The Dowel Diamond Kite

Flies Like A Dream In Light Wind

The Dowel Diamond kite has recently been re-designed for quicker set-up and flying in lighter winds. With hardly any wind outside, it seemed like a pretty good time to take the kite out. However, if I waited too long, the thermals could get a bit savage and make things interesting!

The Dowel Diamond kite in flight.

Down at the reserve, winds had already picked up a little with moderate strength gusts rippling the tops of the gum trees.

Within a couple of minutes the Diamond was rigged, attached to the 50 pound flying line and raring to go.

It was only a moment before the first gust came through. The relatively un-tested Diamond shot up and willingly climbed out as I quickly let out line. Being engrossed in observing the kite and getting it even higher, I just forgot the usual low-altitude photo and video session!

The Dowel Diamond kite flew well, although the increasingly strong thermal activity was starting to punish it from time to time. At least the kite was well balanced, since it didn't show a definite preference for moving off in one direction or the other!

This bridle on this new Diamond is attached at 2 points on the horizontal spar. Hence I did not expect any of the wing-waggle so typical of Diamonds. Surprisingly though, at a particular wind strength it did start to waggle.

With even more wind speed, curvature appeared in the sail outline and the kite started to fish-tail furiously.

At the highest wind speeds the kite actually became more stable due to the extra billow in the sail.

The thermal activity was now forcing the kite all over the place, including a 70 degree line angle overhead! It became far too risky to let out more than about 50 meters of line. Kite-grabbing trees were everywhere, past that distance! Another evidence of the very active air was when the Dowel Diamond kite suddenly lost height, just floating down on its face. Sinking air. What goes up must come down somewhere else.

In between thermals, some smoother air allowed the kite to show off its light-wind capabilities.

I'm really looking forward to flying this kite in smoother and lighter conditions! After 2 outings, it still hasn't been to 400 feet...

With lunch time drawing near, I brought the kite down to 50 feet or so to snap off some photos and get some video. The video shows the kite's light wind behavior, just before the wing-waggling sets in!

From my previous experience with the Dowel Roller, it was clear that this Diamond would benefit from a little extra weight near the bottom sail pocket. At the expense of a tiny amount of light-wind performance, which would be hardly noticed. It would help prevent those long sideways excursions near the middle of its wind range, where the kite just flies along on its side and is slow to correct.

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!


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Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parasail 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.

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. Flight Report:
    Diamond In 'Light Air'

    Apr 29, 17 04:43 AM

    Though overcast and nearly windless outside, there was still a chance the 1.2m Dowel Diamond would stay up...

    I selected my special light wind version, which stays rigged - saving the weight of glue an…

    Read More


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Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

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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