Hotter speed and turning than competition kites. Higher-quality exercise and livelier pull than power kites.
WindDances are "airgear," a new concept. They fly better and feel more exciting than typical stunt kites.
Our other advancements: Ergo T-handles that boost feel, control, exercise. Natural active FLY-a-kite skill.
The sport's fundamental-knowledge void
NEEDED: accurate basic education about all forms of dual-line kite flying
Buyers and flyers are free to choose any type of kite flying they prefer. Although we at Seattle AirGear are primarily into "kite-FLYING" using control-line-tension generating-&-maintaining skills, sometimes we enjoy doing tricks such as stalls and tail-down spin landings and the user's manual explains how to do them. Our videos show them, too. WindDances sometimes require tension-eliminating skill: while WindDancing in very-strong winds, punch-turning rather than pull-turning must be used to prevent excessive pull from building up while turning. What saddens us is the utter lack of accurate basic education about any of the choices, especially about the sport's tradition of "kite-FLYING" and pull-on-your-kite-line skill.
All we want to do here at Seattle AirGear is to develop, market, and fully-back dual-line kites that FLY really well.
For flyers to appreciate our kites, they have to know about and understand "kite-FLYING" and its basic skills. And they have to know about and understand a few simple fundamentals about kites. Knowing about what constitutes good exercise helps, too.
Before we formed Seattle AirGear, we assumed that the kite-flying sport and the kite industry had an in-depth knowledge base about kite-flying, kites, and skills, and used that knowledge to educate consumers and flyers -- just as other sports and their industries have knowledge bases and consumer and participant education.
A ski manufacturer doesn't have to teach the concept of "skiing" or its basic skills to customers and to the sport in order to sell their skis, for example, so we believed we wouldn't have to teach the concept of "kite-FLYING" and its basic skills in order to sell our kites.
We were very wrong.
To our astonishment, we discovered that virtually the entire Knowledge Base for easy, fun-recreational, healthy-exercise, high-performance dual-line kite-FLYING is strangely missing from the collective mind of the sport and trade. Some examples:
Many in the sport and trade do not know that a kite generates "aerodynamic lift" while FLYING. Or that you feel that aerodynamic lift as "tension" or "pull" in your flying lines.
Many do not know that a single-line kite aloft in a gentle breeze with a few ounces of pull, and a dual-line kite in 25 mph wind shrieking through the power at 100 mph with 200 pounds of pull, are both "FLYING" in the same fundamental way.
Many do not know that two opposing forces -- "aerodynamic lift" and "pull" -- tug on the kite in different places, which alter the kite's shape and thus degrade its FLYING performance as it flies.
Many do not know that if you want the utmost kite-FLYING performance, you must have a kite that barely deforms out of shape as its airspeed and pull increase, even when it encounters strong winds. And it must barely deform when it turns.
Many do not know that most dual-line kites, delta 'performance' kites and parafoil 'power' kites, are fundamentally defective for performing sharply-maneuvering flight with basic skill. When you pull forcefully on the right control line letting the left line go slack (that's basic skill), the kite bridle lines running from the end of the right control line to the kite support only the right side of the kite. The left side of the kite, totally unsupported during a hard right turn, bends and perhaps breaks (as with a delta) or deforms way out of shape and collapses (as with a parafoil). Turning performance, of course, suffers. All this is clearly observable, some of it even in advertising photos of kites promoted as having superior performance.
Many do not know that the feature "adjustable bridle for different wind strengths" is a product weakness rather than a product strength. That feature announces to customers that the kite distorts and loses performance, requiring different bridle settings, as the wind rises.
Many do not know that stunt competition requires dual-line delta kites that substantially deform and lose performance as airspeed and pull rise -- that competition requires low edge to power-zone acceleration and low responsiveness to the wind -- in order to achieve steady speed over much of the flight envelope.
"A stunt kite depends on line tension to fly. No tension -- no flying." This statement, from an old stunt-kite book, spells out the foundation of dual-line kite-FLYING skill. Many in the sport and trade today, including flyers and trade people at the very top of the sport, do not know about this fundamental. That is, they don't know that sport-kite FLYING has always required pull-on-your-kite-line skill.
Many do not know about basic kite-FLYING skill, or about basic kite-FLYING theory: pull to make it FLY (the skill), because pull = speed = FLYING (the theory). This is so basic and natural that kids understand it, otherwise you wouldn't see them running against light wind to create pull to make a single-line kite speed through the air and FLY. This is the public image of kite flying, and it explains FLYING skill and theory perfectly! It could be used as a teaching tool! In 1997 we presented this idea to 300 kite retailers in North America, and how people can easily jump from single-lining to dual-lining (provided the sport kite is carefully engineered to respond well to pull-to-make-it-FLY skill). The response? Zero.
Many do not know about the awesome high-performance capabilities of basic skill when they're used with a kite that's made to FLY well, that is, with a kite that responds well to pulling skill: Pull on both lines to keep the kite airborne and to make it go fast. Pull on one line, the other can be slack, to make it turn fast & tightly & powerfully. The stronger you pull on one flying line, the faster & more powerfully it turns or spins. The farther you pull, the longer this speed & power last. Largely unknown is the fact that dazzling high-speed tight-turning aerobatic flying -- and sport-kiting's highest-possible levels of FLYING performance -- come from these simple "beginner" pulling skills.
