Kites: Site Blog

Welcome to this fun and educational Site Blog page on kites.

Keeping you up to date with our Flight Report posts and interesting kite-related news stories from around the world. Plus the occasional contribution from a visitor, which often includes photos or links to videos.

My own Flight Report videos pop up on the MBK Facebook page nearly every week.

Clicking on the orange button up there on the left will ensure you never miss a post. Running your cursor over that button will also bring up alternative ways to subscribe. Use whatever is most familiar to you.

Mobile users: You'll need to scroll right down or click the navigation button to find the orange RSS button.

(P.S. Just once a week, a good quality older page will pop up here too, so it doesn't stay buried forever. Always a good read!)

Here's all the latest posts - enjoy....

Dec 02, 2016

Global News Report:
A Kite-Flying Truckie

A kite flying tale from the USA...

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Interesting guy, this Troy who politely preferred not to share his last name.

He was spotted in his parka and heavy gloves on a cloudy, frigid afternoon just prior to Thanksgiving in a large field south of Heartland Express in North Liberty.

His mission was to single-handedly put on a spontaneous and spectacular kite show for Interstate 380 commuters and anybody else who wanted to look.

Nearly 10 multicolored kites were up at once, mostly the delta-wing kind, perfectly balanced with long tails and tethered to metal anchors Troy screwed into the field. Flying by themselves with no human guiding hand, they soared as smooth as silk in the chilly light breeze.

Many had extra tails attached farther down the single string, which gave the illusion of snakes hanging free in the sky. Troy hustled from kite to kite, happy to admire his work and philosophize about things.

“It’s amazing to me how pretty it is when there is a blue sky,” he said, clearly wishing for a less overcast day. “I like it when the sun hits them just right.”

Troy is a truck driver from Illinois. He keeps about 15 kites in his cab which he can send airborne whenever he comes up with an appropriate block of time between driving gigs.

“It gets me out walking and moving,” he says with a grin. “You know those truck stops are just full of sugar.”

He mixes his running commentary on kites with his own philosophy, which includes an aversion to tech gadgetry.

He laments a society he sees as too obsessed with smartphones and video games to appreciate that the wind can launch a brightly colored hunk of polyester skyward and create an effect pixels cannot duplicate.

SOURCE: Iowa City Press Citizen

URL: www.press-citizen.com/story/entertainment/go-iowa-city/2016/11/28/he-doesnt-just-go-fly-kite-he-flies-10-15/94576062/

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"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 fly something high tomorrow!

Nov 30, 2016

Parafoil Kites

A previously published page, describing three different kinds of parafoils. Illustrated with some great close-up photos...

Continue reading "Parafoil Kites"

Nov 27, 2016

Flight Report:
All-Altitude Kite Fly

Last Saturday down at at Knox Park. Apparently created for track and field activities but it's more often used by local kite fliers....

There were two of us down there with several kites each. The wind was in an inconvenient direction, meaning we had to do a fair amount of walking back and forth to put up kites and get gear from the cars. It was some compensation that the the breeze was ideal in strength and bright sunshine was great for getting video and photos.

First up was a Smiley Delta on a short line and a small Pterodactyl. In the meantime, I was fixing a sail corner tie on my Red Roller that had come adrift the previous week. Once launched, the Tyvek-sailed Roller kite soared straight up into the largely blue sky. The trees downwind seemed a little too close for comfort, so I ended up shifting the bag anchor further across the field. With a little less weight in it than usual, the bag would drag across the grass very slowly during gusts. So it had to be re-positioned a couple of times!

The Roller was behaving itself impeccably, up around 300 feet on a 100 pound line. Most of the old 50-pound line has been consumed making bridle lines for soft kites over the last few months! Time to make up a new 50 pound flying line, which suits most of my 1.2m (4ft) span kites.

Due to limited time, I decided against putting up all 9 of the Multi-Fly Diamonds I had brought along. Instead, just 4 were let out on another 100-pound Dacron line. Anchored to a small tree. Spaced 15 to 20m (60ft) apart, the train soared high over the field, not far from the traffic cruising along the main road beside the field. Later, a fifth kite was added, which settled out at about twice the height of the tree-tops. Finally, as the wind started to die, the line angle reduced and some of the tails took a wrap or two around the flying line. However, the Diamonds still held up pretty well.

Not bad at all, except for a small scare while taking down the kite train - a brief wind-shift sprung up from the West, which threatened to take the kites right over the main road, power lines and cars! However, higher up, the prevailing wind didn't shift so all was OK in the end...

- Tim P.

"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 fly something high tomorrow!

Nov 24, 2016

Flight Report:
Barndoor Battles Thermic Chop

Yep, choppy conditions and heaps of rising and sinking air today...

Realizing that I've done precious little flying this month - and the newsletter's due out tomorrow :-0 - it was time to grab something and go fly...

Wind readings in the metro area were all over the place. At the intended flying spot, or close to it, the weather site was saying 7 - 9kph. OK, pretty light. Just a few km further north, at Adelaide airport, the figures were 24kph gusting to 39kph! So, I grabbed the little 2-Skewer Barn Door kite. Good in light winds but also strong enough to hold together in the rough stuff.

