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....

Jun 24, 2017

Flight Report:
Dowel Diamond Just Pips Dowel Delta

It was down at Knox Park on the last Saturday of the month, as is my custom...

Except that the weather has not cooperated on the last couple of occasions. Even today the breeze was barely there. A friend of mine had his best light wind kite out - an MBK Dowel Delta done in rip-stop nylon and sprayed in acrylics.

Giving the delta a good run for it's money was my Dowel Diamond. A special one I once made, specially for very light conditions. To save weight, the spars were permanently attached so no shoelace tie or wood glue. Also, the electrical tape spar caps were done in lighter packing tape. The sail material was the cheapest nastiest plastic bag sheet available :-) At least it is very thin - hence feather-light.

With both kites struggling to stay up on long light lines, I rather optimistically rigged the huge Multi-Dowel Delta kite. But by the time it was ready to launch, the other kites had come to the ground...

In vain I scanned the tree tops for an encouraging leaf. One that was moving even just a little to indicate air movement! But there was nothing. Occasionally birds fool you by jumping around inside the foliage and shaking the odd twig!

Before long we had packed up and moved to another location on a ridge-top just a few kilometers away. There was faster air up there, being forced over the ridge and surrounding hills. Both the Diamond and Delta were able to stay up easily. It became clear that the Diamond had a slight edge in light wind performance.

The setting was very picturesque, with glassy sea, a luminous red/orange sun about to set and dark smudges on the horizon indicating falling rain.

- 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!

Jun 22, 2017

Flight Report:
Octopus #3 Holds 45 Degrees

For an inflatable Octopus kite, 45 degrees of line angle in smooth horizontal air will definitely do...

After giving the #3 kite a 50% boost in tail length, it flew very well today down at a beach. I was even able to back off a bit on the pulled-in bottom corners in order to reduce drag somewhat.

Wind strength was in the Gentle range almost completely. Occasionally it would dip to Light but by the time I left the breeze was gusting to 13 kph.

Most of the time the kite would fly smoothly and drift small distances from right to left and back again.

After some minutes on 100 feet I let the 20 pound Dacron out to 200 feet and shifted position. Due to the wind direction space was a little tight. Waves lapping near me and cars driving by atop a small rocky incline beneath the kite!

A few slightly anxious moments ensued when the wind speed seem to creep up a little - causing the Octopus to veer more emphatically to the left and right. Mmmm even more tail required perhaps, if the kite is to cope with Moderate winds as well.

Plenty of video and stills were taken. There's the newsletter coming out on Saturday and the new e-book needs some in-flight pictures.

- 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!

Jun 21, 2017

Kite Boarding

This previously published page looks at the sport of kite boarding over dry land. As opposed to kite surfing or kite snow-boarding. The page is a beginner-level overview...

Continue reading "Kite Boarding"

Jun 19, 2017

Global News Report:
Thousands of Kites at Fanoe Island

An astonishing kite event - no wonder there are plenty of Flickr images from here, over the years...

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Thousands of creative kites have filled the sky for a festival on Fanoe island, off the south west coast of Denmark.

Around 5,000 kite flyers from across the world have gathered on the island, a short boat ride from the mainland, for the 33rd International Kite Flyers meeting.

Fanoe is known for its optimal wind conditions and a 700 metre beach allows plenty of space to fly the frames.

The festival was founded by German Wolfgang Schimmelpfenning in 1985.

The official three-day event ends with a party and a kite auction but the meeting extends over two weeks.

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SOURCE: Euro News

URL: http://www.euronews.com/2017/06/15/thousands-of-kites-fill-the-sky-for-annual-festival (great video!)

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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!

Jun 17, 2017

Flight Report:
High Tow, No Go

Well, it wasn't a complete flop with the 2-Skewer Rokkaku, but moving air was hard to find.

The Winter Solstice is approaching down here, meaning the days are short. Out at a nearby park around 5pm, the skies had started to darken. Tree top leaves were barely moving, which wasn't a good sign. A better sign was a clump of low cloud scudding past at around 2000 ft. Too bad it's illegal to fly up there with a kite!

