Kite - Knebworth Country Show 2013 (9484355833).jpg

Kite – a tethered aircraft. The necessary lift that makes the kite wing fly is generated when air flows over and under the kite’s wing, producing low pressure above the wing and high pressure below it. This deflection also generates horizontal drag along the direction of the wind. The resultant force vector from the lift and drag force components is opposed by the tension of one or more of the lines or tethers to which the Kite is attached. The anchor point of the kite line may be static or moving (e.g., the towing of a kite).

Kite Museum, Weifang

War kites

  • unarmed war kite – the object is to capture your opponent’s kite by entangling its tail in your own string. To do this you must make your kite dart under the twine of your enemy. As soon as it darts let out string rapidly enough to keep your fighter under control, and at the same time allow it to fall to the rear of the other kite. Having accomplished this, drop your ball of string and pull in hand over hand, as fast as possible.
  • armed war kites – The “cutters” of an Armed Kite to be attached to the tail are made of sharp pieces of broken glass called knives.

Engineering ideas

  • aerodynamics, stability, lift, drag, high pressure, low pressure, tension, force vector

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • Build kites from the instructions provided
  • adapt a kite design to take advantage of materials available today
  • Pyramid kite with straws, string and tissue paper.
  • [/Make%20a%20kite Make a kite] with green garbage bags and sticks

Learn more…

  • American Boy’s Handy Book – Kites – Man Kite; The Woman Kite; A Boy Kite; Frog Kite; The Butterfly Kite; The King Crab Kite; Fish Kite; The Turtle Kite; The Shield Kite; A Star Kite; The Chinese Dragon Kite; The Japanese Square Kite; The Moving Star.
  • Handicraft for Outdoor Boys
  • Kite Making Plans – dozens of kite plans, many published in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These are classics and are still being built by kite enthusiasts today.
  • Interactive Kite Modeler – study the physics and math which describe the flight of a kite. Choose from several types of kites and change the shape, size, and materials to produce your own design. Change the values of different variables which affect the design and immediately see the new flight characteristics.
  • Aerodynamics of Kites