Sled Kite - Reducing size of Dowel design

by Leslie
(Fairbanks, AK, U.S.A.)


Can I make the 48 inch Dowel Sled kite with 36 inch dowels instead?

I would be reducing the overall design by 1/4.

Will this work? Will its flying ability be affected?



The down-size should work fine, since you will end up with something similar in dimensions to the MBK Simple Sled. However, the cut-outs of the Dowel design do add to its looks!

Just be careful to check and double-check that every measurement is multiplied by 0.75 to reduce the whole thing by a quarter. The size of the cut-outs don't have to be super-accurate, but the distance down to the towing point does need to be reasonably accurate. Taking the dowel width down to 1/8" would be a little thinner than a strict 25% reduction, but should still work fine.

Try to find plastic that is a bit thicker than the cheapest garbage bag or garden bags available. This helps prevent the leading edge from folding under and collapsing the kite. Even at 3/4 size, your Sled should easily make it to 300 feet or so after you get it out of the rougher air down low!

As for flying ability, those 1/8" spars should make it a little more lightly-loaded than the full size Dowel Sled, so its light-wind performance might be even better!

Just to get you enthused, here's a flight report of the Simple Sled, which is also 36" tall and made from 2-ply orange garden bag plastic. The slightly more expensive bags, compared to the ultra-thin cheapies.

Hope to hear of some good flights!

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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