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.
WindDance flight envelope: Where the fun happens!
You stand at F and fly and maneuver your WindDance at the end of its 75-ft lines -- represented by K -- all over its flight envelope by moving your two control handles. Pull on the right one to turn or loop to the right. Pull on the left one to turn or loop to the left. Hold them even to end a turn or loop, and to go straight again. Your WindDance turns and loops as sharply as you wish, or flies straight, depending on how far and how fast you pull them.
Your WindDance flies at a wide range of speed. You experience a wide range of pull. The closer K is to P, the stronger the wind, and the harder you turn, the faster it flies and the stronger the pull.
The flight envelope -- besides describing where it flies -- also describes a kite's speed & pull characteristics which vary widely from kite to kite. The WindDance flight envelope is different from those of other kites. Although the quarter-sphere shape is the same, the speed & pull changes as you fly from the "edge" toward the "powerzone" are greater than with other kites. So are the speed & pull changes when the wind speed changes. "Powerzone" speeds are higher. Speed & pull while turning are higher, too.
During a sharp turn or spin, all of that stronger pull is in one arm -- which torques your whole body, and works out large muscles not exercised even when flying a big 'power' kite!
The speed you see varies from zero at the edge to about 4-times wind speed in the powerzone! The pull you feel varies from low at the edge to about 16-times stronger in the powerzone! That's for steady wind. If the wind speed doubles as you fly from the edge to the powerzone, the speed increases 8-times and the pull increases 64-times!
Most kites lose power when they turn. When you turn a WindDance, you feel the force rise -- just like when you snow ski or water ski or surf or bike or drive or fly an airplane. And the more sharply you turn, the more that stronger power transfers into one arm. This is an exciting new Maneuvering Feel for dual-line kites!
Acceleration is stronger! Peak speeds are higher! Responsiveness to the wind is greater! Turning speed is higher! Turning power is higher! The pull is more dynamic! The workouts can be far more intense! This makes the "WindDance flight envelope" a MUCH more fun & exciting place to fly!
For the WindDance flight envelope to exist, of course, you must be flying a WindDance!
The above mainly describes PASSIVE flying when you pretty much just stand there like a post as you control your WindDance.
While ACTIVE flying, you are the pilot and the engine. To generate additional pull needed for straight-line and turning acceleration and speed, you swing your arms back as you step back. The upper-body exertion is similar to cross-country skiing. By forcing your WindDance's airspeed to exceed 8-times windspeed, by "pumping air" during each vigorous pull-turn, and by turning frequently say once per second (the rep rate shown in the "WindDance 1 at play" video clip, a rep rate that's low compared to bicycling), you can burn 400-1000 calories per hour and make your body ache nicely for days! The fun -- the sight and sound and feel of the hot speed & turning -- makes you do it!
Although this is fun-recreational kiting with basic skill, the acceleration, speed, and turning can be vastly more spectacular than anything you ever see in serious and competitive 'performance' flying!
No other dual-line kites respond as well to basic skill or to the wind with such acceleration and speed and rising power, have such a natural and powerful steering & turning feel, or provide such great exercise. We aeronautical-engineered WindDances to be that way.
Whenever your WindDance is on an iso-power line -- which represents a power level -- its airspeed & pull are the same no matter where it is on the line and no matter what direction it is flying.
When you fly along a power-gradient line, crossing iso-power lines in the process, airspeed & pull change the fastest. See how PULL changes a lot more than AIRSPEED?
Groundspeed, the speed YOU see, is very different from airspeed, the speed your KITE sees. To learn more about that, see the section below and visit our Kite Physics 102 page!
A mystery of groundspeed: Suppose you are flying side-by-side with a friend, each of you flying the same model of WindDance. The two of you are flying along the same power-gradient line toward each other -- you are flying from the powerzone to the edge, your friend is flying from the edge to the powerzone. At some power level (<PFK) the two kites meet and pass each other missing by inches. While at that point, both kites have the same airspeed & pull because they are on the same iso-power line. You see your kite flying at 20 mph, but you see your friend's kite flying at 40 mph, twice as fast as yours! How is that possible? The groundspeed graph below, and the Kite Physics 102 page, explain: it happens at <PFK = 50°!
Performance curves: speed, pull, & exercise
When studying the graphs below, scroll or click up to the WindDance Flight Envelope above.
These graphs are based on ideal wind -- steady, smooth, no turbulence, same speed all the way down to the ground -- and on an ideal dual-line kite that does not deform in the least from the bridle forces and aerodynamic forces tugging on it.
Wind and WindDances are real, however. The stronger the wind, the greater its unsteadiness and turbulence -- which degrade a kite's speed and pull. Also, the forces of strong-wind flight cause a dual-line kite to change shape -- which degrade speed and pull. That's why, in stronger winds, the actual speed and pull will be somewhat less than what the graphs show.
When the bridle-setting is greater than the maximum-speed setting, the pull can be way higher than the graphs show. For example, a WindDance 3 customer snapped both 250 lb flying lines in 25 mph wind. Assuming a breaking strength equaling 50% of rated strength, the pull was approximately twice the value shown in the Powerzone pull vs. wind speed graph.
The graphs, however, do closely approximate what actually happens when flying a correctly-tuned WindDance:
When you use basic skill to increase the pull in your control lines, you see your WindDance accelerate in straight AND turning flight. The lighter the wind, the greater the speed boost. See Graph 1.
During a level pass, you feel and hear the pull reach its maximum in the center of the powerzone. See Graph 2.
During an edge-to-edge pass, the speed peaks before your WindDance reaches the center of the flight envelope. Loops performed near the edge are really weird. Graph 3 shows why.
Our video shows a WindDance 1 averaging 90 mph during an edge-to-edge pass in estimated 30-mph turbulent wind -- maximum groundspeed had to have been higher, well over 100 mph. So Graph 4 seems fairly correct.
When the wind kicks in you feel the pull shoot up, especially in stronger wind. Graph 5 sure shows that.
Enthusiastic WindDancing can make your body ache for days. Graph 6 explains why.
We terminated all curves at pull equaling the rated pull strength: at 100 lb / 133 lb / 167 lb for the WindDance 1 / 2 / 3. When customers beam about how they got yanked on their face and dragged, how they snapped their 200-lb lines, and how they flew in 40-50 mph wind, we wince. Apparently their WindDances took the severe overstressing quite well!
"Airspeed" is what your WindDance experiences, the speed of the air rushing at it (sailors call it the "apparent wind").
You, the flyer, feel "wind speed" against the back your neck (sailors call it the "true wind").
Airspeed generates an "aerodynamic lift" force on your kite. That force pulls on the kite, which pulls on its bridle system, which pulls on the two control lines, which pull on you. That tension in your control lines is "pull." Your WindDance, and you the flyer, feel the very same pull.
Our what is "kiteFLYING" section explains pull, airspeed, and FLYING very clearly.
Graph 1 shows the fundamental two-way relationship between airspeed and pull. Airspeed generates pull. And pull generates airspeed. The amount of each is described by the graph. The graph also explains passive flying, active flying, and basic kite-FLYING skill:
When flying passively, you're just the pilot. As you stand there like a post, leaning back as necessary to resist the pull, you use low-effort pull-push turning -- moving your arms very little and generating no extra pull in the process -- to steer your WindDance anywhere you wish on its flight envelope. The wind's speed, and the WindDance's <PFK location on the flight envelope, determine the WindDance's airspeed. Plug that airspeed value into the graph to get the pull. Suppose the wind picks up. The airspeed becomes higher, and so does the pull in accordance with the mathematical airspeed vs. pull relationship expressed by Graph 1.
