Flying when the wind is too darn strong, in other words! But that was
towards the end of the flying session, when the cloud cover started to
disappear and surface winds were affected...
MBK 3-Skewer A-Frame
MBK 3-Skewer A-Frame
To begin with, the 3-Skewer A-Frame kite was popped up on just 20
meters (65 feet) of line for a few photos. Unfortunately, the sun was
not at full strength due to some thin cloud cover. Trying again at a
later time was therefore on my mind.
Looking to the North there were many extensive areas of blue,
which were cause for some hope. Despite the weather predictions for
developing showers today!
A Northerly breeze was blowing, which was also
a good thing since it was shifting cloud away to the South.
Cheap cameras like plenty of sunlight for the best photos, though low-end digital cameras are getting better all the time.
With some more line out, to about 60 meters (200 feet), some good
flying ensued. Despite the kite showing a slight leaning tendency to
The looped black garbage-bag tail worked well, despite much of it
turning into narrow tubes due to twisting in the wind. Annoying! On the
other hand, the kite still flew stable which was good. Perhaps less
tail is required...
After getting home I shortened it to 9.0SL (261cm, 104"). We'll
see how it goes next time! A shorter tail might well improve the
winding-up problem too.
After an hour or so out at the field, it seemed the cloud cover
was cycling. At first, new cloud developed quicker than the breeze could
shift it South to expose the sun. Thwarting my hopes for better
photography conditions! But then, after taking the 3-Skewer A-Frame kite
down much lower to get better images, the sunlight became much
brighter. It was clear that much cloud cover had burned off, with less
Apart from bringing the kite down for photos, there were several
other times when I brought the kite right down to ground level to do
some adjustments. Trying to get rid of that pesky lean! A strip of
electrical tape, doubled over and stuck to the left tip of the kite
helped. A little more was added from time to time, after seeing how the
Most of the time, the bright-orange A-Frame coped well with the
very gusty moderate air flow. The kite flew even flew to high line
angles sometimes, with a little thermal help.
I was a bit concerned that the 3-skewer construction would make this kite too
flexible, but this wasn't the case. At least for light-to-moderate wind
scenarios. It probably helped that I put the stiffest skewer in the
center of the horizontal spar. And to help flying characteristics, I
carefully matched the 2 outer skewers before gluing it all up. Not to
mention putting the heaviest ends of the diagonal spars to the bottom...
Beside the 'tape from the tip' trick, some bridle adjustments were also tried. Unfortunately, these seemed rather ineffective for this design. It seems logical that some designs will be more sensitive to sideways bridle adjustments than others. For example, the Dowel Sode responds very precisely to changes in sliding knot position on the upper bridle loop.
Not that long after the sun came out, the wind speed really picked up.
The 3-Skewer A-Frame kite managed to stay up, but became 'draggy' and kept down to quite low line angles. With more than 15 kph of wind, the horizontal spars bent noticeably and the straight sail edges took on a curved appearance. Even with a slightly more forward towing point, the kite just continued to sit low, although some improvement was there. This kite just doesn't like fresh wind!
So, not the greatest bit of flying today, due to the excessive winds that blew most of the time. But at least I learned quite a lot about this bamboo A-Frame design! The Windtronic wind meter, parked on a small grassy rise, registered an average speed of 6.9 kph with a peak of ... 21 kph! Enough to really test any light wind kite.
I'll try to do another write up on the 3-Skewer A-Frame kite when I manage to pick more ideal flying conditions.
Making Skewer Kites is my handy download of printable step-by-step instructions. This design and all the other 1-Skewer, 2-Skewer and 3-Skewer designs are covered.
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!