Physics and Astronomy


Folks making kites in China

Folks making kites in China

Indoor Kite Flying
Objective The objective is to fly a kite along a specified course in as long a time as possible.
Participants Teams of up to two.
Materials There are no restrictions on the weight or materials used for the kite itself. However any object which includes inflated bladders of any kind will be considered to be a balloon, and not a kite.

1. The dimensions of the kite (in flight) must be such that it can be put inside a rectangular space having dimensions 1.2 x 1.2 x 0.6 metres.
2. The flying line is to made of polyester thread no lighter than #60.
3. The flying line is to be no more than 7 metres in length.

The Course The course consists of a lane 1.6 metres wide, and about 30 metres long. Crossing this lane at right angles are three lines: the start line, the height line, and the inn's line. The height line and finish line are, respectively, 4.6 and 22.6 metres from the start line.

1. Teams will compete in pairs in parallel lanes, separated by about 6 metres.

2. The person towing the kite is to be entirely within the lane from the start of the heat until the kite crosses the finish line. The end of the kite line which he holds must move only in the forward direction, and must remain within the lane and below this person's shoulders. Zero time will be recorded for a team which violates any of these rules.

3. No sources of energy may be used to move the kite and keep it aloft, other than that provided by the pull of the flying line (no heat, no propellers, fans, etc.).

4. One person is to hold the kite so that no portion of it is behind the start line, above his shoulders, or outside the lane. Any violation of these conditions at the start of a heat will be considered a fault. The start of a heat will be indicated by the spoken words "one, two, three, go". The words will be spoken at equal intervals, and on the word "go", the person holding the kite must let go of it. If he holds on to the kite after the word "go", or if he imparts any motion to the kite in releasing it, it will be considered a fault.

5. In the event of a first fault, the heat will be restarted. A second fault will disqualify a team for that heat, and its time will be taken to be zero.

6. While the kite is between the start line and the height line it can be at any height above the floor, so long as it does not touch it. Zero time will be recorded for any team whose kite touches the floor over this portion of the course.

7. Once reaching the height line, every portion of the kite must be above the height of a line which will be on the wall parallel to the course, and must remain above this line until after crossing the finish line. This line will be close to 3 metres above the floor. Zero time will be recorded for any team whose kite falls below this height between the height and finish lines.

8. The stopwatch will be started on the word "go". It will be stopped when any portion of the kite crosses the finish line, and that will be the time recorded for the team for that heat.

9. Only one person may tow the kite, and no one else may enter the lane during a heat. However, other team members may coach the person towing the kite from outside the lane. In particular, each team will be permitted to have one member in the seating area of the hall, so that he can determine the height of the kite relative to the line on the opposite wall.

10. Prior to the competition, the judges will check the equipment to ensure that it satisfies the regulations. Teams with equipment that in the opinion of the judges does not meet the regulations will not be allowed to compete, unless they are able to change their equipment to meet the regulations without causing any delay.

After a team has qualified its equipment, it will be allowed one practice flight before the start of the competition.


This will be a round-robin competition, with each team meeting every other team. The winner of each heat will be the team whose time is the longest. Overall ranking for the event will be according to the number of wins. In the event of a tie, the team with the largest total time will take precedence.

Think about a prize for the best design and best decorated.

Kite Construction

AB is about 4 cm. All wood struts are 8 cm long 1/8" square balsa wood.

AB = 4 cm.

Web Site 20 Kites for 20 kids in 20 minutes
Type "Making Kites" into your favourite search engine.
Source London District Science Olympics. This event was designed by Don Moorcroft.

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