Radio Control Kites

by Tim McMahan
(Hermann, MO, USA)


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.


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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"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."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


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

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"

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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