Kites Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything


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Not long ago, mention kite flying and people would think of 'sticks, paper and string'.

Nowadays a modern kite is made of high-tech materials like carbon fibre, mylar, ripstop nylon, and dynema lines (no, we don't fly on 'bits of string' despite what Mary Poppins sings).

Kite flying can be a wonderful stress-relieving pastime - out in the fresh air ignoring the rest of the world.

It's a sport that can be enjoyed by young and old alike, and with various kite festivals throughout the year you can see, and even try, some of the many different types of kite flying:

Static kites

These can either be bought or made and can be as simple as a sparless sled through to the more intricate designs of ships, dragons, or even 'legs'. Static kites always form the basis of a kite festival, where permission is normally granted for flying at high altitudes up to 10,000ft. Normally kites are not allowed above 200ft for aircraft safety reasons.

Stunt kites

The basis of many people's kite flying: a two-line delta kite that can be controlled anywhere in the wind's 'window'. Stunt kites are flown both for recreation and competition, with the display teams creating a kind of aerial ballet.

Fighting kites

A traditional and popular type of kite flying, using hand-crafted paper and bamboo kites flying on a single line. The line has a section impregnated with glass to cut the opponent's lines before he cuts yours.

Power or traction kites

Ever had a kite lift you off the ground? Well you've not played with one of these then! Often parafoil based, with or without spars and using two or four lines, these kites can be used for jumping, buggying, sailing, surfing or just plain old fun.

Trick kites

The fun starts here with some of the most fascinating kites around. Would you believe a two-line delta kite can flip, spin, roll, invert, fly backwards or hover? These will! Some of the latest trick kites use bridles that have taken years to develop so that you can get the kite to do what you want, when you want - without it being called a fluke.

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