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.
More about the three FLYING essentials
About sport kites
The "kite culture" -- organized kiting with its trade association, flying associations, clubs, flyers, festivals, competitions, magazines, web sites, manufacturers, distributors, and specialty kite retailers -- has no standards for dual-line kites.
So we came up with three reasonable minimum performance-&-handling standards, the "Three Essential FLYING Qualities:"
- It must respond well to basic skill -- including when you pull hard on one control line.
- It must respond well to the wind -- including accelerating well toward the powerzone.
- The pull must rise when you turn -- and transfer into the pulling line.
These are nothing special. They merely bring dual-line kites up to the minimum standards of the rest of the sport-&-recreation world.
Want a dual-line kite that's pure fun to FLY? Easy to learn on? And provides high-quality exercise? Look for one that FLIES well in these three essential ways:
- It must respond to BASIC SKILL with exhilarating speed, turning, and power.
Basic skill is pull-on-your-kite-line skill. Pull to make it FLY because pull = speed = FLYING.
Pulling hard on BOTH lines must generate exciting straight-line speed.
Pulling hard on ONE line only must generate fast, tight, & powerful turns and spins.
For this to happen, your kite must not progressively deform out of shape and lose performance as your pulling strengthens or as your turning tightens -- not even when you pull strongly on just ONE line.
What is the FIRST thing to look for in a delta or parafoil dual-line kite? A good bridle system. The bridle system consists of the strings that connect the ends of your two control lines to the wing of your kite. If you want a kite that FLIES well, then according to common sense your kite must have a bridle system that permits full use of basic skill: you must be able to pull forcefully on ONE control line, and be rewarded with sharp, fast, powerful turning and good exercise too. Your kite must like that skill as much as a good bike likes to be pedaled hard! Here's the obvious bare-minimum requirement for any dual-line kite:
For a dual-line kite to FLY well in powerful sharply maneuvering flight all over its flight envelope, both sides of the wing must be structurally connected just like with an airplane. With an airplane, that structural connection is internal. With a kite, that structural connection is with bridle lines.
Here's that structural connection to look for: From the kite end of the RIGHT control line, bridle lines must run to the RIGHT and LEFT sides of the wing. Likewise from the LEFT kite line. If no "cross bridle lines" support the other side of the kite, that unsupported side of the kite will distort and lose performance during a pull-on-one-line turn (basic skill). So much so a delta kite may break apart in midair and a parafoil will collapse. See this illustration and "Note 2" beneath.
Study photos of all other dual-line kites -- deltas and parafoils -- and see how virtually all of them do not have "cross bridles." Half their bridles are missing, which causes the unsupported side of the wing to distort out of shape and lose performance whenever the kite is turned. On flying fields and beaches, and perhaps in their videos, study their wing shapes as they turn and spin. You will clearly see the distortion. That's why they fail Kite-FLYING Test #1. They can't possibly respond with hot & powerful turning to energetic pull-turning skill, an easy basic skill. They lack FLYING essential #1, the first of the three essential FLYING qualities.
Kites with bridles that don't structurally connect both sides of the wing are fundamentally defective for FLYING with basic skill. It prevents you from learning and achieving powerful hot turning. Virtually all dual-line deltas and parafoils produced and sold by organized kiting have that defect. Because of that fundamental defect, you can't learn or use the full range of basic skill. With those kites, you can't do the exciting maneuvers that beginners can do with their WindDances. It's intentional. The kite culture prefers their dual-line kites to be that way. So much so a major kite catalog replaced WindDances with new, fundamentally-defective parafoils!!!!
As a consequence, thousands of experienced flyers can't FLY a dual-line kite well. Because their fundamentally-defective kites won't let them learn or use the full range of basic skill. Click here. How could organized kiting NOT see this coming? Nothing this bizarre has happened to any other sport.
Examine our photos and illustrations. See how WindDances do have the necessary "cross bridling." Examine our video clips. See how the complete WindDance Bridle holds the WindDance Wing in shape, even during vigorous one-line pull turns. WindDances FLY extremely well in response to basic skill. It's what people from mainstream sport-&-recreation prefer in their sport kites.
About stacking. Back in 1992, we performed an engineering analysis of the stacking system now used in a parafoil that's been promoted as the "best stunt foil yet." To add a kite to the top of the stack, you attach the kite's bridle ends to the two attachment points on the top side of the lower kite. And so on.
Our finding? On paper, we found the method to be unsound. So we rejected it. Years later, the "best stunt foil yet" appeared, and it verified our engineering to be entirely correct:
Although it works for straight flight (and for paraglider-style turning), it doesn't work for dual-line maneuvering flight. Here's why: As you fly your dual-line kite in a straight line, sight down your RIGHT flying line and watch where that line-of-sight intersects the underside of the wing. That intersection point is the required attachment point for the upper kite in a stack. Now pull on your RIGHT line to turn the kite. See how that intersection point moves to the left? (You can clearly see this with delta kites and parafoil kites.) See how both required attachment points move to the side as you bank the kite by pulling on one line to make it turn? With a WindDance, that attachment-point movement can exceed three feet! Suppose you build one pair of stacking-attachment points into a kite, and position them perfectly for straight flight. Guess what! As soon as you begin to turn such a stack, those built-in attachment points are no longer in the right place! For a tight turn, they may be 2-3 feet out of place! What happens? Merely look at what happens: it causes all the kites in the stack to distort out of shape and lose performance. The sharper you turn, the greater that distortion and performance loss. Although the entire stack will collapse and come down in response to energetic pull-turning skill -- go ahead, try it! -- "kite culture" flyers love 'em and buy 'em!
