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May Weekend Part 3

Apparently it is “kite” weekend around Boston, with a Franklin Park Kite and Bike Festival on Saturday ( and another one on Sunday at Revere Beach ( you wondering what makes kites fly so nicely on some days, and crash into trees and birds and the grounds on others? Have no fear, science has the answers!

Because kites are heavier than air, there are a number of parameters that must be considered before they will fly: lift, weight, drag, and thrust. Lift, which refers to the force that pushes a kite into the air, occurs because the air on top of the kite moves faster than the air underneath it. This difference in air pressure causes a lift. Weight just refers to how much the kite is affected by the gravitational pull of Earth, which is related to the mass of the object. Thrust, which is forward motion, and drag, which is motion in reverse, also have to be optimized in order for a kite to fly successfully. A complex-sounding process, for sure.

What kind of weather is good for kites? Some wind is necessary, or the kite won’t stay in the air, but too much wind can get really tricky very quickly. Kite flying experts suggest that days with mild to moderate winds (6-15 miles per hour) tend to work best, especially for beginners.

Interested in learning more about the science of kite flying? Check out these links below:

Curious what the world records are for kite flying? The longest kite in the Guinness book of world records is 5,000 meters, and the highest altitude that a kite has flown is more than 16,000 feet. In July of 2011, children in Gaza flew more than 15,000 kites simultaneously, which set a new world record for that achievement ( Pretty impressive, right?

Have fun, and go fly a kite today!

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