When flying actively, you're the pilot and often the engine. When your WindDance is at the same flight-envelope location and in the same wind as the passive-flying example above , suppose you swing your arms and step back to pull hard on both lines to accelerate (or on one line to do a fast, tight, powerful turn) -- doubling the pull in the process. Half of this new pull is the passive-flying pull fueled by the flight-envelope location and the wind, and the other half is fueled by last night's dinner. Resulting airspeed? It is in accordance with the mathematical airspeed vs. pull relationship expressed by Graph 1. For example: while flying a WindDance 1, if you used basic skill to double the pull from 5 lbs to 10 lbs, you would accelerate your WindDance from 20 mph to 40 mph! By flying actively rather than passively, sometimes you can double the straight-line or turning speed! Wow!
"Pull to make it FLY" is all you really have to know to be the pilot and the engine. To steer and turn, pull more on one line than the other. To turn sharply and powerfully, generate strong pull in one control line. To accelerate straight ahead momentarily, pull hard on both lines. What happens if you let the pull drop to zero right after that acceleration? Consult Graph 1: no pull = no airspeed = no FLYING. The lesson? Don't allow pull drop to zero like that. Or when turning either. Or when flying at the edge where the pull can be very light: when you feel the pull beginning to drop to zero when at the side edge, swing your arms back and step away from the kite to generate some pull to keep it FLYING. How much pull must you generate to keep it airborne? According to our spreadsheet for Graph 1, only a half-pound of pull is needed to produce an airspeed of 8 mph, plenty enough to sustain flight.
The secret of dual-line FLYING? Do what the math says in Graph 1: "Pull to make it FLY!"
Va = WindDance's airspeed at location K.
W = wind speed at WindDance's location K on the flight envelope.
Pull = total tension in both control lines when the kite is at location K.
<PFK = angular location of K.
L/D = overall lift-to-drag ratio of kite-&-lines (overall aerodynamic efficiency) when kite is at K.
See WindDance Flight Envelope.
When your WindDance faces upwind while hovering anywhere at the edge, its "airspeed" equals the wind's speed. See how the graph shows that?
Airspeed equals wind speed only when you hover your kite at the edge. Whenever you see it moving, airspeed is higher than wind speed.
During a pass from the left or upper or right "edge" (<PFK = 76°) to the "powerzone" (<PFK = 0°), airspeed rises by a factor of 4 -- from wind speed to about 4-times wind speed -- and pull rises by a factor of 17. See how the graph shows that?
You feel airspeed as pull. Pull is highest where airspeed is highest: in the center of the powerzone. See it in the graph? And you certainly feel it when you fly. The highest speed that you see occurs elsewhere, as shown in the groundspeed graph below.
You can also hear the airspeed. The louder the hiss & shriek from your WindDance as it rips through the air, the higher its airspeed. Observe how the loudness of that sound matches the intensity of the pull. Pull and sound are the two indicators of airspeed. The speed that you see is not an indicator of your kite's airspeed or pull (explained below).
While WindDancing in brisk wind, a level pass from the left edge through the powerzone to the right edge can take as little as 1-2 seconds. See how the rapidly rising & subsiding pull can feel like a jolt? A breathtaking experience! So is the sound!
Vg-ip = groundspeed at location K when your WindDance is flying at along a blue iso-power line.
Vg-pg = groundspeed at location K when your WindDance is flying along a red power-gradient line.
W = wind speed at kite location K on flight envelope.
<PFK = angular location of K.
L/D = overall lift-to-drag ratio of kite-&-lines when kite is at K = overall aerodynamic efficiency.
See WindDance Flight Envelope.
"Groundspeed" is the WindDance's speed relative to the ground, the speed you and bystanders and video cameras see.
When you park it anywhere at the edge, with the WindDance aimed directly upwind, it flies like a single-line kite. In the above graph, and when you fly, see how the kite's groundspeed at the "edge" is zero?
Suppose you fly from the edge to the powerzone. In the graph, see how groundspeed is highest before the WindDance reaches the center of the powerzone? (Airspeed, pull, and its sound are highest in the center of the powerzone.)
The speed you see (groundspeed) and the speed you feel and hear (airspeed) are always different.
Unlike airspeed which depends only on where your WindDance is located on the flight envelope, groundspeed depends on its flight direction also. Yes, this makes WindDancing quite fascinating!
Suppose you dive down from the upper edge (groundspeed graph, left red line) to the powerzone, make a hairpin turn barely missing the ground, and climb back up to the upper edge (groundspeed graph, right red line). Or suppose you do a level left-edge to right-edge pass. See how groundspeed peaks about 15° before the WindDance reaches the powerzone, and how a dive (or down-wind pass) is faster than a climb (or up-wind pass)? It's not due to gravity; it's strictly a wind thing. While WindDancing, you see all this happening just like the graph says.
Ever notice how loops are "weird," especially with an efficient flying machine like a WindDance? Here's why. In your mind, fly a loop near the ground midway between the powerzone and the edge. Fly it four different ways: while flying upwind and downwind during a pass, enter the loop from the bottom and from the top. The groundspeed graph says that the flying-downwind section of each loop wants to be about twice as fast as the flying-upwind section. Theory again agrees with what you see!
You may experience other strange things. Such as episodes of hot speed with little pull. Or good pull with little speed. Come back to these airspeed & groundspeed graphs to learn why!
See how a WindDance accelerates when the wind kicks in?
See how the WindDance 3 is faster than the WindDance 2, which is faster than the WindDance 1?
See why gusts can snap your flying lines? See how the wind has a much-stronger effect on pull than kite size?
If speed and pull are too high in stronger winds, they can be subdued by adding a pair of long tails. The tails function as airbrakes; the reduced airspeed greatly weakens the pull. Reducing the bridle setting will further decrease speed and pull.
If you desire reduced pull but wish to maintain the high speed, reduce the bridle setting until the pull begins to fall off.
When you stand there like a post -- leaning back to resist strong pull with your arms pulled straight, doing wide turns using low-effort pull-push turning technique -- you feel the strain but receive little exercise even while power flying. Quad flying is even worse: about all you do is wiggle your wrists. Resisting force with little to no muscle motion is poor exercise.
But when you pull-turn vigorously every two seconds -- by swinging your arm back and stepping backwards to strengthen and sustain the turning power, your WindDance responding with sharp, shrieking, high-speed turns -- you pant and sweat and your body aches for days. High-repetition force-generation with lots of muscle motion -- the ENERGETIC WindDancing Workout -- is wonderful exercise. The FUN makes you do it!
Feel free to exercise anywhere in the golden zone, and in lighter wind above the golden zone. Remember, when flying actively in lighter winds, you can achieve straight-line and turning speeds twice as high as those shown in Graph 4. Pump air and feel the burn!
Top selling points
No spars. 100% soft. Safer if you accidentally hit anyone. Virtually indestructible. Long lasting. No assembly or disassembly needed. Compact and packable.
