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....

Mar 26, 2017

Global News Report:
Flamingo Kite-Poachers!

Only from India :-) A group of six get caught doing a spot of aerial fishing...

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AHMEDABAD: Forest officials at Nalsarovar caught six persons with six flamingos including two dead birds for poaching the birds at Nalsarovar lake, the only Ramsar wetland site in the state.

Range forest officer S M Patel said: "During a routine patrol, we noticed a kite flying near Panwad Bet. The official immediately rushed to the spot and detained six people. On checking, we found 15 kites, nylon thread and four spools of thread used for flying kites."

"We also recovered six flamingos including a dead one. Two birds were released as they were found to be fit, one was shifted to a Limbdi rescue centre and another died on the way Limbdi."

Officials said the six people arrested were resident of Dharji village near the lake. The forest department also seized fibre boats.

Poaching is rampant in the only Ramsar site in Gujarat.

Poaching in Nalsarovar is usually done with nets tied to killing trapped birds. Patel said, the modus operandi of the six was simple. Three or four of them would fly kites in an areas with birds. One person would disturb the bird by pelting stones. As the birds fly in a flock, a couple of them get trapped in the nylon thread and fall.

The six suspects told forest officials that that they killed the birds to eat and did not sell them. Large scale poaching had been discovered in the past and the birds were sold at local street-side eateries. However, the forest department could not nail the eateries in earlier incidents. These six accused will be produced in court on Saturday.

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SOURCE: Times of India

URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/6-held-for-poaching-flamingos-with-kites/articleshow/57697020.cms

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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!

Mar 25, 2017

Flight Report:
Della Porta Dallies In Light Air

This afternoon was the perfect time to put the very-light-wind Della Porta through it's paces at height...

Barely a leaf was stirring, but occasional movement in the tops of trees gave away some gentle thermal activity in the area. Now and again, a little movement could be felt on my face. Light-wind kite weather!

Trying to get some movie footage was a bit tricky down low. I kept flying the kite up into a sudden wind-shadow. The breeze was wafting past the tree trunks you see, but the foliage higher up was a big block to the airflow. Eventually I did get some footage and it was time to break some height records for this kite! With the average speed of the breeze around 5kph, the lightly built Della Porta soon surged up to a modest line angle.

The modified Della Porta is not a super high-performing kite it seems, in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. But this one is certainly rock-steady over most of it's wind range. With no tails and no bow-lines. Flying as it is, from the spar crossing point only, there should be no problem flying a number of these on the one line. A kite train.

From today's flights, the last of which was on 90m (300ft) of line, this is how the kite flew...

0-1kph: glides slowly upwind, losing height

2-3kph: wallows around wagging it's tail end, maintaining height

3-4kph: sits up and tries to climb

4-5kph: climbs smoothly and settles out around a 45 degree line angle

6-7kph: spars start to bend, trailing edge flaps a little

8-9kph: spars bend more, kite loses some height but stays very steady

10kph+: kite moves to one side and may porpoise slightly

These speeds are not precise or 100% accurate, but give a good idea of how this kite flies!

My wind meter recorded an average of 4.6kph gusting to a maximum of 9.2kph. Up high, perhaps the strongest gusts were more like 12kph.

- 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!

Mar 22, 2017

The Granny Knot

This knot doesn't have the greatest reputation - but it's simple and does have it's place in some less-critical kiting scenarios. Usually with the addition of a drop of glue ;-) ...

Continue reading "The Granny Knot"

Mar 21, 2017

Global News Report:
Pakistani Kiting In The U.S.

It's a trend. Asian and Middle-eastern kite flying countries extend their kite-flying influence to the U.S. Via residents with Pakistani heritage this time...

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All eyes will be skyward on Saturday, March 11, when the Pakistan Information and Cultural Organization (PICO) sponsors its 15th annual Kite Flying Festival, “Basant Mela,” in Fountain Park.

Admission is free from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Basant Mela” is celebrated at the end of winter in Pakistan, India and China to welcome spring.

This gathering is the state’s largest kite festival and a one-of-a-kind event where visitors can enjoy authentic Pakistani food, music, children’s activities, arts and crafts, henna/mehndi applications, jewelry and apparel.

