The Bristol Kite Festival

One Of The Biggest, Best And Oldest

The Bristol Kite Festival, officially the Bristol International Festival of Kites and Air Creations is just one of many International kite festivals around the world. In most cases, they are held once every year.

How can I sum up everything that this massive event is, in just a few lines? I'm going to try! The Bristol festival is...

  • 2 days of non-stop wind-driven flying, art and culture, both air-based and ground-based
  • a partnership between the festival and the Bristol Children's Hospital charity
  • a forum for international goodwill and showcasing the world's best in kiting
  • a platform for breaking world kiting records, such as 'the largest kite to fly'
  • an excuse for any member of the public to go out and fly their favorite kite as part of the festival

Having existed for more than 20 years, each year tends to have the same main features as the year before. But I'm sure the organizers try to get hold of something new and even rather special each time!

Regarding the last point in the list up there, this Rainbow Kid's Delta Kite on Amazon would have to be a good choice, going by the reviews.




Bristol Kite Festival Highlights

I can feel another list coming on... Here it is, a summary of some great things that were planned for what happened yesterday and the day before! Yes, after finally getting around to writing the first draft of this page about the 2007 festival, I discovered that it all happened last weekend. :-/ On the opposite side of the planet... I'm in Adelaide, South Australia, you see.

  • Wallace & Gromit drew attention to the hospital charity in a special angel kite show
  • large, spectacular sea-themed kites wowed the crowd, including a 30 meter long multicolored manta ray
  • kite surfers demonstrated their extreme sport
  • traditional Japanese fighting kites engaged in aerial combat
  • more extreme sports - traction kites pulled buggies and land boards
  • kite-making workshops were held for the kids
  • a massive kite flew, in fact the world's biggest kite, the size of an Olympic swimming pool!

On that last point, did it actually fly? Hopefully it did, at some stage over the 2 days. It can't handle strong gusty wind.

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Carbon Diamond High Wind Experiment

    Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM

    This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.

    The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.

    For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.

    At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!

    And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.

    Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe the value on offer in that message series!

    Read More





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