After a couple of tows to around 100ft off the grass, it was clear that even a great little light-wind kite like the 2-Skewer Rokkaku just wasn't going to stay up for even 2 minutes. But then things got interesting...

As a final attempt, and fully expecting a floating-leaf-like descent to ground, I did a tow up using almost the full diagonal length of the field. Sure enough, after topping out at over 200 feet altitude, the Rok started to descend in floating-leaf fashion. However, after losing perhaps 50 feet, the descent halted and the kite hung motionless for half a minute or so.

The field has a gentle downward slope on one side, and as I moved back and took some line in, the kite was approaching the slope. Could it be that some very subtle slope lift was keeping the kite up? Possibly! I used to fly slope lift in sailplanes in younger days. Anyway, it eventually became necessary to keep hauling line in and the bright orange Rok ended up on the damp grass a minute or 2 later.

So, there was some semi-satisfying flying after all!

- 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!

Jun 14, 2017

MBK Barn Door Kite Stories

This previously published page links out to a selection of write-ups where people (including me) have documented their flying experiences. Involves all 4 designs - the 1-skewer, 2-skewer, dowel and multi-dowel. Tiny through to gigantic!

Continue reading "MBK Barn Door Kite Stories"

Jun 14, 2017

Flight Report:
Octopus #3 First Flights

It didn't go as well as hoped...

Octopus #3 looks just brilliant on paper, but it's the flying that counts! Today I got down to a local beach to take advantage of smooth winds that were almost moderate in strength. Around 18kph.

Upon getting the kite into the air, there was a big problem. The head would not inflate fully, instead choosing to fold itself in half across the middle! That non-essential bridle line I had removed from the #2 design had turned out to be very necessary after all. So it was back home to add the needed bridle line.

Later in the day, at a local park, I headed out with both #2 and #3 kites. This time, although #3 refused to fly initially, a 20 degree sweep-forward of the bridle lines enabled it to take flight at last. However, the rear 2 bridle lines seemed way too short, which produced excessive drag and kept the kite low. Meanwhile, #2 got some good high flying in, in the gusty breeze!

The list of #3's problems goes on... The upper edge of the air intake was causing the middle ribs to buckle at the cross-flow vents, so it's going to get trimmed back more in line with the lower edge.

Unfortunately, the building of #3 was illustrating the e-book - so there will now be some changes. Plus a section on modifying the air intake. A bit of a set-back, but the MBK Octopus should still be a desirable DIY kite project once all the wrinkles are ironed out!

- 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!

Jun 13, 2017

Global News Report:
Kites Over Kenosha...

Another peek at an event in the USA. This article really captures the atmosphere...

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With professional and accomplished amateur flyers controlling the lines, Kenosha’s annual Outta Sight Kite Flight Festival filled the lakefront sky Saturday at Kennedy Park with kites of all shapes, sizes and colors.

The on-and-off rains kept the crowd size down but didn’t appear to dampen the spirits of spectators or kite operators.

Kris Kochman, city of Kenosha community communications liason, said the annual two-day weekend event typically draws 5,000 to 10,000 spectators split evenly between the two days.

“So, I’m guessing people who didn’t come today because of the weather will come Sunday,” Kochman said Saturday. “We’ve had a lot worse weather than this.”

Event organizer Scott Fisher, owner of Gift of Wings kite shop in Milwaukee, was happy overall on opening day, noting all the performers and vendors showed up.

“One of the reasons we do two days when we have events like this is so we can recover the next day, still get a lot of people out here to see our flyers,” Fisher said. “People come out here and stay all day.”

Looking ahead to today, Fisher added, “All we need is a little bit of sun and a little bit of wind, and it looks like we’re going to have both.”

Marvelous Maneuvers

Fisher watched as kites flew, danced, darted, raced and stunted their way overhead, swooped toward and away from spectators and skimmed the Kennedy Park lawn, with Lake Michigan as the backdrop.