Pulling on both flying lines -- lightly to keep a dual-line kite airborne when the pull is light while at the edge, strongly to accelerate fast -- is as simple as pressing on the accelerator pedal to give a car a more speed & power. Many in the sport and trade, including very-experienced dual-line delta flyers, do not know about this.
Pulling on one flying line to make a dual-line kite turn fast & powerfully is as simple as stomping on the gas while turning the wheel all the way. Most in the sport and trade, including top dual-line stunt competitors, do not know about this.
Many do not know what basic performance qualities to look for in a dual-line kite that FLIES well: hot and powerful speed-&-turning response to pull-on-two-lines and pull-on-one-line skill, hot edge to power-zone acceleration, sensitive high-acceleration response to the wind, increasing-resistance steering-&-turning feel (the pull rises when you turn) for the best control and fast learning and good exercise, superb tracking with no understeer/oversteer/sideslipping whatsoever during turns, a wide high-performance wind range with no need to adjust the bridle for different winds, ability to fly with high performance in fluctuating winds, and forgiveness to common beginner mistakes such as pulling too hard or too far on one flying line.
Many do not know that purely-recreational dual-line kites -- kites specifically engineered to respond to basic pulling skills with hot speed & turning FLYING performance, to have hot edge to power-zone acceleration, to respond well to the wind, and to have an increasing-resistance steering-&-turning feel -- have vastly superior FLYING performance than state-of-the-art trick & competition kites and provide higher-quality exercise than power kites.
Many do not know that most dual-line delta kites these days are not made to FLY well. They are made to respond well to tension-eliminating skills -- which are FLYING-eliminating skills -- to enable punch-turning and trick-flying and to have superb performance of a non-flying nature that kite-culture stunt-competition judges like. Consequently, those kites do not respond well to pull-on-your-kite-line skills. Or FLY well either: they don't accelerate well from the edge to the power-zone, don't respond well to the wind, and don't turn well in response to basic pull-turning skill.
Many do not know that side-by-side flying -- two or more kites zipping around at the same time on the same flight envelope -- can be easily-learned fun-filled recreation for family members and friends who want to fly together rather than stand far apart and fly alone, a wonderful form of outdoor recreation!
Many do not know that one kite can be extremely versatile: A good light-wind kite and a good strong-wind kite all at the same bridle setting. And easy and forgiving for beginners yet very challenging for experts (just like a Ferrari, it can be driven gently by a beginner learning to drive in a parking lot, or driven full-bore on a tightly-winding racing track by an expert).
Many do not know that correctly-engineered parafoil kites with no spars intrinsically have far greater rigidity while FLYING than deltas with the finest graphite spars.
Many do not know that correctly-engineered parafoils have superior FLYING performance -- in several flight-performance categories -- than state-of-the-art deltas equipped with the very-latest materials & spars & fittings & features.
Many do not know that feeling the wind and your kite through your flying lines and control handles is necessary for good control. Or that tactile enjoyment, felt by your hands, can be a large part of the total fun of sport kiting.
Many do not know that the most popular type of control handle -- the wrist strap (relatively new to kiting) -- is the worst possible handle for dual-line FLYING. You hold wrist-straps by the backs of your hands, which are not very sensitive to pressure variations, and they can squeeze your hand like a noose (some call them "hand crushers") which further reduces your control and comfort. For the highest levels of control and tactile pleasure, your handles must allow you to sensitively feel the wind and your kite, and they must be comfortable. The best-possible control handle for this? A design invented by kite flyers hundreds or perhaps thousands of years ago that takes maximal advantage of humanoid anatomy by using the most sensitive area of the hand, a handle that's held by the palm side of your hand and fingers: a wood dowel with the kite string tied to the middle. Replace the first four inches of string with soft one-inch-wide webbing and you have a comfortable, high-performance, dual-line FLYING handle!
Many do not know about basic exercise physiology (force x muscle contraction distance = energy burned and weight lost). They believe that get-dragged-and-lifted power flying (high force x zero body & arm movement = strained muscles but a zero workout, like hanging onto a weight that's way too heavy to lift) provides the sport's best workout. How untrue. How do you get a workout? Reduce the force to allow lots of arm motion while turning, engineer the kite so that the pull rises when you turn so it feels like a progressive-resistance exercise machine, and engineer the kite so the speed-&-turning fun makes you sharply turn and "pump air" thousands of time per arm during a fly -- and then you have good exercise and a total workout!
Many have never experienced the pure joy of FLYING a sport kite. A few delta-kite trick flyers, after watching WindDances at dazzling high-performance aerobatic play here in Seattle, and after we explained "kite-FLYING" and its simple pull-on-your-kite-line skills to them, considered dual-line "kite-FLYING" so very different it's a new concept!
So in order to market our kites, we have to promote basic understanding of "kite-FLYING" -- including about ancient pull-on-your-kite-line skill and basic exercise physiology -- because the sport and the trade are not doing it.
Buyers and flyers deserve to be accurately educated about all the kite-flying and gear choices available so they can choose wisely. Unfortunately, accurate basic education about the sport has yet to happen. For the sake of existing and future flyers, we hope this void becomes filled sometime soon.
WindDance dual-line parafoil stunt kites/sport kites are developed, sold, and backed by Seattle AirGear.
WindDance, WindDancing, Seattle AirGear, and AirGear are trademarks of Seattle AirGear.
Copyright © 1995-2017 Seattle AirGear.
This page last revised Jan-8-2001