Radio Control Kites

by Tim McMahan
(Hermann, MO, USA)

Q:

I have been flying RC airplanes for 3 years, designing my own for 2. Suddenly, I got the urge to do a kite. Can you offer any advice? I can gladly throw you a bone on our YouTube channel as well. Perhaps we can help each other that way.

http://www.youtube.com/user/rcFFBloodyMicks

A:

I edited your title to read 'Radio Control Kites', in case you were intending to do one of those. As opposed to the standard tethered variety! While never having made or flown RC kites myself, I know there are some highly refined motor units available for powering kite-like craft. ARF Vector Power Units they are called, since you control the thrust-line of the motor in 2 axes for much more than just directional control!

Over at Amazon, I notice that they are offering some kites from Premier, like the VR Delta Box RC Kite which are 'Vector-Ready' or VR for short. It looks like they are ready to take the motor near the center of gravity of the kite. It strikes me that these kites might be particularly suitable for copying (the concept, non-commercially!) and doing variations for your own personal use.

Perhaps you could get some estimate of the weight and wing area of a VR Delta Box at Amazon, and then do a keel-less Delta with similar specs. Mount the motor under the vertical spar, with sturdy skids to protect it from ground contact. I know my Deltas double as gliders when the line goes slack! With no keel, and a bit of sail billow for directional stability, I can imagine it working quite well. Slow and graceful! First tests at 1/4 throttle perhaps, doing extended glides to the ground.

Now, if you actually just wanted to do a decent ordinary kite, perhaps you could look at the Dowel Rokkaku first. When bored with that, move on to the Dowel Dopero. Both of these are strictly for light-to-moderate winds, and both go straight overhead in thermals!

Checked out the movie at your YouTube channel - it makes me keener to start taking footage from my kites :-) If you want to link, why not link to one of my RC Kites pages. Thanks!

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