Hot FLYING performance. Strong acceleration. High speed. Speed & pull increase dramatically as you fly from the edge to the powerzone, encounter gusts, and when you turn. Fast, tight, powerful turns and spins. WindDances typically spin faster than deltas of the same wing area. Delightfully agile and aerobatic. Quick response. Superb tracking and accuracy.
They fly well in light AND strong winds. Each model has hot FLYING performance over a wide wind range, from light winds to strong winds. Unlike deltas there's no need to reset the bridle, or switch to different-size kites, to maintain top performance when the wind speed changes. Also unlike deltas, performance remains high in fluctuating winds. For example, as a 9-ft ultra-light delta and a WindDance 1, 2, and 3 fly in 4 mph wind, suppose the wind suddenly gusts to 20 mph. The delta self-destructs in midair. The WindDances become high-speed tight-turning power kites, the WindDance 3 pulling twice as hard as the WindDance 1.
EASY to fly. Only basic skill is needed. Pull on your kite lines to make it FLY -- if there's no pull, there's no FLYING. We learned that in 1989 from the first stunt kite book we read. Pull on both lines to keep it airborne when the pull becomes really light, and to make it go faster. Pull on one line to make it turn & spin on a wingtip. To pull, swing your arm(s) from front to back like when walking fast, while stepping back a little as needed to sustain or strengthen the pull. For a faster turn or spin, pull harder on one line. For a longer spin, pull farther on one line. A WindDance's high-performance and forgiving FLYING response to this basic skill enables novices to fly them well. Kite FLYING is based on pulling on your lines. But trick flying, which began around 1990, is based on slackening your lines to punch-turn, un-fly, and do tricks when the kite isn't flying. That's called 'performance' flying. If you use punch-&-jerk slacken-your-kite-line skills exclusively, as the gurus and videos encourage, you can lose your ability to FLY. That's why many good delta-kite flyers cannot turn a WindDance as fast & powerfully or keep it airborne as well as beginners can, or FLY one to its full potential. Instead of pulling even a tiny bit to keep it airborne, they do nothing and let it fall out of the sky. Instead of pulling strongly to accelerate and turn with exciting speed & power, they pull weakly & briefly, or push or punch-&-jerk on their lines, which causes low performance or collapse. At festivals, we've had to teach the old pull-on-your-kite-line basics to experts good at tricks but poor at FLYING. It isn't their fault. The sport & trade have taught a decade of delta-kite flyers to fly that way. The cure? Buy a WindDance, think "feel for pull, maintain at least a tiny bit of pull to keep it airborne, go for pull," to experience the pure joy of high-performance sport kite FLYING!
WindDances out-FLY deltas in several exciting ways. The superiority in speed-&-turning response to pull-on-your-kite-line skills, edge to powerzone acceleration, speed response to the wind, straight-line speed, turning speed, turning power, tracking, aerobatic agility, high-performance wind range, and ability to FLY with hot performance in fluctuating winds -- in short, the difference in FLYING excitement -- is often astounding. Parafoils are not supposed to fly better than deltas. How did we do it? Skillful aeronautical engineering. And by carrying on the sport's ancient kite-FLYING tradition. Since 1990, trick & competition delta-kite flying has focused on pivot-turns and un-flying & non-flying stunts that require difficult punch-&-jerk slacken-your-kite-line skills, and on flying that requires steady slow speed over the flight envelope. That's why, in general, delta-kite turning response to pull-on-your-kite-line skill is relatively poor -- and why acceleration, speed, and response to the wind are relatively low, especially for 'hot' sport kites. How well a kite stops, flips like a coin, and tumbles on the ground have become more important than how well it FLIES. But to the public and many kite flyers, FLYING a kite is the whole point of kite flying. WindDances may be the only dual-line kites today developed specifically to FLY superbly, to require only simple & easy skills, and to provide superior exercise. Deltas excel at tricks. WindDances excel at FLYING. Merely use basic skill and keep it tuned. WindDances also do tricks such as stalls, backflips, tipstands, tail-down spin landings, relaunches, and loud bounce-'n'-fly tricks. They also do fun FLYING maneuvers that are next to impossible for deltas. Such as sharp, high-speed, powerful hairpin turns. And fast, tight, powerful down-turns at the side-edge.
Superb handling. Exciting feel. Quick & accurate. During a two-second edge-to-edge pass in 25-30 mph wind on 75-ft lines, the WindDance 1 can do a 10-ft square in way less than a half-second (can any 7-ft delta?), a challenge for even the best flyers. In strong winds, sharp high-speed hairpins are also great fun. All three WindDance models have superior edge handling. From a side-edge hover in light wind, you can sharply hairpin-turn downward into a pass toward the powerzone, a difficult move for most kites, or yank a downward spin-on-a-wingtip loop. Most kites understeer/oversteer and skid during turns. WindDances turn & track like they're on rails -- that's one reason why square corners are so easy and why hairpins are so fast. Powerfully-yanked one-line pull-turns? Many kites respond poorly to this basic skill, or are damaged by it. WindDances respond with tight, powerful, high-speed turns & spins. Most kites have "decreasing-resistance" steering & turning, the pull drops when you turn, which degrades controllability and turning speed & power, feels unnatural, and makes learning difficult. WindDances have "increasing-resistance" steering & turning: the pull rises when you turn. The benefits from that? Positive & accurate steering and turning. You feel every correction and turn you make, like when driving a car. Fast learning because it feels so natural. Fast & powerful turning. And better exercise. As you change power levels on the flight envelope, encounter gusts, and sharply maneuver, WindDance pull fluctuations can be rapid & forceful. This pull liveliness adds an exciting new dimension to dual-line kiting!
A new type of power flying. In strong wind you get yanked downwind every time you pass through the powerzone -- and every time you turn -- even with the WindDance 1. Due to the high speeds, tight fast powerful turning, and lively pull fluctuations sometimes with intense jolts, WindDancing in strong wind is vastly more exciting than normal power flying!
Want EXTREME fun? Fly side-by-side with a partner, two high-speed tight-turning WindDances zipping around close together in the same airspace. Play a variety of exciting air games. The aerobatics can get pretty lively! No snagging during midair touches. Little chance of damage during midair collisions. After most encounters, you quickly recover and keep flying. No other kites provide this much excitement. Side-by-side WindDancing is a whole new world of fun! When done by experts in brisk winds, this is perhaps the most spectacular sight in all of dual-line kiting! This type of high-performance flying in a sense is 'owned' by WindDances because no other kites come close in combined aerobatic speed & agility, responsiveness to the wind, performance in unsteady wind, snag resistance, and midair crashworthiness.
Precision-tune for peak performance. Using the two simple bridle adjusters and the plastic tuning ruler, tune in 1 mm bridle-setting intervals until the hot speed & turning comes in loud and clear. Like tuning in a radio station. Begin from the "First-flight" setting, which provides pretty good performance. For rough wind and rough skill, increase the bridle setting bit by bit until you're there. For smooth wind and skill, reduce the setting in tiny notches until you're there. That one best bridle setting provides top speed & fastest turning for all wind speeds for the same quality of wind and skill.
Too fast & agile? Too powerful? Yes, this happens. Quickly subdue speed & pull -- for first-time flyers, for slow leisurely flying, or to be able to fly in very strong wind -- by attaching a pair of long & colorful tails. Want to have less pull but keep most of the high speed in strong winds? Reduce the bridle setting a little.
