Fresh Kite-Making And Kite-Flying News

Hello <>,

Whew, still trying to keep it 'fresh' after 50 issues! Actually, it's not that hard since its mostly reporting on what's happened as opposed to doing 'hard research' or news-gathering from other sources.

The recent decision to keep back-issues was so that the 'Flight Report Of The Month' posts don't get lost in the mists of time. Or, putting it more technically, so the best reports don't disappear entirely by dropping off the bottom of the site-blog! I suppose the editorials are worth keeping too, since they document interesting changes in the website and its kites over time.

Winds have been quite light for much of the month, with little rain. Not a lot of flying happened, but we did get out to fly the...

  • Dowel Diamond, (which proved capable of lifting the Windtronic Anemometer!)
  • Dowel Sled, (behaving itself once again, with the help of a bamboo skewer leading edge batten)
  • and the 1-Skewer Dopero. (a new full-length flight report was needed for an up-coming eBook)


Thanks to those who took a minute to 'Like' the site or an individual page. With the site-Like count creeping towards 100 (currently 78), it won't be long before the 'crass little notice' will be removed from the site footer as promised! With a substantial amount of Likes and Comments already on the site, the notice might not be doing much now anyway.

New Book

The companion title to 'Making Dowel Kites' is well underway. Have a guess - yes it's 'Making Skewer Kites' and includes all of the 1 and 2 skewer Series designs plus more. In fact, over time, both these books will contain more and more designs which will not be published online. They will become 'where to go for more' after all the free resources have been exhausted. Hey, there's plenty of free stuff on the site isn't there :-)


That's more like it, I hear you say ;-) After the initial version of the Skewer Kites book is out of the way, I'm off to the hardware store to pick up enough 9.5mm Tasmanian Oak dowel to make a 2.4 meter (8 feet) span Genki! I have yet to start designing the details of this high-aspect-ratio wing-like kite, but it should be fun. It might be flying sometime in November, we'll see.

Tim P.

"Every new kite is an adventure!"

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Table of Contents

  1. Visitor Contribution Of The Month
  2. Flight Report Of The Month
  3. MBK Kite Making News
  4. The KAP Kite Project

Visitor Contribution Of The Month

Again, mainly questions were submitted! However, one of them might be interesting for new owners of large retail kites. This fellow was a bit concerned about a small amount of stretch in the sail material of his brand new Reza Ragheb Rokkaku. Reza was a well-known and admired kite designer. Despite being no longer with us, the artistry from this designer lives on.

In appreciation for my reply (I presume), an interesting photo was posted on the MBK site shortly after, featuring the Reza Rok hoisting some large items of 'line laundry'. By Singapore standards, there's quite a lot of blue sky in the photo!

Flight Report Of The Month

Here's the short-format report on an interesting outing with the Dowel Diamond kite. For the first time, I actually hoisted something up into the air, attached to the flying line. Err ... apart from other kites that is, in a train!

Here's the report:

(titled "Flight Report - Chaotic Weather, But Dowel Diamond Sparkles!")

"Quite a lot happened out there today, so this short report will be quite compressed...

Light winds at home, with clouds drifting very slowly from the West. Perfect for the Dowel Sled or Dowel Diamond! So I took them both. However, soon after arrival, gusty moderate winds from the hills to the east made mince-meat of the Sled. No damage, but it just refused to stay open! So, out with the Diamond. This kite then proceeded to misbehave. The horizontal spar had slipped across a little, so I re-tied the shoelace, taking an extra wrap around the dowels this time. Also, the knot on the bridle loop needed to come across just a couple of mm, and all was fine. A bit windy for it though, causing it to stress and fish-tail rapidly.

Fast forward half an hour... It was chaos up there, the clouds at 4000 feet or so not knowing which way they wanted to go. 180 degree changes in direction from time to time, plus other assorted directions! However, the cold bluster had given way to gentle thermal conditions - and the Dowel Diamond loved it.

