The Dowel Rokkaku Kite

Test Flight In A Light Gusty Breeze

For once, the day this new Dowel Rokkaku kite was finished, the weather outside was perfect for a test fly! This is the most impressive MBK kite so far, in terms of sheer size. To save some time, we just walked up to the nearby vacant block with the kite neatly rolled up like a Sled. The sun would be down within the hour.

First test flight for the Dowel Rokkaku kite.

A rather light breeze was coming through, gusting to a barely moderate strength from time to time.

The Rok went together quickly and easily, although I still have a bit of trouble with those tiny bow-line toggles. Bigger toggles would be easier to attach, but they would also add some extra weight. Tsk tsk tsk, can't have that on a light-wind kite!

A quick pull on the line as a puff of wind came through didn't do much for the kite.

The Rok just sat there at waist-height and strained. OK, shift the towing point forward a couple of centimeters and try again.

This time, the kite willingly sailed up, stable as a barge. However, the nose would pull to the left with every sudden increase in wind speed, so something was out of balance. You can see this happen in the video down at the bottom of this page, a couple of seconds in.

The problem was small, though, so I continued to fly for a while. With some tension on the line, it was easy to slowly let it out so the kite climbed away from me, maintaining a constant angle in the line. Since the vacant lot was small, there was no point in letting out more than about 30 meters or so. There were people's back-yards on one side and power lines on the other, so it paid to be safe!

The big Dowel Rokkaku Kite was an absolute pleasure to fly in the smooth light winds above. It seemed to be very efficient on its 50 pound line, maintaining between 50 and 70 degree line angles. At those high line angles, the moderate gusts that affected the kite caused quite big changes in the tension on the line.

The left-leaning tendency was slightly annoying, but then I noticed that both bridle knots on the bridle loops were a little to the left of center.

Aha! Easily fixed, that's exactly why the knots are shiftable!

Because the conditions were so ideal, it was possible to give my 3 year old son a brief fly too. I wouldn't normally recommend letting a 3 year-old fly a 1.2 meter kite though! The tension can come on very suddenly.

Soon after this we brought the kite down, so I could adjust those bridle knots.

A brief flight up to 5 meters or so confirmed that the left-leaning problem was fixed. A firm pull on the line just accelerated the kite straight up! Beautiful.

It might be a while before the weather is suitable again, but it should be a blast letting the Dowel Rokkaku kite right up to 400 feet, in very light to light conditions! I think this Rok will handle moderate winds OK, but basically, the lighter the better for flying pleasure.

The story above was an actual flying experience with the described kite. My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!


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

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

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

Strong breeze
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