Forgiving. Yank hard on one flying line -- or let go of a flying line -- and typically it keeps on flying.
Relaunchable. What if it doesn't bounce and keep flying when you crash? With a little help from the wind, jiggle it into shape with your flying lines and self-relaunch immediately, with nearly 100% success in stronger winds.
Quiet. Except for crashes & collisions. And the ripping-through-the-air hiss & shriek that rises with wind, speed, and turning power. "Want more power? More fun? Yank hard & go for the swish!" we advise. They look, feel, and sound exciting!
Great exercise. A WindDance feels more like an exercise machine than a typical kite due to its "increasing-resistance" steering & turning feel: the pull rises when you turn. So much so that when you pull-turn sharply the pull can double and you receive all of it in one arm. It sort of feels like the poling action while cross country skiing. You can do 1000+ reps of "pumping air" per hour with each side of your body. Get a full-body workout, the WindDancing Workout, a much better workout than with other kites of the same wing area. Even with the smaller WindDance models. And it's better workout than 'power' or 'traction' kiting where all you do is passively hang on with very little body motion. The fun makes you do it! Do it side-by-side with a friend!
Simple & trouble-free bridle. Only one wing-attachment loop per cell and only two rows of lines, fewer than other dual-line parafoils. Two simple bridle adjusters, that you periodically use to maintain peak tuning. Tangling? Simply not a problem. Strong bridle lines, 58 lb and 32 lb. What if some do break? You get new ones free from Seattle AirGear for the life of your kite.
Versatile. Each model is a light-wind kite AND a strong-wind power kite. One WindDance covers the same wide wind range that takes many different-sized deltas to span with good performance. Speed & pull can be tuned to taste. For novices & experts. For relaxation, excitement, and exercise. Fly solo & side-by-side. Take one, or all three, with you anywhere!
Guarantee. Guaranteed for one year to be free of material & workmanship defects, to fly as advertised, and to be reasonably strong & durable. Crashing is OK as long as the impacts are under 60 mph, are not habitual, and are onto kite-friendly ground. If there's a problem during the guarantee period, Seattle AirGear will quickly repair or replace it.
Long-term product support. In the event of accidental bridle damage, you get free bridle-repair replacement materials & parts from Seattle AirGear, with instructions, for the life of your kite. Have a problem not covered or solved by the user's manual? Call/fax/email/write. In-depth information, news, tips, videos, and the latest user's manuals from the fast and content-rich Seattle AirGear website.
How & why these SOFT kites work so well
During launch, the parafoil wing self-inflates as air flows into the cells through leading-edge ram openings. Once the cells fill, that airflow stops. In flight, air ramming against the ram openings pressurizes the cells. That internal pressure -- and the external aerodynamic forces -- tension the ribs, upper and lower skins, and the WindDance Wingtips into a flying wing. The WindDance Wing is held into its precisely-engineered shape by the WindDance Bridle system during straight flight and during sharp turns and tight spins.
Why do WindDances FLY and handle so well? And feel so nice? Our fresh approach: we began from scratch. Our innovative and careful aeronautical, structural, & quality engineering. High levels of refinement since 1991. Accurate, consistent, high-quality manufacturing abroad. And final quality checking by Seattle AirGear.
Along the way we solved a major dual-line kite problem: Unlike other kites, WindDances deform only negligibly under the forces of flight.
As a kite FLIES, aerodynamic-lift generated by 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 change shape as airspeed & pull rise.
To see this effect, hold a 'rigid' kite such as a dual-line delta 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. It happens while FLYING, too.
The aeronautical and structural engineering challenge is to keep such distortion to a minimum.
Why is minimizing distortion so important? Distortion causes performance loss. It causes aerodynamic efficiency and handling qualities to suffer. The less a kite distorts as wind, airspeed, and pull rise -- and the less a kite distorts as it turns -- the faster it flies and the nicer it handles.
Unlike other kites, the WindDance Wing's light-wind "edge" shape (low speed and pull) is the same as its strong-wind "powerzone" shape (high speed and pull). Unlike other kites, the WindDance Wing's sharply-turning wing shape is nearly the same as the straight-flight wing shape.
While FLYING, 100%-soft WindDance parafoils are FAR more rigid than deltas with the finest graphite spars (deltas are more rigid while not flying). This does wonderful things! A WindDance's aerodynamic efficiency (in the form of superb acceleration & speed) remains high, and handling qualities barely change, as they fly from the edge to the powerzone and as they encounter stronger wind. This rigidity is also why one single bridle setting (two simple adjusters) provides high performance over a broad wind range, why they fly so well in unsteady winds, and why each is a light-wind kite and a strong-wind power kite.
WindDances retain their precisely-engineered shape -- and their hot speed-&-turning performance and fine handling qualities -- more like rigid aircraft than like typical kites. This is one reason why WindDances FLY faster and feel more powerful & exciting than other kites, why they're more versatile due to a wider wind range, and why they're high-performance airgear and not typical kites.
Why they're so EASY to fly
Only pull-on-your-kite-line skills are needed, the sport's simplest & easiest: pull on your kite lines to keep it flying, to make it go fast, and to turn it fast, sharply, and powerfully. These dual-line skills are an easy step up from the single-line skills used by children. They're intuitive and natural. Even six-year-olds have caught on fast.
WindDances are very forgiving to typical beginner mistakes of pulling too far or too hard on one kite line.
WindDances have a natural and familiar "increasing-resistance" steering & turning feel: the pull rises when you turn. It feels like steering a tricycle, bicycle, or car. This important feel, which provides steering & turning feedback to the flyer, speeds up learning and enhances control.
Ground-avoidance skills are not required. A new flyer and a new WindDance break in together!
Specifications -- WindDance2000
Span of a
WindDance 1 5'6" 22.4" 8.8 7 feet 14 5.0 100** 5*** 20-30** $99.95 WindDance 2 6'11" 22.4" 11.4 8 feet 18 6.5 133** 4*** 20-30** $124.95 WindDance 3 8'4" 22.4" 14.1 9 feet 22 8.0 167** 3*** 20-30** $149.95
The WindDance 2 has the same in-flight wing area as an 8 ft delta kite, etc.
Wind: 5 mph 10 mph 15 mph 20 mph 25 mph 30 mph Relative Pull:* 0.25 1.00 2.25 4.00 6.25 9.00
* When the wind rises a LITTLE, pull goes up a LOT. See how the WindDance 1, which pulls half as hard as the WindDance 3 in the same wind, can be a strong pulling power kite? For example, the WindDance 1 in 20 mph wind pulls twice as hard as the WindDance 3 does in 10 mph wind, and eight times harder than the WindDance 3 does in 5 mph wind! See how the WindDance 1 in 15 mph wind pulls about the same as the WindDance 3 does in 10 mph wind?
* Wind speed has a much larger effect on pull, and on required line strength, than WindDance size. With a smaller WindDance you get the same pull as the next larger WindDance but it happens at about 25% higher wind speed. For example, the WindDance 1 in 15 mph wind pulls about as hard as the WindDance 2 pulls in 12 mph wind, and about as hard as the WindDance 3 pulls in 10 mph wind. In the same wind, the WindDance 3 pulls about twice as hard as the WindDance 1, and the pull of the WindDance 2 falls in between, 50% more than the WindDance 1.
