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· Lead time for kites can be short (2 to 5 weeks), but it's often longer (6 to 12 weeks or more), depending on the number and sizes of kites already on order plus, a chaos factor. Since the situation can change over the course of a single day, lead time is well-nigh unpredictable.
· We make kites only after receipt of payment; not in response to telephone requests alone.
· LIMIT: Two kites per order.
· We do not do free repairs or supply free replacement parts, and we don't re-build kites made by other people even if it is claimed they were made by us—worn out, UV damaged, rotted, oxidized, shredded, severely stretched or otherwise mis-shapen kites cannot be repaired.
|Please remember to supply a contact phone number for all deliveries outside the UK|
The kite is an experimental scaled-up Wildcard >
The line is an integral part of the kite+line system.
Line is chosen on the basis of both the size of the kite and the wind it flies in. You need light line for small kites and heavier line for big ones, and for any given size you need light line for light wind and heavy line for strong wind.
Rough guide to choosing flying lines:
For light wind, use a breaking strain (in pounds) of 2 to 3.5 times the square footage of the kite (rounded to the nearest square foot).
5 or 6 times the wing area is "normal," while for stronger winds use 8 times or more.
Typical flying line: braided polyester. It has low stretch (~4% max) which gives good responsiveness. It's reasonably priced, though price varies with quality. It's made for fishing and therefore readily available. Go for uncoated line, or a non-sticky coating. Waxed line can stick to itself on reels, requiring you to pull the line off by hand in light breezes.
The cheapest lines are twisted nylon and monofilament nylon. I still use some old twisted nylon on one reel. Although initially it's a little too stretchy, it's durable and really good for tying knots. Monofilament, also commonly used for angling, is relatively inexpensive, and because it's so smooth gives good flying angles. However tempting, it should be avoided for serious kite flying. While safe to use when brand new, it can part suddenly without warning after it's been used a few times. All it takes is one little innocuous kink to weaken it at a point, creating a stress concentration. You probably won't notice anything until it's too late.
Top of the food chain are the so-called "high tech" lines. These are aramid and coramid fiber lines with sensational strength for their thickness. They go by a variety of trade names. A line that looks like dental floss can have a breaking strain of nearly 200 pounds. Low weight and minimal drag mean high flights and stupendous flying angles, and with almost zero stretch kites flown on them are super-responsive. They do not come cheap, and there are a couple of other downsides to them in addition to cost.
One is that they can be downright dangerous, especially on big kites that pull hard. Think cheese cutter. They have been known to lop the top off the metal frame of a baby's pram. They've sliced through gloves, skin and tendons. And they cut through themselves wherever there's pressure, i.e. at all knots. These lines must be threaded through sleeves of braid wherever knotted, which means field repairs require not only advance planning but also a significant time slot. Some flyers feel the gain in performance is worth the effort. In light winds these lines are peerless, and in strong winds their drag is minimal, so kites can climb to much steeper angles than they could with ordinary line. 1,000 feet of 80lb twisted nylon has about 4 square feet of surface area and significant weight. The equivalent high tech line is much thinner and lighter, and can virtually double the performance of a kite in any wind, but heavier ones with a higher breaking strain than necessary are usually chosen for the extra margin of safety.
The force the wind exerts varies with the square of the wind speed. With light line you'll get the steepest flying angle and the best possible performance in light winds and thermals, while heavier lines give more steadiness and stability in breezier conditions.
For example, consider line 1/16th of an inch in diameter. 1,000 feet adds up to over 5 square feet of surface area, which equals a fair bit of drag in addition to its shear weight. Modern, super-thin, high-tech aramid or coramid line makes a very significant difference in light winds. The reverse is true for strong winds. Extra-heavy line helps to counter-balance the pull, and the line's inertia and drag help keep everything steady, leaving the kite more manageable.
So, having a selection of lines is most useful, but if you have only one reel, the trick is to have kites for different winds that all require the particular line you've got. In practice, especially if all one's kites are within a particular size range, 2 or 3 lines cover most situations.
Kite lines can break suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes it can take no more than a quick jerk or tug from a thermal, or a burst of turbulence. Sometimes there's an almost invisible weak spot on the line, or some small cut or wear. The line may even be brand new. As the Scouts say, "Be prepared."
Watch when winding line onto reels - make sure it goes on evenly and flat; nurture the habit of winding with a side-to-side action so you don't have to watch it constantly. The objective is to avoid a buildup of coils of line at the reel sides, which can roll off under tension. The line can then pull underneath and get severely stuck in what we call a "bird's nest."
Through normal use, kite lines eventually develop weak spots. Always keep an eye on your flying line as it goes out or comes in. Be on the lookout for frayed spots, cuts, pronounced kinks, surface abrasion - any damage that could weaken the line. Cut these out then-and-there and use a Blood Knot (or Double Grinner) to join the line. A small, sharp pocket knife (or scissors) comes in handy in the field, as does a cheap lighter for melting the raw ends of knots after trimming - in a pinch it could all be done with just a lighter. Replace worn out line before it breaks!
