|Kites are devices that are meant to be
flown in the air at the end of a string. Building kites and flying kites is
an informal pastime as well as a competitive sport in many parts of the
world. In Korea, men, women and children fly kites during the first few days
of the New Year. Kites’ flying is an important part of the boys’ festival
held each May in Japan, and in China, one day each year is celebrated as
Kites’ Day. On those days, thousands of kites shaped like fish, butterflies
and dragons float over the cities and towns. There are also kite-flying
competitions held yearly in the United States and Canada.
Types of Kites
There are many different types of kites. The simplest kind of kites is the
two-stick single plane bow kite. It can be purchased ready-made or it can be
assembled from do-it-yourself kits or made completely by hand. For simple
kites the sticks can be of any strong lightwood with a straight grain. The
covering material can be ordinary brown wrapping paper, or a lightweight
clothe, such as silk or nylon. Plastic sheering of various kinds is also
used. In addition, cloth is used for the tail and a string for the flight
line. There are more advanced types of kites that can be made.
The box kite consists basically of two rectangular boxes, open on two
parallel sides each and connected by a common framework. Lawrence Hargrave
invented it in the 1890’s. Box kites are more difficult to build than stick
kites, but they are excellent flyers and will maintain their position for
long periods. Box kites also adjust well to changes in the wind, and they do
not require a tail.
How to fly kites
Kites fly, like airplanes, on the aerodynamic principle of wind pressure
against a heavier-than-air object. The motor and propeller of the airplane
create a wind pressure as they move the plan through the air. When the
pressure is great enough to overcome gravity, the plan is pushed up and
allowed to remain aloft. The same effect of wind pressure is created by the
kite flyer as he runs across an open field. As the kite moves against the
wind, the string tips the face of the kite forward. The wind pushes up on
this tipped face and lifts the kite, just as a wedge pushed under an object
lifts it up.
James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and
researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest.
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to make a kite