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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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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Aug 20, 14 03:30 AM
A new page going up soon on this site will feature some discussion on using a Kite Log. Just as pilots of all types of aircraft log their hours, so do some fliers with kites at the larger end of the scale. According to one site visitor who contacted me, more of us should be keeping logs!
Accordingly, I have put together a small PDF and called it a Kite Log Book Sheet. Today, with a log sheet printout in a pocket, I went out with the Multi-Dowel Diamond kite to test it. The log sheet that is, not the kite ;-)
The breeze was very light to begin with and the big Diamond had a brief flight to about 100 feet before sinking back to the grass.
On a second attempt the kite managed to stay in the air. But not without a lot of help from the guy working the line down below! With plenty of weak convection going on, there were periods of faster air and areas of rising air coming through occasionally.
Eventually I worked the kite up higher and managed to get 75 meters (250 feet) of line out.
Some video was taken as the Multi-Dowel Diamond kite drifted slowly this way and that at about 50 degrees of line angle. A tension test revealed that the kite was only pulling 2.5 kg at most.
In fact, on my first attempt to measure the tension, the kite sank out to within a meter (3 feet) of the ground. I promptly put down the scales and hauled the Diamond back up again!
Time was limited, as usual, so the kite was soon being pulled down. Otherwise, it might have stayed up for another 20 minutes or so without any intervention.
About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.
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!
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