The Dowel Sled Kite

Just Hanging As The Sun Goes Down

The winds were very light outside, giving the big Dowel Sled kite a chance for a good high flight. Sunset was not far off.

The Dowel Sled kite in flight.

This kite isn't the best for inland flying, since it doesn't take much of a bump or ripple in the air to collapse it! We headed off for a reserve near a local Primary School. Soon after we arrived, the Sled was in the air on a few meters of line.

The air certainly was light, and the gentle gusts coming through were just enough to fill the sail and start it climbing. As the shadows crept across the grass, we backed further and further towards the far side of the reserve, coaxing the orange sail up and up, and occasionally recovering from a collapse. A couple of times it went all the way to the ground.

The kite never went to its maximum flying angle, due purely to the lightness of the wind. A lot of the time it hung up there at around 40 degrees or so. Far short of its usual 65 - 70 degrees! There it is in the video, with the setting sun illuminating the Sled from the left.

Making The MBK Dowel Sled Kite is a handy e-book of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.

Back to the flying...

As the minutes ticked by, the wind dropped to almost zero at ground level, and the orange Sled was right at the bottom of its wind range. At times filling, then narrowing, in response to slight changes in air pressure. An aerial manta ray!

At least I managed to let out 50 meters or so of line, which is probably as high as the Dowel Sled kite has ever gone. One day we'll have to take it down to the beach and put it up to 400 feet - as long as the sea breeze isn't too fresh!

Eventually, flying the kite became a towing exercise, and there was no way even this very-light-wind kite would fly.

The sun dropped almost to the horizon, and the air 'glassed off' as they say in some flying circles.

Even at over 100 feet there was almost nothing. Leaving the winder on the grass, I pulled in line slowly, just enough to keep the sail inflated, until finally the Dowel Sled kite came down near my feet.

Not bad flying really, but it left me wanting more!

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. The Dowel Rokkaku Kite

    Oct 17, 18 06:00 AM

    This previously published page is a flight report featuring the 1.2m (4ft) span Dowel Rokkaku kite. Read how the kite performs in light winds and thermals...

    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 Sled 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