It must respond to the WIND with exhilarating speed and power.
Look for hot edge to power-zone acceleration, with sharply-rising pull during the acceleration.
Look for hot acceleration and sharply-rising pull when the wind kicks in -- while flying straight or while turning or spinning.
For this to happen, your kite must not progressively deform out of shape and lose performance as it nears the power zone or as the wind exerts more pull -- not even when you're turning sharply by pulling on ONE line.
Here's what to look for in a delta sport kite:
Perform this simple test: 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. Which means as you fly it, the sail and frame will distort lose performance during flight and you will lose out on speed-&-turning fun. The closer to the power zone and the stronger the wind, the greater the performance loss.
As you can plainly see, virtually all delta kites fail that test. Even the expensive high-tech delta "performance" kites. How does it show up while flying? Poor edge to power-zone acceleration. Low to moderate speed. Poor response to the wind. Slow to moderate steady speed over the entire flight envelope, even when the wind picks up. Because they distort so much, deltas always seem to fly at about the same speed. And the pull is rather steady, too. They lack FLYING essential #2, the second of the three essential FLYING qualities.
The basic speed & pull equations of dual-line kiting say all this. When creating "performance" kites, studying these equations should be a designer's first step. We were very surprised to discover that no one had ever derived them (or used them), so we did.
Aeronautically-engineered WindDance parafoils keep their shape & performance like rigid airplane wings. It shows up as hot edge to power-zone acceleration, high speed, exciting response to the wind, and very lively & exciting pull. Just like the equations say.
The pull must RISE when you steer and turn.
And the more sharply you turn, the more the pull must transfer into one line, your pull-turning line -- to enable Essential #1.
Why? So your kite has a natural and familiar steering-&-turning feel. So you feel the turning forces RISE like when driving and cycling and skiing. So your kite feels like all the other speed-&-turning gear in your life.
Why? For superior control, faster learning, and better exercise! And for excitement, too!
Try all the kites and see for yourself:
As you fly delta kites and other parafoil kites, notice how the pull drops when you turn and how powerless the turns feel. The lack of natural turning feedback makes control and learning more difficult. The falloff in pull reduces the exercise benefit. They lack FLYING essential #3, the third of the three essential FLYING qualities.
WindDances have the opposite feel. That's why they feel so natural, why beginners learn so fast. And also due to their perfect tracking with no understeer or oversteer, why flyers can sharply corner and do patterns more easily and as precisely as with deltas -- but at twice to four-times the speed!
With their hot acceleration & speed and quick & tight turning, WindDances look like aerial Ferraris! And they sure feel like aerial Ferraris! You feel the straight-line acceleration, and you feel the cornering, too!
Virtually all dual-line kites being sold are lacking in FLYING essentials #1, #2, and #3. The kite culture makes 'em that way intentionally because they like 'em that way -- and they think everybody else should like 'em, too.
Seattle AirGear offers an opposite choice: kites that FLY superbly in the Three Essential Ways, perhaps the only kites that do so. WindDances provide exciting performance that's much more in line with mainstream sport & recreation, much more in line with what the public likes.
Kites that FLY poorly in the Three Essential Ways turn out to be narrowly specialized -- such as the kites made by and for the kite culture. Kite that FLY well in the Three Essential Ways are extremely versatile -- such as WindDance parafoils.
Many manufacturers and specialty kite retailers offer a "full line" of kites. Look carefully, however, and you'll see how they typically offer everything except kites that FLY well in the Three Essential Ways.
Are Three Essential Ways extraordinary qualities to look for? Not at all. They are essential qualities a sport kite must have, otherwise it doesn't FLY well.
Suppose the new sports car you're thinking of buying accelerates very poorly when you stomp on the gas. And goes out of control and flips over when you try to accelerate while turning hard. Would you buy it?
Suppose the new bicycle you're thinking of buying flexes way out of shape, goes out of control, and breaks apart when you pedal hard or coast downhill fast. Would you buy it?
Suppose the new snowboard you're thinking of buying doesn't go faster when the slope steepens. Would you buy it?
Suppose the new windsurfing rig you're thinking of buying doesn't accelerate and go faster when stronger wind hits. Would you buy it?
Suppose the new sports car you're thinking of buying has a strange steering-&-turning feel. Instead of the steering force rising when you turn the wheel -- the natural positive feedback always engineered into the steering systems of vehicles and gear to provide optimal control, fast learning, and safety -- you feel the force drop when you turn the wheel. It feels un-natural, un-positive, like there's something very wrong. Would you buy it?
Check out ALL the dual-line kites available. You will discover this: most have the kite equivalents of the above defects. When you pull strongly especially on just one line -- or when the wind strengthens or when you fly toward the power-zone -- virtually all of them distort out of shape which causes their speed-&-turning performance and their handling to deteriorate. In response to powerful pull-turning, a basic skill, nearly all lose shape and performance -- and some fall out of the sky or break in midair -- because the right and left sides of the wing are not structurally connected with bridle lines. Some barely accelerate as they fly from the edge to the power-zone or when the wind kicks in. Some self-destruct when they hit big bumps in the wind. And the pull typically DROPS when you turn them, an unnatural feel that makes learning and control more difficult and prevents good exercise. These dual-line kites, including many hyped as 'hot,' are lacking in the three essential FLYING qualities. Consumers are not informed about any of this.
Do WindDances FLY well in the three essential ways? Very much so!
More about the three FLYING essentials
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 Mar-1-2000