Fighter Kites

In The Hands Of Young And Old

The basic idea of flying fighter kites is pretty much the same the world over. The last kite in the air wins, and this is usually achieved by cutting the flying lines of the other kites. By friction against other flying lines, not with scissors!

However, a pair of scissors did make an appearance during one highly irregular Rokkaku Battle. That was during a South Australian kite festival some years ago, here in Adelaide! So a little birdie told me.

Most other fighter designs are actually unstable in the air while there is low tension in the flying line.

For example, Indian fighters like the Patang over there in the photo. Handling one of these fighters well is quite a skill so it's not just 'kids stuff'.

This George Peters' Indian Fighter Kite on Amazon is a design made from modern materials, but it looks very similar to the traditional Indian version.

At a recent kite festival, we took a video of a small fighter being expertly handled over the sand...



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As mentioned earlier, flying fighters is not necessarily 'kids stuff'. However, huge numbers of kids in the countries with a kite-fighting culture do participate. The skills, in both construction and flying, have been passed down for generations. In addition to Japan's Rokkaku, a number of other countries have one or more distinctive local fighter kite designs. Here are the main examples, followed by the name of the traditional kite:

  • India and Pakistan, with the Patang design. Other Indian Fighter designs exist, which are not so often flown by children.
  • Afghanistan, with the Gudiparan design - Afghan Fighter to most of us. These are made in a range of sizes, all much bigger than the Indian kites. I can't imagine the very biggest Afghan fighters being flown by children!
  • Korea, with the Pangp'aeyon design - or Shield Kite. These have a distinctive large hole in the middle. There's lots of good info in this Korean kite blog, which refers to this type of kite as 'Bangpae'.
  • Brazil, with the Piao design. Known as Top Kites since the shape and traditional patterns make them look like spinning tops. Tails are used on these kites.
  • Cuba, where kites are known as Papalotes.. Children fly fighters that are rather small, 6-sided designs that also use a tail for stability. No fighting kite is too stable though! That would make it an easy target.

Here is a picture of all 5 types, in order corresponding to the points above:

Fighter kite designs from around the world

Now, getting back to those child fliers, in all cultures... The kids make fairly crude designs from whatever materials are available. Crude in comparison to what can be bought from the local kite makers...

Kite masters or designers and their assistants turn out extremely neat and well-balanced fighter kites for sale. Often these kites are exquisitely attractive to look at too! The smallest and cheapest of these are often flown by kids. Bamboo still dominates as a great traditional spar material, but the traditional sail materials of tissue and silk are starting to give way to more modern materials such as nylon, mylar and plastic.




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!

  1. YOUR Kite Aerial Photography

    Dec 07, 16 09:00 AM

    This page features some KAP work by site visitors. From the 'just having a go' to the rather more professional!

    Read More





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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