The true stars of the day will be the kites, some imported from Pakistan and sold. Plastic kites also will be sold. Participants also can bring their own kites.

If you don’t know how to fly a kite, experts will assist novices in getting their kite in the sky.

Expert kite flyers will demonstrate three-kite fights as featured inm the Movie, Kite Runner, at noon, 2 and 4 p.m.

Kites are normally one foot by four feet in diameter. Many come in various shapes, such as butterflies, airplanes and birds.

This year, organizers will collect clothing and toys for refugees.

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SOURCE: FH Times

URL: http://www.fhtimes.com/news/local_news/come-fly-a-kite-in-fountain-park/article_3846ebc4-0380-11e7-a399-6f64533a6bbf.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!

Mar 19, 2017

Flight Report:
Della Porta Clears The Trees

The very-light-wind Della Porta went out yesterday for a fly...

A very simple kite to set up, this one, despite being fairly large in area and of the sparred variety. Step 1 - plug the 2-piece spars together. Step 2 - insert the tips into the corner pockets. Done!

After assembly, the flying line was attached to the single-point bridle by the simple time-honored method of a Larks Head knot. Down low, even this kite found almost nothing to lift the sail. A few gentle tow-ups were the way to go.

Soon, the kite was several meters over the grass. A few wisps of breeze tightened up the flying line, for a moment or two.

After several short flights and glide-backs to where I stood, a tow-up on a longer line finally got the kite near tree-top height. From this position, some slightly stronger gusts bent the spars back and demonstrated how the kite would behave near the top of it's wind range. Which was perhaps only 7 or 8 kph! The kite under this stress was stable but unwilling to climb high. Any thought of shifting the towing point (= spar crossing point) even further aft was dismissed at this point.

The next step, with the help of other AKFA members, will be to turn out a couple more Della Portas with sewn rip-stop nylon sails. The beginnings of a kite train!

- 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!

Mar 18, 2017

Flight Report:
Della Porta Debuts

The local kite club has need of an extreme light wind design, in time for the festival in a few weeks time. Just in case winds drop out...

After months of dithering around with various ideas, the time had come for action. The Della Porta was chosen for it's simplicity and suitability for the display of artwork - although we might only have time to make a few plain ones this time around.

A standard Della Porta is a rectangle with just 2 spars, going corner to corner. Mine is modified to fly stable from the crossing point - which of course can't remain right in the middle. Shifting the crossing point towards the top edge makes the top edge shorter and the lower edge longer, distorting the rectangle. But still, it's a nice large flat surface for an artist to work with!

Why fly these from the crossing point? To train them of course! The intent is to have at least 3 kites on the one line, stretching way up into the air when nearly all other kites are grounded due to lack of wind. To achieve this end, the kites will be large and very light, using carbon tube for the spars and rip-stop nylon for the sails.

Yesterday, I put together a prototype with 2-piece 2m (7ft) carbon tube spars and a plastic sail. Trying the kite in puffs of wind on the back lawn, it was clear that the towing point was too far forward. The kite would take every opportunity to flop face-down and rarely pulled much tension into the line. However, it actually seemed to fly stable in it's flat condition! No bow lines or tensioning required. Evidently, the small amount of billow in the sail on the sides was very fortuitous...

The next step will be to shift the spar crossing point aft by 10cm. Which will require a brand new sail - such is prototyping.

- 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!

Mar 15, 2017

Balinese Kites

The island of Bali is kite-mad. Catch a glimpse of what is going on over there...

Continue reading "Balinese Kites"

Mar 14, 2017

Flight Report:
Dowel Dopero And Dodgy Tape

It's Dopero Month, and this time I made sure to bring the right kite! ...

Since the kite hadn't been flown for many months, I rigged it on the living-room floor to check for problems. A few bits of electrical tape and sticky tape later, the kite was deemed ready to fly. Outside, the temperature was close to 30 degrees and winds were light.

Out at the field, the sky was largely blue. Puffy cumulus clouds were popping here and there, although none were close to the field. All the same, strong thermic air could be expected! Sure enough, although the Dopero launched easily, there were times of strong line tension interspersed with no line tension at all as sinking air and lulls came through.

