Kites for Sunday School
by Steve Kasa
(Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA)
The kites we made...
1. 36" Sled Kite. I loved it... kids liked it.
2. 12" Diamond Kite. Good flier! Worked OK in most conditions ....
3. 18" Delta - single line. Most popular of the 3. Launched easily.
Here's how we came to make these kites...
Our church runs an unusual Sunday School program. I have been a teacher/volunteer for several years. They give us a 'topic' and we teachers have to come up with a lesson plan in 'our field'. Mine is science. One week I get the first graders, the next week is second grade, next third, etc...
This past plan was the story after Jesus' resurrection where the boys go fishing and he shows up for "Breakfast on the Beach" (the theme). Me - I did the lesson and setup a bunch of my beach toys! Frisbee, hackysack, beach-balls, & KITES! I have a couple of store-bought kites but wanted to expand the list. I googled and found the MBK website.
The first week we tried to complete and fly the plans for the diamond kite - but were quite rushed and I dropped that plan for subsequent lessons.
I decided to build several MBK kites and we'd just go try and fly them = a MUCH better plan. I used a roll of bright blue plastic tablecloth covering for fabric and 1/8" doweling for spars. Electrical tape & transparent tape as described. I made a 36" spar Sled kite, a 12" spar Diamond kite, and an 18" spar Delta kite (with keel and single line). I used thin plastic hunters orange safety tape for tail material. My other kites included a large Box-style fish, a large Diamond, a 2-line Delta, and 2 small odd 3D things.
The kids all loved the small 3D things till they found that they stunk. The Box kite was OK but took a lot of wind to stay afloat. The 2-line Delta was too much to handle. NO-ONE was interested in the big purchased Diamond. They all wanted to fly the handmade MBK kites (Cool! ;) ). Hardest thing to teach to the kids was string control. They all wanted to control from the spool instead of the line itself. Even demonstrating was not enough to get them to discard the spool as their control point. Still we got everything aloft in very gusty and turbulent conditions for at least a few minutes each week. All in all, I am hooked!
MBK Kite SUMMARY :)
1. 36" Sled Kite. I loved it... kids liked it. Easily upset by turbulence. Went up easy but didn't stay up so well. In strong gusty winds it was fun to try and keep it riding by just steering the long bridle line. I would do it and let kids try. The interesting design kept their interest.
2. 12" Diamond Kite. Good flier! Worked OK in most conditions but took a long tail to remain stable -> then dropped fast when winds died down. Bigger sail area would have helped this puppy a lot.
3. 18" Delta - single line. Most popular of the 3. Launched easily. I did not have the keel tight enough, so cross winds sent it to the ground readily. We cracked the spars on crashes and I ended up taping a second section of dowel along the cracks to keep it in use... which worked OK. Putting bows into the spars also helped.
I ended up later taking the Sled & Delta to the beach with the family one afternoon. The Delta would only go up so high before it failed and crashed heavily - keel issues I think. Last crash destroyed the spars and I had to throw it out.
The Sled would also only go so far before it became unstable, but it came down soft with some work - and I didn't crash into anyone (too close sometimes!). LOL...
I figured out that 1/8" dowel is too thin and will try 3/16 next time (Yes I intend to try MORE!). The plastic fabric I used was rather delicate but performed quite well and was pretty to look at with the bright blue and fluorescent orange tails. Wound string is a problem and I can see where braided would be a huge improvement. I also think increasing sail area/bigger kites tended to handle light winds better.
I am attending a weekend telescope party/gathering in central Ohio, USA in 2 weeks (June) and intend to bring a couple MBK kites to entertain folks during the daytime (along with my water bottle rocket launcher & canning jar pulse-jet engine!).
Thanks for The Website, The Plans, The Stories, The Vids. Please include me as one of your club members too, if you would. I'd be glad to try and fly & report on some of your other designs too.
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Aug 25, 14 03:57 AM
Last week I came home from a KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) session down at Brighton beach, here in Adelaide, South Australia. The photos were a disaster, being totally washed out. Over-exposed, to be a little more technical. At the time I thought the problem was purely the position of the sun, relative to the direction of the camera...
Well guess what. Down at the same beach today, the photos had the same problem - and this time it definitely wasn't the sun. Camera damage seemed a small possibility since the rig had hit the sand at some speed last time, during a white-knuckle experience with the kite in rough air! Which turned out OK, but that's another story.
Anyway, once back home today, I did a little investigating with the camera, taking some test pictures from the back yard. It was a great relief to find the explanation for the bad images...
It seems that setting a fixed ISO is not a good idea for this camera in very bright lighting conditions. It can cause the camera to run out of adjustment room for other parameters, like shutter speed or aperture. When the camera was allowed to set ISO automatically, the exposure problem disappeared. Whew!
The Tyvek-sailed Carbon Diamond performed wonderfully today. It was, for the first time, hoisting the KAP rig into the air. Never has the rig been so steady for so long. Sway was almost non-existent. But whenever I handled the line the camera twisted back and forth due to the rather steep line angle from the rig to the kite. Without enough horizontal separation, the suspension lines do not provide the maximum resistance to twisting. It might be an idea to separate the attachment points even further, on the flying line.
The 2 meter (7 ft) Diamond was struggling to lift the camera in the fairly light winds coming off the ocean. At times, people on the beach had to duck under the line from me to the camera! The camera was behaving as a sort of aerial tether point, with the kite flying at a steep line angle from there.
Measured at shoulder height, the on-shore breeze was about 4.5kph gusting to just under 7kph. More of a day for the Multi-Dowel Sled really, which hardly feels a 280g weight on the line!
"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 get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe what's on offer in that message series!