A system of different lines connects the bar with the kite.
The Line System of a Kite is composed by:
- Frontlines/Centrelines: Keep the kite in the air.
- Backlines: Power, depower and steering of the kite. K y ‘Q xg’ W
- Connectors (Pigtail): Connections between kite and lines.
- Bridles: Setup of lines including pulleys to balance the kite properly. Often part of the safety system and support powering/depowering ability.
- 5th Line (just in some kites, usually C-kites): Safety system, additional stabilisation of the front tube.
Kite Line length
The length of the lines defines the kite’s flying radius. A current standard line length is between 20 and 27 metres.
For special conditions it can be used shorter/longer lines.
Short lines are used in high wind speeds. Wind window become smaller, the kite has less power and is more agile and direct.
In low wind speeds, short lines are used for teaching
as the kite cannot generate too much power.
Long Lines are used to increase the wind window, the kite’s
flying distances and speed. Upwind abilities in light winds increase.
Standard Line Lengh
Manufacturers use 20-27 metres as standard line length, which offers well balanced kite characteristics with good upwind abilities.
Colour coding of lines
Depending on the manufacturer, the lines (right/left/middle/back and 5th line) have different colours or colour patterns so it’s easier to recognise and sort them.
Pigtails / connectors
At the end of each line there are small connectors (also called pigtails) that are thicker and replaceable. They protect the lines from wearing out excessively due to the constant opening and closing process. The
same goes for the connectors (pigtails) at the kite.
Kook proof system / connectors
Using a simple trick, manufacturers have found an easy and secure way to connect kite and lines:
- Colour coded pigtails: the pigtails and the corresponding connector at the kite have the same colour to show which one is right or left.
- Knots and hooks usually are placed alternating. In this way, centre lines connectors cannot be attached to or swapped with steering lines connectors and viceversa.
Checking line length
A line and setup check to make sure all lines have the same length.
Generally lines stretch a bit, especially during their first hours of use, or under extreme loads (e.g. Kite Loops).
According to manufacturers the lines are already pre-stretched, however it still takes some flying hours until all knots and other connectors have reached their final length.
lt is necessary to check the lines’ length frequently, to ensure an optimal and well balanced kite setup.
Experience has shown you should check new lines the first time after lO to 20 flying hours, then at least once before each season, or after a longer kite break (holiday trip etc.).
IMPORTANT: Line check service is provided by kite schools and repair shops, but you can also do the check yourself (as shown in almost all kite manuals).