Authors: Tal Streeter
Date Submitted: August 31, 2004
Article Type: Journal

Without diminishing the unique magic of a kite in flight, what actually enables it to fly, to remain suspended in the sky, escaping earth’s gravity?

Although the kite has been around for thousands of years, the answer to this question of an object which flies is relatively recent. There are adherents to several scientific opinions, but the most generally accepted is one posited in 1738 by a Swiss mathematician, Daniel Bernoulli, who stated that “fluids in motion exert less pressure on their surroundings the faster they move.” For the kite’s flight, the key lies in the kite’s angle of flight which divides the passage of air above and below the kite plane. Bridle lines attached to a flying line (a kite is a tethered aircraft) are set so that the kite’s front edge is higher than the back. The causes the normal stream of air molecules (wind) through which the kite passes to be broken into two halves; air jumps over the top surface, speeding up, causing a low pressure area, while on the bottom surface, the air, comparatively speaking, is slowed down, creating a high pressure area pushing upward. The difference in high and low pressure is very slight, but sufficient to give the kite lift——a kind of vacuum above and push below to fill that vacuum. This aerodynamic principle is precisely the same as that of an airplane wing, a boat sail (generating a force which moves the boat forward), and a bird’s wing.

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