** For winds ABOVE 20 mph, reduce the pull as needed to keep it below the Rated Pull Strength and so your WindDancing fun can last longer! Add a pair of big tails to reduce pull, but that also reduces speed. To reduce pull while keeping most of the speed, decrease the bridle setting to slightly below its maximum-speed setting.
*** You can fly in winds this light if they are smooth and steady, with 100-lb 75-ft lines, and after you precision-tune for peak performance.
WindDance FLIGHT ENVELOPE The WindDance flight envelope -- It's different, and lots more fun, than the flight envelopes of other dual-line kites.
WindDance PERFORMANCE CURVES Intro -- Be sure to read this first. Airspeed vs. pull -- "Pull to make it FLY." Passively (let the wind & your steering do it) or actively (you do it). Airspeed & pull vs. WindDance location on flight envelope -- What you feel and hear while WindDancing. Groundspeed vs. WindDance location & direction on flight envelope -- What you see while WindDancing. Powerzone groundspeed vs. wind speed -- How much they accelerate when the wind kicks in. Which model is fastest. Powerzone pull vs. wind speed -- How much the pull rises when the wind strengthens. Why you snap lines. Calories burned vs. wind speed -- The "WindDancing Workout!" Far better exercise, and more fun, than power flying!
Straight & Turning
Radius / Duration,
WD 1 1.00 1.0 1.0 / 1.0 18 inches 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 WD 2 1.05 1.5 1.3 / 1.2 24 inches 1.3 2.0 0.7 0.7 WD 3 1.10 2.0 1.6 / 1.4 30 inches 1.6 3.2 0.2 0.2
Relative Speed. Notice how the larger WindDances fly faster than the smaller ones, the OPPOSITE of other kites. We explain why in several places on this website.
Turning Radius & Duration. All three models can turn-on-a-wingtip. During such a turn, a larger model flies slightly faster (see Relative Speed) and the pull is stronger than when flying straight. Because a larger model has a wider wing, the turning radius (inner wingtip to wing center, or inner wingtip to outer wingtip) is larger, and the wing center or outer wingtip has to fly farther in an arc during the turn which takes longer.
Control Movement is how far you must normally pull one control handle relative to the other to perform a pivot-on-a-wingtip turn or spin.
While WindDancing you adjust the TYPE, DISTANCE, and SPEED of your control movement -- and your level of exertion -- to make your WindDance do what you want it to do. Just like in all other sports.
Vary your control movement TYPE. From "pull turning" when the pull is light (light winds and/or flying at the edge), and when you want powerful & fast turns and the most exercise. To "push turning" when the pull is very strong (strong winds and/or flying in the powerzone), and when you want slow & wide turns and the least exercise. Most of the time your turning technique may be a blend of the two -- "pull-push turning" -- which provides the sharpest & snappiest turns, such as performing square corners.
Vary your control movement DISTANCE. From way less than the specification, as when doing wide turns. To several times more than the specification, as when generating pull to sustain strong spins while "active flying" or when performing turns and loops at the side edge in very light wind while "active flying." When turning at the edge, generally you must swing your arm from way forward to way back and step back to generate the necessary pull, and such a control movement may be as long as 8-12 ft. That turning force x arm & body turning motion = accidental exercise. The fun makes you do it!
Vary your control movement SPEED. Use the "ten-foot-square," the inner wingtip tracing the square, as an example. For a WindDance 2, about 30% of the time is spent in the corners while performing that pattern. A lazy ten-foot-square in light wind near the upper edge may last 4 seconds -- each corner, a quarter-circle on-on-a-wingtip turn, lasts 0.3 seconds. As you enter a corner flying straight (handles together), you fully bank your WindDance to make it turn on its wingtip (handles displaced to Sharp-Turn-Control-Movement distance or farther), and you leave the corner flying straight along the next side of the square (handles together again) -- you do all that in 0.3 seconds. In the powerzone in 10-mph wind, the WD2 flies about 40 mph including while cornering. It travels the square in about 1.0 second, and each corner lasts 0.08 seconds. To do that, see how rapid your control movements must be?
Turning Energy, the Pull x Control Movement energy you provide to do a turn. Turning Energy rises with wind speed the same way pull does.
Example: Compared to the WindDance 1, in the same wind the WindDance 3 flies 10% faster, pulls twice as hard, during a sharp pivot-on-a-wingtip turn it flies slightly faster but the turn is 60% wider and takes 60% longer, requires 60% more control-handle movement, burns up 3.2-times more of your body energy when doing the same kind of turn, and seems to self-relaunch and bounce-'n'-fly about 20% as well.
Model Flying Ease &
Collapse & Tangle
Minimum Skill Level WindDance 1 Extremely good Extremely low Beginner WindDance 2 Very good Very low Beginner WindDance 3 Good Low Beginner
Model Best for: WindDance 1 Medium-light to strong winds. Unsteady, turbulent, gusting winds. High-speed, ultra-quick-&-tight-turning, and powerful-turning aerobatics. Incredibly spectacular speed & turning in brisk wind that certainly puts hot delta kites to shame (see MPEG clip). Side-by-side flying. Self-relaunching after crashes. Bounce-'n'-fly tricks. Smaller, less-strong fliers. Low-impact strength & aerobic exercise: although the force-&-movement active-turning effort is less than with the WD2 and WD3, you turn far more often -- in brisk winds, you can easily do 1500 reps of "pumping air" with each side of your body per hour! WindDance 2 Light to medium-strong winds. Moderately unsteady, turbulent, gusting winds. High-speed, tight-turning, powerful-turning aerobatics. Side-by-side flying. Working out with more force and body motion than the WD1 but with less rep frequency; the WindDancing Workout accidentally happens when you do high-speed tight-turning aerobatics in energetic fashion with all three models. WindDance 3
Ultra-light to medium winds. Smooth, steady winds; in unsteady and gusting winds, the pull jolts can become excessive. High-speed, tight-turning, powerful-turning aerobatics. Larger, stronger fliers. Working out in lighter winds: more turning force x more control movement = more exercise = more calories burned than with the smaller models in the same wind.Remember, in strong winds when your arms get pulled straight so powerfully you can't swing them down and back to turn sharply, your workout is nil: strong force x no arm or body motion = no exercise, similar to the exercise you get while hanging by your hands from a limb of a tree. In winds that strong, fly outside of the powerzone so you can swing your arms in order to turn and work out -- or switch to a WD2 so you can improve the quality of your exercise.
Model Recommended Spectra® Flying Lines WindDance 1 80-150 lb, 75 ft WindDance 2 80-175 lb, 75 ft WindDance 3 80-200 lb, 75 ft
For the hottest speed & turning and highest stability in turbulent winds, use 75-ft lines and the thinnest (weakest) lines you can get away with.
With 75 ft lines, edge to edge of the flight envelope is the width of a football field, so they're plenty long.
A WindDance has higher aerodynamic efficiency, therefore the reduced drag from shorter and thinner lines boosts performance more so than with other kites. Also, due to reduced line sag, control is quicker and more solid. Stability in turbulent wind is better, too -- when at the edge, turbulent blasts of wind on your flying lines are less likely to suddenly slacken your almost-slack lines and collapse the wing.
