Low Wind High Flyers

by Doc Rod Hardin
(Germantown, Maryland, USA)

In the 1980s I made a 0.75 oz RS combination box kite based on a winged rombus tail and a forward Cody biplane. The longeron was about four feet down the center cutting unneeded weight. The wing span was roughly 4 feet. All hardwood dowel.

This kite was intended as a prototype. It would fly on one knot with almost no effort. It would glide at the top of a vertical line in a circle until it picked up another headwind. It won a Masters trophy from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC in 1996.

I scaled it up to twice the dimension later on that flew well enough, but it was never quite the same. It was my third and last trophy from that festival.

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Light wind designs
by: Tim Parish

Kites that excel in light conditions are always more interesting to watch, in my opinion. Like the impressive tethered aircraft described above! Thanks Doc. Bet you have a ton of memories along these sort of lines...

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E-book special of the month (25% off)...

The Roller is a WW2 vintage design which is quite well known among more experienced kite enthusiasts. With it's upper and lower sails, this design has an attractive aircraft-like appearance in the air. This MBK version excels in light winds.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes a little more time to make. With the help of my instructions, it's still do-able by a beginner. 

Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Roller kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

This Roller takes advantage of any rising air that happens to come by. By substituting a slightly wider diameter vertical spar, the kite remains comfortable right to the top of the Moderate wind range. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.



What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants

    Feb 27, 17 06:02 AM

    The huge Multi-Dowel Box took to the air last Saturday, in very gusty fresh winds...

    Despite a large field to fly in, the tall trees upwind and the rather low average wind speed down low made launchin…

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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