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Web link: NASA's list of kite-related technical article index

Local Weather Reports

Weather Underground can be set for local conditions — phone app version has a dedicated customizable "kites" screen

Forecast.co.uk/ completely devoid of clutter, with clear and simple graphs of national as well as custom local weather conditions — light on computer resources; works well on my old 2005 laptop

Windy.com set for local conditions and get wind speeds from surface to 13.5km

Ventusky.com set your location and get wind speeds and temperatures from 2 to 30,000 meters

XC Weather UK: up-to-the-minute local wind forecasts for every major airport in the UK, France and Germany, plus off-shore light vessels and buoys

AccuWeather.com: can be set to local personal weather stations

The Weather Channel UK simple and straightforward forecasts

The Weather Channel UK

Kitemaking and Accessories

Reels & spools

Hoop spools, Halo spools, deep sky reels, winders, line, swivels, and all kitemaking materials - fast worldwide service

Into the Wind
1408 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302, USA
Tel: (00 1) 303 449 5356
Fax: (00 1) 303 449 7315
E-mail: kites@intothewind.com

Flying line and Reels

EMKAY, Unit 1 Hadley Road, Woodbridge Road Ind. Estate, Sleaford, Lincolnshire NG34 7EG  UK
E-mail: more@kites4U.co.uk
Web sites: www.kites4u.co.uk | Kites and More On-Line Shop

Veal's Mail Order offers a good selection of lines of interest to kiteflyers
On-line shop: www.veals.co.uk
Tel: 0845 644 1993

Fabric, fiberglass and carbon rod and tube, etc.

Vliegerop BV
Scheepsmakersstraat 87, 2515 VB Den Haag, The Netherlands
Tel: +31(0)70 385 8586
Fax: +31(0)70 383 8541
Website: www.vliegerop.nl
E-mail: info@vliegerop.nl

Vlieger-Op also stock wind meters (see below)

Weather instruments, carabiners, etc.

Good ranges of wind/weather meters including Skywatch and the omnidirectional Kaindl Windtronic 2:

For a range of professional grade portable wind and weather meters visit:
Skyview Systems
... they also sell lightning detectors that can detect lightning up to 40 miles away and warn of approaching electrical storms.

EU: Skywatch at
Vliegerop BV
Scheepsmakersstraat 87, 2515 VB Den Haag, The Netherlands

Cameras and kite aerial photography

click here for the Aerial Photography page

Kite training of falcons

Falconry Dave Scarbrough


Inexpensive electric fencing spools, some with optional electric drill adaptor. You'll need to contact them to find a stockist.

Rutland Electric Fencing Ltd

Gallagher Electric Fencing

General falconry

The Welsh Hawking Club's own website: welshhawkingclub.org

General Interest

A few good Knots

The International Guild of Knot Tyers

Real Knots
Knotting, bends, hitches and knotcraft

Knots on the Web Peter Suber

The Peregrine Fund site. Keep up with raptor conservation projects around the world, including the California Condor reintroduction to the wild in northern Arizona and the breeding program to save the endangered Mauritius Kestrel.

Altitude Records (both using deltas)

The one kite flying record that really counts

The previous record
Richard P. Synergy
"Dan, with the thirty foot delta that we discussed a year ago we flew to 14,558 feet above sea level from a field that was 860 feet above sea level setting a new world altitude record by more than 1000 feet. Will send exact data later." - Richard Synergy, 16 August, 2000

The latest record I know of (in the modern era)
"After 10 years and many attempts we have broken the world record. On the 23rd of September we flew a kite to 16,038ft. For the full details look at kiterecord.org.au."
Thanks to all our many helpers.
Youtube Video

References and Books

Kite Lines bookstore aims to carry all kite titles from around the world

Old kite books

There must be hundreds; these are some I've seen

Early aerial photos, trains of kites:

by G.T. Woglom, G.P. Putnam, New York, 1896.

Box kites, elastic bridles:

25 Kites that Fly,
by Leslie L. Hunt, Bruce Publishing, Milwaukee, 1929

Deltas, aerial photos:

by Wyatt Brummitt, Golden Press, New York, 1971

Early delta kites:

Kite Craft,
by J.H. and L.S. Newman, Crown Publishers, New York, 1964

The Penguin Book of Kites,
by David Pelham, Penguin Books, 1976

by Ron Moulton, Pelham Books, London, 1978

Kites for Everyone,
by Margaret Greger, (self-published) 1984

Books or papers containing scientific or engineering analyses

Hobbs covers everything including analysis of forces on lines

"A Quantitative Study of Kite Performance in Natural Wind with Application to Kite Anemometry"
By Stephen E. Hobbs PhD
Download PDF

Collected Researches - Bryant & Brown

"Collected Researches on the Stability of Kites and Towed Gliders"
By L. W. Bryant, B.Sc., A.R.C.S., F.R.Ae.S.,
W. S. Brown, M.A., and N. E. Sweeting, of the Aerodynamics Division, N.P.L
Reports and Memoranda No. 2303 February, 1942
The NPL is the UK's National Physical Laboratory.

Here we discover that when the motion of the flying line is included in the analysis, the equations become two orders of magnitude more complicated than they are for low speed aircraft. It has to be said, too, that Bryant & Brown's expensive, wind tunnel-tested kite, based on the Irving biplane kite, required a wind of "at least 35 m.p.h. before (it) could be safely airborne." It crashed "and became a total loss" after 5 minutes of flight.

Ah...well; it just goes to show... as far as kite designing is concerned, a wind tunnel is no substitute for the real world including turbulence. Heavy, aircraft-style wing structures with high aspect ratios do not result in better kites. Whenever you see a painting of such a "kite of the future" in a popular science magazine, you know that it wasn't designed by anyone who knew anything about kites. Towed gliders are something else; but a proper airplane kite must have an additional vertical surface at the front that gliders don't have.

A somewhat related paper

Towline Glider Stability (during Tow)
by J. K. Querman; Dallas, Texas. pub. in "The Model Aeronautic Yearbook," 1957-58

A treatise on the more important stability terms, plus a fresh look at the dihedral terms.

Here's another for analysts:

KITES The Science and the Wonder
by Dr. Toshio Ito and Hirotsugu Komura
Japan Publications, Inc., Tokyo, 1983 (English version)

This is a good read. Though it deals mainly with the authors' own design (sometimes at odds with deltas), the general principles are covered, and one gets the impression that their kites actually fly.

A problem with "scientific" kite design is that there can be a huge gulf between what's on paper and the end product, where even the littlest flaws - second order effects - can mean all the difference between success and failure, completely nullifying any theoretical considerations. Usually it's better to spend an afternoon experimenting rather than to try to solve a kite problem analytically.

The Whirlwind is named after the famous Danish kite authority Dr. Whirlwind, whose 10th Law is well worth remembering whenever trying to fix a kite that doesn't fly: "If all else fails, do the exact opposite of what you thought would work."

Kites are like that.

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©1998-2020 Dan Leigh, 54 Osborne Road, Pontypool, Gwent, Wales, UK NP4 6LX