Birds were chirping. Two small colorful parakeets shot across at ground level. A solitary kookaburra cackled just a few streets away in the suburbia to the south. Later, a sizeable flock of white cockatoos made its way across the reserve to the north. And, just to confirm the thermal conditions, a lone pelican edged north at over 3000 feet, wings fixed like a U2 spy plane... Anyway, enough about birds ;-)

Just when I was considering returning home, I attached the wind meter to the flying line with some electrical tape, just on impulse... For 40 minutes or so, the meter dangled 60 meters (200 feet) below the kite, coming to earth gently a couple of times when the kite descended. Many thermal elevator rides later, I brought the kite in and discovered that the breeze had peaked at 12 kph up around 100 feet, with an average strength of 5 kph. This compared with a 7.4kph peak and 2.8kph average near ground level. Interesting!

Why not try the same trick, with a Windtronic Wind Speed Meter from Amazon. Exactly the same model I used - it's very light. Do try to let it down gently, or pull it right into your hand when bringing the kite in."

I will definitely be attaching the wind meter much closer to the kite next time - perhaps just 10 meters or so...

MBK Kite-Making News

2-Dowel Sled Kite

To continue the theme of 2-Dowel kites, I have left the photo of the 2-Dowel Sled up there, from the last 4 months now. But moves are afoot... As soon as the current eBook project is all ready for sale, work starts on designing, then constructing and testing a ... wait for it ... Genki! The kite with a misleadingly oriental-sounding name. I won't go into the history of this kite here, but it should be a fine-looking and quite efficient moderate-to-fresh wind single liner.

There - I'm committed now! Like the 2-Dowel Sled, this 2-Dowel Genki will pack down to a 1.2 meter (4 feet) small-diameter cylinder for transport.

There should definitely be more to report on this by the time you get the next newsletter.

Dowel Sled Mod

Recently, the Dowel Sled has been behaving in a disappointing manner compared to when it was first constructed from very thin plastic edged with sticky tape. It seems that a few crinkles can really upset the ability of the leading edge to hold its shape. Hence, the the leading edge became prone to curling under and collapsing the kite in the slightest of turbulence.

Now, the Simple Sled and the 2-Skewer Sled have never exhibited such a problem which grows with the amount of use the kite gets. The difference is, these 2 kites use heavier plastic for their sails, compared to the Dowel Sled. I think that makes quite a difference. Comparing the designs, I also concluded that it wouldn't hurt to deepen the leading edge V on the Dowel Sled as well.

Anyway, the short term - and effective - mod for the Dowel Sled was to add a vertical batten to the sail. Just a 30cm (12") bamboo skewer, taped over the center-line of the sail, with the upper tip flush with the leading edge. It was fascinating watching it in action, with the leading trying to fold under at times, only to be thwarted by the batten!

The KAP Kite Project

Auto Camera For Kite

This has stalled for the time being, but I have decided to keep this section in place. That's because something along these lines is going to happen sooner or later. Possibly involving that camera over there.

To visit The KAP Kite Project page to see exactly where things are at, you will need the password 'mbkkapkites'. Without the quotes of course. If you use the FireFox browser, it's an easy matter to just let it remember the password for the page.

I have added 2 photos and 2 videos of the 2-Dowel Sled. Take a look! (Added in May 2011, and no updates since)


It's looking like the 2-Dowel Kites might step in to become the vehicles for these ideas! As soon as I can justify spending $100 on the RC Plane Camera up there, it will go straight onto the center spar of the 2-Dowel Sled, or possibly the Genki when it gets finished. With the addition of some fish-scales to measure line tension, the stage is set for some interesting new pages which will document the flights of these large kites. Imagery, wind speed data at height and max line tension for every outing!

Why not tell a friend about this kiting newsletter.

Issued on Tuesday, Sep 27th 2011 Issue #0050
My Best Kite
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia

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...

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Kite Book - Making Dowel KitesMaking Dowel Kites

Kite Book - Making Skewer KitesMaking Skewer Kites

Auto Camera For Kite

Tim uses this
great wind meter...

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