The Dowel Roller Kite

A Fun Light-Wind Workout!

The Dowel Roller kite floated up on 1 or 2 weak thermals in extremely light conditions today. I didn't take any video since the results would be very boring - an almost stationary kite against an unchanging blue background! However, I made the best of it and there were a few mildly interesting moments.

The Dowel Roller kite in flight.

Getting the Dowel Roller kite up there to begin with was a bit of a job. After 2 or 3 short flights down low, I resorted to jogging up and back along the fence line, towing the Roller up to 80 feet or so.

Still not enough breeze, although the kite seemed to clear the wind gradient at around 50 feet.

The kite had new sail ties, and seemed to be pulling to the right, so I tensioned up one of the ties to flatten the sail a little on that side.

This worked, and I had fun for a while, hovering the kite just centimeters from the grass with more than 30 meters (100 feet) of line out.

Finally I walked the kite to the far side of the reserve and jogged back, letting line slip through my fingers but holding just enough tension to climb the kite. By the time I ran out of room, the Roller was around 150 feet up and just hanging there with hardly any tension in the line.

Even so, this was the start of a series of let-outs and pull-ins as I attempted to climb higher. Sometimes there was no option but to take in line when it started laying on the grass! 90 meters (300 feet) was the most line I could get out, but the Roller was never higher than a 30 degree angle.

There was some very weak thermal lift about, and one little climb occurred where the line slipped out at a snail's pace. Although some distance downwind, the Roller drifted vertically up for 30 feet or so.

This day was an example of where the kite cannot achieve anywhere near its maximum line angle, even though the wind strength was enough to keep it in the air.

The Dowel Roller kite proved itself to be a reasonable light-wind kite, although not quite on a par with the MBK Delta or Rokkaku.

Finally, I brought the kite right down to my hand, slowly winding line onto the winder. It wasn't such a bad flying session after all! Of the few flights the Roller has had, this was the highest it's been.

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!


Need winders, reels, flying line?

We earn a small commission if you click the following link and buy something. The item does not cost you any more, since we are an "affiliate" of Amazon.

Click here to buy anything you need. Just use the Search box in there if you need different weights or lengths of line, for example.

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

What's New!

  1. Making Paper Kites - A Step-By-Step Guide

    Sep 18, 18 12:58 AM

    Making Paper Kites is a fully photo-illustrated step-by-step guide to making high-flying Sled, Diamond, Rokkaku, Sode and Delta kites from just copier paper and sticky tape. Even the spars are paper-a…

    Read More


Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...

Return to A Flying Kite from The Dowel Roller Kite

All the way back to Home Page




"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"

Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

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