Kite control systems

Kite control systems

Kite types, kite mooring, and kite applications result in a wide variety of kite control systems; contemporary manufacturers, kite athletes, kite pilots, scientists, and engineers are expanding kite control systems.

Single-line kite control systems

High-altitude attempt single-line control systems

On-board angle-of-attack mechanisms were used in 2000 altitude record-making flight; the operators' designed adjuster limited kite line tension to not more than 100 pounds by altering the angle of attack of the kite's wing body. The kite's line had a control: line payout meter that did not function in the record-setting flight. However, some special tether line lower end used some bungee and pulley arrangements to lower the impact of gusts on the long tether. Control of a kite includes how other aircraft sees the kite system; the team placed a radio beacon (using two-meter frequency detectable for 50 miles) on the kite; for sight visibility, strobe lights were hung from the kite's nose. Control via use of reels and pulleys become critical when tension is high; the team had to repair and replace parts during the flight session. [ [ New World Record! A single-line delta kite used special angle-of-attack control device.] ]

Auxiliary controlling of single-line kites

Auxiliary devices have been invented and used for controlling single-line kites. Devices onboard the kite's wing can react to the kite-line's tension or to the kite's angle of attack with the ambient stream in which the ktie is flying. Special reel devices allow kite-line length and tension control. Moving the kite's line lower end left or right or windward or anti-windward forms part of the control system of single-line kites. Devices at the kite's bridle can be set to alter the relative lengths of sub-bridle lines in order to set the attitude of the kite so that the kite flies at a certain posiiton of the potential positions; this can be done for one setting while the kite is readied for flight; but Kenneth C. Howard invited a device that can be operated on single-line kites during the flight session for variable settings:

This may be done by rapidly and repeatedly slackening the string 19. In the first described form of the invention the resulting tilting movement of the control arm 14, and the action of the pawl 22 on the teeth II, causes 15 the arm to progressively rotate around the plate 10. Thus, any desired rotated position of the arm 14 may be attained for making the kite 29 climb, dive, or fly to the right or left. [ [ KITE CONTROL Kenneth C. Howard] ] .

Fighter-kite control systems

The traditional fighter kiting with single-line control dominates kite fighting while multi-line kite fighting is yet a minor activity. The human operator of the single line aims to master movements (tugs, jerks, releases, directioned movements) in order to have the unstable kite temporarily move in one direction or another. The intents of the controls are offensive and defensive; escape from an attack or position for an attack. The building of the kite so that motions by the kite's human operator or pilot allow a temporary limited stability takes special care. [ [ The Art of Gudiparan bazi. Afgan kite fighting.] ] [ [ Kite Fighting. Bangkok, Thailand. Pakpoa and Chula kites.] ] [ [ A Tribute to Fighters] ] [ [ Korean, Japanese, Brazilian, Cuban, Thai and Malaysian Fighter Kites] ] [ [ Indian Fighting Kites] ] [ [ Kite Fighting in Afghanistan Video] ]

Notable historical kite control systems

Wright Brothers used a quad-line two-handled kite control system

George A. Spratt triangle control frame for any towed or free-flight kite system

[ [ George Spratt] ] [ [ Biography, George Spratt] ] [ [] ]

Paresev's mass-shifting via pulley-routed cables from a control stick while kite pilot hung from the kite from a single tensional point

Blue-Hill Observatory piano-wire kite controls

Bensen's gyrocopter kiting control system

Barry Hill Palmer's several manned-kite control systems

Of seven to eight experiments, Barry Hill Palmer found several control systems for foot-launch hang glider in 1960-1962. He finally came upon what George A. Spratt already had found for aviation and any hang glider: triangle control frame or A-frame in front of pilot while pilot hung from a tether either in a seat or harness for various positions; the mechanical arrangement precluded invention in later years for the same. Many others would find the same mechanical arrangement for mass-shifting for Rogallo hang gliders and derivatives; these free-flyign manned kites or hang gliders used the wing for the kites from the Fleep or Paresev or derivatives of that branch of stiffened flexible wings. [ [ Barry Palmer's Sevtec Sev Surface Skimmer Program] ]

Piloting moderately long-lined power kites

Power kites are controlled by 2 to 5 lines. The simplest systems provide steering by pulling either end of the kite. More lines can provide different functions. These are:

* braking: A line pulling the trailing edge down causes a braking effect that can be used either to make the kite turn quickly if applied to only one side, or to bring the kite down if applied symmetrically.

* adjusting the angle of attack: Pulling on lines attached to the front edge of the kite will reduce the angle of attack and thereby reduce the pull of the kite.

