The term "framed kite" is used to embrace any kite that uses a rigid frame to support the sail. There are many different styles of framed kite, but they can be split into sub-categories to make life a bit simpler. Of course many designs cross these categories, but it gives a starting point.
Delta kites are a group that are shaped like an isosceles triangles coming to a point at the nose of the kite. There frame consists of leading edge spars running down the wing edges, a spine running down the centre of the kite from the nose to the tail and a spreader that fits across the sail between the two leading edges and holds the sail open. In flight, the sail fills with air to form an aerofoil. They usually have a keel that gives added stability in cross winds. They are usually very easy to launch and fly well in light winds. Smaller versions usually benefit from a tail, and the "easy fly" type has a tail that forms part of the kite. Smaller versions of these kites are ideal for children as they require very little set-up
Sled and Flare Kites
The main difference between these two styles of kite is that a sled kite just has longerons, sticks which run from the leading edge to the trailing edge, and use the wind to hold the kite open. Flares have an added spreader to hold the sail open to the wind. The obvious drawback of a sled is the tendency to collapse in cross winds. Sleds and flares can generate huge lift, and are often used for lifting inflatable kites and other things such as cameras. as with deltas, sleds and flares come in all shapes and sizes, and require little set-up. in fact, a sled requires no set up at all, whereas a flare just requires the spreader to be inserted. Both of these styles of kite are usually flown with some form of tail or drogue.
This group of kites includes the most traditional diamond kite amongst many others. he frame is not bowed and does not have a dihedral. These kites are inherantly unstable and require something to generate drag at the rear of the kite. This is usually provided by adding a tail, or by moving the tow point on the bridle to the front of the kite so that the rear of the kite provides the drag. Examples of this type of kite include the della porta, hexagon, barn door, sode and chinese dragon
These kites use a bow to shape the kite so that the sail can spill air, and are much more stable than the flat kites. Many traditional kites fall into this category, including the Japanese rokkaku and edo kites. Usually the bow increases towards the rear of the kite creating a kind of tail effect that increases stability.
Box and cellular kite
These are complex kites where the sail is formed into boxes or cells. Any sail part that is horizontal, or has a horizontal component contributes to lift, whilst any part that is vertical or has a vertical component contributes to stability. These kites can generate immense lift from what seems to be a small sail area. These kites can be huge and many different designs were tried at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, as man experimented with flight. Probably the best known example is the Cody war kite, developed by colonel Samuel F. Cody and tested by the british navy for lifting observers from the decks of ships.
This final group of kites covers two line and four line maneouverable kites. The most common and popular four line kite is the revolution. There are many variants of two line sports kites ranging in proce from a few tens of pounds to several hundred pounds. In the hands of an experienced pilot the kites can be made to perform intricate maneouvres and tricks. There are many competitions held for sports kites including individual and team precision and ballet, trick outs and trick parties. they require some hand-eye coordination too master, but once mastered can prove very rewarding.