Stunt Kites :   Tips and Tricks

More Bridle Adjustment Tips For Your Kite

"I just bought a new stunt kite and it won't fly correctly if at all. After reading your bridle adjustment page , I suspect I may need to adjust the bridle, but I'm still a little confused by it all. Can you give me some hints on how to set this thing up for proper flight?"

Still confused by bridle adjustments after reading the bridle adjustment page?  Not to worry, lets try an analogy that will help you understand what the final goal that you're trying to achieve is.

If you've ever held your hand out of a car window on the highway you may already know more than you think concerning setting up a sport kite's bridle for enhanced flight. You will have noticed that if you tilted the top of your hand into the wind it started lifting your hand and arm.  When you tilted your hand too far into the wind it would have very little lift as the passing air would start escaping under the palm of your hand. As you tilted your hand slowly back so that your fingers were pointed straight up you may have noticed that the lift slowly decreased as you tilted it back. You may have also noticed that the force of the wind hitting your hand had become much stronger than when your hand was tilted forward a bit.

A delta sport kite reacts the way your hand did when you were "window surfing". If you have wind but your kite won't lift off, chances are the nose needs to be tilted into the wind by raising the bridle just as you tilted your hand into the wind above. Tilting the nose "too" far into the wind will have the same affect as above - you'll have reduced lift as the air easily passes under the trailing edge of the kite just as the air passed under the palm of your hand. Tilting the nose back by lowering the bridle has the same affect as tilting your hand back until your fingers were pointing straight up. Slowly the kite loses lift, just as when you moved your hand back, until there is no lift at all.  You want to find a bridle position that is tilting the nose of the kite into the wind enough to make it lift and fly, but not so much that it dumps the air under the trailing edge, if it is tilted too far back on the other hand, it won't lift at all.

A good place to start is to suspend your *fully assembled* kite by it's tow points from two clips in a work area with a picture in your mind that the wind is coming straight from the ceiling.  As you stand back and look at the kite, the leading edge and spine will be roughly parallel to the ground.
A good starting point is to have the nose slightly higher off the ground than the tail of the kite. You can use a measuring tape if you like, but just eyeing up the leading edge should work fine. If the nose is closer to the ground than the tail and your kite won't take off you've just found the most likely reason, you need to raise the bridle (slide the tow points towards the nose) until the nose is tilted into the wind (farther from the floor than the tail while hanging from it's tow points).

*Exactly how much further from the floor should the nose be as compared to the tail of the kite?*    Different designs will have different angles of attack "built into" them but a good rule of thumb might be to start with the nose 3 to 5 inches higher off the ground than the tail. That means if your kite is hanging from the ceiling by it's tow points and you measure the tail at 50" off the ground, you could adjust your bridle so the nose measures 53 to 55" above the ground. Remember that these are "starting points",  they are meant for the folks reading this article that can't get their kite to fly. After the kite is in the air it's time to fine tune: see the other bridle adjustment page for this.

After any bridle adjustment, it's important to check that both of the bridles are exactly the same on both sides. If one is higher than the other for example, that side of the kite will lift more and flight characteristics will seem unstable - not what a new pilot needs when just starting out! With the kite still hanging from it's tow points, a quick eyeing up of both bridles will assure you have them equalized.