There are many shapes that can be made into kites.
Diamonds, deltas, and box kites are the most common. There are fish kites, dragon kites, bird kites, and butterflies. There are ship kites, airplane kites, rockets and parafoils. There are sleds, airfoils, and angel kites. There are so many kites that Dr. Suess could have written a whole book about them and would not have had to make any forced rhymes.
Creating a design like a fish kite is not necessarily a simple matter. Kite shapes need a certain amount of symmetry (equal sail area on both sides of the kite string) in order to make them stable in the air. Also the point where the string attaches to the kite must be arranged so that the general motion of the kite when placed in the wind is to go up (rather than down). These factors seem obvious, but for someone not experienced in kite flying or aerodynamics it can take considerable experimentation to come up with the right design.
This is why prepackaged kites are so popular. There are many beautiful and spectacular kites available in the marketplace. There are also fun little original kites like mini bird kites that are fun, durable, easy to fly and very inexpensive.
Most quality kites on the market will have their sails constructed with ripstop nylon and their spars made from fiberglass. You can actually buy these materials to make your own kites. When you have had some practice using more "primitive" materials used in designs presented on this website, you may wish to start sewing together your own kite designs. The advantage of ripstop nylon over newsprint is that nylon is a much more durable material. Fiberglass spars are certainly as strong as dowels, they are also more flexible and, perhaps most importantly for kite-flying, a fiberglass spar is far lighter than a wooden spar.
A favorite shape is the ship kite. This one amazes people who can see it in the distance. Yet it makes sense that a ship kite can fly as wind power had been the primary means of propulsion for sea transport for thousands of years before the advent of steam. Made from light and durable materials and well-designed, these kites are not even that difficult to fly. Assembly can be a bit trying for the beginner, and this is not a kite that you will want to break down after every expedition to the park. Even so, it is beautiful and is often used as a decoration in the manner of a flag or a wind sock.
For sled kites, no assembly is required. This is because they only have two spars that run vertically on the back of the sail, and they have no cross brace. Sleds require a bit more wind than diamonds and deltas because the rely on the wind to keep the spread in the sail area. They are generally very inexpensive, and many people are attracted to them because of their dual tails.
Dragons don't so much look like dragons, as they remind the average person of the shape of a Chinese dragon in a parade. Most often they are not decorated like a dragon. Dragons have a fairly large sail that tapers-and-tapers so that it is impossible to know where the sail ends and the tail begins. The huge sail area actually makes these a relatively easy kite to fly. Because they can be 35 feet in length and even more, they make quite an impressive show.
Parafoils are a kind of mix between parachute and kite. Often they are built to be controllable and in their larger manifestations are used to pull carts, water craft or even to lift people right into the air. However, to safely fly these kites requires a degree of experience and training.
All of the kites shown on this page are made by New-Tech.
The Story of Richard Babley
How to Make Your Own Diamond
Us Flying a Diamond
Delta Kite Design
Delta Kite Test Flight
Box Kite Design
Box Kite Test Flight
How to Fly a Kite
KiteFlyerInfo.com was created primarily to highlight some original kite designs using basic materials such as newspapers, dowels, and packing tape. But it has also become a repository of other useful information about kite flying. Use the navigation links at the top of the page to find out about some of the many different kinds of kites. Just above are links to some of our kite designs as well as some interesting info we have gathered.