Kiting is the Core
True mastery of the sport starts with learning to control the wing on the ground. Unlike with a rigid wing aircraft, before we can begin to even think about taking off, our wing must first be “built” and placed overhead in just the right position. While many aspects of flying might come natural to new pilots, kiting is a skill that has no real comparison to anything we learn at a young age (even flying a regular kite). So new muscle memories must be developed from the ground up.
Many students are surprised to discover that the flying is the easy part. To get new pilots in the air quickly and keep them motivated through the early learning curve, we mix in flying with the kiting work. But students are encouraged to grab every opportunity to practice their ground handling (another term for kiting) skills in the beginning, as this will make every other stage of training much easier. Kiting practice doesn’t end here either. The best pilots view kiting as an art and continue to work toward perfection.
These are the ground handling exercises that you will dive into right away:
- Gear inspection, prep and layout
- Pre-inflation body position
- Forward inflation
- Light wind “taxiing”
- Reverse wall building
- Reverse inflation
- Reverse kiting
- Forward kiting
- Wing shut down
- Emergency procedures
Be prepared to get a great workout! You will be using muscles you didn’t even know you had, and each kiting session will leave you with a terrific sense of accomplishment.
Once you have the basics down (again, kiting mastery is a lifelong pursuit and we don’t expect that from you here), you will begin adding launch skills in training block 2.