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....

Feb 23, 2017

Flight Report:
Red Roller Rides High

This kite always delivers, in gentle to moderate winds...

And that was the expectation today, having seen an online weather report earlier. I thought there was a chance the Dowel Roller might fly, but by the time I pulled up at the reserve, the gusts were clearly too strong for it. Never mind, the more robust Red Roller was also ready to rig, as the backup kite. It's a good habit to have - bringing at least one backup kite so you're covered for a wider wind range.

Very soon, after a short trudge to the southern side of the field, the Red Roller was rigged and surging about on a short line. Showing off for the camera, basically, in and out of turbulent air coming over the small trees upwind.

Throwing a few loops off the winder, the kite was soon on 30m (100ft) of 50 pound line. The air was very active, causing the kite to drift down and then surge up suddenly as the wind strength varied. Just for fun, I shook the winder to allow the Roller to continuously pull line off. That it did, all the way from 30m to 60m (200ft) as the kite descended slowly and went downwind somewhat quicker!

Gripping the line, the Tyvek-sailed Roller shot up in response and was soon soaring about at a steep angle.

After some more video footage ws taken, I let the kite out to 90m (300ft) of line. Magnificent! The Roller really strutted it's stuff, getting powered overhead by rising air one minute then descending slowly with a bit of tail-wagging at other times. The red sail stood out well against the brilliant white of the cumulus cloud cover that occupied more than half the sky.

A short but sweet flying session! Note: the Red Roller is basically an MBK Dowel Roller with a slightly thicker vertical spar plus a soft Tyvek sail.

- 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!

Feb 22, 2017

Spectra Line

This previously published page is an informative piece in QandA format. Everything you wanted to know about Spectra but were afraid to ask!

Continue reading "Spectra Line"

Feb 21, 2017

Flight Report:
Roof Rips Roller

Just a small rip, on the second flight, during a bit of excitement...

Yesterday, winds near the bottom of the 'gentle' range were showing on the weather page. However, with Summer still around, thermal activity was pushing past the trees surrounding our house. Still, nothing extreme, so the Dowel Roller was in it's element floating on mainly light breeze strengths.

Thought you saw 'roof' mentioned in the title? Yes indeed, it was another backyard effort. After waiting for a convenient gust, the Roller was up. Immediately, unseen dogs from two different directions took notice and barked.

Standing in the side lawn, I only had a few meters to maneuver myself. Working the line a bit to gain height and let out line, I soon had the kite out on about 10 meters (30 ft). For a minute or so I gingerly flew it directly over the roof. Finally, the gusts died away and down came the kite as I pulled in line to land it on the grass.

Knowing from past experience that more was possible, I soon had the kite back up over the roof. A little slope-soaring near the peak of the tiles helped keep things going. This time, there was more than 15m (45ft) of line out. Shifts in the wind direction made things interesting! At this point, during the landing phase, the kite contacted the corner of the roof which put a small hole and a tear in the plastic sail. Some quick work with sticky tape soon had the craft airworthy again.

Perhaps it was the repair, but on the third flight, the Roller had a decided lean to the right during gusts. However, this didn't stop it rocketing almost overhead in a patch of rising air! Now with almost 20m (65ft) of light 20 pound Dacron line out, the kite soared around and finally, under pressure, arced way to the right - in danger of landing on a neighbor's roof! With some rapid pulling-in of line, the kite just managed to clear the fence and snagged on some small twigs. No problem - the kite pulled free with no damage.

You haven't really lived a kiter's life until you have taken chances with a spot of backyard flying :-)

- 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!

Feb 19, 2017

Global News Report:
A Story Of 3 Kites

Once again, it's the southern USA - but from another era...


Back in the early springtime days of my life, a kid could still pretty much go just about anywhere he or she wanted to go by themselves. I know because I lived those days as free as a bird and unburdened by the thought that any harm might come to me. I was free to roam alone or with friends or cousins to just about anywhere we wanted to go.

So, the first kite of February back in my childhood days was usually the brightest one in the box at Brodie's. I was so keen on the color of the kite because there was one little problem with flying it. From the time I first tried to fly a kite, in about the second or third grade - my ability to fly a kite was almost nonexistent. I always had plenty of string, but, try as I might, I was just never able to get the kite to take off.

