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.MBK Dowel Roller
The Dowel Roller kite in flight.MBK Dowel Roller

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.


Making The MBK Dowel Roller Kite is one of my handy e-books of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.


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!


FREE E-Book!

I'm referring to Simplest Dowel Kites, my popular kite-making download. It's a printable PDF file. Make a diamond, delta or sled. Each kite is capable of flying hundreds of feet up for hours on end.

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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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