The Great Kite Debate

19' Teknacolor Delta Kite by Prism Kites.

19′ Teknacolor Delta Kite by Prism Kites.

Delta kite or parafoil? Which is the easiest to fly?

We’ve been having a bit of a debate here at Kitty Hawk Kites about this. On the one hand our buyer, Rachel Sanchez, has stated deltas are the easiest; the writer of this blog concedes that deltas are a great beginning kite but favors a parafoil.

Either choice is a wonderful kite for children, families or anyone who wants to put a kite in the sky and enjoy the beauty as it dances in the wind, so this is a debate of small portions of degree, not huge differences.

Delta Kites
Delta kite.

Delta kite.

Shaped like a triangle, delta kites are easy to assemble with three struts, two on the leading edges of the wings and one to hold the wing struts in place. With their flat surface, they capture the wind very effectively meaning they fly in light winds.

Because they have a flat surface, they are offered in an extraordinary array of designs and patterns—pirates, Disney characters, birds, multiple colors; the list seems infinite.

A 56” delta is a good place to start; their wind range is listed from 5-18, they don’t pull too hard and in a wind over 10mph a tail can be attached to make things a little fancier.

Parafoils
Parafoil 5 in flight.

Parafoil 5 in flight.

A parafoil has no struts, using the wind to fill baffles and lift it into the sky. Struts can be replaced, so breaking one is not the end of the world, but when flying with young children, it’s nice to know you don’t have to worry about that.

The shape is not what people often envision when they think of a classic kite, but don’t let that be a barrier. This is a remarkably easy kite to set up, it is virtually unbreakable and it packs into a small, easily stored bag.

For really young kids, the Parafoil 2 is probably a better choice—very light pull to the kite, it’s not quite as stable as the Parafoil 5 which adults and kids over nine years of age may prefer. The Parafoil 5 has enough lift that it can be nicely decorated with tails and spinners.