The Dowel Dopero Kite

Promising First Flight

The Dowel Dopero kite had its very first test flight today. Success! A couple of small adjustments are needed, but that's all. With Aren safely in his pram so he couldn't run amok, I started rigging the Dopero on the slightly wet grass. All went well, but it's certainly the longest setup for any MBK kite!

The Dowel Dopero kite in flight.

A light breeze played with the loose outboard panels of the Dowel Dopero kite as I held it up for a towing-point check. Once the knot was shifted a couple of times, it felt right for a launch.

Straight from a hand launch, I let out some line and coaxed the Dopero up several meters. For the next few minutes I just the flew the kite low for a while while letting out more line. Up to 30 feet height, back down to 10, up to 20 and so on.

There was quite a sharp wind gradient, with very light and gusty winds at ground level.

Clouds were scudding by, up around 1000 feet.

It wasn't long before the kite contacted faster air. I could quit working the line and just hang on as the Dopero started to tension up the line and climb steadily upwards.

The good stability was immediately noticeable, in contrast to my sorry experience with the Roller last month! The Roller is fine now, with the help of a little ballast attached to its keel. Once bitten, twice shy as they say, so I had been prepared with the Dopero.

Only my newsletter subscribers will be told the sneaky details of how I designed the Dopero to have a more rearward balance point, without resorting to extra ballast...

At around 30 meters of line out, I handed over to 3 1/2 year-old Aren, who flew from the pram while I took some video and photos! Good little man. I told him to 'hang on tight' and he did. Actually, he had even taken the liberty to haul in a couple of meters of line while I was busy... Some of the results are on this page.

A couple of small faults surfaced. As I let out a little more line, I noticed a tendency for the kite to pull left under load. This should just be a simple matter of shifting the 2 bridle loop knots to the right a few mm. The Dowel Dopero kite looped once to the left, right down into slower air, where it promptly recovered and eased back up to a high line angle again. The flapping of the upper sail trailing edges could just be heard. Those ties were far too loose! Never mind, they'll get tightened up later.

Now it was time for a bit of fun!

With the line out to 60 meters, the Dopero managed to get caught in some 'cloud suck' on 2 occasions. For minutes at a time, it just meandered around at about 90 degrees of line angle as dark sections of low cloud went overhead. That means the kite was at around 200 feet. Gazing up at a flying kite is supposed to be relaxing, but I had to rest my neck for a while since the Dopero was spending so much time straight above me!

Eventually it was time to bring down the Dowel Dopero kite as sunset wasn't far away. With the kite down to 30 meters or so, the clouds parted for a few minutes, lighting up the kite with the setting sun.

Immediately I grabbed the camera from my pocket and took some more photos and video! I will shortly be putting some of these better-lit images up on the How To Make A Dopero Kite page for the Dowel Dopero.

I continued bringing the kite down, when a small flock of white cockatoos zoomed in to take a look. There were 17 birds. I counted them twice. It's tricky when they keep changing their formation in mid-count! No real point to counting the birds - I guess it's just a challenge.

The noisy pure-white birds circled a few times before heading off into the distance.

Soon after, the towing point knot was in my hand and the Dowel Dopero kite made a very gentle tail-first landing on the grass in front of me. What a nice feeling, having a good flight on the first outing and some decent imagery 'in the can' as well!


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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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Carbon Diamond High Wind Experiment

    Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM

    This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.

    The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.

    For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.

    At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!

    And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.

    Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe the value on offer in that message series!

    Read More





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