The last few yards of line at the swivel end is most likely to show signs of wear, and can be chopped off periodically, re-tying the swivel; this job is best done at home.
Never leave discarded sections of old flying line in the field.
Bear in mind that line won't be stronger than the weakest links, so it pays to learn a few good knots. Fishermen have an arsenal of excellent knots; for the rest of us a good knot book is a useful reference. Try to find one that indicates the relative strengths of the knots, and look for knots between 90 or 95 and 100% efficiency. Many common knots actually weaken the line, reducing its strength by as much as 50% or more.
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|Plastic Kite Spools|
|UK delivery for spools: £ inc VAT|
(£3.33 w/o VAT)
|Assorted reels handmade in Germany are available from Kites4U (link to Kites4U opens in a new tab/window)|
Dacron is the trade name for this synthetic fiber in the US. It is also known as Terylene in Britain and most of the British Commonwealth. In France it's Tergal; in Japan Tetoron; in Russia Lavsan.
|Line Guide: 50-55lb for Little Bears & Whirlwinds in light winds, 55-88lb for Clippers in light winds and Whirlwinds & Wildcards in light-to-medium winds, 110-140lb for Wildcards in breezier weather, and anything up to 200lb (or even more) for Troopers
|Outside the UK delivery cost varies with destination - export orders are normally by Air Mail / Packet|
|Ockert Climax Dacron Braid (Germany)|
Ockert "Climax Black" lines (black flecks on white) are thin, strong and hard wearing, soft to the touch, and knot beautifully. Ockert takes pride in these products and will analyze a suspected fault in their lab if you send it to them.
|Length||Breaking strain||Price excluding UK delivery and VAT||UK Delivery||Price including UK delivery and VAT|
Two 200m continuous lengths joined with Grinner Knot
4 x 100m spools boxed
|143lb test (65daN)||£35.65 ex-VAT||£5.60 per large box||One only
swivel not included - see swivels below
|Please endeavor to use only the strongest knots|
|HARDWARE: click on links for details|
|Swivels / Snap Swivels / Link Swivels|
|Snap swivels consist of two parts, a snap and a swivel. Many (though not all) ready-made snap swivels are sold with breaking strains based on the stronger of those two parts, not the weakest - usually a bulky swivel on a weaker snap. Now, with cheap, poorly-made Chinese copies made from inferior metals flooding the tackle market, you don't get breaking strains at all. Therefore I began making up my own, all suitable for kite flying.|
|UK delivery (up to a dozen items): 90p 2nd Class | £1.20 1st Class|
medium for 55 and large for 88-110lb lines
Medium for 50-55lb line:
40p each (33p w/o VAT)
Large for 80-110lb line:
50p each (42p w/o VAT)
|Snap Swivels for Light Lines|
|Hooked Snap Links on Standard Swivels
for 40-70lb lines
140lb-rated stainless steel snap link on 150lb-test Berkley McMahon crane swivel
35p each (29p w/o VAT)
140lb-rated stainless steel snap link on Japanese rolling swivel rated 175lb
40p each (33p w/o VAT)
|Hooked Snap Links on 100% Stainless Steel Swivels
durable and lightweight combinations for 25-70lb lines
|140lb-rated stainless steel snap link on tiny stainless steel 180lb-test Mighty-Mini swivel
50p each (42p w/o VAT)
140lb-rated stainless steel snap on small & light stainless steel 220lb-test Mighty-Mini swivel
55p each (46p w/o VAT)
|Snap Swivels for Medium Lines|
|Duolock Snap Links on Strong Durable Swivels
combinations for 80-110lb lines
150lb-test duolock snap link on 175lb rolling swivel
55p each (46p w/o VAT)
150lb-test duolock snap link on 220lb 100% stainless steel Mighty-Mini crane swivel
70p each (58p w/o VAT)
150lb-test duolock snap link on 250lb Varivas 'Power Crane' swivel
90p each (75p w/o VAT)
150lb-test duolock snap link on 411lb 100% stainless steel Mighty-Mini crane swivel
£1.00 each (83p w/o VAT)
|Extra-strong Snap Swivels|
Crosslock Snap Link Swivels
serious swivels for serious kiteflying on 100 to 125lb lines
|175lb-test American 'best quality' crosslock swivel
75p each (62p w/o VAT)
200lb-test stainless steel VMC crosslock swivel
£1.60 each (£1.33 w/o VAT)
Strong Coastlock Snap Swivels
for 125-150lb lines
Size 7 premium coastlock ball-bearing swivel
£3.00 each (£2.50 w/o VAT)
|Ready-made Lure Line Release Linkages for Falconry: click on links for details|
|UK delivery: 95p 2nd Class | £1.25 1st Class|
|Running SnapAways |
For clipping your lure line onto a Ringboom anywhere on the kite line
|On-line SnapAway Kit
|A Running SnapAway linkage with Ringboom
and Mini Carabiner
|£14.00 (£11.67 w/o VAT) Standard, with
sturdy 7cm carabiner clip
£11.85 (£9.87 w/o VAT) Lightweight, with
light 6cm carabiner clip
· easily attached - no knots
· won't damage kite line
· won't slip - shouldn't fall off
|£1.75 (£1.46 without VAT) with ring for |
SnapAways with adjustable clips
