The Dowel Roller Kite

A Fun Light-Wind Workout!

The Dowel Roller kite floated up on 1 or 2 weak thermals in extremely light conditions today. I didn't take any video since the results would be very boring - an almost stationary kite against an unchanging blue background! However, I made the best of it and there were a few mildly interesting moments.

The Dowel Roller kite in flight.
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Getting the Dowel Roller kite up there to begin with was a bit of a job. After 2 or 3 short flights down low, I resorted to jogging up and back along the fence line, towing the Roller up to 80 feet or so.

Still not enough breeze, although the kite seemed to clear the wind gradient at around 50 feet.

The kite had new sail ties, and seemed to be pulling to the right, so I tensioned up one of the ties to flatten the sail a little on that side.

This worked, and I had fun for a while, hovering the kite just centimeters from the grass with more than 30 meters (100 feet) of line out.

Finally I walked the kite to the far side of the reserve and jogged back, letting line slip through my fingers but holding just enough tension to climb the kite. By the time I ran out of room, the Roller was around 150 feet up and just hanging there with hardly any tension in the line.

Even so, this was the start of a series of let-outs and pull-ins as I attempted to climb higher. Sometimes there was no option but to take in line when it started laying on the grass! 90 meters (300 feet) was the most line I could get out, but the Roller was never higher than a 30 degree angle.

There was some very weak thermal lift about, and one little climb occurred where the line slipped out at a snail's pace. Although some distance downwind, the Roller drifted vertically up for 30 feet or so.

This day was an example of where the kite cannot achieve anywhere near its maximum line angle, even though the wind strength was enough to keep it in the air.

The Dowel Roller kite proved itself to be a reasonable light-wind kite, although not quite on a par with the MBK Delta or Rokkaku.

Finally, I brought the kite right down to my hand, slowly winding line onto the winder. It wasn't such a bad flying session after all! Of the few flights the Roller has had, this was the highest it's been.

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.



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  1. A modern material delta kite - the Morpheo

    May 31, 16 09:18 PM

    This kite is for no-wind or little wind (usually) - lovingly made in Florida. In the photo the kite is handling 15 knots winds without need of a tail or

    Read More


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