Dowel Dopero and Big Brother Dopero
by Dan Prosser
Two doperos ready to go
I have built a few of your dowel series kites: delta, barn door, and dopero.
I liked the dopero so much that I decided to learn how to use a sewing machine and make a big, 65-inch version with ripstop nylon and carbon fiber tubes. I just love how stable and efficient this design is. The big one has almost exactly the same flying characteristics as the original 48-inch version, but it pulls a lot harder!
Well, I had completed several flights with both kites and was feeling confident enough to try to get them both in the air at the same time and hopefully take some pictures of the fun.
The wind was blowing at about 8-10 mph this morning, which is near the high end for the dowel dopero but still perfectly doable. I lofted the big kite in the air first and wrapped the winder around a soccer goal post once it was flying stably on 150 feet of line or so.
Next was the dowel dopero. It also went up effortlessly, and I snapped a few pictures of the dopero and its big brother flying together.
It had been a while since I had flown one of these dowel kites, and, being now used to the pull of the big one, the dowel kite felt very gentle. I didn't even need to wear the gardening gloves I was using for the big one.
I switched back and forth between the big and little kite, eventually getting the big one to the end of its 460 feet of line. It seemed to be flying well, so I switched back to the dowel dopero and was trying to get it up to a similar height. However, about this time the wind started changing directions, so the kites were flying over the trees at the side of the field. The wind speed also seemed to be decreasing, so I wound in the dowel dopero to a height that I thought would place it in front of the trees should it come down and headed over to do the same with the big one. While I was tending to the big one, the dowel dopero popped a spar out of its tape strap, as so often happens when there is a gust of wind. It started doing some slow loops and coming down. But the wind direction changed some more, and I soon realized that it was coming down over the trees -- too late to do anything about it. Drat! Thankfully the bigger (and more expensive) kite was fine, and I reeled it in safely. (It has bungee cords looped around arrow nocks to hold the sail onto the spars, which don't slip out easily!) Unfortunately, I was unable to recover the dowel dopero, though pulling hard on did yield almost all of my line back to me. Well, that kite served me well as inspiration for the big one, and at least I got some good pictures! Maybe I will make another one some day, or try one of your other designs the next time I get an itch.
My next project is to make a picavet rig and do some aerial photography with the big dopero.
As mentioned earlier, there's another alternative to towing indoor kites if it's just not possible to fly outdoors...