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Gone with the wind: A beginner's guide to kite flying

Apr 6, 2012, 8 a.m.

Kite flying is a great way to get outdoors for a little light exercise, some fresh air and the sheer pleasure of sailing through the skies. Here are a few tips for new fliers who want to get into the habit:

Pick the Right Kite

If you want to get really serious about kite flying, you might eventually want to build your own custom kite. Until that time comes, though, there are literally thousands to choose from, and believe it or not, the right shape and style counts.

It's a good idea to use a kite with a nice, bold color so that you can easily spot it in the sky. Red kites in particular are easy to see and easy to spot on the ground when they crash.

As for shape, there are a lot of different types of kites, but the most common are the diamond, delta (triangular), box, parafoil and dragon. Each one flies differently, so give them all a try until you know which one you like best.

Fly in the Right Weather

The best winds for flying are between 5-25 MPH. To spot this sort of wind, look for bushes and trees blowing in the wind, but wind that isn't strong enough to take your hat off. Anything lighter can't carry a kite, and anything stronger will make it very difficult to properly maneuver.

Find a Great Place to Fly

The beach or park is a great place to fly. If you live in a rural area you have more options. Obviously, power lines and telephone wires and highrise apartment buildings make it very difficult to fly properly.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Learning to fly is actually pretty easy. Stand with your back to the wind, hold the kite aloft and let a good gust pick it up to launch. Slowly unravel the anchor string to let it climb. From there you'll want to use intuition to get the hang of it. Just keep practicing and you'll be an ace soon enough.

Kite flying is a great hobby for seniors and, really, people of all ages. It's fun, it's free, and it's an excuse to get outdoors.

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