The descriptions/explanations are given for delta shaped stunt kites.
Explanations for kites of other shapes may (and probably will) differ....
In the pictures the kite parts are encircled/pointed to/boxed in red
Any remarks or additional info should go to
The frame of a kite are the spars that construct the skeleton of the kite. A
lot of different materials are used. Modern stunt kites mostly use
fiberglass or carbon/graphite.
Look at the picture....
The "spine" or "main spar" or "center spar" of a kite is the spar that runs
to the "tail" of the kite. It is usually in the center of the kite. Some kites
(such as the Revolution) have dual spines, and some have no center spine
(such as the Flexi-Foil).
Look at the picture...
The "skin" or "sail" of the kite is the cloth that is put around the kite's
frame. The most commonly used fabrics are: tyvek, ripstop
nylon and ripstop polyester.
The flying lines of the kite are the lines that are used to control the kite.
The most commonly used types are: spectra, dyneema and kevlar.
The lines that attaches directly to the kite
and in turn attach
to the flying
Other than tying everything together, the main purpose
of the bridle is to govern the kite's angle of attack, i.e. the angle in
relation to the wind.
The bridle is adjusted for varying wind conditions. Each of the lines that
run from the
(where the flying lines attach) to the frame are known as 'legs'.
Different types of bridles
By moving the
bridle adjustment point
- toward the
(forward or up), the
nose is brought closer to you, dumping air more quickly out the back of the
Effects on the kite are: faster, lighter wind capability,
less pull and slower/wider turns.
By moving the nose forward in high winds, you will
dump more air and lessen the pull exerted.
- away from the nose (back or down) sets the nose or the top of the kite
away from you which retains wind in the sail longer. Effects are: slower,
needs more wind, more pull, faster/tighter turns, and much more responsive.
- to the outside
reduces the turn speed, reduces oversteer,
reduces radicalness and increases the turn radius.
- to the inside (towards the spine)
increases the turn speed, increases oversteer,
increases radicalness and reduces the turn radius.
Adjusting the bridle is generally done in small steps (1/8") at a time. You can start
by bridling your kite low or heavy (nose pointing more toward the back) and
then bring the nose forward
in those small steps until you like it. Make equal adjustments on both sides
at the same time. Play with your bridle and see what it does to your kite.
If your bridle settings are all wrong the kite won't fly, but you won't
break the kite....
Also the length of the bridle is something to experiment with, although there
are "rules of the thumb" for bridle line lengths. Different lengths will
produce different characteristics. Longer bridle lines have a better force
angle on the frame, thus reducing the strain. They will allow easier adjusting
of the tow point. It will also be easier to tangle up your lines in edges and
whiskers. Shorter bridle lines don't tangle that easily, but cause a lot of
flex (bending of spars) in the frame while turning. This will e.g. cause
the kite to stall easier.
As a rule of the thumb you can start with a bridle consisting of a dynamic
line that is as long as the leading edge and a static line that is 50-60%
of the leading edge's length.
For the "turbo" bridle the dynamic and static lines are equally long, 80%
of the leading edge's length.
Bridle adjustment point or Towing point
The towing points are the points where the
connect. By moving this point on the bridle lines the flight characteristics
of the kite can be changed.
The spreaders are the horizontal rods that keep the kite in it's shape.
The lower spreaders run from the kite's
to the right and left
The upper spreader runs from the kite's left
to the right
This is the Span^2/Area ratio of the kite. A low and wide kite has
a high aspect ratio. A high and not so wide kite has a low aspect ratio.
High aspect ratio kites have a large (dull) nose angle, low aspect ratio
kites have smaller (sharper) nose angles. Generally high aspect ratio
kites fly faster than low aspect ratio kites but are more vulnerable
because of the longer spars.
A kite that exhibits oversteer is very touchy. When you pull to turn the
kite over-rotates and you are required to counteract to correct it. This
behavior is partly due to the design of the kite, but is also influenced
by bridle settings. Oversteer is useful in a number of tricks and special
The width of the kite measured from left to right. For normal delta
shaped stunters this means the distance from left to right wingtip.
For other shaped kites I put the kite in the normal upright flying
position, and measure the kite from utmnost left to utmost right poits.
Whiskers / Standoffs
These are small thin spars that run between the
(back edge of the kite) and the
spars. Their purpose is to make sure the sail keeps the right shape
in light winds. These are found most often on delta (triangular shaped)
This is a piece of line that is put into the hem of the trailing edge. Used
to tension the trailing edge.
Trick line/Cheater line
This is a piece of line that runs from a wingtip to spine bottom to the other
wingtip. Used to prevent the flying lines from getting wrapped around the wing tips
or spine end.