The French Military Kite

A Classic Box Kite Variation

The classic French Military kite is still made from time to time by box kite and ham-radio enthusiasts around the world. Some people have called this design a cross between a Diamond and a Box kite, since the 2 'wings' do look just like the 2 halves of a Diamond. In between these 2 wings is a simple 2-celled triangular box kite.

The French Military kite is the ancestor of this Double Conyne.A Double French Military

This design is also known as the Pilot Kite. The term 'French Rescue' pops up as well.

Actually, there's a bit more involved in making such a triangular design rigid, if you're making one from scratch.

That's interesting since a simple square box kite has more sides, so you would think it would the more complex to brace!

Names, Names, Names...

Now, you might have heard of the Conyne. This is a more general term for any box kite with wings, as far as I know. Of all the winged box kites, perhaps the Delta Conyne is the most popular. Instead of the 2 halves of a Diamond, it's the 2 halves of a Delta. At least, that is the way it looks from a distance.

This Alpine Delta Conyne kite on Amazon is a good example.

Double French Military Kites

If you are interested in buying a French Military Kite (FMK), there are a few designs which have made their way into online kite stores. But not Amazon, at this writing! One of these is an even more purpose-built lifting kite - the Double FMK (DFMK). Up there near the top of this page is an image of a typical shop-bought Double French Military kite.

A flat section is attached between 2 triangular 2-cell kites, for some serious pulling power. Both the Single and Double versions have rip-stop nylon sails and fiberglass spars. Perhaps the Double design sells pretty well because I had a hard time finding a decent picture of a Single...

I can imagine how that flat center section makes the DFMK more efficient than the Single, also. Our Dopero kites have that feature, and they are certainly more efficient than the simpler Roller kites they resemble.

Oh, does the French Military really use this kite? Not any more, but they did use it for reconnaissance, over 100 years ago!

Ham Radio

If you thought this hobby went out with WWII, or perhaps the 60's, think again. It seems that there are still a number of keen radio enthusiasts to be found, raising up long wires to transmit and receive signals. You can probably guess what's coming next...

Yes, the FMK is quite suited to the task! Stable and strong. If even more lifting power is required, for example if winds are a bit too light or the aerial is heavier, more than one kite can be attached to form a 'train' along the flying line.

An old Military Kite from the 1960s.Photo courtesy of Joost J. Bakker

There's an old factory-built French Military kite in the photo, from the 60s actually.

Of course hoisting long pieces of wire high into the sky is never done when there is any threat of lightning!

My closest brush with lightning was while sitting in an office, quite close to a brick wall. All of a sudden a bolt of lightning struck and destroyed the power transformer which was located in a metal box just 2 or 3 meters (7 - 10 feet) on the other side of the wall. Can you imagine the noise! I never want to get any closer than that.

In contrast to the old FMK in the photo, this Alpine Delta Conyne kite would be a much more efficient lifter, thanks to its carbon fiber spars and rip-stop nylon sail material. Very light!

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

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) diameter Parasail kite. This kite performs well in gentle to moderate wind speeds. That's from 12 to 28 kph or from 8 to 18 mph. It pulls hard for it's size, so should not be flown by very small kids!

Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parasail kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

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. The Adelaide Kite Festival

    Apr 26, 17 06:00 AM

    Coincidentally, this previously published page has recently been updated. The Adelaide International Kite Festival for 2017 was held earlier this month...

    Read More


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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This one's FREE
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More E-books...

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