The re-vamped Dowel Sode kite proved itself to be a smooth, stable and
predictable flier in moderate winds today. Yet, it was also a somewhat
exciting single-liner to fly due to it's high efficiency and the wide
range of line tension. It remained smooth even when pulling like a
MBK Dowel Sode
MBK Dowel Sode
On arrival at the reserve, winds were light to moderate at ground
level. The gusts bordered on being 'fresh', which was a bit of a
This being the 4th or 5th time, the kite went together
fairly quickly. Practice makes perfect. Puffs of wind were swirling
around the trees near the edge of the reserve. Hence it took 3 tries to
get the Dowel Sode kite launched since I hadn't bothered to move further
Once above 3 meters or so, the pale-orange Sode rose up smoothly and quickly.
towards the center of the grassed area, I let out line to around 40
meters or so.
The gusty winds were causing the occasional loop, and yet
the kite's behavior was very smooth and predictable. The instant the kite was under less air pressure, the tail would swing down like a pendulum.
thing you can do with tail-less designs is to ensure the heaviest end
of the vertical spar is at the tail end! It really helps.
height, just a little zoom was sufficient to get some good pictures and
video. Pity about the almost solid cloud backdrop though, with hardly
any blue showing through. Around about this time, the thought occurred
to me that 'this is an exciting kite to fly!'. Why?
- Line angle going to 80 degrees at times - remember these were not light-wind thermal conditions!
- Heaps of tension on the flying line while despite the kite flying at over 60 degrees from the horizontal.
- So predictable and stable thanks to the slightly rear-ward balance point and 4-point bridle.
- No matter how extreme the wind speed, just silence from the Dowel Sode kite!
Mind you, with ear touching line, there was a high pitched whistle as
the moderate-to-fresh wind streamed past the line. During the strongest
gusts, there was also a strange scratchy kind of vibration coming down
out more line proved a bit tricky, due to the tension! One of these
days I need to invest in a proper kite reel with winder and brake. The
Sode flew on 90 meters of line for some time. Often, I found it more
comfortable to use both hands as the fresh gusts tore at the kite. Remarkably, all this was happening at rather high line angles!
A passenger jet took off from Adelaide Airport, circled around to an Eastern heading and climbed out overhead.
For a moment, the moon, Dowel Sode kite and jet were aligned not far from each other.
Some minutes after the jet had disappeared over a cloud bank, I was amazed to notice that it's wake had carved a long slot in the cloud bank! A long thin area of blue sky showed through, maybe twice as wide as the jet's wingspan. That's a first for me.
After 1/2 hr or so, with sun approaching the horizon, winds moderated and smoothed. Delightful kite-flying conditions, with comfortable 1-arm flying! The sun later went behind a bank of thick cloud, enveloping the entire reserve in shadow. With line tension more manageable, I let out to 120 meters, and the kite still nudged a 75 degree angle a couple of times, in weak lift.
At this height, the Sode's span of 1.2 meters (4 feet) was less than the apparent diameter of the moon. The kite flew between 300 and 400 feet altitude, depending on air speed and lift. Eventually I just dropped the winder on the grass and walked towards the kite, pulling it down and laying line onto the grass.
There was still a little too much line tension to just wind straight onto the winder.
With the Dowel Sode kite rolled up and line removed, I went back to the reel and wound on all the line. A great outing really, although all on my own this time!
Making The MBK Dowel Sode Kite is a handy e-book 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!