MBK Barn Door Kite Stories

Featuring All The MBK Barn Doors

The MBK Barn Door kite is similar to the Diamond of the same span. Instead of a single vertical spar, there are two sticks crossed at an angle. This makes the design slightly heavier but it can cope with somewhat more breeze than a Diamond on a similar bridle setting. Hence I tend to reach for a Barn Door when the breeze looks like it may be too much for other light-wind kites.

30 pound Dacron, as available on this Stake Line Winder from Amazon, is a reasonable compromise to use for all my Skewer and Dowel kites. Except the huge Multi-Dowel ones of course!

Here's a short-format flight report featuring the giant Multi-Dowel kite...

"Rough Air At 300 Feet"

About half an hour before heading out to one of the usual reserves to fly, the weather website was recording 11kph gusting to 18kph. Quite ideal for the big Multi-Dowel version of the MBK Barn Door kite. Also, the flying line was set up to take a Half-Picavet KAP rig. It's time for some weight tests before committing an actual camera to the sky!

A reliable KAP workhorse

On arrival, the breeze was warm and seemed very gusty. Having not had a relaxing high flight from this kite yet, I decided to leave the KAP tests for a bit. Not only that, I had made some more small adjustments to the 5-point bridle and needed to be sure the kite was in good trim.

Launching in the lee of some trees was a little interesting as the huge kite bobbed way over to the left and right. Finally, with some judicious tugging on the line at the right moments, the huge 2.4m (8 feet) span Barn Door soared up into cleaner air. In no time, 30 meters (100 feet) of line was out. So far so good, so I continued to let out line until the 60 meter (200 feet) flag came off the garden-hose reel.

With the line tied around the trunk of a small tree, it was time to just stand and observe the big kite doing its thing up there. It felt rewarding after all the previous constructing, re-designing and adjusting. Despite being buffetted by thermal turbulence and lofted to nearly vertical line angles, the kite behaved rather nicely, never once doing a complete loop. However, the attachment points for the KAP rig looked very close to the kite, being only 10 meters (30 feet) away from the sail. The thought of a camera swinging around in rough air was not very appealing.

Finally, it seemed safe enough to let line out to 90 meters (300 feet). Even so, the huge Barn Door kite promptly went vertical again! Great long ripples slowly twitched the 200 pound Dacron line from side to side. A guy in his car, leaving the reserve, stopped for a while to gawk at it.

Soon after this it was time to pick up Aren from school so the kite was 'walked down' with the aid of a canvas glove.

Close to the ground, and somewhat sheltered, the wind meter recorded an average of 3.6 kph and a maximum gust of 9.3 kph. However, the kite at times was getting 20kph or so, as evidenced by the 4kg pull on the trusty spring scales at one point!

Reporters' Flight Reports

Click below to see MBK Flight Reporters contributions...

First Attempt at KAP with the Goliath Barn Door Kite! 
Up until two days ago, I was convinced that Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) is for the "serious" kite flyers. I was automatically ruled out of this category. …

Multi Dowel Barn Door Kite:
A high flight finale
Yesterday was my first Sunday off in seven weeks and I wanted to do something useful with this day. After coming home at noon from the early Church service …

Dowel Barn Door Kite:
Old School Thermalling
As I mentioned last time, the more difficult or time consuming a kite is to set up, the less likely it is to get flown. This time out, I only had a …

Multi-Dowel Barn Door Kite:
Testing the Strength
As of yesterday, I had flown a total of three short test flights with my Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite. This is due to my job, recent move, and spending my …

Dowel Barn Door Kite:
Thermals Over Willamette Park
This last week, I had three successful flights on two different days! This submission describes the first outing, a typical Sunday kite flying trip at …

Dowel Barn Door Kite
First Flight
This evening was the first feature length flight of my MBK Dowel Barn Door Kite! Construction was pretty much stock according to the MBK plans and technique. …

Tim's Flight Reports
Featuring MBK Barn Door Kites

The links below are full-length reports recorded by me, each featuring an MBK Barn Door kite of one type or another...

First Time Hoisting A Camera (Multi-Dowel)!

Rough As Guts Up There! (Multi-Dowel)

Steady Climb-out, Soaring High At Last (Multi-Dowel)

Lolling About In Large Areas Of Lift And Sink (Dowel)

Awesome Performer In Smooth Moderate Winds (Dowel)

Straight To 80 Degrees In Gentle Winter Thermals (Dowel)

Strong Thermals And Branch-Bending Gusts! (2-Skewer)

Gentle Flying Near Its Wind Range Lower Limit (2-Skewer)

Short But Successful Flights In Meagre Breezes (1-Skewer)

Flying line...

This 30 pound Dacron line is handy for all the MBK kites except the very large Multi-Dowel designs.

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

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 120cm (4 ft) diameter Parasail kite. This kite performs well in gentle to moderate wind speeds. That's from 12 to 28 kph or from 8 to 18 mph. It pulls hard for it's size, so should not be flown by very small kids!

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.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parasail 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.

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:
    Diamond In 'Light Air'

    Apr 29, 17 04:43 AM

    Though overcast and nearly windless outside, there was still a chance the 1.2m Dowel Diamond would stay up...

    I selected my special light wind version, which stays rigged - saving the weight of glue an…

    Read More


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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