Kite Glossary

TermDefinition
Appliqué Ornamental shapes and figures cut from one fabric and sewn to another.
Batten A lightweight spar used for stiffening or adding curvature to a sail or wing. This serves to add effective sail area and reduce drag.
Bridle A series of lines that connect to the kite sail and frame to help support the kite and/or to orient the kite at a proper angle to the wind.
Carbon Today's spars are made of carbon fiber, which is a stronger material that is lighter and stiffer than fiberglass. Also know as graphite spar.
Dual Line Refers to sport or stunt kites that utilize two flying lines for control.
Fiberglass A material composed of glass fibers in an epoxy matrix. This is an excellent kite material that combines strength and flexibility with relative light weight. It comes in several forms from solid fiberglass rod to hollow tubes.
Frame The collection of carbon or fiberglass spars that form the skeleton of the kite.
Freestyle When a kite is referred to as "Freestyle" it is typically a good all round performer, capable of many tricks but having a generally steady pattern of flight. A style of flying which includes tricks of more or less difficulty put together in rapid succession.
Graphite A material composed of carbon fibers in an epoxy matrix. It is lighter and stiffer than fiberglass, however sometimes it is not as durable and it is more expensive. It can be found in solid rod form and hollow wound or protruded tubes.
Icarex A trade name used to denote rip-stop fabric woven from polyester fibers. This results in a cloth that is somewhat lighter and more fade resistant than nylon rip-stop fabric. The disadvantage I believe is the fabric is not as durable as normal rip-stop nylon.
Leading edge The spar on the side of the kite running from the nose to the wing tip.
Line Set The strings, which are used to control the kite. These lines come in a variety of weight and lengths. Stronger weight lines being used for stronger winds and bigger kites.
Moveable stand-offs Let you fine-tune the performance of your kite in different wind conditions. They control the amount of lift the kite generates and thus affect it's speed, turning, and precision.
Mylar laminate Is a lightweight, very low-stretch material that has revolutionized the sail making industry. It is lower in stretch than our woven fabrics, and we use it strategically to control the airfoil shape the sail takes under load. Used correctly, Mylar also prolongs the life of your sail by keeping it from stretching out over time.
Quad line Kite utilizing four flying lines for control. This allows a flyer the ability to not only steer left and right like a dual line, but you can maneuver the kite to fly sideways, spin like a propeller, and forward or backward in the wind window.
Rip-stop It is the type of cloth used for kite sails and is usually made from nylon or polyester. Rip-stop refers to the type of weave that incorporates smaller fibers with larger fibers creating squares of reinforcing fibers in the cloth which make it resistant to tearing. The idea being that a tear will stop at one of the reinforcing fibers.
Rip-stop polyester A strong, lightweight sailcloth developed originally for America's Cup sailboats. We use it in kites because it is exceptionally strong and lightweight with very low stretch. Polyester absorbs less water than Nylon, so you kite will stay lighter on humid days. It also has better resistance to UV rays from sunlight, so its colors will last much longer without fading.
Sail The cloth material or lifting part of the kite. The material is usually made from rip-stop nylon, polyester, or sailcloth.
Sleeving A short 'sock' which encloses the ends of flying lines and helps to preserve strength and prevent wear.
Spar The rod or sticks used as the frame of a kite.
Spectra® A synthetic fiber used in making kite line. It's best advantage is it's great strength to weight ratio and low stretch characteristics. It is more slippery than Kevlar allowing for more wraps in a line without loss of control or breakage. Two disadvantages are that it is expensive and due to its low melting point, it is easily cut by other types of line.
Spine The center rod that runs lengthwise down a kite.
Spreader These are the spars that run horizontally across the span of the kite opening the wings. Also known as a cross spar. Most stunt kites will have two lower spreaders, which run from the spine to the leading edge, and one upper spreader, which runs from leading edge to leading edge.
Stand-off A short length of carbon, or fiberglass which runs between the trailing edge and lower spreader, that serves to tension and hold the sail open. It prevents the sail from collapsing when flying a kite on the edge of the wind. It is sometimes called a whisker.
T-Connector Attachment where the spars for the spine and lower spreaders are joined.
Tail A length of rip-stop nylon, or plastic which is attached to the kite for visual effect or to cause drag on a single line kite. Also the term to describe the lower end of the spine.
Train Linking two or more kites together on a single line to form a train of kites. There are basically two methods of doing this. A conventional train of kites passes the flying line through the mid line of all the kites on the train. Not all kites are suitable for this method. Another method is called branch training. In this application, each kite has it's own individual flying line that is connected to a main trunk line. The kites fly themselves off the main trunk line appearing as branches of a tree.
Tow point The part of the bridle where the flying lines are attached.
Winders Lines are stored on winders. Ensure that when lines are wound on that you wind them off the same side of the winder. This will stop any twists forming in the lines. A figure 8 or pro-winder works best.
Wind range A term used to describe the range of winds that a kite will fly well in. Usually given in mph.
Wind window A half moon in which the kite flies, determined by the length of the lines. At the edges of the window the kite will slow and has a tendency to fall.
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