Initially I did a 30 degree constant-angle climb-out. This came to an abrupt end when the breeze died and I had to pull some line in. Shortly after, I resumed climbing but at just 20 degrees of line angle this time. With 60m (200ft) of line out I let the Dopero soar up high. It's such a steady and predictable kite. One thing you can't predict though is the effect of electrical tape of unknown age and the warm sun...

After soaring around almost overhead for a while, one of the wingtips pulled through the soft and sticky electrical tape. With an unbalanced sail, the kite looped tightly all the way to the ground. At the last second I slackened off the line to soften the landing. No further damage done!

A note to builders of this kite - there are a few variables when it comes to how reliable taped tips are. Cooler climates will be kinder on the tape join. New tape might perform better than old tape. Some brands might be better than others. Packing tape is probably superior to electrical tape! The e-book is just a guide really - although it specifies electrical tape, use whatever sticks well and doesn't add too much weight.

With the wing tip fixed, the Dowel Dopero promptly soared straight back overhead - on 90m (300ft) of line this time...

- 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!

Mar 11, 2017

Global News Report:
14 Afghan Kites

This report connects two countries with kite-flying cultures - the U.S. and Afghanistan...

Kites representing Afghani children lost to violence filled the air at Richlands High School today.

Fourteen kites, one by one, took to the sky. Each kite was handmade by an Afghani immigrant and represents an Afghani child lost to violence. English teacher Bonnie Kennedy wrote a grant to buy the kites after her students read the “Kite Runner.”

“It’s about two young boys growing up in Afghanistan right before the invasion of Russia,” Kennedy said. “And it’s about their friendship. It’s about loyalty.”

The kites are lightweight and easy to fly. “They can fly them from anywhere so it’s not like they had to get out on the field,” Kennedy said. “They can stand on any roof or any alleyway and fly the kites.”

As with any kite, there were struggles to get them in the air, which was fitting for the struggles faced by the Afghani people.

“It’s really special because we’re flying it for the children who won’t be able to ever fly a kite ever again,” 12th-grader Cassidy Mulvey said.

Each kite is named for either a character in the book or child lost to violence.

“In Afghanistan, they learn to fly kites so early they don’t even remember doing it,” Kennedy said. “It’s that ingrained in their culture that they don’t even remember being taught they just know how to do it.”

Many students in the class have parents deployed in Afghanistan.

Kennedy says she plans to continue to have her future classes fly the kites in honor of the children.

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SOURCE: WNCT

URL: http://wnct.com/2017/03/09/14-afghan-made-kites-fill-the-sky-in-richlands/

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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!

Mar 09, 2017

Flight Report:
Mistaken Identity

It's Dopero Month ...

After grabbing the Dowel Dopero and opening it up at the flying field - it turned out to be the Dowel Roller! They do look similar all rolled up. Hardly surprising given that one is a doubled-up version of the other. Both have pale-orange sails and keels.

Oh well, the Roller was still a good choice for the conditions. Dropping a pinch of dry grass, there appeared to be a weak northerly drift of air. Trudging half-way across the field, I tested again - and sure enough, the 'breeze' was now from the south!

Thermals were evidently lifting off and causing weak air currents in all directions. A few moments later the air was about 3kph from the west. It was going to be a thermal soaring outing today.

Some still photos were taken with the Roller close to the grass, then it was time to work the line. Some of the puffs of air were a little stronger now so it was an easy matter to get the Roller out on 60m (200 ft) of line.

Just to keep my hand in, I did a 30 degree constant-angle climb, followed by a short additional climb at 45 degrees. This involves holding the angle constant by letting out the line at various speeds.

Shortly after this the air temperature seemed to drop and the wind speed picked up significantly. A sea breeze? Possibly not - it might just have been the effect of large cloud shadows causing localized shifts of air due to temperature differences across the ground. As if to confirm this, the breeze eventually returned to the weak and variable nature it had earlier.

The Roller, meanwhile, had a good fly at all altitudes from 20 feet to 200 feet. The air speed was varying all over the kite's wind range, as it moved about in a very steady fashion. Occasionally the Roller would descend tail-first with just a hint of tail-wag.

Not a bad outing, despite flying the wrong kite!

- 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

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Testimonials
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"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."

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

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 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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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