Cheap Delta Kite, Expensive String

by Davo

Had lots of fun with this Delta kite design. Lost several but no great $. Lost one kite over the sea due to bad knot tying - and I am a sailor. I had so much line out that as the line dragged on the water the kite climbed again and maintained 300m till lost sight. I wonder where it went. Lost a few due to eagles strikes.

Anyway the basics are as follow... (forget the expensive premade stuff as they are heavy and do not fly that well).

1 meter dowel is cheap at hardware stores pre-cut to exact lengths. So is drop sheet plastic (used for protecting furniture when you paint) and plastic packing tape. A simple Delta kite relatively small held together with soft wire though holes in the dowel (burnt though with a hot nail over the BBQ) flys great. Wire straightens when it hits the ground saving the dowel and sail.

Add 1000m of Spectra line at 25dan and thermal up to great heights. Personal record 525m. Yep the line is the expensive stuff but you can always retrieve most of it.

Would love to hear from anyone doing similar stuff. Would like to develop a height record which has a limitation to 1 meter spars or sail area. Need a challenge. Any ideas?

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by: Anonymous

Hi Davo,
With a kite of this size, 1m2 with 1m spreader, my personal record altitude is 1602m. Flew with 2.4 km of 0.2mm line. Here is the altimeter read out:

Was the 3000m flight on 3000m of line, or was it 3000m UP? How did you measure?

Night Flying
by: Dave

Tried the flashing lights trick, worked well to 400m then lost sight. Great Delta design (model 22) 120 degree nose angle with a hole in the middle similar to a Box kite. Light stable and high line angle. 100cm spars, 29cm leading edge gap cross bar set 30cm back. Approx 0.9m2 sail. Definitely need a strobe.

High Flying Kites
by: Mike Brown

Hi Davo

Saw your comments, replies as follows

1 - the 25 metre tails, were fitted for stability, 3 at the edges of the delta and in middle. We were not sure about the wind conditions higher up, so fitted these tails as additional drag to prevent the kite "swooping". Not something you want it to do at those heights!

The Delta, was of a basic design, using ripstop nylon for the sail and a combination of 6 and 4mm hollow carbon fibre tubes for stiffness. Nothing fancy, just practical - and it worked!

2 - I used 0.54mm Dyneema line (yellow braided) for the control line. I would appreciate any alternative suggestions as to line to be used, but found this best for my needs.

3 - There are many single flashing LED lights on sale for kites, that usually clip on to the line. Makes for a good sight when you attach 30 or 40 to the kite line and send it up. Just imagine a multicolour snake weaving about in the night sky. Very eye catching.

4 - We home-made some very bright lights using a double ring pattern of 20 x 4watt LEDs. To power the setup, we attached a mobile phone battery (Nokia N95) to the circuit board to power it up. This was attached to the base of the delta, using "nappy safety pins"(big).

I really find the thought of sending up a kite while out at sea. That would be a good buzz.

Hope this helps.



Wow I've got a lot to do
by: Davo

Thanks Tim and Michael.

Will be heading back to Australia next year so I had better get going on some height flying. It is limited in Europe to 150 m but with a see though plastic kite and flying over sea at night ...well I won't say much more.

Love to know more information about Michaels 3000 meter flight. What is 25 meter stability? I assume it is a 4 meter Delta. What sort of string. Got a design. I am up to design number 17 and looks like I have a winner. (lost most of them).

Love the idea about the flashing LEDs I am working on it now. Any other hints?

High Flying Kites
by: Mike Brown

Hello Davo

Good to read you are having great fun with flying your Delta's to good heights.

I was based in Beijing China, where height and stability does matter.

When the locals used to watch all you heard them say was "zola, zola" (meaning "let it go out!!)
Most of the "low level" flying was done at between 750 to 800metres (no restriction in China - ANYWHERE!!!)

My personal record off my 40cm winder was 3,000 metres (ran out of line!!), with a 4metre delta and 25metre stability tails.

To keep track of the kite we used to fit High Intensity LED lights and a small telescope.
Then we where able to actually observe the kite and watch for the thermals and wind currents.
The only downside of ultra high flying was the fact it nearly took us 2 hours to get it back! I intend to modify the winder to accept a cordless power drill to enable easy retrieval.

Take care and keep on flying.



High flying
by: Tim Parish

Thanks Davo for writing about those high altitude adventures! I've a thing about flying my kites high as well :-) However, due to the influence of this site (to say the least), I can't condone breaking civil aviation regulations.

Nice idea about the altitude record setting - but it would have to be in areas where regulations don't apply, or perhaps where special permission is obtained. Here in Australia it's so strict it's not worth the bother. So I just fly under 400 feet AGL. :-(

How about rate of climb records? 'minimum time to legal ceiling, from a hand launch' and so on...

Anyone else want to leave a comment? (can't publish email addresses here, sorry)

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