Power kite

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Kitesurfing in strong onshore winds off the north shore of Oʻahu in Hawaii. Note the windsurfer catching the wave break.

A power kite or traction kite is a large kite designed to provide significant pull to the user.

They come in three main forms: foils, leading edge inflatables and supported leading edge. There are also rigid-framed kites and soft single skin kites. There are several different control systems used with these kites which have two to five lines and a bar or handles. Most foil kites are made for use on land as they are "opened celled" so air flows in and out easily; this can be used as a safety feature to depower the kite. There are a few exceptions for this with new foils that use closed cell technology; they float on the water while you relaunch.

Power kites are generally used in conjunction with a vehicle or board, such as in:

Research is also under way in the use of kites to generate electric power to be fed into a power grid.[1][2][3][4] Laddermills[5] are a type of airborne wind turbine. Kites are used to reach high altitude winds such as a jet stream, which are always present, even if ground level winds available to wind turbines are absent.

Power kite video

Kites of related design are used for sailing, including speed sailing. Jacob's Ladder, a kite-powered boat, set the C-Class world sailing speed record with a speed of 25 knots (46 km/h) in 1982, a record that stood for six years.[6] A kiteboard was the first sailing craft to exceed a speed of 50 knots (93 km/h) in October 2008.[6]

Power kites range in size from 1.2 to 50 m2 (13 to 538 sq ft). All kites are made for specific purposes: some for water, land, power or maneuverability.

See also[edit]

Illustration of LEI (R), bow (L) and foil (T) power kites


  1. ^ Jha, Alok (2008-08-03). "Giant kites to tap power of the high wind". The Observer. 
  2. ^ Martinelli, Nicole (2009-12-28). "Generating Power From Kites". Wired.com. Condé Nast Digital. 
  3. ^ "Competitors for kite generated wind power". Next Big Future. 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  4. ^ "Kite Power". Optimisation in Engineering Center (OPTEC) Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  5. ^ Jha, Alok (2008-08-03). "Giant kites to tap power of the high wind". The Observer. 
  6. ^ a b "500 Metre Records". WSSRC Records. World Sailing Speed Records Committee. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 

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