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....

Jan 15, 2017

Global News Report:
Tyrus Wong's Kites

A short piece, but check out the video! A remarkable kite person indeed...

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Artist Tyrus Wong, who died last month at age 106, was famed as much for his exotic and colorful kites as he was for designing the Walt Disney classic "Bambi." In this web extra, CBS News visited him in March 2016 at Santa Monica Beach, where Wong and his daughter, Kim, sent several of his creations airborne.

SOURCE: CBS News

URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/tyrus-wongs-kites/

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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!

Jan 13, 2017

Flight Report:
MBK Parachute Nearly There

After a lot of rain, the sun came out and winds were gusting to 30 kph...

The e-book for making the MBK Parachute Kite is nearly there. Today was the first outing for the newly-constructed version. At every stage, photos were taken, processed and included in a .odt file. After final checks, the file will be exported to PDF for people to buy as an e-book.

Despite the good wind strength, it was very tricky getting the Parachute into the air today at a small local reserve. The wind strength was only available for very short periods down low due to the fairly tall trees around the reserve. We might pick a better flying spot for this kite next time! I'm so used to flying light-wind kites...

Finally, after much fancy footwork and line-work, the parachute made it over the tree-tops at the far side of the reserve.

A lean to the right was hampering the kite's performance, and adjusting the sliding bridle knot seemed to have little effect. Which led to a neat idea - adding brake-lines to the trailing edge! The kite may not have sparkling performance in terms of line angle, but what an educational build for youngsters. The design will have all the basic features of a modern sport parachute... Including functional steering for the purpose of trimming the kite for straight flight!

Now to add those extra lines and update the e-book accordingly...

- 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!

Jan 11, 2017

Bird Kites

A previously published page which illustrates a variety of bird kites via examples we have seen locally. It helps to be on the doorstep of an International kite festival!

Continue reading "Bird Kites"

Jan 08, 2017

Flight Report:
AKFA Kite Fly - January 2017

The intention today, for my own flying, was to get three MBK Deltas in the air at once...

On arrival at the beach just south of Semaphore, it was easy to spot where the kites were. A large yellow parafoil was up, hoisting a Blue Whale inflatable. The smallest Whale available - but still large enough to get comments from the public regarding it's size! Also, a big red parafoil was flying at about the same modest height, hoisting a red Heart inflatable. Line lengths were under 30m (100ft) since a relatively small grassy area was being used rather than the open beach on the other side of the dunes.

Initially there was plenty of sun. As time wore on it was clear that hazy mid-level cloud cover was increasing.

The huge Multi-Dowel Delta was rigged on the grass and flown on a short line for a while. After just a couple of minutes it was clear that the Southerly was too strong for this light-wind kite. The reinforced spreader was bending ominously with each cycle of the breeze. A wind meter check at head height showed an average of around 18kph with gusts to 24kph. Great for most kites but uncomfortable for all three Deltas I had with me.

Not to worry - there was also a Roller in the car that absolutely laps up moderate winds! Accordingly, after packing away the big Delta, the Red Roller was soon soaring away on a tight line.

Another flier arrived. He had his multi-colored 8-cell flat Parafoil up in no time. With twin tails, it too had no trouble with the breeze strength.

By now, there was very little direct sunlight, although the temperature continued to hover around 27 degrees C.

We noticed a light aircraft climbing high overhead. Later, the plane disappeared through cloud cover, still climbing. Skydivers! Sure enough, we later spotted 4 'chutes descending. On their way to a spot just South of us on the beach sand.

Meanwhile, the Roller had been parked in the sky, on just 30 m (100ft) of Dacron to avoid any possible contact with trees or parked cars.

Down on the sand, some members of the public were having fun with a dual-line parafoil stunt kite and also a 4-line trainer traction kite.

Not a huge flying day by AKFA standards but pleasant enough...

- 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!

Jan 04, 2017

KAP Equipment

A previously published page giving a broad-brush overview of KAP (Kite Aerial Photography). Of most interest if you have never come across the idea before, or seen it in action...

Continue reading "KAP Equipment"

Dec 31, 2016

Flight Report:
Lift, Sink And The Sode

Unusually, there was a wide strip of pure blue sky to fly in, this afternoon.

On each side, to the West and East, there were thick banks of cloud. Completely unbroken on the Western side, with the sun still uncovered. Anyway, enough about the sky...

Another kite flier was there, who reported that the breeze was very on and off. Typical Summer weather! I pulled out the Multi-Dowel delta and rigged it for fresher winds - since the thermal gusts had a bit of punch to them! meanwhile, a brightly colored Dowel Dopero hovered near the center of the large square field. Several attempts were required to get the 5m (17ft) span Delta into the air. Finally, a long enough gust prevailed with the kite on a long enough line to get it above the tree tops. The huge blue Delta was away.

On 60m (200ft) of line, some video was taken, before letting the line out to just over 90m (300ft). Thermal activity pushed the big kite here and there, including right overhead at one point!

Being a fairly floppy light-wind design, the Delta's trailing edges would flap noisily when the kite was straining away in uncomfortably fast air. At the same time, the long leading edges would take on graceful bends, briefly modifying the kite's aspect ratio in mid-air!

Still being Sode Month :-) here at MBK, I naturally had the Dowel Sode in the car too. Leaving the Delta to it's own devices for a while, the Sode was quickly rigged in the shade of some trees...

This time, launching was straightforward and soon the pale-orange plastic-and-dowel craft had climbed high into the blue. Being in a bit of a hurry, I had put the Sode on some 100 pound Dacron instead of the far more suitable 50 pound variety. No matter - the 1.2m (4ft) span Sode still ended up soaring almost directly over the tree to which it was tethered!

