Flying a Box Kite

This Demonstration illustrates the flight angle of a cubic box kite and the tension force in the string. The tension and the angle are affected by the lift, the drag, the surface area of one side of the kite (), the velocity of the wind (m/s), the mass of the kite (kg), and the string length (m). The coefficient of drag is related to aspect ratio (side A/side B) of the kite, which in this case is kept constant at 1. For simplicity, the coefficient of lift is assumed to be constant; normally its value would need to be found experimentally.
  • Contributed by: Jaeda C Sichel
  • Man and animal graphic provided by: Rachael L. Baumann
  • (University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering)


  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
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= drag force (N)
= lift force (N)
= tension force (N)
Force Balances
Lift and Drag Coefficients
In this Demonstration the coefficients of lift and drag and are assumed to be constant, which allows for the tension in the string to be solved for using the equations above. The wind velocity is .
(gravity) equals 9.8 .
(density of air) has units of .
(area of one side of the kite) has units of .
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