How Does Weight Affect Your Kite’s Performance?
I’m sure I’m not the only kitesurfer out there that’s wondered how much the weight of a kite will affect the way it flies. Thanks to Reinhart Paelinck’s research and this article from The Kiteboarder Magazine, some of the myths have been busted. Two different kite models in two different sizes were put to the test and evaluated in the areas of turning speed/radius, flying speed, pull and stability. However, in order to get the most accurate results, a day with consistent winds was necessary.
In order to measure the pull of the kites, Paelinck used a strength measurement container, anchored it down and connected it to the chicken loop on the control bar. The results found that with smaller kites, there was no negligable difference. But with larger kites (19m) there was a different of almost 11kilograms of pull which resulted from the higher induced drag. A heavier kite requires more lift in order to keep flying in the air.
By testing the kites over 20 seconds, while connected to the strength measurement container, an average pull was calculated to determine the stability. Size didn’t play as much of a factor as did the model of the kite in stability.
In order to determine flying and turning speed, the kites were flown by hand with a video camera capturing the footage which was then analyzed. Larger, heavier kites obviously had a larger turning radius with a slower reaction time. The test results concluded that the light-weight material used in higher quality kitesurfing kite models positively affected the performance of the kite. But the size of the kite had an even greater affect.
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