Delta single line kites

by Mike
(Central African Republic)

Q:

As a child I can remember having a shop bought Delta single string, amongst the many cheap single string kites that I bought with my pocket money at the end of each month. Without doubt the Delta gave me the the most pleasure.

My question is, I can distinctly remember having to insert each of the three dowels (the two leading edge dowels, and the keel dowel) into a plastic nose-cone. I suppose you could call it a "pre-spreader". Then, inserting the spreader dowel into two plastic fittings, about mid way down each leading edge.

I have noticed that your plans, amongst others do not include a plastic "pre-spreader". Are the leading edges secured at the apex at all, or are the leading edge dowel pockets, in concert with the spreader dowel, sufficient to keep the wings spread?

I have promised my nephew, that the next time he visits he will have a kite to fly. Hope I've made myself clear, not being an expert just yet involves a lot of words.

By the way, thank you for a most informative site!

A:

The designs that involve plugging the dowels into a nose cone are probably aiming at a little extra durability. The kite-buying public don't like kites that break too easily!

However, the classic Delta design actually calls for 'floating' leading edge spars that terminate quite some distance from the nose of the kite. Particularly in large Deltas, this results in an attractive self-adjusting mode of flight that looks more graceful than the antics of a more rigid design.

So it's up to you. From a practical point of view, it's actually easier not to bother with a nose cone of course! After cutting out the sail, you just fold the tabs over the leading edge spars, securing them with light tape. Also, the wing-tip ends are taped so the dowels cannot slip rearwards. The other ends of the leading edge dowels can probably be left unsecured, since the flight forces will try to push them rearwards.

The sail material does need to be reinforced around the nose area, since it is carrying some loads that a nose-cone would otherwise carry.

Best of luck with your up-coming flying sessions with the nephew! Try to avoid windy weather though, since all my Deltas fly best in light winds. Maybe put together a box kite as well, to pull out if the wind proves too strong for your Delta...

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Wind Speeds


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
38–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6