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Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 08:54 AM
by swannie
Hi all,

I'm new to kites, and I have been flying some single line kites with my son for the past few weeks. I'm curious how you know the right weight of line to use. Generally, I've been following what the manufacturer says, but sometimes I wonder about the recommendations. For instance, I have a box kite that recommends 30# line, but in a decent wind that kite really pulls so I've been using much stronger line, but sometimes I think it ends up weighing the kite down. I've googled around a bit but I haven't really found anything which helpful, which tells me that I'm either 1) over thinking it or 2) that it's not really an issue. :)

Are there any tips for a beginner on selecting the appropriate weight line for a kite?

Thanks!
Swannie

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 10:50 AM
by makatakam
Hi, Swannie.

Welcome to the forum. Whenever you buy a kite, the line that's included is correct for that kite. If no line is included, then you can use line from any other kite that has the same sail area. Whenever in doubt, stronger is better, short of using "anchor rope".

After flying for enough time and talking to enough serious flyers, you'll develop a feel for it. Keep an eye on this forum. I'm sure others will chime in with more info.

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 10:59 AM
by goestoeleven
Welcome aboard, swannie!

I'd second what makatakam (mark) says. The manufacturer usually has a pretty good idea of the pull of a particular kite, and even if it feels like it's pulling a lot on the string, it's probably not 30lbs of force. Unless it has a pretty large sail area, it's probably not going to break that line. Heavier winds will pull more, of course, but you already said you are using heavier weight line in heavier winds, so you should be OK. The heavier line will weigh the kite down a little more (especially if you are putting it up high, which increases the weight lifted), but some of that is also due to wind drag on the line if you have it out a long way. However, the higher winds should in turn give the kite the ability to lift more weight, so it balances out.

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 12:15 PM
by Mike
Welcome to the club, Swannie!

Keep in mind that knots reduce the strength of the line about 50%, depending on the knot.
The area of the sail is only part of the equation. Some kites, like deltas, tend to pivot away from the wind when it picks up. So they won't pull as hard as an equivalent kite with the same sail area.

A handy tip: If the line is very taught and "singing", you should switch to a heavier line.

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 12:36 PM
by swannie
Thanks for the tips guys. I haven't heard any of my line "sing" yet (I think), so I suppose that's a good sign. I'd hate to loose a kite, but I figure it's inevitable that some will be lost over time.

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 01:07 PM
by goestoeleven
Kite eating trees are the most likely source of loss . . . . wide open fields & broken string might just result in a long walk.

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 01:11 PM
by swannie
LOL - good point. :)

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 06:30 PM
by swannie
OK - I went out into the now cooler weather this afternoon to fly my ITW Mesa DC (a Delta Conynes) and I now know what a line "singing" sounds like ... creepy sound ... and it's gotten rather windy out there!

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 07:24 PM
by goestoeleven
Great to hear you got out to fly. It's much nicer now. ITW probably has a pretty good idea of the right line for your kite. They've been around a long time.

I got out with my neighbor and flew both a rev AND his dualie!!! This type of flying from me will shock some of my fellow IKERs

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Sat, Jul 07 2012, 10:11 PM
by TMadz
HI Swannie. I have a few SLK's and a Gomberg Super Sled (SS). Line is cheap insurance, especially if some of your kites get more expensive. Right now I only have some cheaper mass market kites, so the cost isn't that much, but I bought 250lb black Dacron line for my SS. Out here, since the wind can gust so much I went with the higher # line because I was afraid of lines snapping under sudden bursts. Also, it's easier to see the black line. I have gotten lines included with the kites, but in a few instances I saw on the website that a 30lb line was included, but they recommended an 80lb line. I just go with the higer rated and then a little more. I like to fly in the higher ranges of wind because I know they'll stay up no problem.

I see ITW recommends 75lb line. Use that or get 80lb line to be safe. I've been buying 1000' or 500' rolls and then cutting it down to 250' to save costs.

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Thu, Jul 23 2015, 05:44 AM
by RomanceOsborn
Are there any tips for a beginner on selecting the appropriate weight line for a kite?
gclub

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Thu, Jul 23 2015, 07:39 AM
by goestoeleven
Here are a couple thoughts - I'm assuming you don't have any original manual or anything that might have come with the kite. If that's the case, you might be able to find the kite online if it's still for sale from a kite shop or the manufacturer.

If you're not sure of who made it, then tell us a bit more about the kite and we'll see if we can help. What type of kite is it? How large? Do you have pictures?

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Thu, Jul 23 2015, 10:45 AM
by Mike
The post above (#11) is a spammer. I deleted the user but left the post, because it's still a good question.
(one way to tell a computer wrote that post: it's an exact repeat of a line in the first post in this thread. Though they usually copy from a different thread, not the same one. Also, as a mod, I can see that it was written from Thailand. Not impossible that we have a member in Thailand, but unlikely)

If you have nothing else to go on, here's a couple rules of thumb:

---Line to load ratio 6:1
e.g. A kite with a 5 pound pull, use 30 lb line. You can use a luggage scale in-line to determine the pull.

---Multiply the area of the kite (in square ft.) by 3.
e.g. A 3x3 kite should use 30lb line.
(3x3)x3=27lb
This a rough estimate. Given the same square footage, the design of the kite and the way it's bridled can change the amount of pull considerably.

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Thu, Jul 23 2015, 06:28 PM
by goestoeleven
See, one of the great things about the forum is guys like you with knowledge to share (not to mention the bit about admin clearing out spammers). It didn't look especially spammy . . . . . except for the user name. I didn't re-read the whole thread.

I agree that the area of the kite is a rough indication, and I really like that you shared it. I think you also have to also account for how the kite flies, and the design and bridling of the kite. Some of the lifters / foils / sleds (and even some deltas) may pull much more than you would expect based on the square footage. I have some smaller kites that pull fairly hard, and a pretty big pointer that pulls hardly at all because the only attachment point is at the very tip of the kite, so it planes out and (mostly) glides.

. . . Waiting for Jeepster to chime in with the big-kite fully QC tested engineering approach to line strength . . . .

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Thu, Jul 23 2015, 08:14 PM
by Mike
Yeah, the user name was my first tip-off.
I'm curious what Jeepster will have to say too.

Re: Kite line weight selection

Posted: Fri, Jul 24 2015, 07:16 AM
by Jeepster
Mike wrote:... I'm curious what Jeepster will have to say too.


The rule of thumb sizing of line that Mike quoted is a good starting point ... good WAG might be an appropriate description. As Steve pointed out, the final tuning has to be based on the specific kite you're flying. I've got a 70 sq ft flow form that flies quite well on 500 lb line ... it's a gentle kite. But, I've also got a 75 sq ft Bull Dog that I fly on 1200 lb line. I used to tie the Bull Dog off to the trailer hitch on the Jeep ... in 20 mph winds, it would make the Jeep bounce.

Because of the cost of kites now days and the chance for injury if a line breaks, I tend to fly with a large margin in kite line strength.

Think you're flying with strong line? A friend of mine just sold one of his kites ... a 2200 sq ft foil kite ... the line for that kite is 10,000 lb test. Ask Paul Newcomb how he likes his new kite. He named it HOBO after the designer Harry Osborn and the seller Barry Ogletree.