The Eddy Kite

Some History & Personal Experience

Firstly, what exactly is an Eddy kite? The original design was a large diamond-shaped kite from the 1800s which flew without a tail. Unlike most retail Diamonds these days which are usually tailed.

An Eddy kite in flight. Actually, it's the MBK Dowel Diamond, which is nearly the same thing.

Our MBK Dowel Series of kites are all tail-less, like the Eddy-inspired Dowel Diamond. That's it over there on the right, although we have made some minor changes in a later version. It flies beautifully in very light winds.

I remember on one occasion in the late afternoon, this kite floated right up to 400 feet, going almost overhead. At the time, there was barely a breath of wind at ground level!

This little list sums up the history of the Eddy...

  • Invented by William A. Eddy in the 1890s, and inspired by ancient Javanese bowed kites. More commonly known as the 'Malay'.
  • Diamond shaped, as already mentioned, using spruce spars.
  • Sail edges attached to wire perimeter lines.
  • Bowed horizontal spar, attached to the vertical spar 19% of the way down from the nose.
  • Loose-fitting cotton sail which billowed at the tail end, forming a small keel.
  • No tail. Very handy for kite trains, since tails tend to get wrapped around the flying line!
  • 2-point bridle, one point being where the spars cross, the other at the extreme tail end.

In case you are curious about Eddy himself, here's a few interesting details...

His full name was William A. Eddy.

  • He was from New Jersey, U.S.A., and worked as a journalist
  • Eddy developed his efficient, stable, diamond-shaped kite in the 1890's.
  • He began his kite flying with the classic American Barn-Door design. Hexagonal kites that sometimes had a coffin-like shape.
  • Eddy was inspired by the tail-less bowed Malay design, since his kite-trains kept getting into trouble with tangled tails!
  • Eddy was famous for his kite-powered aerial photography and also meteorological experiments. These were carried out at Blue Hill Observatory, near Boston, U.S.A.

In some circles, the term Eddy is used more loosely to mean just about any kind of Diamond kite. I first became aware of this when a European blogger featured my 1-Skewer Diamond design in a post. A 'little Eddy' he called it!

This Eddy Clownfish 27" Diamond kite on Amazon is typical of the modern trend to label any Diamond an 'Eddy'.




Why Make An Eddy Kite?

For a start, you won't find many truly Eddy-like designs in the shops. Tailed Diamonds are the closest thing offered both on and off-line. However, a good reason to make one is that the design is quite easy to build, and results in a stable, efficient kite. For some additional fun, you can stack these kites together along one long flying line. An Eddy is a great light-to-moderate wind flier.

The Eddy kite was the inspiration for my original Dowel Diamond design, which you can see in the photo at the top of this page. See if you can spot the 2-leg bridle. From a distance, the Dowel Diamond and the Eddy look very similar, but there are in fact a few differences. The Dowel kite has a plastic sail and tape edging. It's shape is quite close to Eddy's original, although the overall size is somewhat smaller. Some of the originals were almost 3 meters (9 feet) in height!

It's relaxing seeing the Dowel Diamond hang up there in a light breeze. Having a 3-leg bridle, my most recent version doesn't waggle its wing tips like an Eddy kite would do. See the photo and video below. With a sliding knot on the bridle, it can be adjusted toward the nose a little if the breeze is stronger and threatening to over-power the kite. The 1.2 meter span sail generates a decent pull, and can keep the line fairly straight even with over 100 meters let out.

Our latest Dowel Diamond kite in flight.








Modern Versions Of The Eddy Kite

It seems Eddy kites are everywhere. Some bowed, some made with dihedral. People like to make them very colorful too, unlike yours truly who has stuck with pale orange for 3 series of 8 kites each! Going overboard with decoration can turn even an Eddy into a lumbering fresh-wind kite though...

Out In The Field

Diamond kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

Sizes vary a lot too, with quite small versions being made for children and other enthusiasts tackling full 9-foot replicas of the original meteorological kites!

An interesting but simple variation of the Eddy kite is the single-point bridle Diamond. The flying line simply attaches to where the spars cross. The crossing-point is 25% from the nose rather than the original 19% for these.

With sufficient bow and slightly slack sail these kites can still fly tail-less, and therefore are perfect for flying in a stack or train.




E-book special of the month (25% off)...


The
Sode is a traditional Japanese design, and this MBK version is exciting to watch in rough air!

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes a little more time to make. It's still a straight-forward build though, using the same techniques as used for my Dowel Diamond. 

Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Sode kite. The cambered sail makes this a very efficient design. Of the Dowel kites, this design is one of my personal favorites!

This Sode flies steep and steady over the Light wind range, and starts to move around quite a bit when the wind picks up to Moderate levels. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.

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!

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    Dec 02, 16 01:21 AM

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Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



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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