Our Kite Reviews

A Cheap Delta Stunt Kite

This kite reviews page was to be the start of a series of such reviews over time. However, the direction of the site has changed since then...

Delta stunt kite review.

This page has been shifted here since it is still a useful story of what to expect, from a 'raw stunt-kiting beginner' perspective.

The format for the text below is simple. We just told the story, in some detail, of our experience. That is, from pulling the rather cheap kite from its packaging right through to its first flying session.

What actually happened is what you will read here, and see in the ummm somewhat pathetic video!

UPDATE:

More recently, a similar review has been done for the Peter Powell Sky Stunter MkIII kite. Check it out!





'Delta Stunt Kite' - Assembly

Stunt kite in its original package.

Yep, that's the actual name on the packaging! How do they get away with that, considering it's the general name for a whole class of kites?

There's the unopened kite package, leaning up against a wall at home. It cost just 10 Aussie dollars! These are sold in a variety of outlets, not just kite shops. Hence this particular kite is a real mass market item, and sold alongside all kinds of other 'cheap stuff'.


The individual components of the stunt kite, straight from the original packaging.

Putting that aside, here's what happened. We opened the package, which contained the following items...

  • nylon kite sail, with 6-point bridle, 2 standoffs and the 3 main spars pre-installed
  • fiberglass cross spar, standing upright in the picture opposite...
  • glossy information card - that's it at the top of this page
  • 2 reels with 50 meters of braided line on each

I immediately knotted the lines to the bridle rings, one on each side of the kite.

Stunt kite ready to fly. Spreader inserted and flying lines attached to bridle lines.

Then, it was time to check the assembly before getting out on the flying field.

The cross spar was inserted into the plastic fittings, one on each side of the kite. Also, I clipped the standoffs onto the cross spar. All quick and easy, no problems there.

There's the completed kite in the picture. Not totally ready-to-fly as claimed, but near enough!

Now a few words about the info card, which you can see at the top of this page. It contained the following info...

  • span - 160 cm
  • height - 80 cm
  • sail - nylon
  • frame - fiberglass
  • wind range -2 to 6 Bft
  • line - 2 x 50 m

As well, you can see the warning sticker which tells people not to fly near power lines or during thunderstorms. Very sensible.

The nice full color glossy picture of the kite flying against a backdrop of fluffy cumulus clouds is faked. Looking closely, I could see the bridle lines hanging limply over the cross spar, and not connected to any flying line! Does this really matter? Nope.

After packing the kite down to a manageable bundle, we looked outside and decided there was just enough wind to give it a shot. We all piled into the car for the short trip to the reserve near the school, in Old Reynella. Why this reserve, instead of the usual one? Basically because of all the wide open space. Stunt kites spend a lot of time at low level, so we weren't keen on having up-wind trees and bushes messing up the air and making things difficult.





'Delta Stunt Kite' - Flying

We arrived and walked over to the open area, where there seemed to be a bit of breeze blowing. So far, so good.

Out on the field, with the Delta stunt kite nearly ready to fly.

I laid the kite on its back and assembled it, slipping in the cross spar and clipping in the stand-offs. I had tied the flying lines to their rings while still at home, if you remember.

Walking backwards, I let both reels unwind, using a finger from each hand as axles! All 50 meters, so I would have a bit of time to react when the kite got in the air.

Firstly, with a bit of breeze on my back, I attempted to ground launch off the grass as I am so fond of doing with single line kites. This just didn't work, with the stunt kite's nose staying firmly in the grass.

Walking backwards while letting out the flying lines.

Time to recruit the wife ;-) May dutifully held the kite up, after which I pulled it into the air from out of her hands.

The wind at this time was wavering from almost calm to somewhere in the 2 Bft range. I'll get around to explaining the Beaufort Scale on this site at some later stage, but 2 Bft is when the bottom edge of a flag tends to stay straight out from the pole. On trees, small branches start to move around.

So what happened... The kite climbed just a little before it started to rotate to the right. I corrected a few times, but it ended up on the ground soon after. My fault, since I had no idea just how responsive the kite would be.

Then followed a few more short flights, where my wife learned that throwing the kite into the air just makes things harder for the kite pilot! These flights ended with...

  • the nose pitching up and down, before settling on the ground
  • the kite entering a total stall, then spinning to the ground
  • lurching up and then looping into the ground after almost entering a tail slide

Finally, we had a smooth launch into a decent gust of wind! This time I tried to hold equal tension on both lines, letting the kite climb away, straight up. Cautiously, I tried turning each way, managing to cover some ground to each side of the center line. The stunter proved difficult to keep in the air when there was hardly any tension in the lines. Huge movements were required to get any turning response from the kite.

In the air! After a few false starts. With line tension equal, the kite will fly itself straight up.

We had fun for a while, with myself flying and my wife taking pictures. I was just trying to keep the kite in the air most of the time. The wind kept dropping, leading to a semi-stalled kite and loss of control.

The control feel changed a lot with wind speed and how far off-center the kite was, so it was a struggle.

Flying this kite should be a lot easier when the wind is constantly in the 2 Bft range, or above. After all, the packaging said 2 to 6 Bft! Also, it could be that more expensive stunt kites are easier to control. From what I read they are definitely more precise through the air. One big factor is the stretch in the lines. The braided lines of our cheapie behave a bit like rubber bands with 50 meters let out!

We knocked together a short video too...

And that's it for our short-lived series of kite reviews!

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    KAP Mystery Solved

    Aug 25, 14 03:57 AM

    Last week I came home from a KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) session down at Brighton beach, here in Adelaide, South Australia. The photos were a disaster, being totally washed out. Over-exposed, to be a little more technical. At the time I thought the problem was purely the position of the sun, relative to the direction of the camera...

    Well guess what. Down at the same beach today, the photos had the same problem - and this time it definitely wasn't the sun. Camera damage seemed a small possibility since the rig had hit the sand at some speed last time, during a white-knuckle experience with the kite in rough air! Which turned out OK, but that's another story.

    Anyway, once back home today, I did a little investigating with the camera, taking some test pictures from the back yard. It was a great relief to find the explanation for the bad images...

    It seems that setting a fixed ISO is not a good idea for this camera in very bright lighting conditions. It can cause the camera to run out of adjustment room for other parameters, like shutter speed or aperture. When the camera was allowed to set ISO automatically, the exposure problem disappeared. Whew!

    The Tyvek-sailed Carbon Diamond performed wonderfully today. It was, for the first time, hoisting the KAP rig into the air. Never has the rig been so steady for so long. Sway was almost non-existent. But whenever I handled the line the camera twisted back and forth due to the rather steep line angle from the rig to the kite. Without enough horizontal separation, the suspension lines do not provide the maximum resistance to twisting. It might be an idea to separate the attachment points even further, on the flying line.

    The 2 meter (7 ft) Diamond was struggling to lift the camera in the fairly light winds coming off the ocean. At times, people on the beach had to duck under the line from me to the camera! The camera was behaving as a sort of aerial tether point, with the kite flying at a steep line angle from there.

    Measured at shoulder height, the on-shore breeze was about 4.5kph gusting to just under 7kph. More of a day for the Multi-Dowel Sled really, which hardly feels a 280g weight on the line!

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe what's on offer in that message series!

    Read More





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