For once, the day this new Dowel Rokkaku kite was finished, the weather outside was perfect for a test fly! This is the most impressive MBK kite so far, in terms of sheer size. To save some time, we just walked up to the nearby vacant block with the kite neatly rolled up like a Sled. The sun would be down within the hour.
A rather light breeze was coming through, gusting to a barely moderate strength from time to time.
The Rok went together quickly and easily, although I still have a bit of trouble with those tiny bow-line toggles. Bigger toggles would be easier to attach, but they would also add some extra weight. Tsk tsk tsk, can't have that on a light-wind kite!
A quick pull on the line as a puff of wind came through didn't do much for the kite.
The Rok just sat there at waist-height and strained. OK, shift the towing point forward a couple of centimeters and try again.
This time, the kite willingly sailed up, stable as a barge. However, the nose would pull to the left with every sudden increase in wind speed, so something was out of balance. You can see this happen in the video down at the bottom of this page, a couple of seconds in.
The problem was small, though, so I continued to fly for a while. With some tension on the line, it was easy to slowly let it out so the kite climbed away from me, maintaining a constant angle in the line. Since the vacant lot was small, there was no point in letting out more than about 30 meters or so. There were people's back-yards on one side and power lines on the other, so it paid to be safe!
The big Dowel Rokkaku Kite was an absolute pleasure to fly in the smooth light winds above. It seemed to be very efficient on its 50 pound line, maintaining between 50 and 70 degree line angles. At those high line angles, the moderate gusts that affected the kite caused quite big changes in the tension on the line.
The left-leaning tendency was slightly annoying, but then I noticed that both bridle knots on the bridle loops were a little to the left of center.
Aha! Easily fixed, that's exactly why the knots are shiftable!
Because the conditions were so ideal, it was possible to give my 3 year old son a brief fly too. I wouldn't normally recommend letting a 3 year-old fly a 1.2 meter kite though! The tension can come on very suddenly.
Soon after this we brought the kite down, so I could adjust those bridle knots.
A brief flight up to 5 meters or so confirmed that the left-leaning problem was fixed. A firm pull on the line just accelerated the kite straight up! Beautiful.
It might be a while before the weather is suitable again, but it should be a blast letting the Dowel Rokkaku kite right up to 400 feet, in very light to light conditions! I think this Rok will handle moderate winds OK, but basically, the lighter the better for flying pleasure.
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!
You might have noticed that this site has a monthly newsletter...
For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!
So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.
And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.
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!
Are you just
holding the string?!
For so much more, try
Make all the Dowel kites, including the one above...
ALL the e-books.
Best value of all...
"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."
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
to try these books