The Dowel Barn Door Kite

Lolling About In Large Areas Of Lift And Sink

With the Dowel Barn Door kite in hand, Aren and I walked onto the Wilfred Taylor Reserve in the early afternoon. The grass seemed slightly wet. But I think it was an illusion created by lots of recent growth. Some sunshine at last, today, after very frequent rain over many days.

Our Dowel Barn Door kite in the air.

A gusty very light wind was blowing down low, but at this location there is usually a sharp increase in wind speed just above tree-top height. Anyway, I still decided to shift the towing point back a few mm (1/4").

While standing still there didn't seem to be quite enough wind to launch the kite. So, I just popped it up to about waist height during a faint gust.

From there, it was fun to walk backwards while keeping the kite hovering over the grass at about head height. Letting line out slowly, the whole time. After a minute or so of this, it wasn't hard to climb the Dowel Barn Door kite right up, with about 20 meters (70 feet) of line out.

Time for some photos and video! The kite was close enough to get good images, and yet also high enough to fly reliably in the variable but slightly stronger wind.

After getting all the imagery needed for this flight report, I let Aren (4 1/2) fly the pale orange Barn Door for a while. He's getting bigger and stronger all the time, and more comfortable with flying the Dowel kites in light conditions. Only it wasn't so light up there any more, and he started started complaining about it 'pulling too hard'! I promptly took over.

Now, I often hatch a little plan for climbing out a kite to 400 feet. You know, float it out to a long line length and then let it climb up by itself. Or perhaps climb it out at a constant line angle of 45 degrees. Not today. The Dowel Barn Door kite rather haphazardly climbed to around 300 feet. I just let line out from time to time as I felt like it.

The wind up higher seemed to be gusting just occasionally to near moderate strength, putting a slight bow in the normally straight side edges of the sail. Finally a nice thermal came through, and the Dowel Barn Door kite headed heavenwards.

With more line out, more than 120 meters, the Barn Door ended up floating about at 400 feet. The kite seemed to spend forever at 70-80 degree line angles, the line hanging vertically before arcing back a little to where I was standing. The flying line also formed a long S-bend or 2 as the winds pushed it in slightly different directions, depending on altitude.

At the far side of the grassed area, a guy started to fly an electric RC plane. He seemed satisfied that the model wasn't going to get anywhere near my flying line.

I might as well mention a few other flying things that invaded my kite's airspace too... A few pink and white Galahs, some small but fast-flying birds and in the distance, the sparkle of a sizeable flock of White Cockatoos. No Kookaburras this time, although we heard one here a few weeks ago!

After an hour or so, it became harder to keep the Dowel Barn Door kite up high, and I started to work the line a bit more. The wind strength had dropped off so much that there seemed to be almost no breeze at all down low.

Unfortunately, my efforts to keep the kite up had the side effect of working one of the diagonal spars out of its corner strap! A long slow descent followed, with the kite looping more or less continuously to the right. Slow loops, but fairly tight in radius.

This was a bit odd since sail area was missing at the top left of the kite. Normally a kite will loop towards the side with less area, in this kind of situation, since the side with more area has more lifting force. Perhaps drag forces were dominant with the multi-faceted barn-door sail. Interesting! Or perhaps your eyes are just starting to glaze over at this point ;-)

Sorry, moving right along...

I managed to get the kite down on the grass fairly softly. Soon the spar was back in and the sail re-tensioned. With the wind fading, the Dowel Barn Door kite never made it back up to 400 feet, but it still had some reasonable flying for the next 20 minutes or so. Eventually, I found myself winding in furiously as the kite just sank relentlessly towards the ground.

It wasn't a bad outing, considering the weather has been almost unflyable for weeks, with frequent rain and very fresh winds. It's been the wettest August here for many years.


The story above was an actual flying experience with the described kite. My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!

I also do shorter-format write-ups from time to time, as blog posts. Similar to what you have just read. However, they have all been archived and are available as an email series.

 

 

What's New!

  1. First Time Hoisting A Camera

    Oct 30, 14 06:00 AM

    An old flight report featuring the big Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite. Getting a camera in the air for the first time is a memorable thing! There's always more to learn about taking aerial photos...

    Read More





New! Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



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!

 

Return to A Flying Kite from The Dowel Barn Door Kite

All the way back to Home Page

 

E-books

Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!


Kite e-book: Making The MBK Dowel Barn Door Kite

Download
"Making The
MBK Dowel Barn Door Kite"
(see flight video!)



Make
all the Dowel kites, including the one above...

Kite e-book: Making Dowel Kites

Download
"Making Dowel Kites"



ALL the e-books.
Best value of all...

Kite e-books: The Big MBK Book Bundle

Download the
"MBK Book Bundle"





E-book
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"