In strong winds, your WindDance may too fast for you and too hot to handle. Instead of using longer (100 ft) lines to enlarge the flight envelope, to reduce apparent speed, to give yourself more time to react -- and which makes your WindDance look smaller in the sky -- add a pair of long and colorful tails to slow it down.
For top performance, the WindDance 1, 2, and 3 all require basically the same lines. Thin lines for light pull in light winds. Stronger lines for stronger pull in stronger winds. How does pull vary with WindDance model, and with the wind? See above.
What lines? 80-100 lb lines work fine for the WD1 up to about 15 mph, for the WD2 up to about 12 mph, and for the WD3 up to about 10 mph -- provided you push-turn to prevent excessive pull when in the powerzone and if you do not pull too hard during pull turns. If you pull-turn vigorously for maximal speed-&-turning thrill and exercise, highly recommended, observe a lower wind-speed limit for these light lines or use somewhat stronger lines. Remember, if you make line sets the way we recommend, breaking/repairing lines is no big deal (the line breaks at the handle). In stronger winds, use 135-150 lb lines and be sure to prudently lower the bridle setting and/or add tails as necessary to reduce pull in winds above 15-20 mph especially if they are gusty.
Don't use lines heavier than the heaviest recommended: in straight flight, the pull could greatly exceed Rated Pull Strength and damage your WindDance.
For highest stability in turbulent winds, use short thin lines such as 80-lb 75-ft.
We never use anything stronger than 150 lb line -- it's strong enough to drag you. When the wind and pull get so strong it may snap 150 lb lines, we switch to the next smaller and quicker-&-tighter turning WindDance for an even more thrilling WindDancing experience and an even better WindDancing Workout!
The three models are distinctly different. Each has its own delightful feel and special strengths. All are great fun. Some flyers must have them all!
Wing materials: Heavy-duty 1.3 oz/sg.yd coated ripstop nylon that's 1.3 to 2.6 times stronger than the lightweight 1.0 to 0.5 oz/sg.yd fabrics used in most kites -- 44g/sq.m Porcher Marine Skytex, a top-of-the-line paraglider fabric by Porcher Industries. It's engineered to withstand prolonged sunlight exposure and lots of physical abuse. Even after many crashes and landings WindDances continue to look good. Sewn with heavy-duty polyester thread.
Bridle materials: Polyester A-lines, B-lines, T-lines, 58 and 32 lb-test. Polyester-sheathed dyneema connector loops, adjuster lines, linkline, and mooring loops.
Total WindDance product: Fully-assembled kite. Kite bag. User's manual. Plastic precision-tuning ruler. Guaranteed for one year to be free of material & workmanship defects, to fly as advertised, and to be reasonably strong & durable. Crashing is OK as long as the impacts are under 60 mph, are not habitual, and are onto kite-friendly ground. If there's a problem during the guarantee period, Seattle AirGear will quickly repair or replace it. In the event of accidental bridle damage, you get free bridle-repair replacement materials & parts from Seattle AirGear, with instructions, for the life of your kite. Free nylon line to make "bumpy-wind" adapters. Free clear-plastic patching tape. Low-cost repair service. In-depth information, tips, the latest user's manuals and updates, and video clips from the fast and content-rich Seattle AirGear website. Also see Guarantee & Service.
Additional gear needed: Flying lines, card winder, control handles. Groundstake/windwand: groundstake for securing handles to ground during setup & takedown and while resting, windwand for telling wind direction and assessing wind quality, and for marking your flying spot for safety (so you don't accidentally walk backwards into the flight envelope of the potentially-injurious delta sport kite that's flying right behind you). Tails for reducing speed & pull in strong winds, or tails for the pure fun of it. See Accessories.
The WindDance2000, introduced Nov-1999, is an improved version of the original WindDance we began selling early 1997:
PHYSICAL improvements: Aeronautically-engineered refinements to the WindDance Wing and WindDance Bridle which make them FLY even better in the Three Essential Ways. Higher quality due to superior manufacturing accuracy, consistency, and care (same manufacturer but different factory, from Italy to Vietnam). New fabric, Porcher Marine Skytex, a top-of-the-line paraglider fabric made in France. 0.5 oz (15 g) lighter.
PERFORMANCE improvements: No break-in is necessary. Hotter acceleration, speed, and response to the wind. Slightly-sharper turning; in lighter wind you can spin them inside the inner wingtip. Stronger, more-lively pull. Tighter, more-sensitive steering. Steering-&-turning feel is more solid. Less likely to collapse in difficult winds. Longer lasting.
TUNING improvement: Considerably less bridle-setting-adjustment is necessary to compensate for subtle wing-shape changes that naturally occur as fabric undergoes high stress and wear & tear (unlike other kite fabrics, Porcher Marine Skytex hardly changes shape at all). As before, you set the bridle according to the QUALITY of the wind and the QUALITY of your skill, not according to the strength of the wind as with other kites. The rougher the wind -- or the rougher your skill -- the higher the bridle setting you need to prevent collapsing.
For a newish WindDance: For normal wind and skill, use the "First-flight" setting until the "visual signs of break-in" occur (see user's manual). Then, for smooth wind and/or smooth skill, use a setting that's about 2-3 mm less to get the hottest speed-&-turning and the most pull -- experiment, and feel the exciting boost in speed & pull! For rough wind and/or rough skill, you may need a setting that's slightly higher . . . and slower.
As it ages: When you experience a slight speed & pull loss due to invisible fabric stretch, reduce the bridle setting by 1 mm to return to the original hot performance. Over two or so years, a gradual bridle-setting reduction (1 mm at a time) totaling 5 mm may be necessary to maintain peak performance (that's about 1/4th of what was necessary with the originals). After that, very little reduction should be necessary.
To have the most fun: Learn to fly sensitively & smoothly & powerfully. As with all sports, such skill provides the best performance and exercise. And it enables you to fly with the "hot" bridle-setting in very gnarly wind!
You hardly ever have to fiddle with the bridle: The peak-performance setting (a low setting) is good for light wind and strong wind -- and if you're smooth, it's great for difficult winds, too -- although in very strong winds you may want to reduce the setting slightly to keep the pull sane without sacrificing much speed.
How do WindDances compare to other kites? CLICK HERE.
WindDance2000 colors. Availability. Set your monitor to "High Color" (16 bit) or "True Color" (32 bit), not "16 Colors" or "256 Colors".
Color A -- Sunny yellow (Pantone 102C) / Black trim / Fuchsia tips
Color B -- Hot green (Pantone 368C) / Black trim / Fuchsia tips
Color F -- Fuchsia (Pantone 806C) / Black trim / Bright turquoise tips
Color G -- Bright turquoise (Pantone 312C) / Black trim / Fuchsia tips
Color H -- Light purple (Pantone 2715C) / Black trim / Hot green tips
"WindDance2000" models Color Code MAIN color TRIM color TIP color A Sunny yellow Black Fuchsia B Hot green Black Fuchsia F Fuchsia Black Bright turquoise G Bright turquoise Black Fuchsia H Light purple Black Hot green
- MAIN color: Wing main panels. Internal ribs. Bag main panel.
- TRIM color: Wing triangular trim panels, wing and rib leading-edges (outline of cell ram openings), internal rib reinforcements. Bag trim panel.