As it turned out, winds at the field were around 18kph gusting to 24kph. Low down, wind shadow from tall trees caused an almost complete lack of breeze from time to time. Hence the first 2 short videos I took showed the 6-sided orange kite sagging to the grass. The line was short so as to get good quality footage with the camera. However, it was necessary to let out more line to get the kite to stay up...

There was more success this time. As far as imagery went - nothing a bit of optical zoom wouldn't fix! After getting some great footage, it was time to let out more line and have some fun...

The kite lapped up the gusty gentle-to-moderate breeze, pulling firmly and making it's way all around the sky. As Barn Doors do, the kite traversed far off to left and right when near it's wind speed limit. Rising air sent the kite soaring to near-90 degree angles, more than once. What goes up must come down however, so at another time the kite hung low over a large downwind tree - pulling hard but going nowhere in the descending air! Eventually, line angles returned to normal.

It was a short but pleasant outing, seeing the dusted-off kite do it's thing at over 200 feet off the grass. 20-pound line stretched tight. The sail back-lit by brilliant sunshine.

- Tim P.

"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 fly something high tomorrow!

Nov 23, 2016

History Of Stunt Kites

A previously published page. Can you believe it, the concept of a multi-line steerable kite can be traced back to the 1930s! There's info on all the more recent decades too...

Continue reading "History Of Stunt Kites"

Nov 20, 2016

Flight Report:
Soaring In Light Southerly

Summer approaches, with bright sunshine and puffy cumulus clouds in the distance all around...

It was forecast to be a rather warm day but turned out to be outright hot instead - 37 degrees C! Still, that's better than 43 degrees which is a possibility in coming months. We had arrived at a beach location to fly with friends and a couple of kites were already up when we arrived. A light-wind Delta and a small single-line parafoil with flat ribbon tail were already holding steady in the gentle (12 - 19kph) breeze from the south.

The first of our kites to go up was red Roller - after some on-the-spot repairs! The central ties of the main Tyvek sail had failed on a previous flight and I hadn't got around to fixing it. A few carefully placed strips of clear packing tape soon had the Roller airworthy again. As a bonus, the added tape proved almost invisible from the ground. The kite rose and descended over the next hour or so, in response to small changes in the breeze strength. At one point, the wind meter registered an average of 13kph gusting to around 15.5kph.

None of us were flying on particularly long lines, since we weren't actually flying over the sand. Instead, a small grassy reserve was providing a reasonable area to fly since it lined up with the wind's direction.

After taking down the Roller, I pulled out the MBK Parachute, which was launched fairly easily in the smooth breeze. Smooth, and just strong enough to hold the kite at a 30 degree line angle. I'm hoping the final prototype will hold steeper angles! Internal vents should pump up the outer sections of the canopy to a better shape.

Finally, in a dying breeze, I played around a bit with the huge Multi-Dowel delta, working the line to get a bit more height. The kite's hugeness was verified by a few comments from small children!

- Tim P.

"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 fly something high tomorrow!

Nov 16, 2016

Roller Kite Plans

This previously published page has detailed plans and tips for constructing each of the MBK Roller designs. Check it out to see which one takes your fancy...

Continue reading "Roller Kite Plans"

Nov 09, 2016

Giant Kites

A previously published page giving some background info on three remarkable very large kites. Amazing stuff!

Continue reading "Giant Kites"

Nov 02, 2016

Modern Cody Kites

A previously published page covering how this quite old design is still gong strong. Kite makers with the right skills still enjoy the challenges and rewards offered by this classic kite...

Continue reading "Modern Cody Kites"

Oct 27, 2016

Flight Report:
Parachute Over The Roof

Yes, the MBK Parachute kite floated over our roof for a minute or so...

With the creasing problem fixed, the kite is flying well, though somewhat short of those CAD-modeled foils done by paragliding companies! No problem, since this design is only meant to be a reliable flier with respectable performance - that anyone can make.

In the end, I went with a 4cm shift-forward of the mid and rear rows of bridle attachment points. Simply cut them out and stuck them in the new spots with more tape. Good enough for a prototype!

A day or 2 ago the canopy was tested in fresh gusts - and no creasing was apparent at any time that I looked. Good! However, simply shifting the attachment points also had the effect of raking the lines forward. Having been there before with this kite, the result was predictable - a tendency to roll a tip under and collapse at times.

Today, out on the side lawn of our small property, and with the line angles re-adjusted back, the Parachute proved fairly straightforward to launch. Even in the difficult swirling air over the lawn grass, I soon had the kite up for several seconds at a time before a swirl would fold up one side and bring the kite down. Eventually though, I managed to get a clean ride to well above gutter level. A bit tricky with the afternoon sun in the kite's direction, but from there more line was let out until the kite was floating about on 10 to 15 meters of line...

Besides the 'long' 1-minute flight there were a few others that ended on the roof. Guess what - it's easy to drag a soft kite off a roof, with no rigid spars to catch in the gutter! In each case, the flights ended when the general wind strength dropped too low.

- Tim P.

"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 fly something high tomorrow!

 

Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



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E-books


Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





Testimonials
(unedited)

"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

_________________

"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."

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"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"

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"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"




Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





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