it takes on a whole new shape. Depending on the wind, you'll be asking "how do I get it to STOP trying to fly long enough to get to my handles"!
To keep the parafoil on the ground until you can get back to your handles you will need to stop it from inflating. Depending on the circumstance and location, there are several different ways of doing this. Lying the kite on it's back with the air intakes facing away from the wind will keep it deflated in lighter winds. Placing a smooth weight such as a sand bag on it's trailing edge while in the same position will  hold it stationary in stronger winds. Once you're back to your handles, gently pulling on the fly lines will bring the leading edge into the wind and the kite will inflate and lift off. Other simple launching methods include leaning the kite against a smooth object (making sure there are no protrusions that could damage the kite's sail). Some examples are goal posts, poles, benches etc., anything that will hold the kite in a deflated position until you can get back to the handles.

How do I steer a dual line parafoil kite?

A dual line parafoil kite has the same steering as a dual line framed kite such as a delta. Pulling on the right handle will turn the kite right, pulling on the left will turn it left. also see: Your first few minutes of dual line flight

Do I have to set the kite up all over again if I crash in the middle of the field?

If you are flying in brisk winds, it's usually just a matter of tugging on one of the lines until the vents are facing into the wind, once re-inflated it will take off. If you are flying in the minimum rated wind for that particular kite, it may take more tugging and jiggling of your lines to get it to face into the wind enough to inflate. In some cases you may have to walk out to the kite to re-position it for take-off. On occasion the kite may get wound in it's own bridle and flight lines, and a walk to the kite may be in order, however  we've had them climb skyward while tangled and barely inflated.  In many cases they will untangle themselves as they fully inflate.

 

Stunt Kite Tips and TricksIs there anything I should know before flying my parafoil kite?

-A priority before flight is to ensure that the length of your fly lines are equal. With a framed kite, you can stand it up and notice immediately that one line is longer than the other before you launch it. With a soft kite you won't know until it inflates and has taken off. This is especially important with kite packages and lines that are new as the lines are seldom exactly equal in length.

-Check that the kite's bridle hasn't twisted within itself, making some of the bridle lines shorter than the others, this will deform the kite in flight and make maneuvering more difficult. You won't be able to see the deformation very easily from the ends of the fly lines so a quick check every time you set the kite up will keep it flying efficiently.

-Remember to "larks-head" your bridle lines to the "mooring loops" on the trailing edge of the kite  when you are packing it up, this will help prevent tangles while the kite is in storage. < see .. How To Make A Larks Head Knot  >

Are there any special flying instructions I should know ?

Smaller consumer type parafoil kites are very simple to fly and manoeuvre around the sky. If you keep in mind that the kite must be inflated and have tension on the lines to fly,  it will help with your learning phase. In lighter winds you will want to keep your kite more in the power zone of the wind window, yet in heavier winds it will fly right to the edges and stay inflated. If you've caught yourself too far to the edge of the wind window and the kite begins to slow down and start to deflate, usually a brisk tug on one or both of the lines while stepping backward and turning the kite back toward the power zone will re-inflate it.

Landing: Although parafoils have no frame to break, it's not good practice to risk cell blowout by slamming the kite repeatedly into the ground to land it. The best way to land is to fly the kite to the edge of the window until it runs out of wind and starts to deflate, it should be just a foot or two off the ground at this point.  Turn the kite downward to gently land it with its air intakes facing into the ground.

 

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