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All about Kites

Linda is an amateur artist and photographer who loves to travel with her husband of 37 years.


Kite Flying takes you back in time...

There is no simple pleasure that is shared with family and friends, than the simple act of flying a kite. It brings one back to a time before the world went to electronics. With the wind in your hair, your eyes to the heavens above, watching the miracle of flight, running, laughing and sharing.

Life would be more simple if more of us took time to fly Kites,wouldn't it?

If you don't feel like flying a kite, it is actually a great spectator sport too.

My favorite place to watch kite flying and windsurfing is at the Oregon Coast.

There are forces that affect the flight of a kite.

The first is gravity everything falls to the ground when dropped or thrown. The heavier the kite, the less chance of getting a good lift and getting flight. Kites should be make of very lightweight material. We made Kites when we were kids from kits. Very lightweight paper, and super light crossbars were used in their making. We tried heavier paper like new paper when the kite material was torn, they would fly but never quite as nicely as they did with the tissue paper material that came with the kit. I think the wood might have been bamboo.

So a very light kite is extremely important.

The second is lift. "Lift is the force pushing the kite away from the surface of the earth. It is produced by air moving over the top of the kite at a faster speed than the air that is moving over the bottom of the kite. Daniel Bernoulli, a scientist in the eighteenth century, discovered that the pressure of air becomes lower when it is moving. The faster the air is moving the lower the pressure becomes. A kite is shaped so that air will be slowed down if it is travelling under the lower surface of a kite and will speed up if it is travelling over the upper surface of the kite." (1)

The kite will rise to try to balance the air pressure above the kite with the air pressure below the kite.

If it is a windy day you may not have much trouble getting a kite to fly, without a whole lot of activity on your part.

On a day with no or very little wind. You may have to make your own wind. Get those legs moving. It helps to have someone to hold the kite in the air until you get a distance from it.

Drag is the third force that affects a kite, it keeps it from flying right back into the ground. (hopefully!) Drag is created by the different types of materials used, the wood, the material, and even the tail of a kite can create drag.

Thrust is created by the string we hold. In holding it tight against the wind, it creates thrust that holds that kite up in the air.

A tail on a kite can keep it from rocking from side to side. It helps to balance the movement. A long tail is great, but cutting it into sections of tail, (long strips) can create even more drag than needed.

1. Reference: Kites in the Classroom by Peter Batchelor

When were Kites first invented you ask?

They have been around a long, long time.

"Historians believe that the first kites were built in China about 3,000 years ago, using materials, such as bamboo and silk. Kites may have been brought from China to Japan and other Asian countries, historians say, as part of early religious festivals or ceremonies. In fact, the earliest significance of kites was primarily religious. They were widely considered to be useful for ensuring a good harvest or scaring away evil spirits. Throughout the years, as the popularity of kites spread from Asia to Europe and beyond, they became more widely known as children's toys and came to be used primarily as a leisure activity.

Eventually, scientists discovered that kites were also useful for conducting scientific experiments, particularly those involving weather and aerodynamics.

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In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci discovered how to use a kite to span a river.

Leonardo da Vinci's method was later used, by 10-year-old Homan Walsh, in the construction of one of the world's first suspension bridges at Niagara Falls, New York.

In 1749, Scottish scientist Alexander Wilson used several kites, attached in a row, to measure and compare air temperature at different altitudes.

Benjamin Franklin used kites to pull boats, carriages, and sleds in experiments with traction and to experiment with electrical energy in the atmosphere.

In 1901, Gugliemo Marconi used a kite to help transmit the first trans-Atlantic wireless telegraph message." (2)

2. Education World

Types of kites -diamond wing kite

There are some basic types of kites

There is the good old flat kite. Often diamond in shape. These are kites that have no curve to them. These are probably the type of kite you may have made as a child. The do need a tail to fly well.

Delta Wing kite

There is the delta wing kite. This kite is sometimes similar to the greek letter delta in shape therefore it's name. A delta kite is lite and the sail billows and creates much of it's own drag and lift. It usually does not need a tail.

Bowed, box and para-foil kites

The bowed kite, similar to a flat kite, often diamond shaped, but are bowed. The do not always need a tail to fly either.

The box kite, like it's name, it is often box shaped with many angles and surfaces. These kites usually need a strong wind to achieve lift and thrust. They are also bowed, and do not need tails.

Para-foil Kites, are often used in para-sailing. They are normally just material and depend highly on the wind to stay in flight. The wind opens and billows the sails, keeping it floating. They are lightweight and normally do not need a tail to fly either.

A compound box kite and sled kites

A compound box kite, is much like it's relative the box kite, but it also includes wings attached the box structure. It creates a lot of pull, often requiring a harness and weight to the person flying it to hold it down.

A sled kite is of course "sled" shaped. It has several spines running the length of the kite, but no cross bars. It relies heavily on the wind to keep it in flight.

