Kites come in many shapes and sizes, from rhombuses to dragons. They are flown for their beauty, and in some parts of the world, for the sport of kite fighting. Just how much weight can a kite hold?
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The size of a kite determines the force the kite can generate and thus how much weight the kite can hold. Consider a kite that is 3 feet across and 5 feet tall. It has an area of 7.5 square feet. Its lift would be approximately equal to:
where is the wind speed, and is the angle to the wind measured in degrees.
If we hold the kite at an angle of in a wind of 30 feet/second (20 miles per hour), it will be lifting close to 80 pounds. Better hang on!
Now that you have gotten a glimpse into the aerodynamics of kite flying, take a moment to watch the aerodynamics behind spacecraft landings at work. In the video below, follow NASA on a trip to Mars to see a wonderful display of composite polygons and tetrahedrons in action.