Kites - The Daydreaming Tool

by Gary Crenshaw
(Hampton, GA, USA)

About six months ago while looking around on the Internet at kite stuff I ran across a good article about the old High Flier paper kites that most of us ( now adult ) grew up with. It peaked my interest enough to make me want to build a few of them and sorta re-live the hours spent out in a pasture with these day dreaming tools.

I did a little research to familiarize myself with the history of diamond kites and how they evolved as we know them today. I learned that a man named William Abner Eddy is mostly responsible for the developement of the modern day diamond kite. His research was conducted in the late eighteen hundreds and received patents for his kites, in other words the guy had a lot of fun over one hundred years ago.

I rounded up all the neccesary materials such as plastic tape, BBQ skewers and other tools of the trade and the experiments began. My wife calls what I did for the next few months (Standing out in the cold playing with kites) but I called it (Aerodynamic behavioral science research within the lower atmosphere as it pertains to lift and stability on kite structural designs). Her interpretation probably is closer to the real truth.

The first one I built was in sort of a hurry because I was leaving for Brunswick the next morning. The frame was BBQ skewers and the sail was a kitchen garbage bag. The test flight was actually in Brunswick at the water inlet near downtown. It was a thirty inch diamond with a six foot tail and a loose fitting sail.

The first flight found the kite at four hundred feet high half way across the water inlet with commercial fishing boats and private yatchts passing under it for about two hours.

The next day I flew it off the pier at St. Simons Island and later that evening it found itself flying over the Eugene Talmadge Bridge from Hutchinson Island in Savannah. As cargo ships passed under it I only got nervous once when the kite lost altitude and got real close to a Chinese cargo ship's flag mast. I guess they could have took it as (welcome to America where even garbage bags fly high).

The next morning found her flying over the lighthouse at Tybee Island and from there it was tethered on the fourth floor parking garage in downtown Savannah. I had it tethered there at about two hundred feet above the buildings for at least four hours. The best view I had of it was from across the river about a mile away at sunset. Maybe I had too much time on my hands that week, but not bad for a kite that cost almost a nickle.

Most of my test flying after that was at night in a pasture beside my house. No air is better than cool eight MPH steady night wind to test aerodynamics. I probably built thirty kites during these experimental projects changing the structures and sails using a flashlight and a roll of duct tape all in pursuit of getting my own diamond kite to fly steady without the need for a tail.

The first one to actually fly tail-less was just after midnight when the moon was full and small puff clouds were racing overhead. The kite just glued itself to the sky so I fed the line to it. I've got it, I designed one, I built it and there it is stuck to the sky. William Abner Eddy experienced this over one hundred years ago and tonight I got mine.

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My story
by: David Huggins

I'm humbled, thank you gentlemen.

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Hi Flier
by: David Huggins

I grew up with Hi Flier and Top Flite and my love is estimated by the kites I've accumulated over the years (about 300). I'm a disabled Veteran and I plan on opening my own web site because it needs to be current. Naturally I've seen Jeff Duntemans and it seems he loves them as well. Of course I will never sell one of my kites but I'm thinking very seriously of making some the way they were originally made. Good to see a fellow kite lover.

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Eddys etc
by: Tim Parish

Thanks Gary - that should inspire a few newbies to give it a go!

Have you tried the Dowel Diamond yet? It's much like an Eddy. Goes great in light winds and thermals, with no tail of course.

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Click to get 'Making The MBK Parachute Kite'

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 119 cm (4 ft) wide Parachute kite. It's not quite that wide in the air since the canopy takes on a distinct curved shape when inflated. This 14-cell kite performs best in moderate to fresh wind speeds. That's 20 to 38 kph or 13 to 24 mph. In gentle winds, this kite will hang in the air at fairly low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while supervised!

Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

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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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"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."

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"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

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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