Kites: Site Blog

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

Keeping you up to date with our Flight Report posts, new Aerial Photography pages and occasional contributions from visitors. Visitors sometimes include photos or links to videos too.

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.

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(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....

Oct 24, 2016

Flight Report:
Parachute Flaw Discovered

I was looking for slightly stronger smooth winds today, but instead learned another lesson from the Parachute kite...

The idea was to see if greater wind speed - say in the mid-twenties (kph) - would push the kite to a higher line angle. Unfortunately, the breeze was around 17 to 19kph most of the time. This did give an opportunity to look very closely at the sail, as the kite flew smoothly at a low height over the sand.

It was clear that the air pressure in the cells was not making them rigid enough near the leading edges. The tell-tale sign was horizontal creases in the underside of the canopy, particularly near the tips. This area wasn't getting enough support from the bridle lines, which will need to be shifted closer together...

So, the next mod will be to shift both the 2nd and 3rd row of bridle lines towards the leading edge by 3cm each. A flatter underside should result in lower drag forces, enabling the kite to fly at a steeper angle.

Another effect of this mod will be to make it easier for the wind to pivot the kite tail-up, around the towing point. This will also reduce drag forces.

The next outing will be most interesting!

- 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!

Oct 21, 2016

Flight Report:
Parachute Bridle Sweet Spot

It was too windy yesterday, but today the breeze was ideal down at a beach...

As a final attempt to optimize the bride, the lines were swept just slightly forward of the kite's leading edge and shortened just a little more. This was achieved by weighing down the kite one side at a time, with the attachment points stacked on top of each other. Keeping the rearmost lines the same length, the others were shortened somewhat until the desired bridle angles were achieved. Pieces of electrical tape were then applied near the knot to hold the line lengths. I had a feeling that it might be necessary to return to the original setting - so no re-tying and snipping!

Sure enough, down at the beach, the kite stubbornly refused to stay inflated and airborne. Instability had crept in due to the forward towing point, which had a tendency to collapse one leading edge corner or the other. I had hoped the slightly increased curve of the wing with the shorter lines might have been enough compensation - but no, it wasn't.

After the rather fiddly job of removing the electrical tape, the bridle was returned to it's previous configuration. Immediately, the kite flew stable and I began to let more line out....

Meanwhile, a small rain squall had moved on and the wind had died back to about 17kph gusting to 20kph. As measured at shoulder height above the sand. On around 50m (150ft) of 50 pound line, the Parachute was leaning to the left slightly.

To cut a longer story short, by the time the kite was properly trimmed I discovered that moving the central bridle knot worked in the opposite sense to what was expected! You pull in the right lines to turn a stunt kite to the right, but this one wanted to go left instead. Whatever - it was flying straight now.

In the smooth breeze the kite held a steady 40 degrees of line angle, rising briefly to 45 degrees at one time. Perhaps the optimum wind speed is somewhere in the mid-twenties, in kph. If so, that's acceptable for a home-made Parachute kite. I might try testing it in slightly stronger winds before committing the design to an e-book.

Oh, forgot to mention - a seagull spent half a minute or so gliding very close to the kite, even trying to peck at the trailing edge at one point!

- 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!

Oct 19, 2016

Flight Report:
Parachute Flies High And Stable

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 designer! After all, it was the second wing design and something like the 4th or 5th bridle modificaton. All previous versions had failed to stay in the air for more than 5 seconds or so, even in ideal wind speeds.

Today's session wasn't very promising to start with. Due to wind shadow from trees and buildings, the gusts that were sufficiently strong to fully inflate the kite were too short-lived. As with many inflatable kites, tugging on the line only prompted a collapse. In the Parachute's case, that usually meant a wing tip deflating - before curling under and bringing the kite down. It was also possible to stall the kite, resulting in a sudden dip of the entire leading edge. Like an aircraft stalls.

However, after walking further out towards the center of the field, where the air was smoother, I started to achieve much longer flights.

When fully inflated, the parachute wing was clearly stable and thus able to maintain a steady spot in the sky until the wind changed. After changing to a 50m (150ft) flying line of 20 pound Dacron, the fun really started...

Two long flights ensued - well, much longer than previously, anyway! During the second, 11 minute flight, the Parachute pulled firmly and sat around 30 to 35 degrees of line angle most of the time. Not that great you might say, but it could just be due to insufficient wind speed. Thermals were about, so the kite did get pushed up to around 45 degrees once or twice.

Finally, a sudden patch of sinking air deflated one side of the kite. The canopy flipped and folded and started a slow descent towards the grass below. After a few experimental tugs on the line, I was able to re-inflate the canopy and off it went, straight up. This happenrd once more, before a general lack of breeze brought the kite right down.

