On a crisp autumn day, what do you like to do? A brisk walk in the woods is always fun, since you can enjoy the beautiful colors of the leaves as they change and begin to fall. Autumn temperatures are also perfect for playing outside before winter comes and forces you to stay inside.
If you're playing outside and a breeze begins to blow, it might be the perfect time for another fun activity. What are we talking about? Flying a kite, of course!
Even though flying a kite seems like just a fun activity, it can also be educational. In addition to learning about the engineering of kites themselves, you can also learn about weather and basic physics.
For example, how much wind does it takes to fly a kite? After all, you do need wind, right? Can you have too much wind?
How much wind it takes to fly a kite will depend upon a variety of factors. For example, what shape is your kite? Some kites are designed to be very aerodynamic, which means they make the most of the slightest breezes and don't need much wind to get airborne.
How much wind you'll need will also vary depending upon the size and weight of your kite. Large kites tend to need less wind, since their large surface area enables them to catch more wind. Heavy kites, however, will need more wind to lift their weight up into the sky.
Experts agree that most average kites will fly well in light breezes of 4-10 miles per hour. As a general rule, there's probably enough wind to fly a kite if you can feel a breeze on your face. Another good way to measure the wind is to look for rustling leaves and waving flags.
It's definitely possible to have too much wind to fly a kite, though. If you can hear flags whipping in the wind, see entire trees swaying, and feel like you're about to be blown off your feet, it's probably not a good day to fly your kite. Even if you launched it successfully, harsh winds would play havoc with it in the air and likely damage it by sending it crashing to the ground without notice.
Even if you have a perfect light breeze to fly your kite, you'll want to make sure you're flying it in a wide, open space. Otherwise, you're likely to encounter bumpy winds called turbulence. Turbulence is caused by wind moving around obstacles, such as trees, hills, and buildings.
Staying away from obstacles will make your kite-flying experience more enjoyable. As a general rule (the "rule of turbulence"), you'll experience turbulence for up to 10 times the distance downwind as an obstacle is high. So not only do you have to avoid obstacles, but you have to steer clear of them for long distances!