Reference used for this info and photo below: Kites in the Classroom by Peter Batchelor

Types of Kites, diagram by Peter Batchelor

Types of Kites, diagram by Peter Batchelor

Types of Kites, diagram by Peter Batchelor

Kite terminology diagram by Peter Batchelor

Kite terminology diagram by Peter Batchelor

Kite terminology diagram by Peter Batchelor

Diagram of angle of attack by Peter Batchelor

Diagram of angle of attack by Peter Batchelor

Diagram of angle of attack by Peter Batchelor

How to Fly Fixed Bridle Foil Power Kites

Kites flying in the Kite Festival in Lincoln City, Oregon - June of 2011


Kites flying in the Kite Festival in Lincoln City, Oregon

Photo © by Photographer Linda Hoxie


Where to fly your kite?

Think wide open spaces....

Find a place that is a large, uncluttered space on the ground as well as above the groung. Always watch for any power lines that your kite may get tangled in.

Maybe a large park area, or a field, the best place of all to fly a kite is at the beach.

A Unique Perspective of Kites Flying on the beach - in Lincoln City Oregon at the Kite Festival in June


Photo © by Photographer Linda Hoxie

Revolution Kite team from France - 2005 - with 5 Kites - Awesome video, well worth watching!

All about Kites, and more...

  • Kites: A guide for students
    Kites in the Classroom was developed as part of Peter Batchelor's work towards a Masters of Education Studies in the early 1990s. For many years a version of this material was hosted on the website of the Australian Kite Association. The AKA website
  • Education World ® Lesson Planning: Soar Into Spring With Kites!
    Spring has sprung! Soar out of the winter doldrums with a lesson plan both you and your students are sure to enjoy. Amid all the fun, the kids might not even realize how much they're learning!
  • Forces on a Kite
    Contact Glenn An excellent way for students to gain a feel for aerodynamic forces is to fly a kite. Kites can fly because of the forces acting on the parts of the kite.
  • Kites in the classroom
    Kites in the Classroom was developed as part of Peter Batchelor's work towards a Masters of Education Studies in the early 1990s. For many years a version of this material was hosted on the website of the Australian Kite Association. The AKA website
  • Kites: A brief history for students and teachers
    Kites in the Classroom was developed as part of Peter Batchelor's work towards a Masters of Education Studies in the early 1990s. For many years a version of this material was hosted on the website of the Australian Kite Association. The AKA website
  • Kite Safety
    Kite Safety

Great kite building demo on Traditional Japenese Bowed Kite

This Kite had a super long tail and swerved like a snake through the sky - At the Lincoln City Kite Festival


Photo © by Photographer Linda Hoxie

The reason I started this adventure of a new lens on kites, is while I was planning a trip to the coast, I read about a kite festival there. Which brought back some fond memories of watching these two men flying this huge kite. One guy had to wear a harness, and the kite would literally drag him across the beach. I thought for sure he was going parasailing without a boat. I have a video of the whole adventure, but I filmed it sideways...who knew you can't rotate a video like you can a photo?


Thanks for stopping by and learning with me about kites. - Do you have a favorite memory of kite flying?

Roberta on January 10, 2015:

The best kite instructor ever.I have all his video tapes since 1996.I see many exlntees flyers, but nobody canb4t explain the tricks like Dodd.He is somekind harismatic man.The guru of stunt kiting.Respect!

Jessalyn on December 30, 2014:

Wonderful exnaopatiln of facts available here.

Irais on December 29, 2014:

I can't believe you're not playing with meah--tt was so helpful.

Doc_Holliday on November 28, 2013:

Kites are great fun. They have certainly improved dramatically from when I was a kid.

LoriBeninger on July 18, 2013:

Wow! The science of kite flying in one handy lens. Nice job.

askformore lm on December 11, 2012:

Great lens! Thank you for sharing all this info about kites.

jmchaconne on July 28, 2012:

Kites are wonderful, and this is a great lens, especially for the technical information I'm writing a lens about kites, and will use this as a related lens, thank you!

Evelyn from Pennsylvania on July 24, 2012:

Great article - love the history and variety of kites. We made paper kites as kids in the city and flew them at the playground! Brings back memories.

Deadicated LM on June 04, 2012:

I really enjoyed your Lens; I love Kites, especially Japanese Fighting Kites.

anonymous on May 18, 2012:

I love flying kits. We have a group of us that get together and fly.

