A Delta Wing Kite

Not So Hard To Make, In Any Size

A delta wing kite can look either bird-like or like an aircraft in the air, depending on its design. Some are rather rather rigid, and accelerate quickly this way and that in response to gusts in the wind, while others just float and loll about, distorting in subtle ways as the wind varies.

A Delta wing kite can be a very simple home-made effort, like this one.

Deltas are a pretty popular design these days, so they can be seen in a large range of sizes. The characteristic sail shape never changes much though, otherwise it wouldn't be a Delta!

Our little 1-Skewer Delta design requires a tail, but is then a good light-to-moderate wind flier. Initially, we made a few in clear plastic, while experimenting with a few details of the construction.

More recently, this kite has been made more visible by doing the sail in orange plastic and using a simple ribbon tail made from black plastic. Also, the glued horizontal spar has been replaced with a floating spreader, like bigger kites of this type.

Next up in size comes the 2-Skewer Delta, which also requires a tail. But only a short one! Any lightly-built delta wing kite is good in thermal conditions, and our 2-Skewer version is no exception. It's great to watch it charge around overhead, riding the patches of rising air that come through.

Finally, we started making larger kites like the Dowel Delta. This one has had just one revision, which resulted in simpler construction and a wider wind range. The original was an ultra-light wind kite really, which would start to misbehave in even moderate winds! There's something about Deltas isn't there, as they point their nose at the sky on the way up. As if to say 'up there is where I belong'.

This Stowaway Delta kite on Amazon is a typical modern design. It packs down very compactly.

Down below is a photo or 2 and a video of all the MBK Deltas. This illustrates the end result, in case you decide to use our instructions to make a delta wing kite for yourself.

The MBK Simple Delta kite.

A lot of people have shied away from making our Skewer or Dowel kites due to their complexity or the need for gluing. Hence I did a small series of ultra-basic kites, including the Simple Delta.

The leading edges are about 1 meter (nearly 3 1/2 feet) long. No keel, and no gluing! In light winds, it can be flown on 20 pound line, but we usually use 50 pound line just to be safe.

In keeping with the absolute simplicity concept, this Delta wing kite has a single ribbon tail. The tail is cut from the same plastic that is used to make the sail.

The original MBK 1-Skewer Delta.

This dinky little number is called the 1-Skewer Delta. You see, each spar is a 29 cm (1 foot) bamboo BBQ skewer.

The original was made from clear freezer-bag plastic, which made it almost impossible to see against a gray sky. A good little flier though!

We fly this one on 50 meters (150 feet) of 20 pound line. It doesn't need that strength, but we also fly our 2-skewer kites on the same line.

The latest 1-Skewer Delta kite.

Over on the left there is the latest version of the 1-Skewer Delta, in orange garden bag plastic. The tail is cut from a cheap black garbage bag, which contrasts nicely with the sail color.

Despite using the same number and length of bamboo skewers, this design has a little more sail area than the original. Good for light-wind flying!

Check out the video below, which shows this kite in a light evening breeze. See how it starts to tip-wiggle when the wind strength drops for a few moments. I've seen really big Deltas do this too, when flying at the extreme bottom end of their wind range.

The MBK 2-Skewer Delta.

The 2-Skewer Delta is, as the name suggests, exactly twice as tall as the 1-Skewer design. This gives it 4 times the sail area with not much more than double the weight. Hence, it's pretty good in light winds.

The delta wing kite pictured has 2-ply plastic which makes it a little heavier, but it is still a good performer.

In moderate winds, the 20 pound line tightens up, and the Delta will start to porpoise rapidly if the wind strength picks up even further. The kite is a real pleasure to fly in warmer weather when patches of rising air tend to loft it directly overhead!

The original MBK Dowel Delta - for very light winds!

The big Daddy of MBK Deltas, the Dowel Delta. This one was designed from the start to be tail-less. A generous keel helps to keep the kite stable.

Actually, the original Dowel design, pictured over there on the left, had more keel than the current design. The rear end of the keel flapped in the breeze, like another tail!

The latest Dowel Delta is also a real floater and will fly at high line angles in light winds. Size? It's about twice as tall as the 2-Skewer Delta, so that's about 4 times the sail area.

Compared to the 1-Skewer version, the Dowel Delta has about 16 times as much sail area!

This latest Delta - the third version in fact - also has quite a good wind range for a home-made light-wind Delta. It has been flown in very gusty air up to around 20 kph. There it is in the photo below...

A close-up of the latest MBK Dowel Delta kite in flight.

And here's a short video of the same kite, on another day...

Out In The Field

My collection of real-life Delta kite stories is worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

That's about it for this page on the delta wing kite. In 3 convenient sizes! Hope you enjoyed the pics and the info.

Try this Stowaway Delta kite on Amazon, if you are not so much into DIY.

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Super Light And Variable In Victoria Park

    Sep 21, 14 09:44 PM

    Victoria Park adjacent to the Adelaide CBD in South Australia, that is. This large grassed area which forms part of the eastern parklands of the city is used for various events from time to time. Including, in the past, major horse racing and a section of a Formula 1 Grand Prix track.

    An invite had gone out to various kite enthusiasts to meet and fly, since the weather looked good. We arrived after lunch, only to discover very light winds. A lone R/C flier was enjoying the easy conditions with his 3-channel electric trainer. Like a tiny Cessna, if you're not familiar with model aircraft.

    For a while it seemed we were alone, before spotting a power kite in the distance, making brief forays into the air. Victoria Park is rather large!

    It actually turned out to be quite an enjoyable outing, with the 2.4m (8ft) Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite just scraping into the air. But then, thermals were everywhere. It wasn't long before the large pale blue kite went right overhead! At other times, I simply toyed with the Barn Door, floating it way out on a long line then pulling it up to over 200 feet.

    Another RC flier was now having success launching his glider, finding thermals, and gaining height in them.

    We were eventually joined by two other AKFA members including the President. A couple of ripstop-and-carbon light-wind kites went up, with plenty of success. By now the breeze had come across the park from just about every point of the compass. Variable indeed!

    In the distance, someone had been lofting a large but light-wind parafoil. It was interesting to see it sink out as an utter 'bag of washing' during a dead calm spell! Someone else had some success with a small blue Delta for a while.

    All up, a worthwhile day IF you were flying lightly-loaded kites! No luck for Mike with his power kite and skateboard...

    About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. Usually, photos and/or video from the day are posted a few days later on the MBK Facebook Page. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.

    Read More

New! Comments

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Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!


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