"Kirby" the Delta Kite
by Mark R.
(The Woodlands, TX, USA)
Flying at about 60 yards.
I used a plain, pink, plastic table cloth as the material, with the recommended dowel rods. A few of my friends and I cut and trimmed the table cloth and rods to the length specified. Overall it took about 3 hours. It was our first kite making experience!
I grabbed some 50 lb fishing line, and we then set out to go fly this kite, which we named Kirby, because it's pink and it flies. Ha...
At first there was hardly any wind, but eventually a nice breeze came along, estimated at around 2-3 mph. Kirby easily took off and soared quite high in the steady breeze. It ended in a crash landing that broke the spreader dowel rod.
I decided that I didn't want that to happen again, so I went back to the hardware store to get a bigger size (2 sized up) dowel rod than the one specified. I re-purposed the broken rod since most of the length was still intact by using electrical tape to support the new spreader rod. This made the spreader extra beefy, and I believe would allow it to withstand higher wind=speeds.
On my second attempt, I visited the nearby lake. The light wind was blowing out over the lake, thankfully away from all the kids that were in the park. I didn't want Kirby to dive-bomb some child, potentially severely hurting him or her.
With his new and improved spreader, Kirby needed slightly more wind to take off, but not much. He soared so high from the steady breeze, that I nearly ran out of my 250 yard spool of fishing line. I got a little ambitious with letting out so much line...
All of a sudden, Kirby decides that he wants to go for a swim...
From an estimated 150 yards of elevation. He starts to turn toward the lake, and goes down... and down... and down. It took what seemed like an eternity. All the while I'm reeling in the loose slack, trying to regain control. Kirby eventually slams into the water and sinks.
Onlookers are vocally worried about Kirby as I begin to fish him out of the water. It takes about 10 minutes to slowly reel in all of the line. Kirby appears from the dark depths of the lake under the dock I'm standing on.
The onlookers cheer that Kirby is retrieved while I check all of the tape and string. Aside from some leaves, the only thing that was different were the leading edge spars. They were obviously soaked, and because of that, they were bowed out some instead of straight.
I attempted to fly him again since I didn't think any modifications were necessary. It took even more wind than normal because it was still wet, plus the leading edge spars wouldn't hold as much air. It still caught and flew for a few minutes before I had to leave. I think with the leading edge spars bent backwards like they are now, I'll be able to fly it in even faster winds, since it won't catch the air as well.
All in all, it's been a huge success, and I hope to build another kite soon.
E-book special of the month (25% off)...
e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) tall
Parafoil kite. This 4-cell kite performs best in gentle to moderate
wind speeds. That's 12 to 28kph or 8 to 18mph. Even in light
winds, this kite will hang in the air, although at 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 Parafoil 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.
May 10, 17 06:00 AM
This previously published page is a mixture of informative data and historical background. Also there is also a video of one of my own tetrahedral designs in flight!