Diamond Kite Nose Diving

by Phil
(CA, USA)

Q:

Hi. We are building a kite for my daughter's science class. The only problem with the diamond kite is that once it goes up a few feet, it turns over and dives straight in to the ground... Why?

Is it the focal point being in the wrong place? We have strings from the 4 corners meeting at a focal point, to which the main line is then attached.

Please help! Thanks.

A:

Firstly, I don't know whether your kite design is a proven one, supplied to the students by the school. So, I'll first try to fix what you have. As an alternative, I will also suggest one of my easy Skewer kites - which is guaranteed to fly well if made according to the instructions.

Your 4-string Diamond Kite

OK, so you have put together a Diamond kite with a bridle line from each corner. Unusual, but there is no reason it won't work if adjusted properly. For most Diamonds, the towing point (what I call your 'focal point' :-) should be around 25% of the distance down the vertical spar, from the nose of the kite. (The vertical spar is the stick going straight up and down.)

In other words, with the kite lying on its back and all bridle lines straight, they should all come together directly over the vertical spar, and, looking from directly above the knot, 1/4 of a spar-length from the kite's nose.

My initial thought was that your 'focal point' is too far towards the nose. Shift it back a little towards the tail if necessary. But no further than 1/4 spar length from the nose.

My second thought was that your kite might be a little heavy. Believe it or not, this can really affect the kite's stability. The easiest place to save weight is in the spars. Just use thinner materials. Avoid excessive use of tape or paint or other decoration. The type of sail plastic you use will generally not make much difference - all thin plastic sheet is very light.

Add a nice long tail of course! At least 8 times the length of the kite itself should do it. A simple single-streamer type of tail is fine. But again, keep it light.

So, you can try again with a lighter kite, and experiment with shifting the towing point just a small amount at a time until it seems to fly better.

Fly the kite in wind that is not too much stronger than that required to just make it climb.

If there is almost no wind, then try walking or jogging into the wind to fly the kite up. Running is almost never necessary with a well-built kite!

If you prefer, or if you finally give up on the 4-string version...

The MBK Tiny Tots Diamond

I'm sure your daughter is not a 'tiny tot'. However, this kite might be worth a try because it is truly very simple and almost foolproof. It doesn't even have a bridle as such, since the flying line is simply attached to where the sticks cross! Surprisingly, it can put up with quite a bit of wind too, with sufficient tail attached.

Here's how to make the Tiny Tots Diamond.

Thin bamboo BBQ skewers make wonderful kite spar material since they are so light and yet strong. I've made dozens of kites with them, sometimes using 2 skewers for each spar.

Anyway, I hope that science project comes to a successful conclusion soon!

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to About Kites.




E-book special of the month (25% off)...

The Dopero is someone's clever idea to combine 2 Roller kites! Double Pearson Roller is where the name comes from. The resulting flat portion of sail in the middle makes this a very efficient design in light wind.

Even more so than the Roller before it, this kite has an attractive aircraft-like appearance in the air. This MBK version also excels in light winds.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes somewhat more time to make. With the help of my instructions, it's still do-able by a beginner.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Dopero kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

This Dopero can fly in quite a wide range of wind speeds thanks to the 4-pont bridle. The bridle lines keep the frame more rigid than a 2-point bridle could. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.



What's New!

  1. The Granny Knot

    Mar 22, 17 09:00 AM

    This knot doesn't have the greatest reputation - but it's simple and does have it's place in some less-critical kiting scenarios. Usually with the addition of a drop of glue ;-) ...

    Read More









 


E-books


Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





Testimonials
(unedited)

"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

_________________

"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."

_________________

"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"

_________________

"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"




Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





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