Success at last! Even so, a couple of final tweaks remain to be tried. More on that later...

- 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!

Oct 19, 2016

Gibson Girl - The Box Kite

A previously published page which gives some historical background to the so-called Gibson Girl box kite. Designed for military use, it's an old but impressive piece of kite technology...

Continue reading "Gibson Girl - The Box Kite"

Oct 15, 2016

Flight Report:
Soft Sled De-creases

Yesterday, in great sunny weather...

It was just a short walk to the nearest park, with several Soft Series kites in the bag. A gusty moderate northerly blowing.

First up was the Parachute of course, with shorter bridle lines swept forward by some 20 degrees. Not such a great idea it turned out, to have the towing point ahead of the leading edge. At least with this design, the result was a tendency to roll one way or the other, which would soon collapse a wing tip. Back to the drawing board once more.

Next up was the first kite in the Soft Series - the Soft Sled. After a short flight and small bridle adjustment, up it went again. The wind speeds were ideal, gusting into the mid-twenties in kph. Strong thermal activity pushed the smallish Sled up high, the air pressure popping every crease out of the plastic...

The kite does get a bit creased up when stuffed into a small zip-lock bag - but never fails to self-rectify in the air! Sometimes it takes a few minutes, after which the de-crease can result in a small trim change.

A lull brought the Soft Sled right down again, but I managed to pull line in until the kite found another gust which took it back up. It was a pleasant fly, on around 45m (150ft) of dacron line.

- 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!

Oct 13, 2016

Flight Report:
Parachute 2 Flew

Up and away, and into the blue...

A couple of rhymes there, which I couldn't resist - but in fact Parachute 2 was not a great flier on this occasion. Even so, it clearly showed much more promise than #1.

MBK Parachute #1 looks like a tiny 2-line foil, similar to the small soft stunt kites that people like to buy and fly these days. Today, the tail was dispensed with altogether and some electrical tape was applied to the underside of the inner 4 cells, right near the trailing edge. With this balance change, the little foil managed to float up high for a few seconds at a time. However, the kite still suffered serious instability as soon as it got more than 30 degrees or so to one side.

With Parachute #2 out of the bag for the very first time, it was clear that it wanted to fly right-side-up. After the upside-down sail filled with air, expanding it out like an accordion, the canopy would tend to swing around and make an attempt to rise.

After many tries in the gusty light breeze, it was finally possible to let out several meters of line and get the kite up to a very modest line angle. With heaps of line tension occurring, it was clear that the towing point was too far back.

Despite the lines being fairly short, it was surprising how flat the sail appeared in the air, when fully pressurized. So it would appear there is plenty of scope for making the bridle lines even shorter if necessary. The kite lost stability when far off to the left or right - but it's so close to stability that I'm sure it's fixable.

Getting there!

- 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!

Oct 12, 2016

MBK Rokkaku Kite Stories

A previously published page with links to flight reports for all the MBK Rok designs. These include some stories by guest writers who made and flew my designs. Read some and feel the wind on your face!

Continue reading "MBK Rokkaku Kite Stories"

Oct 11, 2016

Flight Report:
More Parachute Experimentation

A second Parachute kite is ready, which looks like a real sports 'chute canopy, but I flew #1 again today...

It actually wasn't too hard to rake the bridle lines forward on #1. Although there is no adjustment knot as such, it was just a matter of carefully weighing down the kite, laying out the lines, pulling them through my hand to a new angle and then tying another knot to preserve the new setup. After this was done, the excess lines - together with the old knot - were snipped off with scissors.

To answer the question posed last time, no, the kite is still not stable! However, the new towing point certainly seemed to help the kite up to a higher flying angle on the line. When it wasn't diving off to one side or the other.

At one point, most of the long plastic ribbon tail let go after getting caught in a long weed. But it made no observable difference at all. This is good actually - a long tail hardly looks right on a parachute kite. However, the final design may well have a little conical drogue out the back like a full-size sports canopy. Just for looks!

So, the next step is to fly with much shorter lines. This will create more curvature in the sail, and hence the kite will present more side area. This should help directional stability. The change has already been made. We'll see what the effects are, after the next outing...

- 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!

Oct 05, 2016

Dopero Kite Plans

A previously published page, containing detailed plans and construction tips for the 3 MBK Dopero kite designs. The 1-Skewer (29cm, 12" span), 2-Skewer (58cm, 24" span) and Dowel (120cm, 48" span) variations.

Continue reading "Dopero Kite Plans"

Sep 28, 2016

The Eddy Kite

A previously published page covering the historical Eddy design - a large tail-less Diamond. Illustrated with our own Dowel Diamond, also tail-less, which is based on the Eddy concept...

Continue reading "The Eddy Kite"



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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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