With the Kitty Hawk Kites 35th Annual Wright Kite Festival coming up this weekend, we thought it would be fun to grab a couple of the kites will be demo-ing and see how they fly. - By Kip Tabb
We understand that it’s a tough job to stand on the largest sand dune on the East Coast with the wind at your back and fly a kite on a summer morning . . . but someone has to make the sacrifice to get the facts out there.
A big thank you to Rachel Sanchez, kite buyer for KHK, for bringing some kites and a lot of expertise.
Weather: There was a brisk wind from the southwest this morning—probably about 15-18mph. Definitely not a day for finesse flying; this was a day to put the kite in the sky, zip around and hang on.
a. Prism Quantum
b. HQ comet
c. HQ Symphony 1.8
As entry level kites go, the Prism Quantum is a little pricey at $109.99, but it has a number of features that make it ideal for a novice user. The frame is almost 6’ in length and the sail area is fairly large—which will enable the kite to fly in relatively light winds. There is an adjustment on the yoke that makes it very easy to match where the lines are attached to wind conditions.
The frame is fairly stiff and very responsive—in fact, the kite could certainly take a new flyer through the basics into some intermediate flying.
In the 15mph or so winds we were experiencing, the kite was an absolute blast to fly. I wouldn’t recommend putting a 12 year old kid weighing 90 pounds on the straps—he’d probably be dragged across the dunes—but for a flyer with a little more experience, it’s a great adrenaline rush.
This is a true entry level kite, coming in at $59.99. The frame is a fiberglass carbon blend and it’s designed to take a beating. There is a tradeoff for that more rugged frame; it is heavier and coupled with a smaller sail area, the kite will not fly well in the light winds most visitors to the Outer Banks will experience at home.
It flew beautifully this morning. This would have been a great day to take a young kid on dune and hand him or her this kite and give them their first experience flying a stunt kite.
The response is relatively predictable throughout the wind window and even during some of the stronger gusts, the pull of the kite was fairly light.
HQ Symphony 1.8
I admit it—I love power kites!
The Symphony is basically a two line parafoil—there is no frame whatsoever to the kite. The wind fills the baffles, and off it goes.
It is eerily quiet in flight, and its power is somewhat deceptive—you don’t even notice its pull until you’ve been flying it for five or ten minutes and become aware your arms are getting tired, you’ve dug your heels into the sand and your thighs and lower back are fatigued.
As power kites go, the Symphony is pretty responsive, but this is all about experiencing the raw power of the wind and not about precision flying.
I just had an absolute blast flying this kite.