Friday, August 14, 2009

Kite FAQs

Navigating on our website under "Kite Information" there is a tab called Kite FAQs. Most of the questions and answers are geared to kite novices who are just beginning to fly kites. But every now and then, one of our customers, who, as I've mentioned in previous blogs, knows as much as we do, will review our Q&A's just to keep us on our toes. JB Holdway sent us an email regarding this FAQ:

Q: How do you feed the line onto the reel evenly when you have a lot of line out and want to pull your kite in?
A: Keep some tension on the line when winding it in, as loosely wound line tends to tangle. When winding onto a spool with your hand, turn the spool over from time to time and wind in the other direction. This keeps the line from being twisted so many times that it tangles. This same rule can apply to winding line in on a reel to keep it evenly distributed. In any case, never struggle to reel in your kite. Reeling in line under strong tension could damage the reel. In strong winds, walk your kite down or pull the line in with your gloved hands, while moving around to avoid piling up line in one place. Then wind the line onto your reel.

In the email to Into The Wind, Holdway wrote this:
From all the informative links and posts I've read there are at least two very different ways to use a hoop spool. The first, as implied by your FAQ answer, is to deploy the line by letting it spin the spool on its axis. The second (better?) method, is to deploy the line off the end over one flange, ie. parallel to the axis of the spool. There's even an instructional video on the web showing the over the flange deployment as the preferred method.

Your advice is to alternate windup in both directions to minimize inducing twist. I certainly agree if the deployment is allowed to spin the spool. However, if the deployment is off ONE of the flanges then the alternating wrap up method might make twist a problem, maybe not. Maybe your alternating wrap up might work for both methods.

Anyway, with the axial (over the flange) method, wrap and unwrap should always be over the SAME flange. With that method there will be no twist in the deployed line. This suggestion is based on several kite links and posts.

So, please consider editing you answer to reference both methods.

Before we modified the answer to our FAQ we wanted to check with an expert and who better, when it comes to information about kiteline, than Daniel Prentice of Shanti Kites. After reviewing our question, answer and our customer's suggestion, Daniel agreed with JB Holdway. But he added a couple of caveats: First, to keep track of which side of the hoop is which, it's important to mark the hoop. And Holdway's method of course, works best when the line is used by only one person who knows what's going on rather than several kitefliers using the same hoop. He also pointed out that if a swivel is being used to connect the kiteline to the kite, then twist will "swivel" out of the line when you reel in the kite and either technique will work. When George (Into The Wind owner and kite guru) looked over the answers, he added that the swivel won't do much good if the kite has been landed (our recommendation to avoid line being wound in under tension). So it's probably best to pick a method, either method, and stick with it. We've updated our FAQ accordingly, referencing both options.

If you have an FAQ answer update or if you have a Frequently Asked Question that you'd like to see us add, get in touch. (If we don't know the answer, we can always ask our customers ;-)

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