They say the Wala can fly in Zero to Twenty miles per hour of wind.
(Does this sound too good to be true?)
In wind from 3 mph to 20 mph the Wala is easy enough to fly for us to place it in our “Family Kite” category, yet you can spend an hour or so to learn the basics of low-wind 0 to 2 mph techniques required to make this kite fly indoors and yes, even in zero wind. The Wala makes an excellent gift for the novice or advanced kite flier. (Originally called the “Aerobe” the name was changed to Wala in late 2009.)
Before I get carried away, (and you know I will) I need to point out that in addition to possessing indoor/zero wind flying ability, the Wala will fly fantastic, just like a “normal” kite, in winds from three miles per hour to about 20. Just attach the line and tail and watch it soar. But the Wala is much more that a normal kite. It can fly indoors and in zero wind!
So what is zero wind kite flying, and how can it be possible? Don’t kites require wind to fly? You are kidding right?
In order for a kite to fly, the air around it must be moving over it’s surfaces at a sufficient speed to create enough lift to over come kite (and its lines), combined weight and drag. In a basketball arena where the wind speed is zero, we can simulate wind via continuous movement of the kites anchor point, (that’s you a the end of the line, just like a boat anchor). When we move the anchor (again that’s you) the kite will “think” or “experience” the air around it to be moving. Move the anchor fast enough and the kite will fly like a bird.
I know what your going to say, “well that’s no big deal any eight year-old kid can tell you that if you run fast enough a crummy old dime-store kite will fly!” “If I wanted to huff and puff until I had a heart attack, I’d enter a marathon. I just want to fly a kite darn you!” To that we reply, exactly! The truth is, kites do need air passing over their sails (wind) to fly but did doesn’t matter to the kite if the wind blows over the kite or if the kite is pulled through the air.
The beauty of a kite like the Wala, is that with its sophisticated design and space age materials, it is so light and strong, that even half a mile or so of “wind” will allow it to defy the forces of gravity and drag, soaring into the air.
Stay with me just a little longer here. A casual walk across your living room gets you going at almost two miles per hour, so a speed of .5 mph really is not that fast at all. Maybe you can fly indoors and not have that heart attack after all. The truth is that watching an experienced indoor (zero-wind) kite flier do their thing is more like watching a cross between tai chi and modern dance than watching a sprinter in the 100 yard dash. The more experience you have the less you have to move. Indoor kite flying is beautiful to watch and even more fun to do. It connects you with the world around you in a way that is pure magic. An experienced indoor kite pilot can, from the comfort of a chair, keep and aerobe flying 360 degrees around them with nothing more than upper body and arm movements. Now that is magic!
If after all this exposition you are still not convinced just watch the videos…
Look closely in the first video and watch how little the pilot actually moves.
Posted by Heiko Krippendorf on 19th Aug 2015
As said above, the Wala performs beautifully in low wind conditions. A word of caution: This kite does NOT like sudden gusts of wind stronger than 10 miles per hour. It will either be forced into a sideways flight or a nosedive. It can be turned around by running forward and giving it line at the same time, but that does not always work, in which case the kite will come down as far away from you as how much line you have out. So, don't fly it in gusty winds. It may perform fine in stronger winds that blow evenly, but I have not tested it in those conditions and can not comment on that.
But the low wind performance is fantastic and it still flies in conditions when all other kites lie uselessly on the ground due to lack of wind. Be advised though, that I do not use the line it came with, since it has too much wind resistance and reduces the flight performance. Instead I fly with ultra thin, 15 pound test braided fishing line which has close to zero wind resistance and allows highly nuanced control of the kite, even if it is hundreds of feet up in the sky. I also use I high speed reel, which can very quickly release line and take it back in. This is necessary to keep the Wala from wafting out of the sky if it should lose wind when straight overhead. I also added my own customized bridle line and took some time to find the sweet spot that suits my style of flying best. With these modifications, I was able to effortlessly fly it as high as I wished in one to three MPH wind and it floated across the sky like a lazy goldfish in his pond. Since it is sold as a low wind kite, which it truly is, I give it 4 out of five stars.
Posted by Brett on 10th Sep 2011
Experience level: BEGINNER
I just received this kite from Highline this week. I have purchased several generic kites from Toys R Us, etc. for my 3 1/2 y/o daughter and I to enjoy. They always had a very narrow windrange at which they flew and forget about it if the winds changed directions.
So one night after trying to fly this shirt-on-a-hanger with my daughter an her friend, I found Highline, read Tom's review, saw a video clip on the Aerobe, decided to cut my losses and buy a decent low-wind kite. The setup was easy and versatile as wind dictates. Right away, in swirling, low winds, I was able to fly the Aerobe easily. To boot, I felt like I knew what I was doing. My daughter and her friend were able to fly it themselves with no issues and they now think I am Kite King. My wife even gave me the nod of approval as well. Now I can enjoy the experience and not be frustrated with flying. I will be purchasing at least one more as I am intrigued by "stacking".
Thank you, Tom & Highline!
Posted by Jody on 24th Jun 2011
"Tom's Notes" are right on about the Wala. Now to save up for one of each color!