Leech line, bridles and lines

1. The lines

Quelques caractéristiques

lignes - bride

To get an optimal interaction between the trick kite and the pilot, we need to pay plenty of attention to the bridle and the flying lines. It would be a pity to invest in good parts and fabric to get a real nice kite and then choose the wrong lines or bridle. You can take it from me: a bad bridle means bad and failing tricks!

Good flying lines are judged good at four points:

  1. The stretch of the lines: Because we need a sharp feedback from the kite and a short reaction time, stretching should be as little as possible (something like 5% is the maximum). So don't use cheap stuff like bricklayers nylon lines.
  2. The thickness of the lines : It is best to keep the lines as thin as possible. Thicker lines have more bad influence from the wind than thin lines. Thicker lines also have the habit of sagging quite a bit. A lot of crisp interaction is lost when the lines sag too much.
  3. The smoothness of the lines: During our flying the lines get twisted a lot, sometimes as much as 20 times. That makes the lines slide over each other and have some friction between them. Smooth lines make flying with twisted lines much easier. Lines that aren't smooth also generate a lot of warmth that tends to break lines sooner or later.
  4. The toughness of line: With all the sliding and friction, lines should be tough and have a high wear-out resistance.

The most used are lines from Spectra and Dyneema. These are light, UV-resistant and strong enough to last a long time. The basic colour is white, but these can be found in other colours (eg. blue). The strength of the lines depends on the use we have for them (indoor, vented kites), on average the 70 Kg pull-strength is used most.

Sleeves

It is strongly advised to sleeve the lines on those spots where the lines have knots and where there is some friction over the lowers spreaders. Having sleeved lines also makes it easier to connect the lines to the Pig Tail and the handles. Most pilots use different colours for left and right, so they can make a visible difference between those two.

A tip

On the kite side of the lines you can use sleeve lenghts of 2 meters, this will protect your lines against the wear-out from rubbing against the lower spreaders (certainly those rough 5PT's).

You can buy flying lines in ready-made sets, complete with sleeves and winders. Flying lines can also be bought on reels of 50 or 100 metres (or even more). This way you can make your own sets at your preferred length. That can vary from 18 metres (very responsive kite, small wind window) up to 40 meters (long reaction time, huge wind window).

Winders

Made of plastic and used to wind up your flying lines after use. To prevent the lines from knotting up onto itself we use a 8 shape/movement to wind up our lines. It makes it easier to unwind as well. Best practice is to start winding from the handle side of the flying lines. When you want to fly your kite, you can attach the lines to the kite, walk backwards unwinding the lines and start flying when you reach the handles.

Watch Out

Not all flying lines are pre-stretched. These can be stretched for by pulling them strongly and evenly. This will make your lines stable in length. Some years ago flying lines got uneven in length by using them for a while. Today's lines are manufactured better, it's just the cheaper lines that need some length-checking, do this each time you start a flying session. Uneven lines will stop you from flying straight lines and sharp corners. When you start to think that circles and corners aren't the same when flying left or right, check the length of your flying lines (and your bridle).

2. Bridle lines

This is the complexity of lines that stays on the kite. This will transfer the commands given on the flying lines to the right spot on the kite. In the factory, the Dyneema and/or the Spectra are covered with sleeves. The line itself is called 'the core'. The covering of the lines protects them when you knot them, because that is always a weak spot in Dyneema - Spectra lines and also prevents wear-out to some extent.