- TIP color: Wingtips. Circular end of bag.
Logos are black.
A-lines, B-lines, T-lines, and webbing bridle loops are white. Linklines, adjuster lines, and mooring loops are yellow. LEFT connector loop is green, RIGHT connector loop is pink.
Bag drawstring is pink, the plastic toggle is black.
No more white. Our white "original" WindDances sold so poorly we had to unload them at steep discounts. We learned our lesson. We're keeping the spectacular photo of the white WindDance 2, though!
The bright turquoise is very different from the color of the sky -- it looks green against the sky and blue against trees and grass.
Custom colors? We can't do it. Our manufacturer's minimum order for fabric is thousands lineal meters per color, including for a "custom" color.
Additional color panels? Although WindDances with many small color panels would be prettier to some flyers, they wouldn't perform as consistently or as well and would cost more. We pondered the "style vs. substance" question during the early stages of WindDance development, and chose to go with "substance."
Custom tie-dye? In 1997 a local kite tie-dye company sweet-talked us into having them tie-dye some WindDances. The tie-dyed WindDances looked nice. But they flew poorly due to severely-wrinkled fabric, and wrinkled and unevenly-shrunken bridle lines -- all caused by their tie-dying process. Some bridle lines, they're polyester, shrank 3 cm! A disaster. They refused to accept responsibility for the WindDances they ruined.
Many choose too large a WindDance. In medium and strong wind, especially in the powerzone, they find they lack the strength and stamina needed to continuously maneuver it sharply for more than a short period of time using full basic skill like THIS and THIS. In stiff wind, turning once a second (as shown in our "WindDance 1 at play" video clip) is typical.
If you don't have the stature, strength, or stamina to supply the Control Movement and Turning Energy needed for frequent tight turning because your WindDance is too large for you, you'll limit your fun and your exercise: merely being able to hang onto it, your arms forcefully pulled straight by your WindDance's powerful aerodynamic lift, is no fun because you can't supply the force and arm movement needed to turn it well, and it's poor exercise because there's so little arm motion.
Too large a WindDance is like too large a weight when weight-training: you can't lift it all the way, and you have a short bad workout. The right WindDance is like the right weight for weight-training: you can lift it all the way, do many reps, and make your body burn.
As you fly, you want to be able to hold your arms like this: your elbows down and slightly forward of your sides, hands forward and forearms dropped about 45°. Often, little swinging movements of your hands, wrists, and forearms are all that are needed to zip a WindDance around like crazy, even the WindDance 3. But to do a long pull-turn needed for fast/tight/powerful turns and spins, you swing your arm from way forward to way back like when you walk. The larger the WindDance, the stronger and longer that pull has to be. In light winds, everyone has sufficient strength to fly even the large WindDance 3 that way.
But in medium and strong wind, if your WindDance is too large for you, you may not have the strength to fly with your arms down or to do long swing-your-arm pull-turns. As the pull rises and becomes too strong, your arms get pulled straight into alignment with your flying lines. When that happens, control becomes severely limited: all you can do is push-and-pull your hands back and forth a little at upper-chest level, your control movement perhaps only a third of your light-wind capability, and perhaps not enough to control your WindDance well.
A rule of thumb: if you don't have the strength to fly with your arms down at your side while flying through the powerzone, then in that wind the WindDance is too large for you.
If that's just an occasional problem, then on those days when the wind is too strong easily tame the beast -- reduce it's speed & pull -- by adding a pair of tails!
Choose a WindDance model that's small enough so you can supply the control movement needed for quick, powerful, spin-on-a-wingtip maneuvering in the strongest winds you intend to fly -- one that's small enough to allow you to fly steadily for at least 15 minutes with lots of energetic fast & tight turning in those winds.
All three WindDance models fly well in light winds, the larger models slightly better. If you want stronger pull in light winds, or want to fly in slightly lighter winds, then get a larger WindDance.
WindDance 1 1.0 1.0 1.0 WindDance 2 1.5 1.3 2.0 WindDance 3 2.0 1.6 3.2
Wind: 5 mph 10 mph 15 mph 20 mph 25 mph 30 mph Relative Pull & Turning-Energy: 0.25 1.00 2.25 4.00 6.25 9.00
The wind has a much larger effect on pull (and required line strength) than WindDance size. With a smaller WindDance you get the same pull as the next larger WindDance but it happens at about 25% higher wind speed. For example, the WindDance 1 in 15 mph wind pulls about as hard as the WindDance 2 pulls in 12 mph wind, and about as hard as the WindDance 3 pulls in 10 mph wind. In the same wind, the WindDance 3 pulls about twice as hard as the WindDance 1, and the pull of the WindDance 2 falls about halfway in between, 50% more than the WindDance 1.
Compared to the WindDance 1, in the same wind the WindDance 3 pulls twice as hard, requires 60% more control-handle movement, and burns up 3.2-times more of your body energy when doing the same kind of turn.
Also notice how Turning Energy, the force-times-movement you provide to do a turn, rises with wind speed the same way pull does.
I'm Dan and my wife is Sue.
Sue mostly flies the WindDance 1, even in light winds. For her, the WindDance 2 is too powerful to hold onto and turn tightly in winds above 10 mph, the WindDance 3 in winds above 7 mph. When the winds drop below a steady 7 mph, then she might switch from the WindDance 1 to a WindDance 2. When the winds drop below a steady 5 mph, then she might switch to a WindDance 3.
I'm a lot bigger and stronger, and like to fly energetically with quick & tight turning for hours at a time. I mostly fly the WindDance 2. I rarely fly the WindDance 2 in winds above 15 mph or WindDance 3 in winds above 10 mph. Why? In winds stronger than those, the pull becomes too powerful for continuous tight turning or to be able to fly more than a short period of time. The smaller models I choose to fly in stronger winds provide much-better turning, and the lower pull allows me to WindDance longer. My kite of choice for winds above 15 mph is the WindDance 1. More turns-per-minute + more arm & body motion + flying longer = a much better workout and lots more fun! In light winds, I fly the WindDance 2 down to 2 mph and the WindDance 3 down to near zero mph.
During the last day of a kite festival, the winds blew 20-30 mph, which shut down the festival. WindDance owners flew anyway. A WindDance 3 flyer lasted 45 seconds (his estimate) while doing considerable beach bulldozing with his heels. WindDance 2 flyers, some dragged down the beach, flew several minutes and then rested & recovered, off and on for an hour. WindDance 1 flyers (including me) flew continuously for hours. What incredible speed-&-turning excitement, and what a workout, too! That day, which WindDance provided the most fun AND the most exercise?
The best way is to get all three. Cost? Less than one ultra-light-wind delta!
Does this help?
Would you like us to help you choose? The best choice depends sooooo much on the winds you'll fly in. Call us!
Additional gear needed
Flying lines, card winder, control handles. See accessories.
The handles shown below are kindest to your hands, and provide the best feel & control for FLYING dual-line kites.
Although they're the most popular and have received "Best Product" awards from the kite industry, avoid all strap-loop handles (wrist straps), even 'comfortable' ones: as you FLY they pull on the backs and sides of your hands, where they lack toughness and the nerve density to feel sensitively -- they press on and squeeze your skin, flesh, bones, nerves, and blood vessels (even the padded models do this). In advertising photos, you can see good wrist straps digging into human flesh!! In addition, the pressure and squeezing action adversely stress your hand/wrist joints. The end result? Discomfort, pain, numbness, injury, and control loss to flyers of ALL kinds of kites. They can also catch on your hands and delay or prevent an emergency release.