|Note: click here for Line Releases on the web|
|Spare Clips and Rings|
|UK delivery: 95p 2nd Class | £1.25 1st Class|
|Light 6cm Carabiner Clip||£2.00 each (£1.67 without VAT)|
|Sturdy 7cm Carabiner Clip
well-made in EU from good metal alloy
|£4.00 each (£3.33 without VAT)|
|UK delivery: 70p 2nd Class | 85p 1st Class|
|Adjustable Clip for falconry
· fits 13mm clear plastic O-rings
|£3.15 each (£2.63 without VAT)|
|3/4" OD alloy O-ring (13.5mm ID)||10p each (8p without VAT)|
|1" OD alloy O-ring (18.0mm ID)||14p each (12p without VAT)|
|13mm clear plastic "O" Rings
· choice of thin (2.0mm) or thick (2.9mm) rings
· to fit Adjustable Clips
5p each (£0.04 without VAT) |
10 for 40p (£0.33 without VAT)
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Deep sky reels, line, spools and swivels
In the US - but delivery world-wide:
Stockist of line, swivels, tubing, wind meters, spools, winders and the only proper "deep sky" reel I know of available anywhere
The reel pictured here was missing a nut (American standard threads, not easy to find here in the UK), which is why the screw head at the top is a bit loose.
It's always best to make sure everything is snug before using a reel for the first time, and to take tools along just in case something works loose in the field - especially when the reel is new. The central nut on the main axle and its counterpart out of sight inside the hand plate are the most likely candidates, but the nuts securing the knobs can work loose on a new reel, too, as was the case here.
Things can work loose on new reels of this type; it's worth taking one partially apart when it's new and re-assembling it to make sure everything is nice and snug before loading it up and putting it to work for the first time.
If I should ever need a new reel, it will be one of these
It's just the right size and capacity. It's smooth, well balanced, and doesn't wobble when it spins. It's almost an exact replica of the reels Gabriel at the Round Pond in London's Kensington Gardens made in the 1970s. I still use one of his originals; this one has a better finish and isn't even very expensive.
These plastic kite spools are the next best thing to proper deep-sky reels (see below). They're light, easy to carry and inexpensive. They hold plenty of line, and wind in a lot per turn. Letting line out with drag is easy, and the grip is comfortable for any length of time.
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Unit 13, 97A East Road, Sleaford, Lincolnshire NG34 7EH
tel: 01529 415700 | 07960 056678
web: Kites and More | Climax Lines
Unit A2, Whitecross Business Centre, Whitecross Lane, Shanklin, Isle of Wight PO37 7EJ
tel: 01983 868687 | fax: 01983 863329
|Two grades of Dyneema: "Dyneema X-Tension" and |
"Blue Marlin High Performance Braided Power Line" (tighter weave)
200m and 500m spools | reasonable prices
on-line shop: www.uk-hooks.com (click on "Braid")
The Chapel, Farleigh Road, Cliddesden, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG25 2JL
tel: 01256 812487 | Mobile: 07778 352825
|fax: 01256 812487 |
website: Kites Up
|Kiteworks UK ("Chalkie's Kites")
22 Cranfield Place, Delves, Walsall, West Midlands WS5 4PL
|Huge range of flying lines |
2 New Buildings, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 1HW
tel: 01455 230736
|Line, spools, materials, and reels |
website: The Highwaymen
|Veal's Mail Order
tel: 01275 892000 | 0845 644 1993 (local rate)
|Good selection of fishing lines of interest to kiteflyers including "Dynon 3000" |
on-line shop: www.veals.co.uk
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|Kaindl Windtronic 2
This is a favorite of mine - it suits my local swirly conditions by virtue of being omnidirectional - it's also very sensitive
the instruction sheet says it floats, so I presume that means it's rainproof, too
May take some shopping around to find
|My Windtronic 2 was on sale, but the omnidirectional Skywatch Meteos and Atmos can be also be recommended (for the same reason, although I don't see a Beaufort scale on the Atmos). A couple of websites list the Meteos as discontinued; nevertheless, there are still over 2,000 pages of references to them on Google|
|Andrew Jones (aka "Wilf"), co-inventer of the Flexifoil, made his own pocketable, hand-held, omnidirectional anemometer around 40 years ago. It had three folding, lightweight cups that generated a current through a small electric motor used as a generator, and had a hand-drawn scale that had been calibrated in the wind tunnel at Cambridge University. I thought it was ingenious. Incidentally, small directional wind meters use a spinning propeller whose revolutions are counted by a photoelectric cell, which is also interesting.|
|Into the Wind (USA)
|Skyview Systems Look for "Handheld Instruments"
tel: 01787 883138
Supplier of lightning detectors that can detect lightning up to 40 miles away
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