I never gave up on my dream of the kite string rushing through my fingers, but life got in the way and I mostly just remembered the fun I had with a kite as a kid.

I don't remember the exact year this kite-flying episode occurred but I was a young mother of two very young boys who were having their own problem getting a kite to take off one spring day. Since the weather seemed perfect for trying yet again, and this time with my sons, we took off to Sooner Park. Keep in mind this was about 37 years ago, so the park didn't look quite like it does today. Maybe it was the threat of an Oklahoma thunderstorm approaching but we had our kite ready to go by the time we all jumped from the car and we all three began running in sync like we'd practiced together forever. To this day, I will never understand how we did it — this young mom and her two gangly boys — but there wasn't even a hint of hesitation on the part of the kite as it took to the skies and we continued to run and laugh and run and laugh until we ran out of breath and out of space to run at all.

There was no one with a cell phone to take pictures that day but I can still see us in my mind's eye as we did what had been impossible for me for so many years. And that's what families are for. Together you can sometimes do the impossible. Thank God for memories. Make them while you can.

SOURCE: Examiner Enterprise



"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!

Feb 15, 2017

Towing Point Basics

This previously published page is a basic-level discussion of what the towing point is, on any kite.

Continue reading "Towing Point Basics"

Feb 13, 2017

Global News Report:
South Padre Island Kite Festival

From Texas in the USA, where apparently 'everything is big' - including the kites! ...


SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas - A day at the beach with kites. What could be better?

The 2017 Kite Festival has arrived.

Many gather from across the country to take flight or just enjoy the sights.

Whatever the reason, this event has categories for all. There's small kite sections for anyone to enjoy. Synchronized kiting where the pros show off their best moves.

And then there's the big elephant in the room, or shall I say squid?

The large kites are indeed large. Some larger than the vehicles they were brought in. The sights make it easy to get carried away, but everyone started somewhere…even large kite users.

Phil Burks, “We started flying kites just like everybody else with small kites on the beach and start flying bigger kites and bigger kites. Pretty soon that's where it winds up.”

But safety is paramount. In fact, one of the reasons they're off to side is because a large kite can pull hundreds of pounds of pressure. They are usually hoisted by rock climbing equipment. Passersby can get severely injured if a gust of wind pulls up in a few seconds. So a lot of pressure goes into the kites.

These experts recommend you start small then go large. Kite Veteran of 25 years tells us what can happen even to the experienced.

Doug La Rock, “Shattered both ankles, broke both legs, broke my hip, my pelvis, some bones in my back, broke a rib or two collapsed a lung, tore up my elbow, broke both wrists.”

But despite all the trouble, Doug says it's a fun hobby that keeps him coming back.

The kite festival continues on Saturday, February 4 on the flats, next to the SPI Event Center.




"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!

Feb 12, 2017

Flight Report:
Parachute Blows Away

Yes, yes, it did, but we'll get to that in a moment :-) ...

It was supposed to be an AKFA kite fly when I went out yesterday. It wasn't totally surprising that no-one else was there, given the high gust strength of the Southerly breeze. A kite surfer and 1 or 2 wind surfers were on the water, with white-caps everywhere. Strong conditions!

Not to worry, the MBK Parachute kite likes a bit of breeze.

Initially I had a bit of trouble launching the Parachute as it blew around from side to side on a short line. Often folding a tip under before collapsing to the grass. More tail seemed a sensible thing to do in the conditions, so I added a generous length of Tyvek. Just a thin strip, but it did the trick. Finally, on several meters of line, the Parachute was up.

This kite doesn't like extreme side-to-side line angles. But on enough line it never gets out to such angles and behaves from then on. Letting line out to 30m, I nearly got a burn from the 50 pound line as the MBK Parachute rose higher and copped the full blast of rushing air. Thin white Tyvek trailing behind, the plastic and tape foil was flying well, apart from the occasional buffet from turbulence. With the top row of bridle lines all shortened by a centimeter (1/2") the kite seemed to be holding just a fraction above it's usual line angles.

At shoulder height, the breeze was measured at 27kph gusting to 33kph. I was standing in a sheltered location though!

To find smoother air, the line was let out to 60m (200ft) before being tied off to a fence. Using spring scales, the line tension was now observed to be touching 4kg occasionally. A lot for just 3/4 of a square meter of sail area! Effective sail area in the air would be more like 1/2 a square meter.

