Delta Kite - One-Sided Crash

by Craig Ackerman
(Montgomery, PA, USA)


I have a flow tail Delta. When the wind gets overly gusty, the kite will dive. To the left every time, and crash.

The kite has three positions on the keel to attach the bridle string. The default is center. I moved the bridle to the top position but the kite acts the same.

Do you have any suggestions or is it just operator error or does this type of kite have this problem when the wind speed is too high?

Any suggestions appreciated.



This should be fixable, you will be glad to know. The fact that the kite goes left every time points to an imbalance somewhere. Definitely not 'operator error' :-)

Leave the tow point on the middle position for now, while you sort out the problem.

If you can, take out the leading edge spars and just swap them around. Go out to fly and see what happens. If the situation improves enough, you might be happy with that.

However, if the kite just dives off to the right every time now, just as bad as before, one spar is probably somewhat stiffer than the other. Trying to just 'feel' this might not be accurate enough, so secure both spars to a table or bench edge and hang a small weight off the end of each one. Identical weights of course!

With a little care, you should be able to figure out which spar bends the most. What you then need to do is sand or file down the diameter of the stiffer spar to match the other one in stiffness.

One problem I once had with a home-built Delta was a crooked spine - the center spar that runs from nose to tail. This is unlikely with a store-bought kite, but perhaps take a look anyway. Any slight bow in one direction or another? If so, replace it or try to twist it around by 90 degrees.

This should help you sort out the diving problem. However, keep in mind that at a certain wind speed, any Delta will go completely unstable! So there will always be a limit to how stiff the breeze can be, for successful flying.

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Wind Speeds

Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7