Types of Kites: Different Kites and How to Fly Them

If you are a kite fan or watched a kite festival, you may have seen many types of kites with different designs.

At a far glance, you may notice that some of them look similar, but when you stare at them closely and keenly, you see the difference.

They all differ in complexity, material, use, and popularity.

In this article, I’m going to discuss the different common types of kites.

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A-List of Different Types of Kites

There are different types of kites available on  the market today. Below is a detailed guide on such kites.

1. Diamond kite

Diamond kites are popularly used in the western world compared to other types.

Just like the name, they are diamond in shape, and you can easily make it on your own.

Its popularity is due to its reliability and stability when flying.

They perfect for use by children and beginners since they are more reliable.

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Sometimes it is referred to as a 2-stick kite due to the vertical spar connecting the nose to the tail and the cross spar running from side to side.

If made with the right materials, they are strong enough to in case of unsteadiness.

In the early days, diamond kites were made of paper, but nowadays, they are commonly made of rips stop nylon to last long.

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One of the advantages of this type of kite is that they can alternatively be made with most available materials like plastic sheets.

Types of Kites

2. Foil kites

These types of kites are based on the design of parafoil.

These kites look lie parachutes having several air chambers to give them a pillow-like feeling when up in the sky.

They have some cells running fore to aft, open at the front allowing air to inflate the kite.

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They are efficient and powerful than other kites thanks to their unique construction.

Due to their efficient upwind ability, they can be used in high jumps.

However, the kite requires special handling when launching it, and water launching can be troublesome.

Due to their efficiency and amount of power they generate, they are used in land-boarding, hydro foiling, snow kiting, and free-riding.

One of its cons is that they are costly and are not suitable for beginners.

3. Delta kites

Delta kites are triangle-shaped with a keel that holds the spine straight and compact as the spreader helps keep the shape.

This is one of the kites mostly used by beginners due to its ability to fly in a light breeze and quickly launched.

Depending on your preferences, they come in both single-line and double-line to suit all skill ranges.

Some of them attached tails at the wingtips or at the center to ensure stability during erratic weather.

They are commonly made of ripstop nylon material, while the light wind can alternatively be made with special spinnaker fabric.

Types of Kites

4. Rokkakus

This is a six-sided fighter kite with a shape of a vertically stretched hexagon with a four-point bridle.

It was used traditionally in japan during fights, and it’s popular in the western countries up to date.

They are best in performance compared to other types of kites.

Their reliability and stability outdoes that of delta kite, making them perfect for a professional pilot.

Due to their simple design and large surface area, Rokkakus can be used in kite aerial photography and atmospheric science.

Their symmetry when flying makes them suitable for use in kite art.

The Rokkakus kites are more noticeable in a stronger wind giving them an artistic and exquisite look when flying.

Traditionally, they were made with bamboo spars or washi paper, which ensured that they are lightweight.

The thickness of the spars is selected depending on the size of the kite.

In the modern-day, they are made with rip stop nylon and carbon spars to last long.

5. Cellular kites

A cellular kite is a 3-dimensional kite that comes in different shapes; thus, it not easy to determine its exact shape.

Some of these kites have an elaborate structure with vanes, wings, or even fins. Box kites are in this category and the common in the group.

They have 4 struts parallel to each other with ribbons and sails wrapped on each end of the box.

A Cody kite is another popular cellular kite, which is a full box kite with upturned wings.

Hargrave is also another type of cellular kite that is triangular-shaped and wings on the side.

Cellular kites can also have a shape like stars or snowflakes.

Box springs require stronger wind when taking off and stay afloat due to their extra frames.

The frames increase their weight that why they require more wind for good performance.

Commercial cellular kites are popularly made of ripstop nylon, but for your own project, you can use a newspaper or a construction paper.

6. Stunt kites

Stunt kites come in different types of shapes, the common one being the triangular delta kite.

They are sometimes referred to as sport kites due to their unique ability to easily sail in the air.

Most of these kites have double-line controls for easier control compared to the single lines.

They also come in quad- lines giving simpler controls during stronger winds.

Since they perform difficult activities, they are prone to crashing; that’s why the construction must be perfect with durable material.

Most stunt kites are made with ripstop nylon since the material is lightweight and durable.

7. Roller Kite

Roller kites have been used since the 1930s but with a different name (Roloplan).

Alick Pearson, in the early 1970s, improved its design to a simplified one. It was the first kite to use rip-stop nylon as the construction material.

It looks like a Rok with a slot cut in it, giving it a sturdy tail-less design thanks to its keel and large vent between the lower and upper sails.

With the light wind, it flies perfectly, but you can also adjust it during stronger winds. A roller kite can fly higher than a delta kite due to its extra stability.

It can be used in restricted areas thanks to its steep flying angles and tail-less design.

How to Fly Various Types of Kites

Most kites have the same process of launching and flying.

Once you train with one, you will be able to fly several other types, and there is any difference, it’s a slight one.

Here are some tips to help you in case you flying a kite for the first time; Let the kite out several feet from the flying line. (Source)

If it’s a double line kite, ensure that the lines are parallel to each other. Hold the keel with one hand and the winder with the other one.

Raise your kite until it catches the wind. Let the line out when the wind starts lifting the kite.

Final Thoughts on Types of Kites

From first glance, different types of kites may look the same, but the fact is that they are not.

All kite types have different flying characteristics, and its good you choose a kite depending on the condition of style you want to use it.

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