Tuesday, 20 December 2016


During the past festival year, I've become more and more convinced that if we want to attract new people to the sport of kite-flying, we really need to inspire them to pick up a kite and start flying. A technically challenging routine with dual-line delta kites may not be the best to inspire the next generation of kite-flyers, as it may appear to be unachievable for someone who has never even flown a kite. Of course, dual-line kite routines will remain at the core of our festival portfolio; we have no intention at all of abandoning that. We have already become more focused on expanding what we can do in the arena at festivals. Adding a quad-line routine to our portfolio, as we did at Dunstable Kite Festival, is part of that expansion, as is flying our Superman & Lois Lane Spin-Offs, which got their UK premiere at Portsmouth Kite Festival. Reactions to both of these additions to our portfolio have been very positive, with one kite flyer telling us he really liked to see competition teams having a wider range of non-competition routines under their belts for festivals.

Given that big inflatables are always very popular with the public, we are now also looking more at possibilities and opportunities to do more with soft kites and airfoils. As I blogged about recently, we now have a pair of Flexifoil 2-stacks that we can fly if the conditions are right.

Earlier this year, we got ourselves a pair of single-line whales, which pop up on eBay very regularly, and for very little money. Idea was to try and convert them to dual-line flying.

Did that work? Uhmmm, no, not at all. I replaced the existing single-line bridle with a dual-line bridle, played a lot with relative lengths of the various bridle lines, but none of the tweaks resulted in a kite which was even remotely steerable ... Oh well, can't win them all!

Looking around for other options for dual-line soft kites, there are airplane-shaped airfoils, which I'd seen being flown at several festivals before we got serious about flying at festivals ourselves. These would certainly spark the imagination of the public at festivals.

Although I've never seen them myself being flown as part of a pair routine, this video shows it certainly is possible!

Another dual-line airplane airfoil I stumbled across is this one inspired by Wallace & Gromit:

I can certainly see us fly one of these at festivals, to the theme music of Wallace & Gromit, obviously. Just need to get my hands on one ...

And if we're seriously talking about dual-line airfoils, there's always the 4.5m wing span PiraƱa ...

Chances of adding one of these to our quiver are close to zero, especially as they're not sold commercially, and my kite-making skills are most certainly not up for a challenge like that ..... Question is actually whether a dual-line airfoil as big as that will actually be able to fly loops and circles; maybe a pair at half size would be better?

Back to airplanes, we have actually flown one of these, once, at Malmesbury Kite Festival in 2013. It was quite a bit larger than the standard airplane, and we both had a go at flying it, and trying to get it to fly a full circle. Great fun, but it certainly wasn't easy to get the line length differential between left and right hand enough for it to turn. If we ever get our hands on a large airplane kite like this, we may well fly one with the two of us, each controlling one line. That should make flying loops and circles easier, and it would certainly add something novel to the UK kite festival scene. I bet we'd need to practice two people flying one kite!

If anyone has one or a pair of dual-line airplanes for sale, please get in touch. And if anyone has other ideas for dual-line soft kites which would spark the public's imagination and with which we could fly routines at festivals, I'd be interested to hear! 

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