Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News
Last month the title of this newsletter was 'Goodbye Small Kites'. Well, not completely... After completing the new mini-series of very large kites, the 2-Skewer designs will be re-done and tested. Those on-line instructions are looking a bit old now, and need an update if nothing else! A few small flaws need to be corrected.
Do you subscribe to the MBK site? If so, you will have already read the short flight report on the new 2-Dowel Sled. Big is beautiful, and pulls like a draft horse in even the lightest breezes! More on this kite further down...
Weather-wise, it's been the coldest Autumn here for more than a couple of decades. Winds have been generally quite light. Apparently, it's the season for ballooning, a sport done from at least a couple of locations not far from the city of Adelaide.
A few new pages have gone up this month, besides visitor contributions, with more great images from the Flikr community helping to illustrate the content. For example, check out this page on Parafoil Kites. Yeah I know, this newsletter is oriented towards single-liners, but there's no rule about excluding multi-line kites completely!
"Every new kite is an adventure!"
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Table of Contents
- Visitor Contribution Of The Month
- MBK Ebooks
- Kite Flying Report Of The Month
- MBK Kite Making News
- The KAP Kite Project
Visitor Contribution Of The Month
An easy choice this month! Greg, from the U.K., decided to up-size the Dowel Dopero to a 1.6 meter span, and use spinnaker cloth for the sail. On top of that, a striking Fish design was added in permanent marker, on the pure-white sail. This design is one of the most efficient fliers of all the MBK kites, and Greg's version didn't disappoint either...
Read his story about the Fish Dopero.
Why buy a printable eBook? Some find it easier to make kites from a print-out. Also, the How To... eBooks are very comprehensive, even including instructions on how to tie all the knots! All in the one spot, instead of having to click all over the website to find everything.
8 MBK Kites To Make - The Complete Dowel Series
8 MBK Kites To Make - The Complete 2-Skewer Series
8 MBK Kites To Make - The Complete 1-Skewer Series
The Adelaide International Kite Festival.2007 - 2009
Kite Flying Report Of The Month
Here's the short-format report on the very recent test flight of the new 2-Dowel Sled. If you have been following the MBK site for a while, you wil be familiar with the 1-Skewer and 2-Skewer designs. 2-Skewer meaning the end-to-end joining of 2 skewers to make a longer spar. In the same way, I have decided to name the new kites as 2-Dowel. One dowel end-to-end with another dowel, to make double-length spars. Of course, the nice thing is that these kites pack down to about the same length as the Dowel Series kites, despite having 4 times the sail area!
Oops, this section is supposed to be about flying...
Here's the report:
"Down at the reserve, winds were super-light and variable. To my surprise, setting the huge Sled up on the grass was very quick and easy. Mainly because the spars could be connected while scrunched up close together, side by side. No reaching over large areas of sail, trying not to step on it! The Dowel Drums worked a treat, slipping down into position to hold the spar joins rigid.
This Sled is 2.4 meters (nearly 8 feet) tall.
After a couple of tows and sink-outs onto the grass, my wife May started to help by standing upwind and letting me know what was happening. Thus, I could make the most of every slightly windier period that came through. Soon, the giant Sled was sitting up at about 50 feet, well above the tree tops. The tension felt like the weight of a full bucket of water! I just hope I can hang onto it in a moderate breeze...
The kite is based on the classic Allison Sled original, and it certainly seems well-behaved and stable. Occasionally, in lulls, a bit of turbulence would put a tiny fold in the leading edge on one side or the other. But they soon popped out. Without the central spar it might have been a different story.
Time to put some measurement flags on the 200 pound line and crank the thing right up to 400 feet! Maybe tomorrow.
We got heaps of photos and video. Newsletter subscribers will get to see some of this, very soon. At some stage, a full length flight report with photos and video will also go up, for all visitors to this website to see."
MBK Kite-Making News
Three very large kites are in the pipe-line, and will eventually form a sort of mini-series that will be an addition to the Dowel Kite Series eBook product. I've reached the point where the website provides an abundance of free material - kite plans and instructions in particular. So, most new designs from now on will only be available to those who are nice enough to purchase an eBook :-) Buyers deserve 'a little bit extra' don't you think?
Anyway, the new 2-Dowel Sled has come together rather quickly. There it is in the photo, on its very first outing. NO gluing, not a drop with this kite! 2-Dowel refers to the fact that each of its 3 spars are in 2 sections. Each section is at least 1.0DL long. The sections are connected with... wait for it... Dowel Drums! Up close they look quite chunky, but in the air they are dwarfed by the kite and look appropriate. All will be revealed when the eBook comes out on PayLoadz sometime in the next week or so.
The 2-Dowel Sled has such a long bridle that launching it solo requires some 2-line kiting skills, as you can see in the photo! It was an experience, keeping it balanced by letting line slip through each hand at about the same rate. With no gloves on, this is only an option in very light wind. I guess gripping both bridle lines at once is possible, but if one line gets longer than the other, correcting the situation could get tricky.
Using packing tape is a little different to electrical insulation tape, but the lack of elasticity did not seem to be a problem when fastening the dowel spar tips to the sail. I used exactly the same technique as described for the Dowel Series kites. We'll see how long it takes before brittleness from UV damage causes these areas to fail. On the plus side, I'm fairly sure the packing tape adheres a lot better over time than insulation tape.
The spars are 9.5mm (3/8") dowel, and the sail is heavy-duty builder's drop sheet. As in, drops of paint! Down at one of the local hardware stores, this sheet was available in blue, blue or blue. So I went with ... blue. Fortunately, the shade does not disappear entirely against a blue sky, being considerably lighter when illuminated by scattered light or directly by the sun. In the photos we took, it was actually harder to see against cloud.
The KAP Kite Project
This has stalled for the time being, but I have decided to keep this section in place. That's because something along these lines is going to happen sooner or later. Possibly involving that camera over there.
Mounting a camera on a Sled is possible, and in fact a lot more convenient with a 3-stick design like the MBK 2-Dowel Sled!
I would mount the camera about half-way down the central spar. This spar tends to be the last to contact the ground on landing, and in light winds would just ride gently to the ground after the side spars touch and the kite flops forward. In stronger breezes, you would have to bring the kite all the way in, on its bridle, and get it to 'clap hands' when close enough. Hence collapsing the sail and letting it flop to the ground on one side.
To visit The KAP Kite Project page to see exactly where things are at, you will need the password 'mbkkapkites'. Without the quotes of course. If you use the FireFox browser, it's an easy matter to just let it remember the password for the page.
I have added 2 photos and 2 videos of the 2-Dowel Sled. Take a look!
A Special Request For You <>...
Do you know of any great kiting websites that would be good partners for My Best Kite? I could really use the support of other websites linking to MBK, so just reply to this newsletter if you have any suggestions or contacts of sites you know will link to MBK and thus share the free resources around a bit further.
School sites are already starting to make use of MBKs kite-making tips - how about the school your child goes to?
Cranking up the age factor in the other direction, do you know of any retirement-based websites that would be interested in offering another activity to their visitors? :-) I'm not far off that age myself!
Thanks for taking an extra moment to consider this.
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Issued on Tuesday, May 31st 2011 Issue #0046
My Best Kite
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia
New! Comments Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...