A Delta Wing Kite

Easy 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.

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.




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!

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.

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

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.


 


1-Skewer Delta Kite

 

The original MBK 1-Skewer Delta kite in flight.Original 1-Skewer Delta
The original MBK 1-Skewer Delta kite in flight.Original 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 MBK 1-Skewer Delta kite in flight.MBK 1-Skewer Delta
The MBK 1-Skewer Delta kite in flight.MBK 1-Skewer Delta


In the photo 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.



 


2-Skewer Delta Kite

The original MBK 2-Skewer Delta in flight.Original 2-Skewer Delta
The original MBK 2-Skewer Delta in flight.Original 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 original Delta would start to porpoise rapidly if the wind strength picked up even further. 




The MBK 2-Skewer Delta kite in flight.MBK 2-Skewer Delta
The MBK 2-Skewer Delta kite in flight.MBK 2-Skewer Delta

The latest 2-Skewer Delta reverted to a simpler and more conventional delta shaped sail. Other design changes manged to get rid of the porpoising problem. In fresher winds, this version simply tucks it's wing-tips in and holds on!

The kite is a real pleasure to fly in warmer weather when patches of rising air tend to loft it directly overhead.



 


Dowel Delta Kite

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

For quite a while, the Dowel Delta was our largest 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 had more keel than the current design. The rear end of the keel flapped in the breeze, like another tail! You can see that in the photo.

This kite proved too light and flimsy for general outdoor flying. Of course, in very light wind, it would return some amazing flights. In those conditions, it would have been quite safe to fly on mere 20 pound line. 




The MBK Dowel Delta kite in flight.MBK Dowel Delta
The MBK Dowel Delta kite in flight.MBK Dowel Delta


The latest Dowel Delta - the third version in fact - 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.

The 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.

The video below gives a good close-up view of the Dowel Delta flying on a short line in light wind...



 


Multi-Dowel Delta Kite

The MBK Multi-Dowel Delta kite in flight.MBK Multi-Dowel Delta
The MBK Multi-Dowel Delta kite in flight.MBK Multi-Dowel Delta

The big Daddy of all MBK deltas is the Multi-Dowel Delta kite. This beast is 4.8 meters (16 feet) from tip to tip. Although this kite likes light wind, it can cope with Gentle breeze strengths by having the spreader set to allow more billow in the sail. That, plus the addition of a small drogue from the tail end of the spine give the kite a reasonable wind range.

The leading edges and the spine each plug together from two 1.2 meter (4 feet) lengths of Tasmanian Oak dowel. Using my completely un-patented dowel-drum method :-)  Like Hargrave, the box-kite pioneer, I'm unconcerned with patents.

This kite is a graceful sight when it soars about in light wind and thermal condition on several hundred feet of 200 pound Dacron line.

In the video below, the breeze is pushing the kite a little harder, and I have attached a drogue to settle it down...



 



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

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.



Don't miss your free download...

Could you do me just a small favor though?

Here's a page with reviews for that e-book, plus a sign-up form for my free monthly publication, "Tethered Flying". The e-book download becomes available once you sign up.

Thanks so much, and happy flying!



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P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Drogue Saves The Day

    Nov 17, 19 12:25 AM

    In the early afternoon on Saturday a quick check online revealed substantial winds were blowing down at the coast. Tetra time! In fact, the breeze was stiff enough to warrant bringing the Dowel Tetra…

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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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