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)...


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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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."

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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!"

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"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"




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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