* distorting the kite: Useful when the kite is lying on the surface of the water. A fifth line is occasionally used to do this and thereby makes relaunching much quicker and easier.

The lines attach to different controllers:

Rings or wrist loops

These are commonly found on smaller foils.

Two-Line Bars

These are found on LEIs, target kites, and other recreational, and special-application kite systems [ [ KITE CONTROL ASSEMBLY E. V. KINSEY] ] [ [ CARNWATH ROTATING KITE J. R. CARNWATH] ] . They almost always have a wrist leash attached to one of the lines so that the kite will come down if the bar is released.

Three-Line Bars

These are found on some foils. Lines from the ends of the bar attach to either side of the kite and the third line attaches to the rear edge of the foil. This line passes through the bar and is attached to a wrist leash via a cleat to lock the brake off until the bar is dropped. This bar design was never developed by the major manufacturers due to the complexity of the design however an advanced model is now commercially available from K-trac,

Four-Line Bars

These are found on LEIs, Bows and some foils. This system provides angle-of-attack adjustment. There is usually a semi-permanent attachment, known as the chicken loop, fastened to the kiter's harness via the front lines. Releasing the bar while still attached to the chicken loop causes the kite to assume its minimum angle of attack and therefore minimizes the pull generated. There is usually a safety mechanism so that the kite can be totally depowered by detaching from the chicken loop whilst still hanging on to the kite by a leash attached to one of the lines. There are many variants on this system.

Five-Line Bars

These are essentially a 4-line system plus a fifth line attached to either the leading edge or trailing edge of the kite. A trailing edge system causes the kite to travel to the center of the power zone and thus re-launch with a lot of power. A leading edge system is used both as a depower and a relaunch device. It can be used to lower the angle of attack for depowering. For relauch it can be used to assist rolling the kite into the proper position.


These are commonly found on 4-line foils. Each handle is a bar with a line attached at each end and each handle controls either the left or right side of the kite. They are held at the top where the power lines attach. Brake lines attach to the bottom of each bar and go to the rear edge of each side of the kite. These provide a braking function "not" an angle of attack function

Power kiting control systems patents

* [ Kite control systems John D. Bellacera]

Control systems for barrage balloon kites (kytoons)

Target-kite control systems


Control systems for manned autogyro kite

Controlling indoor kites

Control systems for cargo-ship kite tugs

Control systems for electricity-generating kite systems

Ladder mill control systems

Electric-generating water kites control systems

Large-diameter wheel electric-generating control systems

Control systems for Magnus-effect kite generator

Other kite electric generators' control systems

Control systems for the kite hang-glider

Piloting short-tethered free-flight man-carrying kites: hang gliders, non-powered harness

Unlike the long-lined power kites used in extreme kiting sport, the focus in this section is the short-lined framed large kite (see the kite paraglider for the unframed sort) [ [ Rogallo’s Wing] ] [ [ by Craig C. Freudenrich, Ph.D.] ] [ [ "Hang GlidingIt's Not Just For Hanging on to Dear Life Anymore" by Angelo Mantas.] ] [ [ Historical Background.] ] . The kite line or "hang line" for best controlling the flight of the hang glider kite needs to be carefully lengthed; then the line frequently splits to two, three, or four main tethers that connect to the hung kite operator's or pilot's harness. Mike Meier, respected kite glider author wrote How "To Get The Right Hang Height" [ [ "How To Get The Right Hang Height" by Mike Meier] ] NASA used mass-shifting in the Paresev hung-pilot aircraft with a stiffened-frame kite; the hang tether was also stiffened; differently, in sport hang gliding kite systems using the short hang line, the hang loop or first section of the hanging kite line is a flexible webbing; then the main lines to the harness are cords and sometimes webbing that are flexible. Control of the attitude of the kite's wing is achieved frequently by the pilot's grabbing the kite's stiffened airframe part called the [Triangle control frame|control frame] and pushing or pulling the kite's airframe left or right or forward and aft in various combinations; this control system is most commonly called "weight-shifting" although mechanically the situation is altering positions of mass to alter the center of gravity of the entire system relative to the aerodynamic center of pressure in order to effect leaveraging moments to control the flight.

The place on the kite airframe where the tether is tied is very important as in all kites; such connection or bridling takes into consideration the aerodynamic center of pressure and the system's center of gravity. A key article by Mike Meier "Pitch Stability & Center of Mass" Location by Mike Meier [ [ Pitch Stability & Center of Mass Location by Mike Meier] ] focuses on this concern of control.

