Singled-Line Kites: Essential Equipment
| Launching and Landing a Single-Line Kite
Single-Line Kites: A Basic Glossary | Tails For Single-lined Kites
How to Launch a Two-Lined Kite by Yourself | Kite Safety
Stunt kiting is a great hobby. The two-lined kite1 can provide hours of fun once it is up in the air, but getting it off the ground can be a pain because you really need someone to hold the kite while you launch it. This person is then redundant for the rest of your kite-flying. This entry presents two ways of launching the kite single-handedly.
The Beach Launch
This launch method involves weighting down the trailing edge2 of the kite. It works well on sandy beaches but you can also use it in non-sandy areas by using small pebbles instead of sand as weights. It works in most winds but not if there are low-level obstructions (such as long grass or low dunes) to stop the wind at ground level. It is particularly useful for soft kites with no rigid frame3 or for kites like the Flexifoil Stacker 6, which only has a single spar (rod) across the leading edge4.
Stand with your back to the wind, holding the kite leading-edge up and with the side that faces the kite-flyer facing you. Kneel down and lay the kite on the ground (bridles5 facing up) in front of you. If your kite is triangular, the long edge (trailing edge) should now be nearest you.
Pile sand or small pebbles along the trailing edge of the kite to hold it down. Don't use large or sharp stones, as these will damage the sail6.
Walk away from your kite into the wind, laying out your lines. It is vital that both lines are exactly the same length.
Stand with your back to the wind, holding the handles at about chest height, with a light tension in the lines.
Take a step back, pulling the kite slowly upright. The sand or pebbles ensure that the nose of the kite lifts first. As it lifts, the sand or pebbles spill off and the sail fills with air. As the kite tips just past the vertical, the sails will fill properly and the kite will rise into the air. Keep the tension equal on both lines until the kite is well clear of the ground, and then start your stunt routine.
Launching Using Stakes
If you don't have sand, or your kite has a rigid shape that does not allow its trailing edge to be weighted down, you may want to try using stakes.
Hammer two stakes (sticks, poles, etc) into the ground, about one-third of your kite's width apart (so if it's a three-foot (90cm) kite, put the stakes one foot (30cm) apart). The stakes should be long enough so that they are slightly taller than the kite when it leans on them.
Rest the kite against the stakes so that it is leaning backwards slightly and facing the wind. The pressure of the wind should keep it in place.
As with the weighted launch, walk away, stand back and take a step back. The kite will tip towards you, and as it passes the vertical the forces holding it down will start to lift it up and your kite will launch.
The stakes present a significant hazard - imagine tripping over one and landing on the other! Make sure they are blunt, maybe even topping them off with an old tennis ball. Also make sure the stakes are visible by tying strips of plastic bag or lengths of reflective tape to them. The flapping strips will not tangle your kite as they will blow behind it.