We were warned about wrist-strap handles in 1989, in the first book about stunt kites we ever read, and have experienced the discomfort and pain -- and serious control loss caused in part by the discomfort and pain. We have seen others complain of the pain as they flew. We have seen strap handles thrown away by a flyer after a painful experience. We have talked with many others who have experienced these problems, including a flyer so seriously injured by strap-loop handles he was on the verge of requiring hand/wrist surgery. The sport & trade have been aware of these product-safety problems for almost 20 years so far. Wrist-strap handle problems are mentioned in stunt kite books sold in kite shops. Some kite retailers, though, defend wrist-strap handles like how tobacco-company executives insist that cigarettes have never caused cancer. One day, a WindDance 2 flyer had to quit after only ten minutes of flying because of the pain inflicted by his strap-loop handles. That was the last straw. The next day we added a safety warning to our TECH flier.
Wrist-strap handles provide positive-reinforcement for trick and competitive flying: the comfort level increases when you reduce and eliminate speed & pull to punch-turn and to do tricks. Wrist-strap handles tell your hands to go for punch-turns and tricks. They are ideal for the "no pull = no speed = no FLYING" way of sport-kite flying.
But they provide negative-reinforcement for the most-exciting way to fly a sport kite, the "pull = speed = FLYING" way: the discomfort & pain level increases whenever you apply pull for turning speed & power or to accelerate, whenever you fly toward the powerzone, encounter a gust, accelerate, want more exercise, or want more speed-&-turning fun. Wrist-strap handles tell your hands to avoid FLYING your sport kite with good speed & pull, to avoid good FLYING exercise, to avoid having high-performance speed-&-turning fun.
Perform this comparison test. Anchor your wrist-strap handles at hands-high level, put your hands into them, and let your legs go limp and hang there for a while. How does it feel? After your hands recover, do it with the sensible handles we recommend (see below). Feel the difference?
See how wrist-strap handles function more like instruments of torture than like intelligently-designed sports gear?
If you have a kite that responds with fast & powerful turning to energetic pull-turning skill, see how wrist-strap handles quickly dampen your enthusiasm to FLY that exciting way? See how they dampen your enthusiasm to exercise that way?
The human hand is designed to hold and feel things from the palm side, not the back side. That's so obvious to most of humankind. Can you imagine water skiers using them? Outside of dual-line kite flying, what other sports or human activities use wrist-strap handles? Nobody else does. They know better.
Also avoid bar handles that have a "V" bridle attached to the handle ends: as you swing your arm from front to back during a long pull-turn, only the lower cord in the "V" bridle pulls on the handle. That feels unnatural, strains your wrist, and the cord may cut into your little finger and dig into all four fingers as you swing your arm back during a pull-turn. It causes discomfort and prevents good control. Providers of those handles recognize the problems, and tell you to rotate your arms to the knuckles-forward position when flying. But that's unnatural. The natural position for a hanging and swinging human arm -- when walking and when kite flying -- is knuckles-to-the-side. How many people hold their swinging arms knuckles-forward while walking? Do you?
Bar handles with the cord at the middle? The cord cuts into your middle finger when you pull-turn. Providers of those handles recognize the problem, and tell flyers to keep their forearms aligned with their kite lines to prevent that cutting action. They want you to turn, not by swinging your arms for maximum control, but by moving your hands back-and-forth at upper-chest level. But restricting your control movement that much cuts your turning ability -- and fun -- in half. Replace that center cord with webbing and you have the sensible, comfortable, high-performance-FLYING handle we've been recommending to flyers since 1989.
These are the best kind of handles for FLYING dual-line kites because 1) they allow you to sensitively feel the wind and your kite through your lines which makes it more fun and enables superior control, 2) they allow you use the natural swing-your-arm pull-on-your-kite-line skills needed to achieve maximal sport-kite FLYING performance, and 3) they're so comfortable they enable you to fly a lot longer.
They are manufactured by:
P.O. Box 2006
Bemidji, MN 56619-2006
We sell them here at Seattle AirGear. Or:
Make your own Ergonomic T-handles -- from scratch (hardest way) or by tying wrist-strap handles to wood dowels (easiest way):
To best visualize how the webbing connects to the dowel, imagine tying a wrist-strap handle to the center of the dowel.
Ingredients: 2 pieces wood dowel 4.0" x 1.0" OD. 50 cm of 2.5 cm webbing, enough for two 12.5 cm loops (or one pair of inexpensive wrist-strap handles). Some 200 lb-test polyester or nylon cord for making flying-line length equalizers. Some 1 mm OD stainless-steel wire for tying webbing loops to dowels.
Instructions: File or carve a groove around the center of each wood handle, about 3 mm wide and 1-2 mm deep, then notch the dowel where the end of the webbing loop will rest. For the webbing parts: after making the pair of 12.5-cm-long loops, poke the end holes with something sharp and not too close to the ends; melting the holes and/or sewing the ends are necessary only for neatness. Wire the webbing loops (or wrist-strap handles) to the wood dowels with two tight wraps; hide the wire twist in the webbing loop; dull/position the end of the twist so that it won't cut the webbing or your hands. Make length equalizers from the 200-lb-test cord. Test to be certain that your completed handles will hold up to your heaviest WindDancing pull.
Enjoy the superb comfort, feel, and control!
Groundstake/windwand for staking handles to the ground, for telling wind direction, and for marking your flying spot for safety. The best? Make your own: sharpen a 24-inch-long wooden stick or fiberglass/graphite rod, and tie a length of brightly-colored yarn to the blunt end. What's best for flying at the beach? A stake that keeps your handles sand-free. Consult WindDance user's manual.
A pair of tails to reduce speed & pull whenever necessary, or for the pure fun of it, which quickly attach to-and-from the two mooring loops. Use whatever works. Genuine kite tails or anything else that's really lightweight. To reduce speed the least, use 1"-wide strips of 3/4 oz ripstop. To slow your WindDance down and reduce pull in strong winds, use BIGGER tails that function as airbrakes: longer tails, wider tails, big handkerchiefs, little parachutes, etc.
Where to purchase
About Seattle AirGear
What do we do here at Seattle AirGear? Product Development, Marketing/Distribution, and Product Support of WindDance parafoils.
WindDances are developed entirely by Seattle AirGear using aeronautical, structural, and quality engineering. They embody new state-of-the-art technology and style created by Seattle AirGear.
We have WindDances accurately manufactured abroad to our quality standards, we market & distribute them, we carefully quality-check each and every WindDance before it is shipped, we quickly take care of any quality problems that slip through, we help flyers who have problems, we perform bridle-system repairs, we contract out wing-repair jobs on a zero-profit-for-us basis, and we perform long-term product support such as providing free replacement bridle parts & materials with instructions for the life of your WindDance.
The University of Michigan, where in the 1960s we learned how to aeronautical and structural engineer our future WindDance parafoils, in the early 1900s was the first university in America to offer an aeronautical engineering program. One of the first courses? "Theory of Kites."
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 Apr-28-2006