The Paper Sled Kite

Floating Aloft On Very Light Gusts

The new Paper Sled Kite instructions had just been written up. However, I couldn't post them on the Web until the thing actually flew, could I! An in-flight photo and a flying video were required before the page would be complete, anyway.

The MBK Paper Sled kite in flight.

So, out I went. A grown man with digital camera, wind meter and broad-brimmed hat - all for a small plain kite made from a single sheet of A4 copier paper! It's called commitment to providing good original online content :-)

Arriving at the nearby school reserve, a quick check for herds of school-boys or flocks of school-girls was in order.

Nope. The coast was clear, so out came the paper Sled Kite and other gear.

Rather than venture out onto the main oval, which was still weed-infested, I stayed in a small grassy clearing not far from the road.

Despite a few surrounding gum trees, a promising light breeze wafted through from time to time. Sure enough, the gentle gusts were enough to loft the kite for up to half a minute at a time.

The picture over there was taken during these short flights.

The little Sled, thankfully, flew stable most of the time. Occasionally it would flick itself inside out when a spot of rough air came through! But at least, when a constant flow of air was there, the kite flew like any other small Sled. Line angles were modest, but you can't expect too much from a single piece of copier paper! I was actually very pleased with the way it flew.

Then followed a quiet period where the average wind speed dropped to around 1.3 kph (less than 1 mph). So there I was, standing out in the sun, holding a piece of line in my hand and checking out the tree-tops for signs of approaching gusts. A slightly odd sight for anyone walking past I guess, or the guy working on the school fence, not too far away.

Just as I was considering posting about 5 seconds of usable video and a grainy in-flight photo of the kite, there was a rustling of leaves. Yahoo! The exclamation, not the search engine...

Within seconds, the Paper Sled Kite was up and away. I let quite a few meters of line slip through my hand, before extracting the camera from a pocket.

No sooner than the movie taking started, the kite flew right up into the sun. Bother, and other mild church-approved expletives...

Fortunately, the little Sled soon slid out of the way of the sun and went on to flying very nicely for the better part of a minute. Sinking to just a meter (3 feet) off the ground during a slight lull, than back up. Zipping back and forth as the gust strength increased. Then a nice high climb to perhaps a 50 degree angle, before gracefully hovering and sinking slowly back to the grass.

Great! It was all 'in the can' as they say in the movie business.


The story above was an actual flying experience with the described kite. My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!

 




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

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.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parachute 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!

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    Aug 19, 17 12:29 AM

    Winter-like weather has been the norm here for many weeks. But today was sunny with very light winds. A rare opportunity to take out the tail-less Della Porta variant with it's latest mini-bridle conf…

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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.

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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