While flying the kite hang glider, there are times during flight instruction that instructors will have the student fully release from holding the triangle control frame and simply and only hang. The hanging (gravity pulls the student's body downwards and results in a tensional tugging of the kite's wing) student experiences that the properly bridled and trimmed wing will fly stably [ [ Flight. The student experiences that the letting go of the control frame will let a properly trim allows stable flight still to occur.] ] . However, since gusts occur, the student learns that hands-off flying is not the normal status--rather the kite pilot almost always is handling the control frame. Light bar pressure [ [] Freedom. Light bar pressure deemed important for longer X-C flying.] . [ [ How To Control a Hang Glider in the Air.] ]

Control system for short-tethered kite hang glider with wing tugged by a hung powered harnessed operator

Here the unpowered kite is tethered to a pilot who arranges to have a harness to which is attached a thrusting prime moving engine or motor; the total system is a [Powered hang glider|powered aircraft] while the kite itself remains unpowered (very differently is when an engine is mounted on a wing). The control system includes the control system of the similar system where the pilot is not thrusted by a harnessed prime moving engine or motor, however in controlling flight, adjustments for center of mass are respected. Further, while the pilot's thrust is on, the pilot positions so that the kite's kite line is angled so tugging of the wing is accomplished in the familiar kiting manner where the kite line begins upwind and angles upward downwind (relative wind is to be the wind in attention here) [ [ Powered Hang Gliders: Climbing & Airspeed] ] [ [ Effect of FLPHG Engine Thrust on Bar Position] ] [ [ FOOT LAUNCHED POWERED AIRCRAFT (FLPA) TRAINING SYLLABUS - POWERED HANG GLIDING] ] [ [ Flying the Mosquito] ] [ [ Four Years With a Powered Harness Richard Cobb - 2005] ] .

Piloting hang-glider kite under tow by a powered airplane

Piloting hang-glider kite under static-line tow by a powered ground-based vehicle

Here the tug kite line stays the same length during the kiting operation. [ Static Line Towing] Here the ground vehicle driver has special control duties; the kited hang glider person controls the kite in some ways different from other tow methods; careful distinctions are learned in professional instruction. Controlling things when unexpected events occur is a large part of instructions.

Piloting hang-glider kite under ground-based powered-winch tow with line being reeled

The complex control system includes the operator of the winch. The length of line starts long and then gets shorter as the winch reels the tug line; this alters the control decisions by the kited hang glider pilot. Instruction for controls is avaialbe for new winch operators and hang glider pilots who want to be so kited. Distinguish this method from static-line (tug line stays same length during the tow). The control system for the shortening-the-tug-line method of kiting is different.

Piloting hang-glider kite under bungee launch

Bungee launch control systems for kited hang gliders has its own special details. The tug kite line is very elastic; when tensed, the line is long; during use for launch, the kite line shortens. Controlling the kite's wing attitudes is up to the piilot who frequently is hung from a short kite line while controlling a triangle control frame or other airframe part or even aerodynamic surface controls. Professional instruction is highly recommended. Inelastic portion of the bungee assembly is used to help guard against what can happen if the bungee breaks and snaps back toward the pilot; a tug-line parachute can be used to lower the speed that the released bungee will fall. Bungee launch is used most frequently for launch off slopes when free-foot-launch is not easy (site structure or pilots who have not the use of their legs), or for flatland short-flight demonstrations. [ Hang Gliding - Bungee Launch]

Piloting hang-glider kite when using pay-out winch from towing truck

Control systems for the kite paraglider

The non-stiffened Francis Rogallo parawing, the Domina Jalbert founded parafoil wing, or other modified fully flexible wings (Barish sailwing, KiteShip wing, parasails, modified conical parachutes) do not lend themselves to a mounting of a prime moving engine or motor to them; rather the kiting lines to the unpowered wing terminate below the wing to a static or mobile anchoring; that anchoring itself may be with its own active thrusting engine or motor or the anchor (which could be payload, pilot, or both payload and pilot) may simply fall by gravity force--and thus by gravity tug the wing through the ktie lines. When the payload or pilot is simply falling without adding a prime moving engine or motor, then the kited flexible wing is a paragliding wing; when the payloard or pilot [ [ Comparing Ultralight Aircraft: Choices, Choices. Author sees what is nearly a cliche by those understanding: paraglider is a kite.] ] is additionally arranged with a thrust engine or motor, then the kited unpowerd flexible wing with such thrusted payload or pilot is a powered aircraft system or powered paragliding system. The control systems are varied for particular applications (ranging from lowering military payloads, Automous Powered Paragliders or drones, sport paragliding, sport powered paragliding, scale-model paragliding, scale-model powered paragliding) [ [Powered Paraglider UAVs] ] [ [ About Powered Paragliding (PPG FAQ)] ] [ [ Powered Paragliding] ] [ [ Powered Paragliders - 101 Uses] ] [ [ Paraglide Instruction] ] [ [ Ozone ] ] [ [ Frog guru turns 60] ] . All variations have in common the unpowered kite whether or not the payload and/or pilot is powered.

