Sled Kites

Simply Convenient!

Sled kites have 2 big things going for them - simplicity and convenience! Plus, the stick-spar variety are super-easy to make for yourself.

Sled kites are easy to make at home.

The simplest kind of Sled is just a single sheet of sail material with a couple of vertical sticks attached. A simple bridle loop is attached to the left and right extremities of the sail. No adjustments, no fuss. Just unroll, attach a flying line and you're up and away!

See our big orange Sled over there in the photo. As you can see, this design flies very nicely without tails! You can add them if you want to, just for looks. Personally, I like the convenience of tail-less kites. Nothing to blow around in the wind and get tangled while the kite is being handled on the ground.

We've been to few kite festivals over the years and taken plenty of photos. There's a few Sled pictures among them, so see below for a few examples of the variety.

This mid-sized Rainbow Sled kite on Amazon is typical of modern fiberglass and nylon designs.

Sled Kites We've Seen At Festivals

Here's 4 Sleds, each with something unique about it. There are so many variations on the theme that are possible, just in terms of configuration. Let alone decoration and tails! However, in my books, a Sled always has a single-surface sail.

A colorful 2-sticker with matching tails.

A really simple one to start with. This Sled uses the classic '2 sticks and a sail' approach. The rainbow color scheme is carried through to the long twin tails.

Two tails are the most natural way to decorate or stabilize a Sled since the 2 spar tips provide convenient anchor points. Also, there is no distortion of the inflated sail in flight.

A slightly more complex Sled here, featuring inflatable spars. Air pressure keeps some rigidity in the tube-spars on each side, so the whole thing works just like a simple Sled in flight. The spars are also partitioned in half - perhaps this helps to prevent them collapsing, I'm not sure.

A ram air Sled with single broad ribbon tail.

Despite what I said for the first kite up there, this one does have a tail attached to the trailing edge of the sail! However, look how broad it is...

My hunch is that the tail is so broad that the top portion of the tail is effectively part of the main sail.

They might just be for convenience in attaching the bridle, but this Sled also has a tiny keel on each side. See if you can spot them. They don't look big enough to have much effect on stability.

A more complex Sled with 3 ram-air spars, each pertitioned in half.

Here's an interesting design! Like some early rigid-spar Sleds, this one has a central spar in addition to the other two.

The central spar is partitioned, and it's a bit hard to see, but it looks like the side spars are as well. There seems to be some light-colored fabric in there. Would you agree?

Something I didn't notice straight away is the flat inside edges of the side spars! I guess this might be to add 'walls' on each side of the airflow just like the side flaps of a simple Sled. If you get what I mean...

Definitely no keels on this kite. Or at least that's what I thought until I spotted that tiny triangular area under one spar. Near the bottom right of the image.

A double Sled with bridle lines clearly visible.

Finally, this Sled is really no more complex than the last one, but there is a real difference! It's a double Sled, with each side looking somewhat like a single Sled kite! In other words, the sail has two distinct curvatures, separated by the deep central inflatable spar.

There must be a real advantage to using partitions in those inflatable spars. The side spars on this kite have them too.

The 3-point bridle is very visible in the picture. Not so the very small keels to which the lines are attached.

Out In The Field

My collection of real-life Sled kite stories is worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

There's our own home-made Dowel Sled in action, above...

This Rainbow Sled kite on Amazon is typical of what we have seen at festivals.

That's about it for this page on Sled Kites. Hope you enjoyed the pics and the info!

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Super Light And Variable In Victoria Park

    Sep 21, 14 09:44 PM

    Victoria Park adjacent to the Adelaide CBD in South Australia, that is. This large grassed area which forms part of the eastern parklands of the city is used for various events from time to time. Including, in the past, major horse racing and a section of a Formula 1 Grand Prix track.

    An invite had gone out to various kite enthusiasts to meet and fly, since the weather looked good. We arrived after lunch, only to discover very light winds. A lone R/C flier was enjoying the easy conditions with his 3-channel electric trainer. Like a tiny Cessna, if you're not familiar with model aircraft.

    For a while it seemed we were alone, before spotting a power kite in the distance, making brief forays into the air. Victoria Park is rather large!

    It actually turned out to be quite an enjoyable outing, with the 2.4m (8ft) Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite just scraping into the air. But then, thermals were everywhere. It wasn't long before the large pale blue kite went right overhead! At other times, I simply toyed with the Barn Door, floating it way out on a long line then pulling it up to over 200 feet.

    Another RC flier was now having success launching his glider, finding thermals, and gaining height in them.

    We were eventually joined by two other AKFA members including the President. A couple of ripstop-and-carbon light-wind kites went up, with plenty of success. By now the breeze had come across the park from just about every point of the compass. Variable indeed!

    In the distance, someone had been lofting a large but light-wind parafoil. It was interesting to see it sink out as an utter 'bag of washing' during a dead calm spell! Someone else had some success with a small blue Delta for a while.

    All up, a worthwhile day IF you were flying lightly-loaded kites! No luck for Mike with his power kite and skateboard...

    About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. Usually, photos and/or video from the day are posted a few days later on the MBK Facebook Page. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.

    Read More

New! Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...

Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!


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