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.
WindDances: are they "kites" or "airgear?"
Structural rigidity: a must for good performance
Typical dual-line stunt kites of all kinds -- diamonds, deltas, parafoils, sparred-parafoils -- lose their shape as they FLY. That distortion causes performance and handling to deteriorate.
As wind, speed, and pull rise, the spars bend more and more, and the fabric portion of the wing changes shape more and more, causing the kite's performance and handling to progressively deteriorate. That's when the kite is flying straight. While turning, the shape of the right side of the kite becomes different from its left side, also causing performance-and-handling loss.
The geometric design of a typical kite -- that is, its shape -- constantly changes. The shape you see in the store is not the shape you see in the air, and the shape while flying keeps changing. The shape and performance-&-handling near the edge of the flight envelope are better than in the powerzone. The shape and performance-&-handling in light winds are better than in strong winds.
As a kite FLIES, aerodynamic-lift generated by the kite's airspeed pulls on the kite almost directly away from you while you pull on the kite through the bridle lines. Those aerodynamic-forces and bridle-forces pull on the kite from opposite directions and in different places, which causes the kite to progressively change shape as the airspeed & pull rise.
To teach yourself this principle, support a yardstick at the 1-ft and 2-ft marks and press down harder and harder on the middle and both ends. See how the yardstick progressively deforms out of shape? This simulates what happens to the two leading-edge spars of a delta kite during flight, and to it's spine spar also.
To vividly see how a 'rigid' sport kite deforms during flight, hold a dual-line delta kite upside-down by its two bridle ends, and have someone place ten 5-lb bags of sugar evenly on the sail, keeping the kite hanging level, to roughly simulate the effect of 50-lb of aerodynamic lift and 50-lb of pull. What happens? The frame and sail severely distort out of shape. It happens while FLYING, too, which causes the kite's aerodynamic efficiency (speed potential) to severely deteriorate.
The aeronautical/structural engineering challenge is to keep such distortion, and resulting FLYING performance loss, to a minimum.
Less distortion means more performance and more fun. A paramount goal of all stunt-kite developers should be to keep distortion to a minimum in order to maximize the fun. Like we did at Seattle AirGear!
The most popular type of stunt kite is the delta kite. How bad is the distortion and performance-&-handling loss? As the wind suddenly rises from 4 mph to 10 mph, large specialized light-wind models typically deform way out of shape and then self-destruct in midair. When the wind becomes strong, some flyers simply do not like to fly delta kites -- not even their small specialized strong-wind models -- because the shape-loss becomes so severe and the performance-&-handling becomes so poor.
How do the WindDance 1, 2, and 3 behave when the wind suddenly rises from 4 mph to 20 mph? They fly five-times faster, pull 25-times harder, turn as tightly, and handle as nicely. Whether they are high-performance light-wind kites -- or ultra-thrilling power kites in the usual passive-flying sense -- depends entirely on the wind.
WindDances retain their precisely-engineered shape -- and their hot speed-&-turning performance and fine handling qualities -- more like rigid aircraft than like typical kites.
Is it designed & engineered to respond to power input? Or to power loss?
An important basic skill, and a form of exercise, is to pull hard on one flying line. It should make your kite turn extremely well and give you a bit of a workout in the process.
How do typical stunt/sport kites respond to that basic skill? With relatively poor turning, a drop in pull, or something in the kite breaks, or the kite falls out of the sky.
How do WindDances respond? With fast, tight, powerful turns & spins, and a RISE in pull. You get hot performance and good exercise.
More response to power input from the flyer means more performance and more fun. As even young children know, the only possible way for a flyer to apply power to a kite is to pull on one or both kite lines. A paramount goal of stunt/sport-kite developers should be to maximize the kite's speed-&-turning response to pull-on-your-kite-line skills.
Increasingly since around 1990, delta kites have been designed to require punch-turning skill to turn them. Instead of pulling on your right line to turn right, you suddenly push on your left line to turn right. Pulling on a line is a power input to the kite which makes it fly faster. Pushing on a line is a loss of power to the kite which makes it fly slower. During punch-turns, you can see the kite slow down as one side flies backwards.
Increasingly since around 1990, delta kites, trick kites especially, have been designed to respond well to the loss of power achieved by slackening both kite lines in order to perform un-flying and non-flying aerial and ground tricks.