Eventually, an enormous patch of slow sinking air downed all of our kites. As I left, a Tyvek Diamond was being let out on a long line, but sadly sank back to the grass. Still, there had been some great 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!

Dec 30, 2016

Global News Report:
Making Clothes From Kites

So what use are old kites, just tucked away in people's houses and sheds? One company has a novel solution...

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Over the past year or so we have seen a number of major outdoor brands begin using recycled items to create the materials used to produce their products. For instance, each of Columbia’s OutDry Extreme Eco Jackets is made from fabrics that were developed from recycled water bottles. Similarly, Adidas capitalized on this trend as well by making performance athletic wear and running shoes from plastics that were retrieved from the ocean. Now, Italian company Exkite is joining the ranks of outdoor apparel makers who are using recycled materials as well by making jackets from used kiteboarding sails.

The concept of using kiteboarding sails to make clothing first came to Exkite founder, and former pro kiteboarder, Renzo Mancini while he was testing new gear on the island of Sardinia. Mancini knew he had a number of old kites just sitting around back home, but he wasn’t sure of the best way to recycle them or find a new use for them. It was then that he came up with the idea of using the materials to create new clothing. Shortly thereafter, he shared his vision with Norwegian designer Eirinn Skrede, who is now Mancini’s wife. She immediately had some ideas on how the fabrics used in the kites could be repurposed and from there the company was born.

As it turns out, the bright and colorful kite fabrics are well suited for apparel. The materials are durable, come in a variety of different weights, and bring a unique look to every garment Exkite produces. In fact, since the clothing is made from recycled kites, no two items are exactly alike. That is not something you can say about too many other apparel brands.

Exkite’s first line of apparel was made entirely of recycled kites that had been flown at some point during their lifespan. Some of the kites were used by Mancini in competitions, others were prototypes that were tested and rejected in favor of newer models, while some were simply used for recreational purposes on the Mediterranean Sea. This not only gives these items a unique look but a unique story too.

Exkite’s products might be unique and use recycled materials, but they certainly don’t come cheap. A typical jacket costs about $470 at current exchange rates, while a pair of shorts will set you back $200. The most affordable products in the company’s catalog at the moment are iPad and MacBook sleeves, which run $40 and $50, respectively. Each product is handmade in Italy and that craftsmanship shows through in the quality of the garments. Plus, the chance of ever running into someone else who has the exact same Exkite jacket are virtually zero.

SOURCE: Digital Trends

URL: http://www.digitaltrends.com/outdoors/exkite-clothing-brand-uses-recycled-kites-create-unique-outdoor-apparel/

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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!

Dec 28, 2016

Styrofoam Kites

A previously published page with ramblings that are likely to be of interest to any kite-flier with a hint of creativity in them. Have a look...

Continue reading "Styrofoam Kites"

Dec 27, 2016

Global News Report:
Cambodian Kite Festival Maintains Traditions

I've always had a soft spot for images and info on South-East Asian kites. You might too if you check out the URL of this article...

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Hundreds of brightly colored kites in all shapes and sizes hovered over Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island on Wednesday to mark the 20th annual kite festival.

Some 68 kite runners from across the country attended the festival, which organizers say they hope will help to keep the tradition alive in the age of smartphones and social media.

Samrang Kamsan, secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture, said he hoped the event would create interest among young Cambodians.

"The event not only creates a joyful moment but also promotes culture and tradition to the next generations to pay attention to the protection of national identity,” he said.

“When you run the kite in the countryside, you will always remember the scenes of your hometown – paddy fields and palm trees, so that you would not want to migrate.”

Kamsan said he also wanted to see youth developing the tradition with new ideas.

Kites in Cambodia, known as Khleng Ek, are equipped with a musical instrument called an Ek, which plays a melody when the wind passes through it. They are usually built with bamboo and paper.

The kites were invented by Cambodians almost 2500 years ago, according to historians, and were flown during the rice harvest to give thanks to the spirits of the ancestors for bringing rain.

Chhom Mao, 56, a festival attendee from Siem Reap, said it was the first time he had flown a kite since he was 10 years old.

“All kite runners love to fly the kite whenever they see the wind. When we fly kites, the neighboring kids always come around. It’s always a happy moment,” he said.

Khleng Ek was revived in 1994 after it was banned during the Khmer Rouge regime of 1975 to 1979.

SOURCE: VOA Khmer (English)

URL: http://www.voacambodia.com/a/government-hopes-kite-festival-will-keep-traditions-flying-high/3639242.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!

Dec 24, 2016

Flight Report:
Skewer Sode - Extreme Backyard Flying!

A gusty Light-to-Gentle breeze was ruffling the bushes and trees outside while the sun still shone bright and hot in the late evening...

It took many attempts to get the 58cm (2ft) 2-Skewer Sode kite out on enough line to keep it flying. But at last, a longish gust and a few well-timed tugs saw the little orange kite strain away, high above the roof of our house. The looped plastic tail was not quite enough to keep the kite stable when the bamboo spars started to bend noticeably. So it was going to be interesting!

On around 12 meters (40ft) of Dacron line, the kite could just reach clear air above the peach tree a short distance up-wind. Other saplings along our fence-line were of a similar height, having grown over the years. So, every time there was a small drop in wind speed, the kite would descend into rough air again. Hence the fun was on from the start!

After surviving an excursion over the neighbor's property, a near-miss with our TV antennae and a lazy sinking-air 360 over our tiled roof, it was time to quit while ahead! Most of this was captured on video, after which I carefully pulled the Sode down. Slowly when under much tension and much quicker when the line went slack. No dramas thankfully, as the orange craft sank obediently to my hand.

Extreme kiting - of sorts...

- 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