How To String A Malaysian Kite?

by Eamon
(Ireland)

Q:

Hi Tim, hows it all going now, good I hope. I wonder...

(A) Can you get electrocuted flying a kite if it's hit by lightning? I use nylon string.

(B) Any idea how to string a Malaysian kite? See URL below:

http://www.ebay.ie/itm/230768609716?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

A string comes off each wing at the shoulder/neck area, would love to know how to tie them to a bridle ring correctly, then another string comes up from the tail area, I guess I just tie that on normally?

And (C) what angle should all these strings be at as they join up to the bridle ring? Or is there any set angle?

A:

Things are going OK here, apart from heavy rain showers and strong wind as Winter gets closer! To answer your questions....

(A) As far as I know, any type of kite string that gets wet is a danger to the kite flier, assuming there is electrical activity (or the potential for it) in the area. There's a TV show in the USA (also shown here in Australia) called Myth Busters, one episode of which demonstrated what happens! It's dangerous alright. Water is not a great conductor, but the immense power of a lightning strike will still send plenty of current down the line!

(B) and (C) Nice looking Malaysian kite - should fly well if the bridle is adjusted properly. Here's my tips, which just involve using knots...

Seeing that the kite comes with 3 separate bridle strings, the following quick-n-dirty approach could well prove satisfactory, so try it first.


  1. Draw all 3 strings together in one hand, with the kite laying on its back on the floor or table top.

  2. Position your hand so all 3 lines are straight, and come together at a spot directly over the white area on the bird's neck. To be more precise, over the lower edge of the white area, and exactly over the center-line of the kite of course.

  3. Taking care not to let any lengths change, tie the free ends of the 3 strings together using a Multi-Strand Simple Knot.


This process should allow the bird kite to fly. Attach your flying line just behind the big bridle knot, using a Lark's Head Knot.

Take the kite out in a light breeze and see what happens.

If the kite consistently flies lower than you expect, you might have to untie the bridle lines and re-tie, this time shifting the knot just a few mm towards the tail end.

If the kite struggles to climb at all, even in moderate winds, you might have to re-tie the bridle knot a few mm further towards the nose (or beak in this case!)

As for looping left or right - this simple bridle approach really doesn't suit making lots of fine adjustments. So you may have to resort to attaching a little piece of plastic or tape off of one wingtip to drag in the air and correct a turning tendency.

When the adjustments result in a high and straight flying kite, it feels pretty satisfying!

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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