Are bicycles, skis, windsurfing gear, and other sports equipment designed & engineered to respond predominately to expertly-applied loss of propulsion and turning power?
Here at Seattle AirGear, we specifically aeronautically-engineered WindDances to respond well to power input from the flyer. Why? Simply to achieve the usual things that consumers look for in sporting equipment and recreational gear: more performance, more exercise, and more fun!
Is it designed & engineered to respond well to what Nature offers?
Skis are made to respond well to steepness of slope and slipperiness of ice and snow. Although skiers sometimes find their skis too fast, such as when the hill is too steep or icy, they don't opt for special "slow" models nor does the industry provide them. Competitors want the fastest gear they can get.
Windsurfing rigs are made to respond with as much speed as possible to wind and waves. No windsurfers opt for inefficient mesh-paneled sails for the purpose of going slower. Competitors want the fastest gear they can get.
In virtually all sports, gear developers, in addition to striving for maximum-performance response from power input by the gear user, also strive for maximum-performance response from terrain, water, and wind.
Superb response to the wind means more performance and more fun. It should be a paramount goal of stunt/sport-kite developers.
In trick flying, excellent un-flying and non-flying performance, even at the expense of good FLYING performance, is the goal. Exciting responsiveness to the wind is not considered important. In competitive precision flying, low-to-moderate steady speed across the flight envelope is desired. Good edge to powerzone acceleration, and good speed response to the wind, are bred out of competition kites to make precision, pairs, and team flying possible. In contrast to other sports, stunt-kite competitors seek relatively slow kites (sometimes kites with mesh panels) in order to win. Trick and competitive flying have been leading stunt/sport-kiting toward lower responsiveness-to-the-wind and less excitement.
WindDances, in the spirit of providing what most sports enthusiasts and recreationists want, are carefully engineered to respond with exciting speed & power as you fly from the edge to the powerzone and when the wind rises. In recreation, having loads of high-performance fun is winning big!
Does it provide good exercise?
Good exercise come from force with movement. That's why walking, running, bicycling, skiing, and skating are such good exercise.
Good exercise is a wonderful benefit of outdoor recreation, and it can be for stunt/sport-kite flying, too. Ensuring that the kite provides good exercise should be a goal of stunt/sport kite developers.
How good is the exercise typically provided by power and stunt/sport kiting? Power-flying with your arms stretched straight, dual- and quad-line power flying, is largely isometric: high muscle tension with little muscle movement, a poor form of exercise. With most dual-line kites, the pull drops when you turn, the opposite of what you need for good exercise. With most delta kites, you push on one kite line to reduce/eliminate the pull to make it turn, or you abruptly punch-&-jerk to slacken both lines to reduce/eliminate the pull to do tricks, the opposite of what you need for good exercise. With many stunt/sport kites, the pull is low (which becomes lower yet when you turn or do tricks) and the control movement is small. Little force and little movement provide little exercise.
WindDancing provides wonderful exercise. The pull rises when you turn. Rising force x your arm movement = your Turning-Energy output (see the WindDance specs). It feels like an increasing-resistance exercise machine. While accelerating and turning, you swing your arms like when walking fast as you pull on your kite lines. It feels like the poling action while cross-country skiing. To keep it flying when the pull drops -- and to generate strong and long accelerations, fast powerful turns, and sustained high-speed spins -- you step and walk and run away from your kite. It can be aerobic, even in light winds! Unlike sweating it out in a gym or on an exercise machine, counting the minutes of boredom until it's over, this good exercise is an accidental side-effect of having Pure Fun!
Airgear? Or kites?
Compared to typical kites, WindDances FLY faster in straight flight and during turns, respond better to flight-envelope location and to the wind, respond better to power-input from the flyer, feel more powerful & exciting, provide higher-quality exercise, and are more versatile due to a wider wind range.
Why? Because they're aeronautically-engineered high-performance airgear and not typical kites.
They're stronger and longer-lasting, too.
The difference between well-engineered airgear and typical kites becomes wider as the flyer's power-input and the wind grow stronger.
On Seattle's Kite Hill in brisk wind, the difference between airgear and typical kites is striking and crystal clear.
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 May-4-1998