Kite Contest on a South Pacific Island

by Doug McLean
(Conover, NC, USA)

I have not thought about making kites in a long time. I have an addition. When I was 8 years old (1959) I was living in Okinawa, which is in a chain of islands south of Japan. People in the Orient take kite construction and flying kites very serious.

I was in Boy Scouts. Once a year we would have a kite contest for construction and flying. One year I made a kite that was a 5"x3" diamond shape. I used balsa wood, onion paper and thread in the construction. The tail was thread and every 2 or 3 inches was a 1 1/2" cloth bow. I used thread as string. It flew really good, about 100 ft high before the string got too heavy to go any higher. I won smallest kite and smallest kite to fly. It was so much fun and winning was great. Sorry I do not have any pictures.

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Small kites
by: Tim Parish

There's a lot to be said for small kites - quick and fairly easy to make, and yet good fliers if you do a great job on the design and construction. Bridle adjustments can be very fiddly though, if you try something like our 1-Skewer Dopero!

Try polyester sewing thread if you ever make another tiny kite. The stuff is light and surprisingly strong when used as kite line.

Thanks for sharing!

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What's New!

  1. The Tetrahedron Kite

    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!

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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