KITE LINES - strength and length guide for POWER KITES

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This guide aims to explain the differences the strength and length of your kite lines can make on your power or traction kite.  I'll try to offer guidance on how to select the right lines for your power kite, and also list below all the major manufactures recommendations for power kite lines.

Please see my other guides for sport/stunt kite lines, and the construction and ideal materials for making kite lines.

What strength and length of line?

First it’s important to understand that there is not one perfect set of lines that will suit all flyers and conditions.  Many factors can effect it:

  • The flyers weight -  A 50kg flyer may be perfectly suited with lines 25% lighter than the manufactures recommendations, while a 100kg flyer may need  25% stronger lines.
  • How windy is it?? - is it calm? blowing a gale?  or is it gusty and inconsistent?
  • The desired flying characteristics - do you want the kite to fly fast?  Or slow it down and give more response time?

Contrary to the sport and stunt kites the size of the kite is usually the least important factor, in selection of Power Kite Lines.  By their nature Power Kites are designed for TRACTION, and hence a single line may have to support:

  • The entire flyers weight plus extra inertia loads, caused by changes in momentum.  For example a boarder changing body position for a trick while airbourne.
  • The lateral sideways force generated by the weight of rider and buggy being pulled from a low angle.  Again these can change considerably with changes in momentum and direction.

Hence power kite lines have to support a loading considerably greater than the flyers weight.  However there is a upper limit of size of kite (and hence power) that any rider of a set weight can hold down for a given wind.  Hence the strength of lines is by definition more related to the flyers (fully equipped) weight, than the kite size.

Kite manufacturers have to set up the kite to suit a wide range of conditions and flyers.   Hence they have to err on the side of caution, and offer stronger and shorter lines as standard.  Hence the lines that come with your kite are unlikely to be optimal for you, and the conditions you fly in, and by careful selection of lines you may be able to increase the performance you get from your power kite

Line strength

In general the Strength of the flying lines effect the kite in the following ways:

Stronger lines

  • Slow the kite down
  • Allow you to fly in stronger wind
  • Increase the minimum wind required to fly the kite
  • May decrease the response in low wind, as the lines sag. 
  • But conversely increase the response in high wind as there is less give and stretch

Weaker lines

  • Allow the kite to fly faster with less drag
  • Allow you to fly in lighter wind
  • Decrease the maximum wind you can fly the kite in
  • May decrease the response as there is more give and stretch in the lines
  • May break!

Line Length

On average power kite flying lines are typically in the range 20 to 25.  Line length affects the kite in following ways:

Longer lines

  • Slows the kite down, kite takes longer to respond, and turns slower
  • May allow you to fly in weaker winds, by finding more wind at greater height, or reach cleaner air above turbulence.
  • However the opposite can also apply as you need more wind to lift the weight of the lines
  • Increase the minimum wind required to fly the kite
  • Will decrease the kite response as there is more potential for stretch
  • The kite can spend more time in the higher wind part of the power window.
  • More thinking time to react and recover if something goes wrong.

Shorter lines

  • Speeds the kite up, giving quicker response
  • Will increase the kites responsiveness, as there is less stretch in the lines.
  • Faster through the window, and hence allows a larger kite to be flown in stronger winds as the kite has less time in the more powerful parts of the wind window.  This is good for getting upwind on buggy or board

Manufactures recommendations:

The following are the kite manufactures recommendations copied directly from the Manufactures website, and should be taken as a good starting point for selection of lines.

  • The lines are grouped into type then presented with the same power/brake (in kg) rating.
  • The recommended length (in metres) is shown in brackets if available.    

Four line fixed bridle power kites

100/75kg

  • Flexifoil Sting (x18m) – 1.2,  1.7,  2.4

135/90kg

  • Gin Yoz (x25m) - 1.8,  2.6,  3.8,  4.8 m²
  • Gin Yoz II (x25m) - 2.6,  3.8,  4.8 m²

180/110kg 

  • Ozone Yakuza  (x25m) -  2.2,  2.7,  4.3,  4,  5,  6,  7.3  8.6,  10,  12,  14 m²
  • Ozone Samurai 2 (x25m)  -  2, 3,  4, 5,  6, 7 m²
  • Ozone Fury (x25m)  -  2,  3,  4.5,  6 m²
  • Ozone Rio t (x25m)  -  3,  5,  7,  9, 11 m²

190/90kg

  • U-Turn Helium (x25m) - 1.8,  2.2,  2.6,  3.5,  4.4,  5.5,  6.6 m²
  • U Turn Oxigen (x25m) -  2,  2.5,  3.2,  4,  5,  6.2,  7.8 m²
  • U Turn Oxigen Pro (x25m) -  2,  2.5,  3.2,  4,  5,  6.2,  7.8,  9.7  m²
  • UTurn Butane (x25m)  - 2.5, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5,  6.5, 7.5,  9.0, 11.0, 13.0m²  
  • U Turn Nitro Evo2 (x25m) - 2,  2.5,  3.1,  3.9,  4.9,  6.1,  6.9,  7.7,  9.7,  12.2,  15.4 m²

200/90kg

  • PKD Buster (x25m) - 2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7 m²
  • Gin Yoz (x25m) - 6.2,  8.5,  10.6 m²
  • Gin Yoz II (x25m) - 6.2,  8.5,  10.6 m²

200/100kg

  • Flexifoil Rage & Bullet (x25m)  -  1.8,   2.5,  3.5,  4.7,  6
  • Flexi Blade (x25m)  (alt. = 250/200kg x 25m) –   4,  4.9,  6.5,   8.5   

220/100kg

  • HQ Beamer 2 (x25m) – 1.8,  2.5,  3.6,  5
  • HQ Crossfire (x25m) – 2.4,  3.2,  4,  5

300/100kg

  • HQ Crossfire (x25m) –  6.3,  7.7

Kite only

  • PKD Century (x25m) - 1.8, 2.5, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5 m²
  • PKD Century (x28m) - 6.5, 7.5 m²
  • PKD Century (x33m) - 9.0, 11.0, 13.0m²

Unknown

  • PKD Brooza  - 2,  3,  4,  5.5,  7.5 m²
  • Libre Speedy II  - 1.7,  2.1,  2.6,  3.8,  5.3,  6.8,  8.5,  11,  14,  17.5 m²
  • Libre Vampir -  1.8,  2.3,  3,  4,  5.2,  6.5,  8,  10.5 m²
  • Libre Vampir Race - 2,  2.6,  3.3,  4.4,  5.5,  6.6,  8.1,  10.2,  13.5 m²
  • Mac Bego 200, 400, 600
  • Mac Neptune 400, 600
  • Gin Eskimo - 4,  6,  8.5, 11.5  m²

Depower kites

300/300kg (brakes same as power)

  • Ozone Frenzy  (x25m) -   5,  7.5, 9.5, & 12 
  • Ozone Access  (x25m) -   3, 4, 6, 8, 10
  • Flexifoil Sabre (x20m + opt. 5m) -  7,  9.5,  11.5

Two line power kites

  • 70kg - Flexifoil Stacker6  (25m)
  • 90kg - Flexifoil  Proteam8  (30m)
  • 100kg - Ozone Imp (25m) – 1,  1.5,  2
  • 135kg - Flexifoil Super10 (30m)

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