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Cloud Catcher Kites
The SkyHook tm Modular Kite
David E. Rowe
Frequently Asked Questions, and Answers

Q: Don't the wings come off when the winds increase?
A: Never, absolutely never, under any circumstances, have the wings separated from the frame. For years, the kite makers have stressed double and triple stitched seams, but I got lazy and tried something different (Our Story). The "shear" adhesive qualities between Velcro strips are amazing, while the "peel" adhesion is only moderately tenacious. Try a simple test - hand one edge of a wing to a friend and you pull on the opposite side of the kite. When and if one of the seams gives way, you will realize you shouldn't be flying any kite under those stresses.

Q: Shouldn't I use a heavier kite line? Everybody else uses 80 lb. test or more.
A: We have found that a well made, well balanced, properly bridled kite does not pull very much, even in fairly strong winds. We fly our kites on 20 lb. test line and have never broken the kite line. That's one reason why we invented the modular kite - so you can adjust and change your kite, easily and quickly, depending on the wind conditions. We are always amused when listen to kite fliers bragging about their 100+ pound kite line. You won't want to hold onto any kite if it pulls that much, let alone wrestle with it. It's just too tiring and boring. Instead, relax, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and the gorgeous weather.

Q: My Cross Spars break every now and then. Am I doing something wrong?
A: Probably, but I'm the first to admit I break Cross Spars occasionally. The reason? I was flying the wrong kite configuration in the wrong winds. Also, make sure you have properly adjusted the bridle and use gentle tugs on the kite line.

Q: Why not use carbon composite longerons and cross spars?
A: Cost. We use 1/4" and 5/16" dowel because they are inexpensive and can be replaced at the local hardware store. We offer a composite cross spar (see Price and Retailers), and while we haven't broken a carbon fiber yet, they are comparable in price to a large bundle of wooden dowels. By the way, carbon composite longerons are overkill and not worth the expense. We're unaware of anyone breaking a wood longeron, except when someone stepped on the kite.

Q: You use Velcro everywhere. Other manufactures sew in pockets, etc. Why?
A: We experimented with cups, pockets, different hardware, and spar sleeve closures. One crash (it does happen occasionally), ripped the wing fabric. I didn't want to produce an expensive kite that destructs (it's bad for customer relations), so we invented our unique system. The advantages are many. If a kite crashes, sideways or head in, the Cross Spars Retainers and the Longeron Sleeves will "quick release" and pop open, damaging nothing. Try this with any other kite. You'll need a sewing machine.

Q: Why does my kite sometimes make long, arching swings through the air?
A: The wind, not the kite. Our "Windy City" really isn't windy (it got its name from our windy politicians 100 years ago), and the winds can play havoc with a kite. I have had wind change directions at least 90 degrees in less than a minute, and drop from 20 mph to zero in seconds. There's nothing you can do but stay with it. I must also add that steady winds can sometimes be found in a narrow band 50' or more above the ground. Seek them if they exist, and you can find them. Kite flying can be a no brainer, but with just a little bit of thought, you can make your time much more enjoyable. Once you hit that magic band of air, sit back, have fun, and get a sun tan.

Q: What's your favorite kite?
A: I tend to enjoy the double triangles (Blithe Spirits) most. They are amazingly stable, and I've never seen another kite that even comes close to looking like ours. Put them on a double frame and they are wonderful to see and fly.

Q: Do your wings and frames come in different colors?
A: That's something we wrestled with when we decided to go into production. With something as simple as a modular wing, why not cut and finish them in every color available. Upon reflection, the inventory problems would be monumental - mine and the retailers. Once we begin turning out thousands of these a month, perhaps we will. Until then, if you need a special kite, contact us. We can do it at a moderate price.

Q: Why don't you make some flashy stunt kites?
A: The patent is there to make them, but we're not interested. Playing Pac-Man among the clouds isn't what we like to do in our spare time. Serenity is a marvelous virtue, and having said that, my kids will tell you I'm nonstop and in constant motion when "sitting" on the beach. You should see me when I'm not relaxing!

© 1998,1999 Cloud Catcher Kites & Andrew B. Cramer