Dowel Dopero and Big Brother Dopero

by Dan Prosser
(Maryland, USA)

Two doperos ready to go

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.

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Jul 06, 2020
Nice Doperos
by: Ian

Well done with sewing up a bigger version. It must look impressive in the air. Shame to lose the other one though.

I must build a Dopero, they look an interesting and unusually shaped design. I built the Roller a while back but the spars I used weren't strong enough so it twisted too much but the Dopero should be a stronger design.

Jul 06, 2020
Corner straps
by: Tim P.

Dan - my originals used electrical tape which had some stretch and a rubbery surface, particularly in warm weather. So my spars hardly ever popped out.

Consider using wider tape and/or a different type which might provide more friction over the spar tip.

Hope this helps...

Jul 06, 2020
Corner straps
by: Dan

Thanks for the comments. By the way, are there any tricks to make the corner straps more secure? That's the one thing that seems to get me a lot with both the dowel dopero and barn door. Though I realize it may be intentional, to prevent something else from breaking in a strong gust.

Jul 05, 2020
by: Boni

Yes, kites require social distancing from humans, in height! the highest the best!

You're not the only one that used MBK designs as a reference in order to make a bigger versions; result is usually great.

MBK Dopero is terribly good and stable.
I further improved efficiency by adding some stiffeners (some thin 3mm dowels) to the 3 leading edges... perhaps useful also for KAP.

Happy flights

Jul 04, 2020
by: Tim P.

Great story - thanks! You'll have fun with KAP too...

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