A Delta Wing Kite

Not So Hard To Make, In Any Size

A delta wing kite can look either bird-like or like an aircraft in the air, depending on its design. Some are rather rather rigid, and accelerate quickly this way and that in response to gusts in the wind. Others just float and loll about, distorting in subtle ways as the wind varies.

A Delta wing kite can be a very simple home-made effort, like this one.
A Delta wing kite can be a very simple home-made effort, like this one.

Deltas are a pretty popular design these days, so they can be seen in a large range of sizes. The characteristic sail shape never changes much though, otherwise it wouldn't be a Delta!

Our little 1-Skewer Delta design requires a tail, but is then a good light-to-moderate wind flier. Initially, we made a few in clear plastic, while experimenting with a few details of the construction.

More recently, this kite has been made more visible by doing the sail in orange plastic and using a simple ribbon tail made from black plastic. Also, the glued horizontal spar has been replaced with a floating spreader, like bigger kites of this type.

Next up in size comes the 2-Skewer Delta, which also requires a tail. But only a short one! Any lightly-built delta wing kite is good in thermal conditions, and our 2-Skewer version is no exception. It's great to watch it charge around overhead, riding the patches of rising air that come through.

Eventually we started making larger kites like the Dowel Delta. This one has had just one revision, which resulted in simpler construction and a wider wind range. The original was an ultra-light wind kite really, which would start to misbehave in even moderate winds! There's something about Deltas isn't there, as they point their nose at the sky on the way up. As if to say 'up there is where I belong'.

Just like the 1-Skewer designs were doubled into 2-Skewer designs, I did  similar thing to the Dowel designs... Among other types, creating the 2.4m (8ft) span Multi-Dowel Delta!

And I mustn't forget the little Paper Delta too. The last kite in the Paper Series. These kites feature rigid spars but everything is formed from copier paper and sticky tape! Testing ensures that each paper kite flies over 200 feet up, can stay up for at least 20 minutes unaided, and will last for more than 3 hours of flight time.

Down below is a photo or 2 and a video of all the MBK Deltas. This illustrates the end result, in case you decide to use our instructions to make a delta wing kite for yourself. It's all written up in the Making Dowel Kites and Making Paper Kites e-books, which are included in my Bundle...

The Big MBK Book Bundle is a collection of printable e-books. Each one is a PDF file download. All our delta designs are in there.


The MBK Simple Delta kite.
The MBK Simple Delta kite.

A lot of people have shied away from making our Skewer or Dowel kites due to their complexity or the need for gluing. Hence I did a small series of ultra-basic kites, including the Simple Delta.

The leading edges are about 1 meter (nearly 3 1/2 feet) long. No keel, and no gluing! In light winds, it can be flown on 20 pound line, but we usually use 50 pound line just to be safe.

In keeping with the absolute simplicity concept, this Delta wing kite has a single ribbon tail. The tail is cut from the same plastic that is used to make the sail.


The original MBK 1-Skewer Delta.
The original MBK 1-Skewer Delta.

This dinky little number is called the 1-Skewer Delta. You see, each spar is a 29 cm (1 foot) bamboo BBQ skewer.

The original was made from clear freezer-bag plastic, which made it almost impossible to see against a gray sky. A good little flier though!

We fly this one on 50 meters (150 feet) of 20 pound line. It doesn't need that strength, but we also fly our 2-skewer kites on the same line.

The latest 1-Skewer Delta kite.
The latest 1-Skewer Delta kite.

Over on the left there is the latest version of the 1-Skewer Delta, in orange garden bag plastic. The tail is cut from a cheap black garbage bag, which contrasts nicely with the sail color.

Despite using the same number and length of bamboo skewers, this design has a little more sail area than the original. Good for light-wind flying!

Check out the video below, which shows this kite in a light evening breeze. See how it starts to tip-wiggle when the wind strength drops for a few moments. I've seen really big Deltas do this too, when flying at the extreme bottom end of their wind range.


The MBK 2-Skewer Delta.
The MBK 2-Skewer Delta.

The 2-Skewer Delta is, as the name suggests, exactly twice as tall as the 1-Skewer design. This gives it 4 times the sail area with not much more than double the weight. Hence, it's pretty good in light winds.

The delta wing kite pictured has 2-ply plastic which makes it a little heavier, but it is still a good performer.

In moderate winds, the 20 pound line tightens up, and the Delta will start to porpoise rapidly if the wind strength picks up even further. The kite is a real pleasure to fly in warmer weather when patches of rising air tend to loft it directly overhead!


The original MBK Dowel Delta - for very light winds!
The original MBK Dowel Delta - for very light winds!

The big Daddy of MBK Deltas, the Dowel Delta. This one was designed from the start to be tail-less. A generous keel helps to keep the kite stable.

Actually, the original Dowel design, pictured over there on the left, had more keel than the current design. The rear end of the keel flapped in the breeze, like another tail!

The latest Dowel Delta is also a real floater and will fly at high line angles in light winds. Size? It's about twice as tall as the 2-Skewer Delta, so that's about 4 times the sail area.

Compared to the 1-Skewer version, the Dowel Delta has about 16 times as much sail area!

This latest Delta - the third version in fact - also has quite a good wind range for a home-made light-wind Delta. It has been flown in very gusty air up to around 20 kph. There it is in the photo below...

A close-up of the latest MBK Dowel Delta kite in flight.

And here's a short video of the same kite, on another day...

There is good info available for making the most recent versions of all the above kites...

The Big MBK Book Bundle is a collection of printable e-books. Each one is a PDF file download.


Out In The Field

Delta kite stories of my real-life flying experiences are worth checking out!

Illustrated with photos and videos, of course.

That's about it for this page on the delta wing kite. In several convenient sizes! Hope you enjoyed the pics and the info.

I can tell you love kites...

Otherwise you wouldn't be all the way down here near the bottom of the page :-)

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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 ...
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3

Moderate ...
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4

Fresh ...
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5

Strong ...
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

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