“I don’t think I’d rather be any place else than the lake,” Fisher said. “When the wind comes off the water, it’s just great for the kites.”

Frank and Beverly Gondela, of Chicago, read about the festival in a Chicago newspaper, gathered up their grandson, Bergen Weck, 7, of Richmond, Ill., and brought him with them to the festival.

“It is awesome!” Bergen declared, wide-eyed as he took in the myriad kites.

Standing at a picnic table with him, Beverly smiled broadly, swaying to the music and singing along as the Chicago Fire team choreographed three kites in time to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from the movie “Mary Poppins.”

It was the Gondelas first trip to the festival.

“To me, it really is amazing how these kites are controlled by the wind currents. You don’t just ‘fly’ a kite. You have to know how to control it,” Beverly said.

Her eyes taking in the entire colorful scene and its spectacular setting, she added, “and such a beautiful park.”

“Look,” Bergen suddenly said delightedly as another kite caught his eye. “See that neon one over there? I like that one, too.”

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SOURCE: Kenosha News

URL: http://www.kenoshanews.com/kdn/kites-fly-over-kenosha-lakefront/article_ebe0bf1e-3f6f-584f-969d-4fdc5e3c1c11.html

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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!

Jun 11, 2017

Flight Report:
AKFA Kite Fly - Jun 2017

For a few days there has been a massive high pressure system over the country...

As a consequence there was almost no cloud at all over the entire state of Western Australia at one point (think - almost half the mainland USA) Also, light winds and very light rain if any. And there's a few days to go! Big high pressure systems move slowly.

After rolling up at the beach for the kite fly yesterday, a light-wind Delta was doing OK in 7 - 10kph from the sea. A little later our Light Wind Diamond joined in and proceeded to stubbornly hang up there even after other kites came down. A carbon-and-ripstop bird kite gave the Diamond a real run for it's money.

The Light Wind Diamond is basically the MBK Dowel Diamond on a diet. Ultra-light plastic sail, small squares of packing tape to attach the spars to the plastic and no shoelace tie or wood glue. I store and transport this 1.2m kite fully rigged. In fact, it can't be de-rigged - a small price to pay for something that really shines on very light wind days.

With promising gusts of around 10kph continuing to come through, the huge 2.4m (8ft) MultiDowel Rokkaku was tried, with partial success. The big Rok required constant attention, but did manage to spend some time around 100 feet off the grass. Line-working practice! And with a kite that big, a chance to rebuild callouses on the fingers ;-)

- 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!

Jun 08, 2017

Flight Report:
Multi-Dowel Sled Sags

Right down to the grass in the end...

It had been a full week since any kite of mine had flown. Too busy working on the latest e-book you see. Anyway, today was promising to be rather light - with the small possibility of rain...

Nah, it'll be OK. Into the car were bundled the Multi-Dowel Sled and the Multi-Dowel Delta. Both kites employing 2.4m (8ft) oak dowel spars and both designs great performers in light wind.

After several fruitless attempts to get the Sled launched near the edge of the reserve, I took it way out to the middle. With the next light gust that passed through, the big Sled strained upwards and clawed it's way above the tree top height. From there, the breeze was sufficient to propel the kite right up to a 45 degree line angle. But only just. Every now and then, the wind strength would fade and the Sled would flop and wallow about, descending all the while.

For the next half an hour or so, the Sled kite spent most of it's time between 150 and 250 feet. On a 350 ft length of line. Even with 200 pound Dacron attached, the Sled usually pulls it straight. Not today!

Ignoring a tiny hint of moisture blowing around, I rigged the big Delta. By this time, the Sled had actually flopped to the grass. Optimistically, I continued with launching the Delta. Well, after several minutes of short-line kite-handling practice in the pathetic 'gusts' that came through, I gave up. Gave up, packed up and drove off - with beads of water now collecting on the windscreen. Such can be Winter flying in this region.

- 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."

_________________

"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