Kite Blog Posts

February 2009

February 17, 2009 22:31 - Dowel Barn Door Kite Floats Aloft

It's been a while since the last post for a few reasons, mainly consistent strong gusty wind! That's a bit irritating when you have just completed a large light-wind kite. Well, today was looking reasonable with a relatively light prevailing breeze. It was going to be a very warm day however, and thermal activity was increasing by the hour, as the sky gradually filled with growing cumulus clouds through the morning. As the clouds grew, so did the strength of the gusts, but Aren and I managed to get out early enough in the day to get some flying in. Down at the Wilfred Taylor Reserve.

Setting up the Dowel Barn Door kite is tricky, and even more so with a breeze trying to flip the kite inside out while you are fiddling with the ties! After a few minutes, all ties were in place and I let the kite float up on a short line. It's such a decent sized thing that no zoom was necessary to get the photo which features at the bottom of the How To...web page, although it was cropped down a bit.

With a number of still photos taken, I let out another 20 meters or so of line and let the kite move around against the cloudy backdrop, in bright sunlight. This made for a nice little piece of movie footage, some of which now features in the video at the top of the web-page. A fair bit of zoom, perhaps 2 - 3 times, was used. Wind speed was just right most of the time, with the spars just starting to bend in the strongest gusts. Some of the dowel was slightly bowed before the kite was constructed, which might explain why this kite leans to the left when the bridle seems to be centered.

Movie making finished, it was time to try and get this kite high! That wasn't so easy, as the wind speed started to pick up and the left-leaning problem got much worse. The sail was accurately made, and fiddling with the ties to shift it left or right a bit would be tricky, so I just adjusted the bridle. That's the nice thing about kites with an upper bridle loop! By shifting the Prusik knot across by a centimeter or 2, it was easy to get more sail area to the left of the towing point. This did the trick - near the top of the wind range! At the lowest wind speeds there was still a slight tendency to hang left. Never mind, the kite now willingly lofted up to over 100 feet as I let out more line.

Unfortunately, the wind problem continued to get worse, forcing the kite down to low line angles, and bending the diagonal spars to a horrendous degree! In this state, it would hover and loop slowly but tightly to the right. The breeze wasn't really that strong, but this kite is very lightly built with those 4mm spars. In fact, with its current small wind range I'm a bit worried that it will disappoint too many people who try to make and fly it. Hence I have jotted down a few ideas at the bottom of its web page to improve the design. Having said that, all this kite needs is a light breeze without much thermal activity. I'm positive it will go straight to 400 feet under those conditions! Not only that, but it might even be possible to put it up on only 20 pound line, despite its size. A real light-wind floater!

E-book special of the month...

Barn Door is a traditional American design, and this MBK version has delighted many of this site's visitors over the years.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite is only a small step up in difficulty.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Barn Door kite. Down to a mere $2.95 for this month.

The MBK Barn Door is a reliable flyer over the Light to Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, if the kite is made according to the instructions.

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:
    Parachute Flies High And Stable

    Oct 19, 16 07:14 AM

    Again in sunny weather, with a gently gusting light breeze this time...

    Make or break time. If this didn't succeed, it would be time to chuck it all in the bin and forget about trying to be a soft kite…

    Read More


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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