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Controlling Your Kite

Steering Single Line Kites:
For single line kites, steering control is very limited. You can control your kite by movement of the flying line. A sharp tug on the flying line will cause the kite to launch forward in the direction of the nose or leading edge of the kite. By letting slack in the line the kite can drift backwards or to one side or the other. With practice you will be able to control the direction of your kite and can possibly do various tricks (loops and fades etc). Fighter kites are single line kites and are controlled in this manner, time and patience is required to learn the finesse of steering a single line kite.

Steering Dual Line Kites:
Dual line kites give you the ability to steer your kite in any direction you want with simple hand movements. Generally, pulling on the left hand will turn the kite left, pulling on the right hand will turn your kite right. Advanced pilots learn that instead of pulling, you can "push" to achieve turns that are quick and smooth. Push turns are just the opposite as pull turns, pushing the left hand will cause the kite to turn right, pushing the right hand will cause the kite to turn left. A combination of push/pull turns will give you snap style turns that are exact and quick. Pull turns will pull wind into the sail while you turn and in most cases your kite will accelerate through the turn which can be difficult when you want to perform a stall. Push turns will dump the wind out of the sail during the turn and in most cases your kite will slow down through the turn which can make it easier to stall your kite. By practicing both push and pull turns you will achieve the maximum control of your kite

Steering a Quad Line Kite:
Quad line kites will steer differently than dual line kites. For power kites you can usually just pull left-turn left, pull right-turn right but there is also the brake lines that can greatly assist your steering controls. By learning to pull on your brake lines along with the top lines, you will be able to turn your kite much faster and in most cases, pivot the kite on its axis. Quad line stunt kites are different altogether. Because the sail on a stunt kite is usually very tight, you have to steer the kite by tilting or twisting the kite. Unlike large foil power kites, quad line stunt kites steer mainly off of their rear lines and in some cases, the only way to get the kite to turn is to use the rear lines. Pulling left or right on the handles will only cause the kite to slide left or right, not rotate. The controls are generally the same but applied to the brake lines instead of the top lines. Pulling the right brake turns right, pulling the left brake turns left. This gives you the ultimate in control when using both handles together, pulling the right brake while letting out the left brake will spin or helicopter your kite in one spot without losing or gaining any altitude, variations of this control gives you unlimited control of your kite and the ability to fly your kite any direction you wish regardless of which way the kite is facing.

Forward and Reverse Flight:
Forward and reverse flight is somewhat discussed in the above section. Forward flight is the normal flight of your kite. For single line kites normal forward flight is automatic. For dual line kites, as long as you have enough wind and are not stalling the kite, the kite will travel in a forward motion, again very automatic. Quad line kites are a little different. To obtain normal forward flight, a quad line kite must have a positive angle of attack. This usually is achieved by keeping more tension on the upper lines and less tension if any on the lower lines. Power kites usually require very little tension on the rear lines during forward flight. Quad line stunt kites may require a little more than power kites but still have the majority of the pressure applied to the leading edge lines (upper lines). Forward flight is usually very simple to achieve, reverse flight can be a bit more difficult. For single line kites, reverse flight is nearly impossible. Stalling the kite by putting excessive slack in the line is pretty much the only way to get a single line kite to fly backwards. Dual line kites are similar, but reverse flight can be done. To get reverse flight from a dual line stunt kite you will first need to stall the kite and then move towards the kite fast enough that the kite does not power back up and regain forward motion. By moving towards the kite you will take the wind out of the kite and gravity will begin to take its toll and the kite will begin to float backwards in reverse flight. Careful controls on the flying lines will keep the kite in control and moving in the direction you wish to go. Reverse flight is where quad line kites really excel above other kites. With the ability to change the angle of attack from a positive angle to a negative angle, reverse flight is not only possible but can be done easily with total control of the kite. Reverse flight on a quad line stunt kite can be done with good speeds as well. Quad line ram-air power kites can fly in reverse but are not really designed for reverse flight and as speed increases, the kite will fold up on itself and control will be minimal. Basically, to obtain reverse flight with a quad line kite you only need to rotate both handles evenly so that the tops are towards the kite and the bottoms (brakes) are towards you. As you rotate the handles the kite will slow down, stall, and then begin to fly backwards. As long as you hold the handles in this position the kite will continue to fly backwards, even if it is a foil kite and it has partially collapsed. You can even reverse-launch your kite off of the ground and fly the kite to zenith completely in reverse. Some practice may be needed to accomplish this but it can be done fairly simply. Remember that every kite will fly differently and some techniques listed above may not apply to your brand of kite, these are only the basics for the majority of kites on the market today.

Flying your kite in and out of the wind window:
By mastering your control of your kite you will be able to fly your kite in and out of the wind window. For power kites this is a must, especially if you get caught in a gust or the wind increases. Being able to fly your kite to the edge of the window could save you from damaging your kite or even possible injury. Stunt kites can also benefit from this as well, especially ultra light or indoor kites that cannot handle large gusts of wind. Not only can you take your kite out of the power, with proper control you will be able to keep your kite IN the power longer, maximizing the power available on power kites and also being able to perform even more stunts with your stunt kite. Most people can fly the kite back and forth through the power fairly simply. The ones that excel above the others are the ones that can continuously fly the kite in the power without having to take the kite out of the power. With the ability to quickly turn your kite, you will be able to get more performance from your kite in both overpowered and underpowered situations. Being able to back your kite up is a lot faster than having to loop the kite back into the window and then loop it back out. Take the time to fully master the controls of your kite and you will be a better pilot in all areas.