KayeSI on April 28, 2012:

Thank you for such a wonderful kite flying resource. My grandkids and I just had so much fun flying some of the easy kites for kids that we found at the local store. Like you, that led me to do some further research. I did learn about Prism Kites and a few other fun kite facts but you have so much more. I'm sharing this on Facebook and saving the link for some fun activities for the grandkids and me. Thanks again.

anonymous on March 31, 2012:

Thanks for the info . Helped me with my project

desa999 lm on March 29, 2012:

Great coverage on a fascinating topic, thanks for sharing.

anonymous on January 31, 2012:

I love a good kite article, enjoyed this one, *blessed* it too!

dogface lm on August 04, 2011:

Oh wow, so much nice information. Thanks for sharing.

heehaw lm on April 25, 2011:

i always love flying and making kites

Indigo Janson from UK on March 30, 2011:

You make me want to go fly a kite down on the beach! It would be an interesting project to build my own.

CashInTheHand LM on January 11, 2011:

Lots of interesting information, great job!

TWOnline2 on December 15, 2010:

good lens.

jp1978 on November 02, 2010:

It's sad. I never learned how to make nor fly kites.

hlkljgk from Western Mass on September 02, 2010:

wonderful lens!

ninakargaard on March 22, 2009:

Really interesting lens. Loads of info for anyone interested in kiting, and some history on kiting too! Nice!

I have been powerkiting for about 10 years now, and really enjoy it. If you get a chance, have a look at my blog.

Ellen Brundige from California on February 25, 2009:

Wow. Amazingly informative and in-depth, it really is all about kites! I learned a few things! (And lensrolled) Thanks for stopping by my little kite page! 5*

anonymous on February 18, 2009:

helow it's nice ha...

Wendy Henderson from PA on October 27, 2008:

Very nice lens. I remember flying kites with my Dad as a little girl. ~Wendy

Freebirth on August 31, 2008:

Well, this is definitely a one-stop kite resource!

LucyVet on August 30, 2008:

I love flying kites! It's a cool thing to do with kids rather than computer games / TV etc

LucyVet on August 30, 2008:

I love flying kites! It's a cool thing to do with kids rather than computer games / TV etc

James20 on August 29, 2008:

Very nice!! A lot of information here.


The Homeopath on August 29, 2008:

What a cool lens! I LOVE flying kites with my kids, it's just so relaxing and exciting at the same time!

saraht43 on August 29, 2008:

I loved to fly kites as a kid. Will have to get one for my 9yr old daughter. We are going to a state park Mon. for Labor Day and she will love it. Thanks for the reminder.

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on August 29, 2008:

I love this, thank you all for sharing your kite stories...such fun memories! :)

Shreela LM on August 29, 2008:

Wow, you're the queen of kite knowledge, thanks for sharing and teaching.

I bought myself a trick kite for my birthday one year, and me and the ex went to a slow beach to fly it. I flew it so good right away; it was such a fun day, UNTIL...

The ex couldn't control it as good, and almost crashed the huge thing into a foreign family walking down the beach!

I ran yelling and waving my arms trying to warn them to watch out, but they didn't speak English, and I was almost twice as big at them too. I was also yelling at the ex: let it go, LET IT GO!

It got real close to them once -- so close the dad could hear it, and grabbed his family and ran inwards to avoid the missile-like kite.

The ex finally let it go, the little foreign family was safe, and I swam out to retrieve my kite. I packed it up right then and there, and I flew it alone from then on.

Those bigger trick kites can be dangerous in dull-witted men's hands! But they're excellent fun while alone, or with a smart man LOL

Kaela on August 29, 2008:

Wow! Who knew there was so much information about kites? Great lens!

Kite Flying Memory: Flying kites with my sister in Cape Cod - and TRYING to fly kites in our backyard.. yeah that time it didn't really work out :)

sbucciarel on August 29, 2008:

Incredible lense. I used to love flying kites when I was a kid. Should do it again. Nice to see you participating in the Squid Storm at

Roxy Calamari on August 29, 2008:

Well done. I'll come back and read this some again.

Sniff It Out on August 29, 2008:

Great lens, some fantastic kites on the Washington kite festival video!

Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on August 28, 2008:

Used to fly kites with my family on the beach on trips.

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on August 28, 2008:

a willow, I think that they could, we used to make them out of newpaper! :-)

Mihaela Vrban from Croatia on August 28, 2008:

Hmmmmmm---- Kites can be made of paper bags as well, am I right? I should lensroll this to my 'How to reuse paper bags' lens! :)

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on July 22, 2008:

NightSquid, That is great, I love watching people fly them, especially the trick kites! Good luck on building one! Linda

RedSportNiac, thank you..and me too :-) Linda

RedSportNiac on July 10, 2008:

Your lens looks great. Nice job. Keep it up and all the best. By the way I love kite myself.

NightSquid LM on July 09, 2008:

Hi Linda,

Great lens, I am an amateur Trick Kite fly-er myself. I never have thought about making my own kite but now I may have to reconsider.

I lensrolled this to my Oregon Coast Weekend Trip lens. Cheers

Linda Hoxie (author) from Idaho on June 17, 2008:

When I was young we used to make kites out of light sticks, and newspaper (believe it or not) they actually would fly with a good wind. The tails we made of old sheets. :-)

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