Piloting short-tethered free-flight fully-flexible unpowered kites: paragliders, non-powered harness

Piloting short-tethered free-flight fully-flexible kited paragliders with powered harness or powered paylod carriage

Piloting paraglider kite under tow by a powered airplane

Piloting paraglider kite under static-line tow by a powered ground-based vehicle

Piloting paraglider kite under pay-out-of-kite-line tow by a powered ground-based vehicle

Piloting paraglider kite under static-line tow by a powered water-based vehicle

Piloting paraglider kite under pay-out-of-kite-line tow by a powered water-based vehicle

Piloting paraglider kite under ground-based powered-fixed-positioned-winch tow with line being reeled

Control systems for the kite: governable gliding parachutes (close cousin to kite paraglider)

. The wing remains unpowered and kited by bridle tethering lines; the lines attach to platforms or harnesses. The size and design of the kited wing is customized for the final type of use where packing, opening, and sink rate are important feature. Control systems are specialized for the specific use. Control systems sometimes include radio control from remote locations.

Control systems for kite paravane or water kite

Control systems for unmanned weapon paravanes

Control systems for commercial-fishing paravanes

Control systems for scientific exploration paravanes

Control systems for sport fishing paravanes

Control systems for kite aerial photography (KAP)

Control systems for manned paravanes

Towed seated hydrofoiling control systems

CUBA and recreational skin-diver paravane control systems

Control systems for space photon and plasma kites

Scientists on one type of solar kite take pride that there will be a miinum of moving parts to control the movement of the solar kite through space and around the earth, moon, comet, or other solar system body. [ ESA CONTRACT 17679/03/NL/SFe Solar Kite Mission Feasibility Study EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Authors: C. Jack and C. Welch] A collection of scientists and engineers are expanding the definition of what is a kite; the solar kite described by authors C. Jack and C. Welch has the inertia of the mass of the kite providing resistance against photonic flow; also, the controlling of the kite to alter the kite's acceleration sets up a kiting scenario: cause the kite to deflect away from the pull of gravity to keep the kite flying intended path supports the inclusion of the solar sail as a kite in photonic flow. The kite is fed start data; the kite tracks the stars and operates three elemets to control its attitude to effect its deflections to result in the flight path desired by the ground-directing kite operators. The position of the payload is changed to alter the relative positions of the kite's center of pressure and center of mass; this is done in part by piezoelectric actuators. Also, the struts that hold the centered payload are differentially heated; such causes one of the struts to become longer than the cooler struts and thereby changing the center of mass relative to the center of pressure of the kite. Further, to cause an attitude change, tiny photo thrusters (heated wire) tweat the attitude of the kite; such thrusters do not propel the kite, but are only used to change the attitude of the kite's sail. These mechanisms aim to give authoritative control at minimum power use for giving direction to the kite. Working solar kite groups are considering at least seventeen means of control of the solar kite/solar sail. [ West Group] . Solar sail designing including a list of control options.

Kite Control Patents

* [ US Patent 2613894]
* [ US Patent 4280675 Controllable kite Lynn M. Davis et al]
* [ US Pat. 3138356 KITE CONTROL Raymond L. Mcclain]
* [ US Pat. 2556877 KITE CONTROL Kenneth C. Howard]
* [ US Pat. 2613894 KITE CONTROL Howard]
* [ US Pat. 4129273 Kite control mechanism Donald R. Hill]

See also

*Aircraft control
*Aircraft flight control systems
*Barrage balloon
*Bow kite
*Domina Jalbert
*Foil kite
*Flight controls
*Flight control surfaces
*Flight instruments
*Flight planning
*Francis Rogallo
*Indoor kite
*Hang glider
*Kite mooring
*Kite types
*Kite line
*Kite applications
*Kite aerial photography
*LEI kite
*Power kite
*Kite buggying
*Kite landboarding
*Man-lifting kite
*Speed sailing
*Paravane (weapon)
*Paravane (water kite)
*Triangle control frame


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