BANG! Suddenly the line went slack, and I looked up to see the kite drifting off downwind. The folded up plastic just cleared a tall tree, before disappearing from sight. Fortunately, I later found it near the side of the road going past the beach.

The Prusik knot in the short bridle line had cut through the short connector line, both of which were made using 20 pound Dacron. Tsk tsk tsk. Fortunately for e-book readers, I had anticipated this problem and recommended that they use 50 pound line for those 2 bits of the bridle!

Anyway, the flying was good while it lasted. The small 'chute was coping well with gusts in the 40s in kph. Going by weather reports, some of the gusts might have touched 50 kph. By the time I left, there were a lot more kite surfers and wind surfers on the water...

- 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!

Feb 09, 2017

Flight Report:
Roller Rises Readily

Well, my blog post titles are getting cheesier by the month aren't they ;-) ...

Mainly due to extreme weather, no MBK kite has been out for a while. Either excessive rain, wind or temperature has put a dampener on kite flying around here. Today was hot and sticky, but a definite opportunity to go out with the Dowel Roller kite.

This kite hasn't been flown in a while and sure enough, upon opening it out on the floor, some damage was evident. The upper horizontal spar wasn't even taped to the main sail. The old tape must have been taken off as a precaution, so it wouldn't just decide to fall off in flight! This was fixed in a minute or two. That's the beauty of simple taped kite design.

A small torn portion of plastic near one tip was repaired with sticky tape. Good as new.

Out at the field, in some very welcome tree shade, the Roller was put together. One of the shoelace ties needed to be slipped along the vertical spar a bit, so there's another minor repair to do. A bit of wood glue perhaps, instead of relying on electrical tape.

A light breeze was pushing through the line of trees, which caused the Roller to hang obediently just a meter or two off the grass while I fiddled with the flying line. A short movie was taken.

Letting the line slip through my fingers, the kite moved out across the field while maintaining less than 10ft altitude. Finally, at about the 30m (100ft) mark, I stopped the slippage and allowed the pale orange Roller to rise. Readily!

There were signs there was strong thermal activity all around, with gusts pushing the light-wind kite close to it's limits. In fact, the Roller became a little unstable, moving way off track. First to the right and then to the left. After bringing it down, a small stone taped to the keel at the rear seemed to improve things a lot. That being the case, I continued to let line out to 120m (400ft). The kite flew high for many minutes before finally being forced down to the grass by some horribly strong thermal gusts.

It was nice to get out in the sun again, with a kite high in the sky!

- 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!

Feb 08, 2017

MBK Delta Kite Stories

This previously published page has a collection of kite flying stories, gathered over several years. All feature MBK Deltas of one kind or another!

Continue reading "MBK Delta Kite Stories"

Feb 05, 2017

Global News Report:
Kites Of All Colors In Ibiza Sky

A kiting event for everyone, on the Spanish island of Ibiza....


More fiesta fun with San Antonio's annual kite-flying extravaganza, now in its 24th year.

A colourful event comes to the town of San Antonio this Sunday 29 January. Known as Posa un Estel al Cel in Catalan or 'Place a Star in the Sky', this kite-flying extravaganza is a longstanding fixture in the town’s fiesta programme. This year marks the event's 24th year of celebrations.

Join the crowds gathering at Ses Variades, the stretch of coastline in front of the Sunset Strip from 11 h to see the sky fill up with kites of all shapes and sizes. From modest home-made structures right through to professional stunt kites, there will be a glorious range of colours and styles.

People have been flying kites for over 3000 years and it is still one of the fastest growing sports worldwide. We can’t promise that you will see anything to match the largest kite of 630 square metres. Nor can we tell you that the fastest speed record of 193 kilometres per hour will be beaten. What we can say is that the event is sure to be a lot of good, honest fun.

Kites are used for many purposes including bird-scaring, forecasting the weather and frightening away evil spirits. This Sunday they will be for one simple purpose though - having a great time with all the family.

Why not come along and place your very own star in the sky?

SOURCE: Ibiza Spotlight



"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!



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...

Return to Home Page from Kites: Site Blog



Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

More E-books...


"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."


"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!"


"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