The Helicopter Kite

Unusual, But It Flies!

The helicopter kite operates on the same principle as a gyrocopter. It's something different! A large rotor is kept spinning by the airflow across it, like a fan being blown in the wind. Once spinning, the rotor develops 'lift' like a wing, and can lift the rest of the kite.

A small tail fin keeps the kite pointing into wind, like the tail does for a Diamond kite. Also, a small horizontal stabilizer at the back helps keep the rotor blade at the correct nose-up angle to the wind.





The Helicopter Kite As A Toy

The most well known, and perhaps one of very few products of this type is manufactured in and distributed world-wide from a single location in the U.S. Besides Helicopter Kite, this toy also pops up under the names...

Helicopter Kite - small kids kite
  • Gyro-Kite
  • SkyChopper
  • WindCopter
  • CopterKite
  • GyroCopter
  • CobraKite

All these products are essentially the same, with the differences being mainly in the packaging. The kite requires some assembly, but it's just a few simple plug-it-in operations as far as I can see.

I've seen videos of this toy in flight and it appears reliable and stable. However, don't expect it to reach the line angles of a good Delta kite! Having said that, I still think it would be something of a head-turner for the kids down in the local park. My little boy would love one, I'm sure...

It might take a while to get to it, but I intend one day to get one of these kites and spice up this page with a video and a photo or 2! Stay tuned.

AN UPDATE: Quality equivalents of the described type of toy don't seem to be available on Amazon right now (2014). However, I'll stick my neck out and suggest this AttackCopter Nylon Kite is probably worth a try. It's reasonably big and is a kite in the traditional sense, since the rotors are only images on the circular sail!




Helicopter Kites In History

I don't know if many large versions of these kites exist, but apparently the gyro-copter concept has been around since the 1920s. When improvements in helicopters made them practical, autogyros, as they were often called, faded in popularity. They were, however, used in the 1930s by major newspapers. Also, the US Postal Service used autogyros for a couple of mail service routes. One of these routes ended up on the roof of a large building, which says something about the slow-speed capabilities of these machines.

In World War II, Germany developed a tiny gyrocopter kite, the Focke-Achgelis Fa 330. This machine was towed by U-boats for aerial surveillance. Later, the Japanese Army developed the Kayaba Ka-1 Autogyro for reconnaissance, artillery-spotting, and anti-submarine warfare.

So it's a saga that began with war machinery and has ended up in the Children's Toys department!




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

Click to get 'Making The MBK Parachute Kite'

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 119 cm (4 ft) wide Parachute kite. It's not quite that wide in the air since the canopy takes on a distinct curved shape when inflated. This 14-cell kite performs best in moderate to fresh wind speeds. That's 20 to 38 kph or 13 to 24 mph. In gentle winds, this kite will hang in the air at fairly low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while supervised!

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 Parachute 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. Flight Report:
    Some Kites Just Need The Beach

    Aug 21, 17 03:11 AM

    The local kite club bought a load of second hand gear - including kites - from interstate some months ago... With the power supposedly being cut sometime between 8am and 3pm today, it was an opportuni…

    Read More





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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E-books


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Testimonials
(unedited)

"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

_________________

"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."

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"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."

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"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"

_________________

"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"




Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



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