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Dual-line Kite Flying


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Be sure to review the Kite Flying Basics and Be Safe! sections for important information on picking a safe place to fly, and for help on selecting the right kite for you.

Safety First!

While dual-line stunt kites are a lot of fun to fly and will often draw onlookers, they can be dangerous to the unsuspecting bystander. Not only is your kite itself a potential danger, but your kite lines are as well, as they travel almost invisibly near the ground. It is your responsibility as the kite flyer to ensure your flying area is clear, and to land your kite and let people know of the danger if they walk into your kite's wind window. The safest place for onlookers is always behind the kite flyer.

Setting up Your Dual-line Stunt Kite

It's usually best to read the instructions and set up your new stunt kite inside before heading out to the kite field so that you are familiar with all of the parts and how everything goes together before trying to set up on a windy day. Every dual-line stunt kite is set up slightly differently depending on its design, but the diagram below will help you identify the typical parts.

Typically, you may need to attach both the upper and lower spreaders and may need to attach the wing spars at the nose of the kite. Be sure that your bridle is properly outside of the spars as you fit them to their fittings. Most dual-line stunt kites have standoffs, small rods that are typically attached to the kite's sail and slip into fittings on the spreader, helping the sail keep it's shape. These will need to be attached next. Standoff fittings may need to be moved along the spreader to align properly with the point it attaches to the sail. Check to be sure that standoffs are positioned symmetrically or the kite will not fly properly.

Kite Line-sets - Line-sets for dual-line stunt kites are two identical length lines and typically 80 to 100 feet long, attached to handles or most often wrist straps on one end, and to your kite's bridle on the other. Some kites come with braided Dacron   kite line, which is acceptable for beginning flyers, but will stretch affecting precision and will be much less responsive due to friction after several loops. Most flyers choose to use high-strength ultra-smooth Spectra kite line, which stretches much less improving control, and will not be as affected by friction when wrapped around each other during flight. While Spectra kite line is very strong, it has a very low melting point and almost all other lines will cut it, so be careful not to fly anywhere near another kite. It is also necessary when using Spectra kite line to sleeve your lines where they are knotted to prevent it from cutting itself. Inexpensive sleeving kits are easy to install as shown in the diagram below, or you can buy your line-sets pre-sleeved.

Wrist Straps - The most commonly used handles for dual line stunt kites are wrist straps because they are comfortable, and give the most sensitivity to the actions of your kite. Some wrist straps come with an attached knotted chord, and others with triangular or circular loops to attach your line-set to. Use the Larkshead Knot if your wrist straps have a knotted chord. The diagram below shows how to attach your lines to wrist straps with a ring connector.

Card Winders - Card winders are the preferred method of storing dual-line stunt kite line-sets, as they allow you to wind line in a fashion that keeps them from tangling or twisting. Unwinding your line-set from a card winder is a simple task, and will lay your lines out parallel and untangled and ready to use if they were wound properly when used last. It is often helpful to stake your handles or wrist straps when laying out your kite line. You will occasionally want to verify that the lines are the same length and adjust knot locations if needed to be certain your kite flies predictably.

Attaching Your Kite Lines to Your Kite - Most dual-line stunt kite bridles have knotted loops for line attachment. Use a simple  Larkshead Knot to attach to bridles with knotted stopper attachment points. With sleeved lines, it is common practice for the sleeves to have contrasting colors to distinguish between the lines and ensure you have your wrist straps on the correct hand.

Adjusting the Bridle - You will want to check the instructions for your kite to see how the bridle is adjusted and only do so once you understand your kite. Many kites are adjusted by moving the bridle attachment knots, others by other means. Generally, you will move the attachment point forward for stronger winds, and back for lighter winds. Be certain you mark the factory setting so you have a reference point. Take great care in making adjustments, unbalanced bridle lines will make your kite fly erratically and be hard to control.
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